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Mike Clevinger has some deep thoughts about athleticism and, um, nipples

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I’m not given a commission by anyone for selling subscriptions to The Athletic. I mean, sure, for a lot of reasons I want that publication to do well. I have many friends who work for it and I think, for the most part, it does good work. But on some level they’re my competition, so I’m not gonna lay my life down for them to succeed or anything.

But I will link a story that, if you have sort of heart and brain, you will want to read. You will want to read it because it deals with some cosmic issues that all of us wrestle with on a daily basis.

Well, most of us.

Some of us.

OK, maybe just Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger.

Zack Meisel writes the story which is, ostensibly, about pitcher fielding drills. About how pitchers need to do them all spring, over and over again, in order for them to become automatic. Pitchers hate them, but they know how necessary they are. To deal with it all, they make a competition out of it. They go for bragging rights about who is the best athlete among the pitchers and all of that.

As athletes, they are super competitive. So even if they are outclassed in one area of competition, they may argue that, in reality, they are the best. To that end, Clevinger responded to teammate Shane Beiber’s claim that Beiber, and not Clevinger, is the best athlete because Beiber is the better hitter. Here’s Clevinger’s response:

“My exact comment to him,” Clevinger said, “is, ‘OK, put LeBron James in a batter’s box. Is he not an athlete? Because I guarantee he won’t look pretty against big-league pitching. Is he still an athlete? He’s still the best in the world, actually.’ So his argument’s not that logical. It’s like a vegan saying you can’t drink milk — do animals drink other animals’ milk? No, because they don’t have the thumbs to milk their nipples. Of course not. But if they did, do you know what a dog would be doing every f***ing day?”

Makes you think.

Anyway: subscribe to The Athletic. It’s worth it for that kind of stuff.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?