The Rockies beat the living tar out of the Arizona Diamondbacks last night. They were up 19-1 by the end of the fifth inning, in fact, and everyone should’ve probably just agreed to go home early and catch up on the shows they have on their DVRs and stuff. But they played on, because that’s what ballplayers do.
As is so often the case in blowouts, eventually a position player was deployed to pitch. In this case, though, it wasn’t just one position player and it wasn’t just for a final inning. The Dbacks used two position players — Daniel Descalso and Alex Avila — and they pitched for more than half the dang game.
Really: the Snakes’ real pitchers gave up 16 runs in four and a third innings while Descalso and Avila gave up 3 runs in four and two-thirds innings. All of those runs were charged to Descalso, by the way, who allowed two homers. He still did better than real pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, however, who gave up four more runs in one inning less of work.
Avila, though, was pretty spiffy. He faced seven batters over two innings and retired six of them, allowing only one hit, in the form of a leadoff single to Ian Desmond just after coming into the game. He stranded Desmond, though, getting the next three batters to fly out and line out. He came back for the eighth inning and retired the side in order once again.
I suspect that, at that point in the game, the Rockies hitters were not exactly going up with an intention to do serious damage, but I don’t think big leaguers quit either, so we should give some credit to Avila for his surprisingly outstanding performance. Even if it came at the end of a shockingly terrible night for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Major League Baseball released a statement about Josh Hader a few minutes ago. Here it is in its entirety:
“During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns. After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it. The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr. Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
People can parse Hader’s apology if they want to — I wrote about what I feel like Hader needs to say and do to show that his tweets truly are not representative of who he is now — but this is probably about as well as Major League Baseball can do with this. The tweets in question occurred years ago, before Hader was in professional baseball. They even occurred before Major League Baseball had a formal social media policy. MLB attempting some sort of way-after-the-fact punitive action on Hader like a fine or a suspension would (a) be met with some understandable resistance by Hader and the union; and (b) would look more like the league trying to deal with a P.R. crisis more than dealing with the player.
That being said, the sensitivity training and diversity initiative participation makes loads of sense. If, as Hader said last night, he’s a different person now than he was back in 2011-12, he should embrace such activities. They’re positive ones and, hey, who couldn’t use a brush-up? If his claims of being a changed man were merely a reaction to a social media firestorm, well, that’ll be dealt with pretty well in those arenas as well. Either way, this gives Hader an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.
If you think making Hader do such things is “punishment,” well, that opens up another conversation altogether I suppose.