When it comes to Josh Hamilton, Arte Moreno is a craven opportunist, not a “smart businessman”

116 Comments

Over at The Guardian today, Jon Bernhardt takes on one aspect of the Josh Hamilton-Angels drama that has some greater applicability to how fans approach the business of baseball as a whole: worship of the smart business decision.

Bernhardt relays the back and forth between the Angels and Hamilton which we’ve been talking about here. But goes on to note that, even if a lot of people are starting to think that owner Arte Moreno is being unreasonable in his actions, hardly anyone is noting just how free a pass he’s getting for his motives. Which are, quite clearly, to claw back as much of the $83 million the Angels agreed to pay Hamilton in the first place.

The reason so many are willing to give him a free pass on that? Because so many of us tend to equate a smart business decision with virtuous behavior:

This is the business savvy we claim to love in our rich – the weird sociopathy of the Business Decision, where men like Moreno simply must engage in whatever behavior it is that theoretically leads to them swimming in the largest pile of gold coins possible, because money is its own morality . . . The fact of the matter is that many people – a majority, perhaps – will see this as a smart business decision instead of craven opportunism, because in our society there is no clear distinction between the two. Perhaps there never was.

This is a subset of the overall fan view that players should be criticized and, on occasion, excoriated for going for an extra dollar while owners who make magnitudes greater sums off of baseball while not playing an inning of it are hardly ever questioned about it. And it’s not just some reflexive anti-union, pro-management stance, though there is some of that at play. It’s a straight up class warfare argument about stinkin’ rich ballplayers that, amazingly, doesn’t follow through and condemn the amazingly more stinkin’ rich owners. It’s incoherent, frankly, but it’s so, so common.

But really, that’s what’s going on with the Hamilton stuff. People are disapproving of Hamilton’s acts, which are borne of addiction and not malice, yet they will nod at Moreno’s efforts to not pay Hamilton, which are borne out of greed and, maybe, a side of brains.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
1 Comment

With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.