Another great idea on breathing life into retired numbers


source: AP

There’s been a lot of response to Jeff Snider’s excellent proposal of using retired numbers to honor current players. One response just came from an active player. One who, just last year, came face-to-face with just how odd it is for there to be so many retired numbers on the team for which he played. He’s Brandon McCarthy of the Dodgers, and he just came up with this bit of brilliance:

That’s a fantastic idea. One which, informally anyway, has been done a bit in the past. Steve Largent and Jerry Rice both wore 80 for the Seahawks, though there was a little hanky panky with that. Luis Aparicio let Omar Vizquel wear his number with the White Sox. You’d have to police this a bit so family members or retired players weren’t pressured into allowing the number to be used or to make sure that dork third generation relatives of famous baseball players weren’t using it to make a buck. But as long as it was a sincere and open gesture, it could be pretty cool.

Underscoring all of this in my mind is the notion that retirement has changed over the years. At least with people. My dad retired 12 years ago, but he has worked steadily since then, driving a school bus for a few years and doing handyman work. He says he’d get bored otherwise. Other people either don’t or can’t retire due to circumstance. Generally speaking, our active lives last longer now than they used to. Retirement has become a bit more flexible a concept than it used to be.

So, McCarthy’s idea would do the same thing for numbers. Keep ’em working after retirement. Reminding us of their continued vitality as opposed to putting them under glass.

I’m really warming up to the idea of changing the way we deal with numbers. This is kind of fun to think about.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.