What we talk about when we talk about “flu-like symptoms”

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Kris Bryant left today’s game against the Dodgers with flu-like symptoms in the third inning. Which would, by definition  I suppose, make him day-to-day.

Which made me think a bit about “flu-like symptoms.” Most people assume that means “dude’s hungover.” In a lot of cases it probably is. It could also be a case of Montezuma’s Revenge, to put it delicately. That’s gotta be the universe, right? Anything else would be called what it really is, but a hangover and diarrhea are a couple of things which sort of beg for euphemisms.

I mean, if it’s the actual flu, we call it the flu, right? Michael Jordan had the flu against the Jazz that time. If you have the actual flu, you may WANT to keep playing. This is a deep dive, but back in 2007 Mark Teixeira had two homers and six RBI in a single game, after which it was revealed he had the actual flu. Or at least a stomach flu, in that he was barfing his guts out. He was asked about playing with the flu and he actually claimed it was an advantage:

When you [play with the flu], for some reason you get more focused, because you know you can’t do everything you’re used to doing. You’re slower and your body hurts a little bit. So you focus and you’re going to have nights like this.

Maybe that’s baloney, but there’s some bit of wisdom in there someplace.

As for Bryant, who knows? But here’s hoping he makes a quick recovery. From whatever it is that ails him.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.