“If The Boss Was Still Alive” Watch: George Steinbrenner was absent from Joe Torre’s Hall of Fame speech

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Here’s the back page of the New York Post today:

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A dude leads the local nine to 12 consecutive playoff appearances, six pennants and four World Series titles and they lead with some invented slight of a guy who has been dead for years. And who, according to Tom Verducci’s book “The Yankee Years,” had other candidates in mind besides Torre and who, even after Torre was hired, was allegedly working behind the scenes to see if Showalter would come back.

That intrigue aside, Steinbrenner was way more hands off than he had been once he came back from his Dave Winfield-Howie Spira suspension in 1993. Gene Michael and his men were running the Yankees on a day-to-day basis, not George. Obviously he would have final say, but it’s safe to say that Torre owned gratitude to more than just George Steinbrenner for his tenure as Yankees manager.

All of that said, Torre himself said afterward that he regretted omitting Steinbrenner, thereby validating this as a “scandal.” But what this is really about can be seen in the stories about it:

Later, talking to a small group of reporters, the 74-year-old Torre was asked how Steinbrenner might have handled the omission if he were still alive. “That would have made me feel better,” he said. “At least he would have yelled at me: ‘You ungrateful such, such and such.’ “

The New York press will never, apparently, drop the notion that what the long-dead George Steinbrenner might think matters.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.