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Mike Clevinger loses his cool on Twitter


Mike Clevinger of the Cleveland Indians had a bad day on Monday. He started Game 3 of the ALDS, left with a lead but then saw the Astros pound the heck out of his teammates, eliminating them from playoff contention.

The best way to deal with a bad day is to go for a walk, get some exercise, read a book or do things that disconnect the parts of your brain that cause you to dwell on negativity. The best way to make a bad day worse is to spent a lot of time online on the sort of websites that have a habit of magnifying the bad mood you bring to them. Twitter is great for that. Unfortunately, Clevinger went on Twitter yesterday and had his bad mood magnified.

What he saw was a tweet from last May mocking him and the Indians following a loss to the Astros. It featured an interview Clevinger gave in which he said of the Astros, “we have what they have,” “they’re not that special” and “we’re right there with them,” after which Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” plays over big Astros hits:

The replies to the tweeted video from last May reveal that Clevinger saw it when it was first posted and blocked the poster. Which, fine. Blocking people so you don’t see negativity you don’t want to see is a totally reasonable way to make life less stressful.

He must’ve unblocked the guy at some point, however, because yesterday he saw the video again when it was retweeted by MLB Network studio host Robert Flores.

I’m personally not a big fan of “haha you said a thing five months ago and you were wrong!” tweeting, as it usually robs the old sentiment of context and is often a lame exercise in hindsight, but when you’re a public figure it’s just part of the deal. That notwithstanding, Flores’ sharing of it, since deleted but captured for posterity by Deadspin, was not vicious and did not single Clevinger out. It was just one of those “the internet remains defeated” sentiments, in which Flores was acknowledging that, yeah, the Astros were better than the Indians and this bit of ephemera from months back sorta kinda predicted it. Clever? Eh, on some level, but no matter what you think about it, people do this kind of thing all the time. The best bet is to ignore it and not let it get under your skin.

Clevinger did not ignore it. He went ballistic, calling Flores a “cockroach,” a “teenage girl,” an “idiot,” an “unprofessional child,” and “soft as pudding,” all in a pretty mocking tone. He was particularly mad that an MLB Network person retweeted that video, implying that players expect MLB Network people not to be critical. He also played the “you don’t know what it takes to play the game” card which is a classic appeal-to-authority tactic athletes use to deflect criticism, implying that anything negative said by a non-athlete is, by definition, illegitimate. It’s not unfair to say that Clevinger was ranting and didn’t come off particularly well in doing so.

Flores responded calmly, not pushing back, other than to say that he did not create the video but that he merely shared it. He asked Clevinger to call him so that they could discuss it offline. It went back and forth like that for a while. Eventually it stopped and the tweets were deleted, but remnants of the conversation remain in replies.

Last night, this emerged:

So I guess that’s over. After seeing his earlier tweets, though, Clevinger’s reference to “being groovy” rings a bit hollow as the dude lacked any sort of chill not too long before that.

Just imagine if the original poster had been even more vicious and, instead of “Sounds of Silence,” went with the stronger “Mad World” by Gary Jules? Clevinger may have blew a gasket.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.