Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Will Smith’s foreign substance:
Every pitcher does it. As a hitter you want them to do it so they have a better grip, so we don’t get hit in the head. But just hide it better next time.”
Translation: “That thing you’re doing which is a really great idea and even a safety measure? Jesus, hide it better!” Which makes absolutely zero sense.
And here’s Craig Counsell in the same vein:
“Pitchers are trying to get grips on the ball. We’ve had hitters on other teams ask for pitchers to get a grip on the ball. We’ve had hitters hit in the head asking for pitchers to get grips on the ball. It’s very common. It goes on, on the other side, I guarantee you. It’s the rule. Pitchers are using it. You’ve got to be discreet about it, I guess.
Again, ridiculous. And it compels one to ask why Fredi Gonzalez felt it necessary to point it out to the umps if, in reality, this was a safety measure for his hitters.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?