The last remaining teammates of some all-time greats

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First there was Neil Young’s “ditch trilogy.” Now we have Chris Jaffe’s “morbid trilogy.”

First, he looked at who lived the longest time after playing in a World Series. Then he looked at the last surviving men to have played for some important managers.  Now he’s looking at who were the last surviving teammates of some of the game’s all-time greats:

The most recent all-time great to have no living teammates is the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. The disease that killed him forced him to retire in 1939. An outfielder for that club was Tommy Henrich, who died on Dec. 1, 2009. He was the last Yankee left who heard Gehrig say that he considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. The day Gehrig gave his famous speech, Henrich appeared as a pinch-hitter for the Yankees and made an out.

Beyond that factoid there are all kinds of neat ones that make one realize (a) how long baseball has been played; and (b) how long a human life is, even if we all tend to blow off things that happen in our day-to-day existence with phrases like “life’s too short to …”

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?