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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Yesterday at NBC I wrote with skepticism about Dontrelle Willis' stay on the disabled list. Today Jayson Stark runs with that -- and with a couple of other curious disabled list cases -- and asks whether messing with the DL is a common form of shenanigans in Major League Baseball. While he asks a lot of the right questions, he calls speculation like mine "conspiracy theories," and seems to come down more on the side of the Major League baseball who says this:
"We can't talk about specific cases," MLB's vice president for public relations, Pat Courtney, told Rumblings. "But what we can say is that each DL placement must be supported by sufficient medical evidence, and it has to come from a highly qualified physician."
and the Tigers, who say this about Willis:
"If somebody called me into court and said, 'You've got to show me what you have to support this,' I feel very comfortable in saying I could show exactly why we put him on the disabled list.'"
Sorry, still skeptical. I'm a friendly government attorney now, but I spent a decade defending civil lawsuits, a great number of which involved injuries. And I can tell you, you don't have to be an anti-trial lawyer zealot to realize that you can pretty much get a doctor to say anything you want as long as it's the right doctor. That's why plaintiffs are usually subjected to independent medical exams from doctors who (and here's where the "independent" part comes in) aren't being paid by those who have an interest in finding an injury or seven. Even then it's not perfect, but the IME process does cut out a lot of the baloney.
Does Major League Baseball have an analog to an IME? Maybe such a thing isn't necessary as a matter of course -- when a guy breaks his hand, it's pretty obvious -- but is there a procedure for such a thing in the event someone presents a prima facie case of DL shenanigans? Seems like in the case of Dontrelle Willis and maybe, as Stark notes, Oliver Perez and Chien Ming-Wang, such a thing would be pretty handy.
I never cease to be surprised at the sheer number of things you can gamble on. For example:
The online betting website Bookmaker.com has posted odds on who will be the next player suspended by MLB under the drug policy in 2009. Alex Rodriguez is still eligible at 3/1 followed by Adrian Beltre at 375 with big names like Albert Pujols, Carlos Delgado, Zack Grienke, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano and even Derek Jeter with odds available.
I'm not a gambler by nature, but I think it would be a lot more fun to gamble on the names that appear on the famous list of 104 in the 2003 survey testing than it would be to gamble on test results going forward. The latter is really more of an intelligence test, isn't it? Meaning that you have to be a Manny-level moron to get caught now?
The 2003 survey tests, however, occurred at a time when people weren't quite sure about the state of the world in which they were living, so I'm sure there was a lot of denial at the time. Chances took. There are probably some names on that list that would surprise the hell out of us.
Umpire Paul Schrieber apologized Thursday for making contact with the Tigers' Magglio Ordonez during a confrontation Wednesday night.
And some backfill from Leyland and Ordonez:
Both Leyland and Ordonez said Thursday that they did not believe Schrieber's act had malicious intent.
No word if there will be any discipline. Based on what else has happened this week, however, we may expect a $750 fine or something.
My original thoughts on the matter are here.
Jane Heller was stuck in her house in Santa Barbara at the height of the recent wildfire. She understandably freaked out a bit, but something kept her sane:
The phone rang with rumors of friends whose houses were burning to the ground. The local television stations suspended their regular programming to cover the fire nonstop . . . I couldn’t decide which was making me more anxious: staying on top of the situation or trying to block it out . . .
This week is turning out to be a real bummer on the work front, so apologies for the lighter content. There will certainly be more stuff to come today, and next week things should be back to normal, but it will still be a little bit sluggish today and tomorrow. In the meantime:
Also: anyone else throw stuff at the TV last night when both Jack and Juliet essentially said "waah, she/he doesn't love me anymore so I'm going to set off a nuclear bomb"? That just killed me. I demand right now that the final season of "Lost" be nothing but Rose and Bernard and the dog living in their shack, because they're the only mature characters within 50 miles of that show.
Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News thinks that sportswriting is dying. Jason at IIATMS disagrees.
You can probably guess where I come down on this.
Lots of games got delayed last night due to rain causing them to end after my usual bedtime. As such, there wasn't a chance that I was going to be able to be as comprehensive with these recaps as I usually am, seeing as though I'm writing way more of them this morning than I usually do. We'll see how they go, however. Oh, and I'm punting box score links again. To get them, go here.
Indians 4, White Sox 0: Four runs is a lot of support for Cliff Lee. Didn't need three of those runs, though, as he shuts the Sox down over seven innings, and the Cleveland bullpen somehow doesn't get lit up for once. Jermaine Dye struck out to end the sixth inning, and was ejected for throwing his helmet and pouting and calling the ump whatever you call the ump to get ejected and stuff. The box score said "Jermaine Dye ejected in the top of the sixth." Moments later Ozzie Guillen was ejected from barking at the ump over the same strikeout. The box score said "Ozzie Guillen ejected in the bottom of the sixth." Gentlemen: I think if we review the tape we may finally be able to definitively determine when the top of an inning ends where the bottom begins! UPDATE: I'm told that Guillen's ejection actually happened during Jhonny Peralta's at bat in the actual bottom of the inning. Apologies for the confusion. I didn't see the game, and the game story was not at all clear on this.
Nationals 6, Giants 3: Zimmerman's hitting streak snapped. And this from the game story: "Zito (1-3) gave up eight hits and four runs while pitching into the seventh, losing control of a tight game late in another tough loss on his 31st birthday." He had other tough losses on his 31st birthday? No wonder he lost. He was tired!
Braves 8, Mets 7: Atlanta blows leads in the first, fourth and eighth innings but somehow holds on to win in twelve innings. Jeff Francoeur was supposed to have the day off because he's tired/terrible but he still got in the game for two at bats. He goes 0-2, getting himself out on the first pitch once and striking out the other time. I'm pained by his presence on my team's roster.
Dodgers 9, Phillies 2: Has Jamie Moyer finally hit the wall? He's got an 8.15 ERA and has given up 52 hits in 35 innings and the opposition is hitting .342 against him.
Yankees 8, Blue Jays 2: Scott Richmond is the first of the Blue Jays' improbably good rotation to turn into a pumpkin (1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Jeter is still out. Matsui is out. Posada is still out. Who are all these kids in Yankees uniforms and what are they doing on my lawn?
Rays 8, Orioles 6: Plate umpire Tom Hallion was struck in the right hand by Orioles' starter Brad Bergesen wild pitch in the third. You have to figure that if you do that, you're not going to be getting too many calls for the rest of the game. Bergesen only walked one, but he did give up nine hits. One wonders if he was throwing it right down the middle because he knew Hallion had it in for him.
Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: It's the first time the Pirates have won back-to-back games since April 25-26th. Adam LaRoche had a home run reversed on replay. He's the first player to have one taken away since the program began last year.
Brewers 8, Marlins 6: Didn't you feel all clever when you snagged Rickey Nolasco in a late round of your fantasy draft? Yeah, well, that's why fantasy largely sucks (ERA = 7.78). Ross Gload has a home run reversed on a replay. He's the second player to have one taken away since the program began last year.
Reds 10, Diamondbacks 3: The Reds stay on a roll and the Diamondbacks continue their descent.
Astros 15, Rockies 11: With Mike Hampton and Jason Marquis starting, this kind of a score shouldn't really be a surprise, though each of the did have help setting the fires (Geoff Geary, Glendon Rusch).
Athletics 7, Royals 2: The A's have about the worst offense in baseball, but they scored 20 runs and 20 hits against Kansas City in the past two days. Brian Bannister left the game early due to shoulder stiffness. The fairytale may be over in Kansas City.
Cubs 6, Padres 4: The Cubs have won nine of twelve.
Angels 8, Red Sox 4: Tim Wakefield getting shelled was bound to happen eventually -- a knuckler sometimes just doesn't knuckle -- and last night was the night (4.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER).
Rangers 6, Mariners 5: The Rangers are surging right now -- winners of nine of eleven -- keeping my prediction of them winning the west viable. It was a completely wild-ass guess of a prediction, of course, so I shouldn't take any credit for prescience, but it's still nice to look kind of smart for a little while.
Twins 14, Tigers 10: A walkoff grand slam from Joe Crede in the 13th inning wins it for Minnesota. Dontrelle Willis' return: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER. I suppose it could have been worse based on where he was when we last saw him, but it's hard to be encouraged either.