“Shutdown centerfielder”? Really?

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Look, I know everyone who isn’t me has their juices flowing this week because football — the handsome yet drunken and occasionally abusive boyfriend of professional sports — is back and that you’re all gonna try hard to make it work this time. And I’m happy for all of you, I really am.  But could you do me one small favor and not import football terms into baseball in honor of its return?  This is what got me, from the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman:

hearing [the Giants] are showing strong interest in bj upton. hes “shutdown cf” who fits their big park.

I totally understand what he’s getting at here. And I suppose that clarity of intent the only real rule when it comes to coining new terms.  But please, let me have this Jon. Let me have a space in baseball where football does not intrude. More broadly, let us remember that, when it comes to the eight position players on the field, describing a guy in a single-dimension does not work as well as doing so for a football player, where specialization is the order of the day rather than the exception.

Anyway, my sanity needs this very badly. Thank you for your consideration in this regard.

Dustin Pedroia going back on injured list

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Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.

Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.

Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.

I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.

It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.