Geoff Baker allowed Eric Wedge to expand on his controversial comments from the other day in which he appeared to accuse sabermetrics of ruining Dustin Ackley, leading to his demotion. The nut:
“When I bust somebody’s chops or make a joke about it, you can take it in a light-hearted way or you can take it personally. Quite frankly, I don’t care either way. But the fact of the matter is, sabermetrics is a part of the game of baseball. It has been for a while.”
He expands on that at length, talking about how the numbers do matter and how he has used analytics while managing the Indians and the Mariners. All he’s saying is that the player can’t let getting deep into counts get too far into his head if it means he isn’t going after pitches he is capable of hitting squarely.
Which is entirely reasonable. It’s not at all what he said the other day — and I didn’t detect any jokes in his comments from the other day — but this seems like a much better hill to die on for Wedge than the one he was defending previously.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?