Criticism of Joe Girardi has reached PalinFey levels of ridiculousness

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Don’t know what “PalinFey” is?  Read on, my friends, read on.

It’s always been strange to see the New York media go after Joe Girardi for use of actual information to inform his decisions. Things like scouting reports, statistics and stuff. You know, the things smart managers have always done. Except Girardi dared organize his information into a binder, so that apparently makes him weird.  Never mind that he has a World Series ring and has won the manager of the year award. He’s a crazy, pencil neck geek! Binderboy!

That line has now gone beyond self-parody thanks to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, who just loved the fact that Girardi got angry and argued a call yesterday, leading to his ejection.  Here’s Matthews’ lead-in:

For once, he wasn’t “G.I. Joe” or “Joey Looseleafs” or “Binder Boy,” the guy who is on autopilot in front of a reporter, and at the mercy of his splits, his spray charts and his heat maps in the privacy of the manager’s office.

For the five minutes or so that he shouted at, gestured at and lectured the umpires on the field at Comerica Park, culminated by a stage exit complete with waving arms and rolling eyeballs, he was a living, passionate, fire-breathing human being.

King Kaufman has coined a term called “PalinFey.” It refers to Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin, and it describes a parody that is essentially indistinguishable from the real thing. It sort of renders the parody superfluous, because you really can’t outdo the reality for pure silliness.

When it comes to Boston reporters describing the Red Sox disarray and New York reporters going after Girardi’s binder, I think we’ve reached a perfect state of PalinFey.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.