Parodying anti-Yasiel Puig hysteria is impossible

51 Comments

One of these takes on Yasiel Puig is from a legitimately outraged columnist. The other is a parody of an outraged columnist. Don’t hover over or click the links until you’ve guessed which is which.

First one:

Call me old-school and old-fashioned. Call me too conservative. Tell me to “get with the times.” Whatever. The bottom line is that you don’t show up the opposing pitcher and you don’t “pimp out” a home run. It’s disrespectful and it’s a bad look, and anybody who has ever played the game at a high level knows that those “unwritten rules” we hear so much about actually have merit and are worth something … Just stop with the excuses, people. He lived in Cuba all of his life and is just having fun playing in America! That’s my favorite excuse. The last I checked, he can still have plenty of fun, be a celebrity, play baseball for millions of dollars and be loved by the masses without playing like a fool.

vs. the second one:

The Dodgers have been doing Mickey Mouse stuff all year long. They admit it, too. As Gonzalez explained his behavior, “I did what I always do, but we are in L.A., so Mickey Mouse is only an hour away.”

I know there’s no cheering in the press box. But can we make an exception for booing?

Remember: It was just a few short weeks ago the Dodgers made fools of themselves parading through Arizona’s swimming pool to celebrate their playoff berth.

It made everyone look bad.

It was lewd. It was crude.

It was everything the Los Angeles Dodgers have stood for all year long … This team may have the most expensive roster in the league and all kinds of money to spare, but it can’t buy baseball’s respect. It can’t buy my silence, either.

No one has to be a Yasiel Puig fan. But the degree to which some are offended by him is laughable in the extreme.

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

Lorenzen said, “It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in. A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

New manager David Bell said, “We’ve put together a plan for the whole spring, knowing we can adjust it at any time. We didn’t want to go into each day not knowing what he’s going to do. We all felt better, he did, too. He was part of putting it together.”

Lorenzen, 27, pitched 81 innings last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 54/34 K/BB ratio. He’s one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers as well. Last year, he swatted four homers and knocked in 10 runs in 34 trips to the plate. The last pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season was the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who did it in both 2014 (four) and 2015 (five). Lorenzen also posted a 1.043 OPS. According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).