Here’s an amusing little tidbit from Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross:
Before the Phillies left for Houston, Cliff Lee brought fellow pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to Harrah’s in Chester to play poker. Lee’s a regular at Harrah’s poker room, usually playing late at night.
That’s legal, of course, as opposed to Alex Rodriguez’s appearances at underground poker games last year, although I’m sure MLB isn’t exactly thrilled about players gambling legally either.
I’m guessing Cliff Lee is pretty good at poker. Probably has a lot of patience, probably very precise, probably knows the math and strategy well.
I’m guessing Jonathan Papelbon re-raises everything pre-flop, goes all-in constantly for like 10 times more than he needs to bet, and then flips over the table whenever he doesn’t win a big pot.
A lot of people in the comments to Bill’s posts on the Urena-Acuña posts last night and in response to my rant about it in the recaps and on Twitter this morning, have talked about how silly writers don’t understand the culture of baseball and how pitchers have been brushing back batters for years. One guy said that old players would laugh at me for my naive notions about such matters and that, to make it as a pitcher, you have to brush guys back and reclaim the inside of the plate and make the hitter uncomfortable in the box.
I think that’s all b.s. obviously, but they are right about one thing: I don’t play baseball and baseball players probably know this stuff better. With that in mind, I’m going to defer to seven-time All-Star Michael Young’s thoughts on the matter of brushbacks and purpose pitches:
If you think you know more about this than Michael Young, you now have his Twitter handle and can tell him yourself.