Earlier this week Deadspin reported that, over the weekend, Mitch Williams lost his temper and had a long and nasty argument with an umpire during a Cal Ripken League tournament in which he was coaching. Now there’s more: Deadspin reports that Williams called a ten-year-old kid on the other team a “pu**y” and ordered a beanball. There is video over at Deadspin of the incident, described thusly:
Multiple witnesses report that interaction consisted of Williams calling the SJ Titans pitcher “a pu**y.” Children on the team heard this, and one asked his parent on the ride home what it meant .
A second video shows a pitcher-catcher meeting of Williams’ players. Context:
SJ Titans coaches and players overheard this interaction, and report that Williams ordered his pitcher to intentionally hit the SJ Titans batter with the first pitch. One witness told us it was in an attempt to knock the SJ Titans pitcher out of the game.
This is absolutely vile. It obviously has no place in youth baseball and, if Williams doesn’t have a compelling explanation of how everyone Deadspin spoke to is lying or wrong, he has no business coaching kids.
I’ll take it one step further: if all of this is true, I’d fire Williams from his job at MLB Network if it was up to me. There are plenty of ex-ballplayers who can talk about the game who don’t happen to be awful human beings. It’s already hard enough to watch any show on which Williams appears due to his usually incoherent analysis, but knowing what kind of a guy he is makes me not want to watch a moment of him on TV at all.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: