Derek Jeter is the most popular MLB jersey this year

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Major League Baseball just released a list of the most popular jerseys sold at their team stores so far this season. Not much surprising about the list. Popular teams sell a lot of jerseys, big name stars go most often. Though there is an undercurrent of younger players creeping into the list. Twelve of the top 20 are players who are 27 years old or younger, which is the most in that category in the four years MLB has been keeping track of these things. Three players – Freddie Freeman, Masahiro Tanaka and Anthony Rizzo – appear on the list for the first time.

I wish they had a list of the most popular custom-jerseys and t-shirts in which names of players who are not currently active were placed on the back. Stuff like how many Bobby Higginson shirts were sold in Detroit and how many Franklin Stubbs shirts were sold in L.A. That would tap into the hipster/ironic purchase market which, while small, is a dynamic sector of the baseball merch economy.

Here’s the list:

1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
2. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
3. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
4. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
5. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
6. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
7. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
8. David Wright, New York Mets
9. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
10. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
11. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
12. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
13. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
14. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
15. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
16. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
17. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
19. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
20. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

Max Muncy and Matt Beaty step on Rhys Hoskins’ ankle on consecutive plays

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In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last year, infielder Manny Machado — then with the Dodgers — stepped on the foot of Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Aguilar, understandably, wasn’t happy about that and both teams’ benches spilled onto the field. It was a continuation of a tumultuous series for Machado, who was also vilified for not hustling and sliding hard into Orlando Arcia twice. The Machado-Aguilar dust-up served as a referendum on Machado’s character until he finally signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

Recently, Machado criticized the analysts on MLB Network for holding double standards. Dan Plesac and Eric Byrnes argued with Greg Amsinger about the Jake Marisnick collision at home plate with catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Amsinger felt Marisnick was in the wrong; Plesac and Byrnes defended Marisnick. On Instagram, Machado said if he had been the one who bulldozed Lucroy, Plesac and Byrnes wouldn’t have defended him, in part because he is Latino. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones said earlier this year that Machado would “one hundred percent” be treated differently if he were white.

With that context in mind, something interesting happened in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies. Leading off the top of the fourth inning against Aaron Nola, Max Muncy grounded out to shortstop Jean Segura. As Muncy crossed the first base bag, he stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle. On the next play, Matt Beaty beat out an infield single hit to third baseman Maikel Franco, shifted up the middle. As Beaty crossed the first base bag ahead of the throw, he tripped over Hoskins’ ankle. MLB.com hasn’t posted video of the incidents yet, but here’s a look at both plays from @jomboy_ on Twitter:

We rarely see runners tripping over the feet of first basemen, but here we have it happening on back-to-back plays. Hoskins’ footwork around the bag was textbook given the situations. The commentators on the exclusive YouTube broadcast gave the runners the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, there has surprisingly been little discussion of these plays. A July 18 game isn’t exactly Game 4 of the NLCS, but look at how much conversation the Marisnick-Lucroy play generated and that was less than two weeks ago. These plays deserve a “Was it dirty?” conversation.

One wonders what the conversation would have looked like if it had been black or Latino runners stepping on Hoskins’ ankle on back-to-back plays. Would they have gotten the immediate benefit of the doubt like Muncy and Beaty? Would malicious intent have been ascribed to them instead? That, really, is Machado’s point about the double-standard applied to non-white players. It doesn’t excuse any of his obviously terrible behavior, but if we’re going to criticize players for bad behavior, we should do so evenly and fairly. Muncy and Beaty deserve criticism for their poor, sloppy, dangerous base running. Frankly, Major League Baseball should consider fines and/or suspensions. Machado was fined for stepping on Aguilar.