Quintin Berry
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Quintin Berry retires

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Former outfielder Quintin Berry announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Friday night. He’s expected to take a front office role as outfield and baserunning coordinator for the club in 2019, though his new position has yet to be officially confirmed.

Berry, 33, saw limited exposure in the majors over the course of his 13-year pro ball career. He got his start in the league with the Tigers, who utilized him for the better part of their 2012 campaign and saw him bat a healthy .258/.330/.354 with 18 extra bases and 21 stolen bases through 330 PA. He was dealt to the Red Sox for right-hander Clayton Mortensen in 2013 and found himself in a heavily reduced role, but returned to pinch run in the postseason and was still able to count himself part of the team that ended up clinching a World Series title that fall.

Following his final major league appearance in 2017, during which the fleet-footed outfielder appeared in just seven games with the Brewers, Berry holds a lifetime .262/.333/.364 batting line, 19 extra-base hits, and 29 stolen bases. He played out the remainder of his playing career in back-to-back stints with the Brewers and Yankees’ Triple-A affiliates in 2018, but elected not to pursue additional opportunities in the minors in 2019.

Moving forward, Berry will help the Brewers hone their running game even further. The club finished first among all NL teams and fifth in the league overall after swiping 124 bags in 2018, owing in large part to Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich‘s career-high marks of 30 and 22 stolen bases, respectively. Still, there’s likely something to be gleaned from a player who capped a dozen seasons in the minors with 399 stolen bases in 496 chances, even if he never got the opportunity to prove his prowess on a big league stage.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?