Don Cherry has opinions about Harper-Papelbon

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One thing that makes me laugh harder than almost anything is when someone tells me to “stick to baseball.” No. Why should I? I’m a human being like anyone else and I got opinions, dang it. Sure, the farther I stray from my areas of expertise (e.g. baseball, the law, cats, bourbon, 1980s sitcoms and the facts supporting the incontrovertible proof that the moon landing was faked) the more likely I am to be wrong, but that’s a risk we all have in life.

So, no, I take no issue with noted hockey crazy person Don Cherry weighing in on the Bryce HarperJonathan Papelbon fight. He, like me, treads on thin ice in talking about sports he doesn’t know as well (note to Don: we call them clubhouses, not “dressing rooms”) but the man is entitled to his opinion, even if it’s dumb and wrong. That’s what the Constitution guarantees, and according to people who yell at me on the Internet, that applies even in Canada.

So, without further ado, Don Cherry’s wisdom on the Harper-Papelbon thing. He put it in nine separate tweets and that’s hard to follow, so I’ll clean it up for you (tweets here):

How anybody could blame Papelbon for confronting Harper boggles the mind. Alright, Papelbon shouldn’t have done what he did to Harper on the bench. He should have waited for him in the tunnel and choked him there . . .

. . . People who criticize Papelbon, rightly so for doing it openly, never played the game. Never, never, ever openly criticize your teammate no matter what he does. In the dressing room that’s ok, yes but what is said in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. Some people say they can understand how Harper just jogs down to first on a pop up. They say well, hey they have already played 152 games. The guy is getting 10 zillion dollars a year, at least he can hustle to first base.

The most remarkable thing about this entire controversy — apart from some people, like Cherry, thinking that there’s a right place and a wrong place to choke someone — is the belief by so many that Harper actually dogged it to first base on the play in question. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post was at the game and he wrote quite clearly that Harper did not, in fact, dog it to first base in anything approaching an unusual or extraordinary way. If the ball had been dropped, Harper would have been safe. Which is all that is really required on such plays unless you worship at the altar of False Hustle.

But of course, we know this wasn’t about hustle anyway. This was Papelbon looking for a pretext to go after Harper based on his comments last week.

Anyway: good to see Don Cherry branching out. I worry sometimes that there isn’t enough work for ill-informed hot take artists in sports media, so him putting in the hard work to stretch himself like this is inspiring.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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