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Wednesday, June 03, 2009
That's what Rosenthal is saying:
Tom Glavine is done in Atlanta.
As I wrote earlier today, I thought the Braves were obligated -- out of both a sense of history and based on Glavine's commitment to rehab and apparent, though qualified success -- to at least give him a chance to pitch.
Are the Braves in so much need of $1 million that they couldn't stand to at least give him a try? If the Braves are so unwilling to pay off a roster incentive to even a legend like Glavine, why on Earth would anyone else dare sign a deal with them that contains a roster incentive? Above all else: at any point in the last 20 years did it seem possible that Tom Glavine's career in a Braves uniform would end via a club release?
I'll await more information before passing final judgment, but if, as Rosenthal's article claims, Tom Glavine was really throwing 86 last night and not walking a bunch of guys, he was basically where he has been for the past 5-6 years. That doesn't strike me as a performance-based release. That strikes me as a money move, and with this particular player on this particular team, with this particularly small amount of money at play, that's shameful.
(thanks to Chris for the heads up)
Last week I wrote that no one was really getting excited about Randy Johnson's 300th win. That said, I bet that more people turn out for the potential milestone tonight than did for these:
Baseball history is littered with noteworthy achievements that took place in front of sparse crowds. Ted Williams's last game at Fenway Park managed to draw only 10,000 fans. Still, the crowd dwarfed the 2,000 who came to fete Babe Ruth in his final home game as a Yankee. Fewer than 6,000 bothered to catch Stan Musial's 3,000th hit at Wrigley Field in 1958. Poor Bill Stoneman threw two no-hitters in his career that drew a combined 13,680 fans -- a number that would certainly be a disappointment in Washington.
I'm not sure that anyone would have known it was the Babe's last game in pinstripes -- he wasn't released until the following February -- and no one could have anticipated either of Stoneman's no-hitters, but, yeah, it's true that old milestones weren't celebrated the way they are today. Part of this is because people simply weren't as aware of impending milestones back then. There was no Baseball-Reference.com in 1958. There was no Sportscenter. People got their box scores once a day -- if that -- and didn't have nearly the kind of access to stats and stuff that we do today.
Another part of this: statistical availablity aside, people just didn't obsess about the game as much then as we do now. For one thing, people didn't go to ballgames in the numbers people do now. In 1923, the Yankees led baseball in attendance by drawing a hair over a million fans. The Marlins drew 1.3 million last year and were the laughingstock of the league. There are all kinds of reasons for this -- and certainly overall population impacts this -- but people didn't build their lives around baseball back then like so many of us sick individuals do now. Everyone knew that Randy Johnson was poised to win 300 games before the season began. I bet you could count the number of people who knew when Eddie Collins was due to get his 3000th hit on one hand.
So, different game, different fans, different time. But it does make me wonder: if people were way more casual and dismissive of fun stuff like this back in the day, why do we still call it the "Golden Age?"
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
Via Dan Shaughnessy, the Tigers' skipper talks about how the GM bankruptcy affects the Tigers:
"We actually had a team meeting about it," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, where he had a job cutting windshields for GM cars. "I told the guys, 'This is not a year to not run out ground balls.' We get a check every two weeks, and there are people who just found out they ain't getting a check. We've got to pinch ourselves and realize how lucky we are."
The GM bankruptcy doesn't impact me directly. I don't have any family of friends who work there and anyone I care about deeply left Detroit years ago. To the extent I'm affected, it's the same way most people are affected: indirectly via macroeconomic forces.
But there are some random strands of my DNA that are tied up in the domestic auto industry, and they're making all of this rather difficult for me. My great grandfather came to this country from Romania at the turn of the last century and struggled like hell to feed his family until the day he got a job finishing woodwork for the dashboards on Cadillacs. My dad grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, which in those days was like on campus housing for the Ford Motor Company. The Ford family, with the help of their toadie, Mayor-for-life Orville Hubbard, did everything they could to make life miserable for any non-white, non-Christians who dared move to Dearborn back then, but most folks in Dearborn loved Ford like a boy loves his momma. Though neither of my parents worked for GM, I lived the first eleven years of my life in Flint, the most GM-dominated town there ever was. Yes, malaise was just over the horizon, but when I was in Flint salaries were still high and unemployment was still low. Everyone on my block worked at the Chevy Truck and Bus plant at the corner of Bristol and Van Slyke, and they lived very, very well all things considered.
Intellectually I realize what happened to the U.S. auto industry. Complacency, inefficiency, laziness and a business model that only made sense if the rest of the world was reduced to rubble (which it was, by the way, when the business model was conceived) meant that life as we knew it in southeastern Michigan in the mid-to-late 20th century was utterly unsustainable. There was no way that GM was ever going to avoid bankruptcy and, truth be told, it probably should have gone that way a hell of lot longer ago than it did. As an institution, I am more than happy to say good riddance to the domestic auto industry as we knew it.
But institutions are abstractions. People are not. Whatever the reasons and whoever is to blame, the people in Michigan are hurting like hell today, and based on my upbringing, I have a bit clearer a picture of what those people look like than some people do (hint: the popular caricature of the obnoxious UAW worker with an overactive sense of entitlement is about as prevalent as any other caricature created by idiots with an agenda).
I think those people are strong enough to tolerate Gerald Laird dogging it down to first on a grounder once in a while, but it's nice of Jim Leyland to be able to put himself in the fans' shoes and, like Baker in the previous item, say something his audience needs to hear.
No, that isn't sarcasm. Baker is 100% on point with this observation, made in connection with Joey Votto's stress issues:
"Nobody knows who it is going to affect and when it is going to affect anybody. You deal with pressure every day in this game. People throw the money issue in your face all the time. There is a lot more coverage. It's a high-pressure world. Sports is one of the few professionals where you reach your goal at a very young age. Most guys reach their goals between their 40s and 50s. Maintaining a balance in your life can be a very tough thing. The game can become all-encompassing, day and night. It wakes you up in the middle of the night. It does me and I'm not even playing."
I couldn't imagine having to deal with even the relatively mundane stresses I have in my life now when I was in my early 20s, so I can only imagine that dealing with everythng a ballplayer has thrown at them is amazingly tough for a kid that age. While most of them deal with it just fine, the ones that don't are lucky if they have someone with Dusty Baker's obvious intelligence, experience and empathy hanging around. Baker says that he's "not worried about Joey." If I'm Joey Votto, that's probably exactly what I need to hear.
The Braves have a decision to make:
After throwing six scoreless innings and earning a win in his third minor-league rehab start in two weeks, Braves pitcher Tom Glavine pronounced himself ready to return to the major leagues Tuesday night as the 43-year-old veteran turned in a solid outing in Rome’s 3-0 win over the Augusta Green Jackets in front of a sellout crowd of 5,105 at State Mutual Stadium.
Given four set slots in the rotation, Kris Medlen's recent good outing and Tommy Hanson knocking on the door, the Braves truly don't need Tom Glavine at this point. What's more, they'll be on the hook for a $1 million bonus upon activating him. But that's not Tom Glavine's problem, is it? They signed him, and they offered the bonus. He has responded about as well as can be hoped in rehab. Most importantly, he's Tom Glavine. If the Braves pitch him, the fans will show up and cheer, as they should. If they jerk him around, no one will be happy.
I've stated a few times how I wish that Glavine wouldn't pitch again. I said that, however, because I feared he couldn't, and didn't want to see him embarrassed. It's still not clear that he will be effective in the Majors, but he has shown enough in his rehab starts to be given a shot, even if I'll be watching it with trepidation. In any event, I don't see how the Braves can't give him a start or two at this point, so they may as well activate him, pay that million bucks, and hope for the best.
Via BTF, a story about the Brewers expanding their fans' entertainment options:
The Milwaukee Brewers baseball club held a brainstorming session a while back to see what would happen if movies were linked with a baseball venue. They came up with Miller Park Movies. In early June, the Brewers unveiled drive-in movies in the parking lots of Miller Park. With any luck, this might start a trend for the club, and develop a following for movie nights in the future, with two nights tentatively set for August.
Neat enough idea, I suppose. Though I'll admit, I haven't been to one since the U.S. 23 Drive-In showed a "Grease"-"Saturday Night Fever" double feature in 1978. I can't say I remember it fondly. I fell asleep during "Beauty School Dropout" and didn't wake up until my dad was carrying me from the car to my room.
How hard would it have been for my parents to get a babysitter? I mean really.
NBC: where commenters defend Derek Jeter's defensive abilities by calling me a "BALD IDIOT!!!!":
And I may be bald, but they think Derek Jeter has range, so who's the bigger idiot?
Josh at Jorge Says No! interviewed Garry Templeton recently, and the results are here. Templeton, who is managing the Long Beach Armada in the Golden League, holds forth on the quality of independent league lineups, talks about the most exciting play in baseball (sorry Jaffe, but he disagrees with you on what play that is, and I'm going with Templeton on this one), and provides you with the thing you wanted most in this world: a Hideki Irabu update.
Great work, Josh.
Reader YankeefanLen wrote me yesterday afternoon with the following observation: "It strikes me that this 3 game series- Yankees v. Rangers, Tigers v. Sox, could be a portent to the first round playoffs. Tigers have division lead and would have to play BoSox, who would be, of course,wild card, and from all I see, Rangers and Tigers should hold on to West and Central." Lots of baseball to go, but yeah, I could see that happening. So Let's see how the division series are playing out:
Yankees 12, Rangers 3: Jorge Posada's throwing error broke the team errorless streak, but given what he did at the plate (3-4, HR, 4 RBI), I don't think his teammates mind all that much.
Red Sox 5, Tigers 1: Crap, this means that we're going to have a Boston-New York ALCS, doesn't it? If so, I give the Yankees the edge, because the Red Sox' closer is shaky. Papelbon came into the game and gave up three straight singles to load the bases, then struck out the side to preserve the win. John Rocker used to do that kind of thing, and it's the reason why I'm bald and jumpy and everything. The Sox beat up Porcello a bit over 4.1 innings, and since he's, like, 13 years-old and on a no-doubt strictly-enforced pitch count, making him work is the key to beating him.
Pirates 3, Mets 1: Zach Duke beats Johan Santana, with the former failing to strike out a single Met and the latter striking out only three Pirates. Guess that means that everyone was just suffering from a case of the feebles.
Blue Jays 6, Angels 4: Ah, there's where all of the strikeouts went. Halladay (CG, 7 H, 4 R, 14K) was hording them all.
Braves 6, Cubs 5: Atlanta sent Jordan Schafer down to Gwinnett before the game. Jeff Francoeur, obviously thinking "there but for the grace of God go I," responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie up a game the Braves trailed 5-0 in the eighth. He walked once, too! That kind of killed it for Randy Wells, who took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chipper Jones' RBI single in the 12th definitely killed it for the Cubs.
Rays 6, Royals 2: Andy Sonnanstine lowers his ERA to 7.16 and Matt Joyce goes 3-4 with a double, a homer and four RBI. Kyle Davies walked six guys and threw 114 pitches in 5.2 IP for the Royals. Guess he's not into that whole, you know, brevity thing.
Nationals 10, Giants 6: Tim Lincecum strikes out the 500th batter in his brief career, but then sits down and watches his bullpen give up six runs in the eighth. Ron Villone gets the win, which inspired me to look at his career stats for a moment. I knew he was a journeyman, but I didn't know that Washington was his 12th team. Mike Morgan, much celebrated for his nomadic ways, "only" pitched for 12 teams himself. Have left arm, will travel, eh Ron?
Athletics 5, White Sox 0: Mazzaro, Breslow & Ziegler -- which sounds like a personal injury law firm -- combine to shut out Chicago. Colon, Gobble, Carrasco & Whisler -- which kind of sounds like onomatopoeia from a French children's book about farms or something -- were not as impressive.
Astros 3, Rockies 2: Miguel Tejada goes 4-6 with three RBI including the game-winning home run in extra innings. Apparently he did not hear me when I said earlier in the day that he was playing over his head and that his current level of production was not sustainable. It's as if he's doing this just to make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous. Now you get the hell out of here. And just know it if you want to try any rough stuff that I ain't no band leader. Yeah, I heard that story.
Mariners 8, Orioles 2: Erik Bedard (6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K) was very considerate to put together a nice performance at home against the Orioles so as to make everyone forget, even if for only a couple of hours, about just how badly the Mariners were fleeced in the Adam Jones deal.
Phillies 10, Padres 5: Raul Ibanez (3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI) may be reaping the rewards now, but there will be hell to pay when it is found out that his 2009 production is the result of his clandestinely stealing the life force of some younger, unknown ballplayer in the course of his dark, twisted effort to attain immortality. Yeah, I dropped a Fistandantilus reference. I don't care. I'm old now, and my kids will soon think I'm a dork anyway, so why should I pretend not to be?
Marlins 10, Brewers 3: Manny Parra was lifted after throwing exactly 100 pitches. Given that the dude gave up ten runs on eleven hits in that time, I'm going to assume that it wasn't a forced pitch-count thing. For a guy with a bum groin, Hanley Ramirez is hitting damn well. Three for five both Monday night and last night.
Twins 4, Indians 3: Joe Mauer (3-3, HR, BB 3 RBI) is not bad. And as if Cleveland's season needs to get any worse, Asdrubal Cabrera left the game with shoulder injury.
Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Nick Stavinoha comes through again, hitting a two-run double to put the Redbirds ahead for good in the sixth. He's been driving in a lot of runs since his callup in mid-May. After the game he had this to say: "Memphis is a nice place and all. but I like it a little better here."
Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5: Danny Haren (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7K -- and 3-3 at the plate!) deserved much better than the no-decision he got thanks to the Tony Pena and Dan Schlereth-led bullpen implosion. As for the Dodgers, they are now halfway through Manny' suspension and, really, haven't missed him a bit. When he comes back it will be as if they went out and acquired a big bat at the trade deadline without having to give up anything in return.