Ortiz’s bat flip inflames tabloids more than the Yankees

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As Matthew mentioned last night, David Ortiz flipped his bat in a somewhat flamboyant style after hitting his two-run homer off Hector Noesi in the top of the fifth (video here).  After the game, Joe Girardi said “I didn’t really care for it,” inasmuch as it was kind of showing up Noesi.

After that, however, he actually made a point to say that Ortiz plays hard and plays the game the right way and suggested that, no, there wouldn’t be any sort of retaliation about it. He and other Yankees quoted about the matter more or less said that’s Papi being Papi, that it’s nothing new and that while they wish he didn’t hit a homer against them, it was no big deal. A-Rod talked about the kind of respect Yankees players have for the Red Sox.

But despite all of these quotes, the headline stack this morning at the Daily News had links to stories titled “Ortiz’s show drives Yanks batty,” and “Yanks may need to retaliate.”  The latter one is a link to a John Harper column that repeats all of those “it’s no big deal” quotes yet somehow concludes that Girardi believes that retaliation is in order and predicts that some form of retaliation will come before the series is over.

Is the manager saying “I didn’t much care for it,” just a low-key rallying cry? I guess we’ll know after tonight and Thursdays games, but this reads more like an instance in which a tabloid is wishing and hoping for fireworks than rationally gauging their likelihood.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.