Getty Images

Patrick Mahomes and a great story about Jack Morris being a jerk

55 Comments

If, like me, you pay little attention to sports that are not baseball, you might not know that the son of former big league reliever Pat Mahomes — Patrick Mahomes — is the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. And he’s a pretty good one. he’s only 23 and it’s his first season as a starter, but he has ten touchdown passes in two games this year, six of which came in the Chiefs’ victory over the Steelers yesterday. Even those of us who pay little attention to sports which are not baseball know that that’s pretty darn good.

Today, over at Peter King’s Football Morning in America, King, not surprisingly, talks about Mahomes. In so doing he relates a Jack Morris anecdote which is so very on-brand for Jack Morris. And another one about a circa-2003 A-Rod which is not exactly on-brand for him.

King spoke with the elder Mahomes and asked him about the sort of mentoring young Patrick has been getting. Pat spoke highly of coach Andy Reid but spoke even more highly of Alex Smith, whose job Mahomes ended up taking. Smith, both Mahomes men said, made it a point to teach the younger Mahomes everything he knew to prepare him for the task ahead. King:

Dads understand and appreciate help given to their children. So Pat Mahomes told Smith several times last year how much he appreciated what he did for his boy. Unspoken was the fact that they both knew Patrick was there to take Smith’s job.

“That’s what’s so admirable about what Alex did all season for him,” Pat Mahomes said. “I know how it was when I came up [to the Minnesota Twins, in 1992]. I remember one time that year asking Jack Morris how he threw his split-finger fastball. He said, ‘Get away from me, you little MF. You’ll be trying to take my job next year.’ ”

It’s probably worth remembering that Morris also famously made a deal with his late-career teams in which he did not have to show up for the games in which he was not pitching so he could go home to his farm. At this point I’ll also note that, when I was ten, I met Morris at a baseball card show. I asked him if he was pitching that night and he said, no, Glenn Abbott was. Then he proceeded to tell me — a kid! — that Abbott stunk and that he was not confident that the team would win that night. Which is to say: wow, what a teammate Jack Morris was!

Mahomes senior was not done relating baseball anecdotes to King:

When Patrick was 6, in 2001, his father played for the Texas Rangers. Alex Rodriguez was a first-year Ranger, having signed a $252-million deal to move from Seattle. “Alex would take Patrick down to the cage, and he’d take batting practice, and then he’d break down the tape with Patrick and teach him about his swing. Patrick loves A-Rod,” Pat Mahomes said. “Being around those clubhouses was great for him. It taught him the value of hard work in sports, and how professional athletes should act.”

So, in short: Jack Morris was kind of a jerk and A-Rod was really cool to a teammate’s kid. Which should probably cause you to ask yourself why the press coverage for the two of them, so very often, cast the former as a great guy who deserved more respect and the latter was cast as a selfish villain.

Discuss.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.