Miguel Cabrera is better than Matt Capps

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We knew this already, though, right?

With a man on in the top of the ninth, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera took an 0-2 fastball from Matt Capps to dead center for his ninth homer Sunday, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a victory over the Twins.

It was the first blown save for Capps in 10 chances this year, so he didn’t really deserve the boos he received from the Target Field crowd. Sometimes you just get beat, and when it’s a talent like Cabrera administering the whipping, you shake your head and move on.

Of course, there’s plenty of lingering resentment in Minnesota over Capps’ 2011 performance. He blew nine saves in just 24 chances last year.

Cabrera’s homer capped a three-RBI day. He second in the AL with 40 RBI even though he hasn’t really gotten hot at any point yet this season. Indeed, his OPS is down about 150 points from where he finished 2010 and ’11.

The Tigers were in position to take the lead because of an outstanding leaping catch made by center fielder Quintin Berry to end the eighth, stranding an insurance run on third. Twins announcer Dick Bremer twice labeled it “one of the best catches you’ll ever see.” And the catch itself was outstanding. On the other hand, his jump off the bat and his route to the ball were anything but. A better center fielder likely would have made the play look a lot easier.

White Sox to extend protective netting to the foul poles

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Recently two more fans suffered serious injuries as the result of hard-hit foul balls at major league games. One of those fans was hurt at a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field earlier this month. In response, the White Sox have taken it upon themselves to do that which Major League Baseball will not require and extend protective netting. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The White Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority are planning to extend the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field down the lines to the foul poles, according to a source.

Exact details will be announced later, but the changes will be made as soon as possible this season.

If recent history holds, they will not be the last team to do it.

Major League Baseball has taken a laissez-faire approach to protective netting over the past several years, requiring nothing even if it has made recommendations to teams to do something. The last time it made a suggestion was in December 2015 when teams were “encouraged” to shield the seats between the near ends of both dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate. In the wake of that recommendation only a few teams immediately extended their netting, primarily because if you ask a business to do something but say it is not required to do anything, it is not likely to do anything.

It would not be until September 2017, after a baby girl was severely injured at Yankee Stadium, that the rest of baseball was inspired to extend protective netting in keeping with MLB’s recommendations. Indeed, it was a land rush, with all 30 teams extending their netting by Opening Day 2018. While a generous interpretation would have everyone seeing the light simultaneously, my slightly more experienced eye saw it as a “don’t be the only team not to have extended netting by the time the next lawsuit hits” approach.

In the wake of the two recent injuries Major League Baseball issued a statement about how it “will keep examining” the matter of additional protective netting while, again, mandating nothing. Now that the White Sox are extending netting to the foul poles, however,  it’s not hard to imagine a situation in which other teams follow suit. Sooner or later, enough will likely have done so to create critical mass and make any team which has not done so to make the effort out of self-preservation.

Or, more generously, good sense.