Bob Klapisch blames the Mets and posing nude for Matt Harvey’s injury

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It’s Bob Klapisch who, after spending a bit of time yesterday afternoon on Twitter playing armchair orthopedic surgeon, decided that the Mets are to blame for not seeing the alleged warning signs leading to Matt Harvey’s diagnosis:

There are a million questions trailing in his wake, starting with the Mets’ passive response to the lingering forearm tightness Harvey had been experiencing since July. Warrior that he is, Harvey downplayed the discomfort, telling his bosses it was nothing unusual, nothing more than the cost of doing business with nuclear heat. But given the Mets’ abysmal record of managing injuries, why weren’t they proactive when it was clear Harvey wasn’t improving? … the Mets should’ve taken control of the situation and not waited until late Sunday when Harvey’s pain finally became acute.

All pitchers get some soreness. Harvey is a young kid who didn’t think it was a big deal and there was nothing objective the Mets could see that would suggest injury.  Blaming the Mets by going back, as Klapisch does, to some of their medical misdiagnosis a few years ago smacks of scapegoating and a failure to appreciate that there simply are injuries that happen despite everyone doing the right thing. And no, putting a baseball player in an MRI tube every time he’s sore is not the right thing.

Of course my favorite part of this column is when Klapisch mentions Harvey posing nude in ESPN the Magazine a couple of months ago:

Already he’s big and brash and gutsy enough to pose in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. It wasn’t the smartest decision he’ll ever make, but it told you plenty about the kid’s self-confidence.

You’ll recall that Klapisch wrote a hand-wringing, unintentionally hilarious  “Harvey shouldn’t want to be known as the naked pitcher” column at the time. Here he seems to lump in the posing nude with Harvey’s toughness and self confidence. A toughness and self confidence he now blames for Harvey not speaking up about his sore arm.

Which just goes to show: when a columnist decides on a meme, be it “the Mets’ doctors suck” or “posing nude is a horrible thing to do,” they will take every opportunity to shoehorn developments into those memes as a means of saying “see, I told you so.” And about 97.5% of the time it is utter baloney.

Major League Baseball needs to make an example out of José Ureña

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We’re about an hour and a half separated from the first pitch of Wednesday night’s Marlins/Braves game that featured Marlins starter José Ureña hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña on the elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied, Ureña was ejected, and the game went on. Acuña left the game not long after to tend to his injured elbow.

After the game, when the Marlins speak to the media, they will almost certainly deny any ill intent towards Acuña, who had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games against them. When they do so, they will be lying. Watch how catcher J.T. Realmuto sets up on the first pitch.

ESPN Stats & Info notes that Ureña’s 97.5 MPH fastball was in the 99th percentile in terms of velocity of the 2,125 pitches he has thrown this season. It was also the fastest pitch Ureña has ever thrown to begin a game. Ureña put a little extra mustard on this pitch, for some reason.

Ureña has a 6.8 percent walk rate, which ranks 37th out of 95 starters with at least 100 innings of work this season. The major league average is eight percent. Control isn’t typically something with which he struggles.

Furthermore, Acuña isn’t the only player who has drawn Ureña’s ire:

Ureña wanted nothing to do with Hoskins — even though Hoskins has yet to get a hit off of him — in his August 4 start at home against the Phillies, walking him twice which included a few up-and-in pitches.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended for his actions on Wednesday night against Acuña. But will his punishment be enough to deter him and others from wielding a baseball as a weapon? Probably not. On June 19, when Marlins starter Dan Straily intentionally threw at Buster Posey, he received a five-game suspension and manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game. If you look at Straily’s game logs, you can’t even tell he was suspended. He started six days later on June 25 against the Diamondbacks and again on July 1 and 6. Because starters only pitch once every five days, it was like he wasn’t even suspended at all.

Major League Baseball needs to levy harsher punishments on players who attempt to injure other players. A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.