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Monday, September 14, 2009
There have been several recent stories about balls hitting people in the stands, ballparks' liability, and assumption of the risk. Earlier this year I endorsed the idea of extending the netting farther around the infield seats to give fans in the line of fire a bit more protection. Against that backdrop comes this recent story of a young fan who was critically injured by a foul ball at a Mahoning Scrappers game:
Doctors in northeast Ohio say a four-year-old boy who was struck in the head by a foul ball at a Minor League Baseball game is in critical condition with a fractured skull. Doctors say it may take five days for the swelling in Luke Holko's brain to subside. It's unclear how well he'll recover.
The New York-Penn League has held fundraisers. Lucas' parents have set up a website to track his progress and to solicit donations. Lucas is still in a medically-induced coma. It's still early, but there have been signs of progress.
I realize that reasonable people disagree about nets and liability and all of that. And to be clear, I offer these links less for purposes of advocacy of my pro-nets position than I do for mere information and the solicitation of thoughts, prayers, and donations if you're able to do so. But do know, no matter how you feel about this stuff, it can be dangerous down close, especially if you have little kids.
(Thanks to reader Motherscratcher for the heads up)
I don't know about you, but I don't particularly miss 2002:
In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Newark, three Millburn High School students contend Newark Bears president and co-owner Thomas Cetnar berated them, cursed at them and then booted them from the ballpark after they failed to stand for the song during the seventh-inning stretch.
One of the kids' dad is a lawyer. Oops. Looks like it's time to deploy the Gooden P.R. Machine!
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
Fernando Rodney's suspension has been reduced to two games. Three games, two games, big deal. I thought the neatest part was that, according to the article, his appeals hearing was held via telephone. I wish I could do that. It's not like it would be a problem. I feel like I lose most of my appeals these days anyway, so Rodney and his 33% penalty reduction seem like it might be worth trying.
Gammons holds forth on the overall decline in attendance this season. This made me go "huh?"
Attendance is not the sole barometer for the sport's economy, but it represents a warning sign. We hear the bold predictions of Teixeira-like money for this winter's premier free agents, such as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. But in this economy and given the drifting of second-tier free agents last winter, it won't be Christmas before we hear cries of collusion and the first refrains of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
Who, aside from Jason Bay and Matt Holliday's agents, is seriously suggesting that they'll get "Teixeira-like money?" If Gammons means that they'll receive legal tender similar in form to that which Mr. Teixeira receives then sure, they'll get Teixeira-like money. If he means that they'll get such tender in amounts approaching that which Teixeira is getting then he's crazy.
They're nice players, but Holliday probably played his way out of any interest from AL teams with his performance in Oakland. Bay is two years older than Teixeira. Even if the biggest free agent player in baseball -- the Yankees -- were to go after them, they'd be competing for essentially the same Yankee dollars, thereby lowering the price down further.
I missed this over the weekend:
The commissioner’s office has decided not to discipline Alex Rodriguez in light of its investigation into whether he lied about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in a meeting with baseball officials in March, according to people in baseball with knowledge of the matter.
In light of the fact that the only evidence of A-Rod's a-roiding came from illegally leaked test results at a time when baseball wasn't disciplining anyone for taking PEDs, this is not surprising. At most they had him on lying to the investigators about when he was using, but given how many players waltz into their disciplinary appeals claiming that they weren't really throwing at that guy, baseball wasn't ever going to do anything to Rodriguez over this. This was interesting:
The New York Times reported in May that members of baseball’s department of investigations had contacted Selena Roberts, the author of “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez,” and several of Rodriguez’s associates to determine whether Rodriguez had used performance-enhancing drugs for a longer period than he admitted . . .
I'm assuming that Roberts was willing to cooperate but that she simply lost the little notebook containing her sources' identities and all of her meticulous notes. She usually keeps it under her unicorn, but it may have fallen behind the perpetual motion machine she keeps in the back room of her summer home in Atlantis.
He's still hanging around the Nats because he's still technically on the roster, but Da Meat Hook is basically done with baseball. And based on how his summer has gone, he seems to be just fine with that:
"It's been real cool," he continued. "I just came back from Toronto. I went to watch my brother [Delwyn] play. I did it like a fan would. Instead of calling the clubhouse guy -- 'Come pick me up!' -- and do all that stuff like a baseball player, I was like, You know, I'm gonna do it like a true fan would. Took a cab over there. Went to the ticket counter. Walked in, walked around the stadium. Sat down. And watched a major league ballgame."
If there is any justice in the world, Young will get a John Kruk-esque "let's put a down-to-Earth dude who can relate to the fans" job on a studio show next year. Prediction: he'd be a gajllion times more interesting to watch than John Kruk.
Phillies 5, Mets 4; Phillies 1, Mets 0: The Phillies win the second one behind eight shutout innings from Pedro Martinez. Next up: Tom Glavine comes out of retirement on Tuesday and throws a three hitter at the Mets, getting run support from Mo Vaughn, who hits for the cycle, while Vince Coleman coaches third base and Bobby Bonilla coaches first.
Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Red Sox 4, Rays 0: The Rays drop their 10th and 11th straight. This is the most unexpected losing streak since Eddie Murphy went on his 19-movie skid following "Coming to America." If we try to match these up, the first game of the doubleheader was the equivalent of "Holy Man" and the second was "Life." In the former, we'll credit Matt Garza as Robert Loggia, for putting in a quality performance in what was otherwise a lost cause. In the latter, we'll credit Willy Aybar as Martin Lawrence for his 0-4, 3K showing, which made a stink bomb even more unbearable. And for those of you playing at home, (a) I'm not counting Murphy's voice roles or that weird Michael Jackson music video compilation; and (b) I'm counting his supporting role in "Dreamgirls" as the streak breaker. I think he was a bit overrated for that, but if I didn't count it, we'd be up in the 30s.
Giants 7, Dodgers 2: It's odd to say it, but this week's series with Colorado is bigger than this past weekend's series against the Dodgers. The Giants salvage one to pull within four and a half of the Rockies for the Wild Card.
Padres 7, Rockies 3: After all three of them dropped two of three to San Diego in consecutive series, as far as the Dodgers, Rockies and Giants are concerned, the Padres are just a fly in the ointment. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass, Hans. Yippee-ki-yay.
Angels 3, White Sox 2: Torii Hunter hit a tie breaking homer off of Buehrle in the seventh. Hunter said that as the pitch came in, he was looking changeup because that's what Buehrle threw him in the same situation earlier in the game, but that for some reason his hands reacted to the cutter that he actually received. "My mind said something else, but my hands said, 'No,'" Hunter said. Hunter's alien hand syndrome bears watching going forward. Will it turn horrific like it did for Michael Caine in "The Hand," or it will it merely be funny like it was for Peter Sellers in "Dr. Strangelove?" In other news, my Dad told me that spending every single weekend between 1988 and 1991 renting awful, awful horror movies like "The Hand" was a colossal waste of time. It may have taken 20 years, but it's starting to pay off, baby. Next up: I try to find some way to slip in a reference to "April Fool's Day."
Twins 8, Athletics 0: Brian Duensing wins the battle of rookie lefthanders over Gio Gonzalez. "Gio just didn't have command of his pitches today," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It seems when he missed he walked guys, and then he'd come in and it would hit the fat part of the plate." With the exception of a brief stretch in early August this could describe any Gio Gonzalez start this year.
Braves 9, Cardinals 2: Please explain to me how you get your lunch handed to you by the Reds a week ago and then turn around and sweep the Cardinals in their own ballpark? The Braves hung seven on Chris Carpenter. I'd like to think that this was a gift on their part to former Braves' farmhand Adam Wainwright in his effort to win the Cy Young Award.
Yankees 13, Orioles 3: CC Sabathia didn't have his best stuff, but with his teammates scoring 13 runs on 20 hits, he could have had Gio Gonzalez's stuff and still notched the win. The Yankees' favorite umpire -- Marty "he didn't have to tag you since the ball beat you" Foster -- ran A-Rod with seemingly no warning and then ran Girardi after he bolted out of the dugout to argue the A-Rod ejection. Johnny Damon almost threw a ball into the stands with two outs because he thought there were three, and his brain lock allowed a run to score. But again, you score 13 on 20, and none of that garbage really matters.
Pirates 2, Astros 1: Matt Capps got mad because he thought Miguel Tejada and Astros' first base coach Jose Cruz were stealing signs. Apparently Capps hasn't read Tejada's press clippings. He gives signs, he doesn't steal them. Tejada, who popped out to end the at bat, said "I just made an out. That is the first time I have ever seen a guy mad, yelling at a guy for getting out." I guess Tejada didn't see Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.
Royals 7, Indians 0: The Indians have lost 10 of their last 13, and have looked really, really bad in most of those games. Carlos Carrasco gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings, but to read the quotes from Eric Wedge in this game story, you'd think he pitched a three hit shutout. I can only assume that Wedge is visiting some self-help/life affirmation guru who has counseled him to say five nice things a day in order to maintain a "penumbra of positivity" or to keep his Lifeline oriented more towards "love" instead of "fear" or some such nonsense.
Tigers 7, Blue Jays 2: Rick Porcello: twenty year-old stopper. Deep thought: when the Tigers clinch the division, will Porcello be cited for underage drinking if he partakes in the champagne shower? Will anyone in Tigers' management be arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor?
Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Prince Fielder ties Cecil Cooper's single season team RBI record at 126 and the Brewers sweep the series. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is one of my favorite beat writers, and one of the reasons is that he live blogs every game. There's always something interesting in there too. Little stuff that never makes the game story and which doesn't matter in the grand scheme, but that you'd like to know anyway. Yesterday he had this from the Brewers' half of the seventh inning: "Braun fouls out to left. The ball was only a foot or so foul and Braun didn't run. Interesting."
Cubs 5, Reds 2: With this loss the Reds were officially eliminated from the NL Central race so, you know, I suppose they can stop trying now. Nice gesture: the Dayton Daily News' Hal McCoy -- another excellent beat guy -- is being forced into retirement after the season after 37 years covering the Reds. In his honor, the Cubs gave him a scoreboard panel with a "37" on it after the game. They would have given it to him on Friday, but since the Reds and their pitching staff were in town, they wanted to hold back the 37 just in case they needed it.
Rangers 7, Mariners 2; Mariners 5, Rangers 0: Not going anywhere for a while? These guys were already playing a doubleheader because of Friday's rain out, and then the first one was delayed four and a half damn hours. Tommy Hunter threw a six hit complete game in the first which is totally what you want to see in a twin bill. Didn't carry over, though, as Texas had no answers to Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER). Ichiro's hit in the nightcap was his 200th. He does that an awful lot.
Nationals 7, Marlins 2: Another rainy game, this one was called in the bottom of the ninth following a second lengthy delay. Of course, if this game was worth a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys to the playoff races they probably would have waited it out. Cody Ross: "Tough series for us. Definitely not what we wanted. When you're losing the whole time it just makes it miserable. The steady rain just compounds that terrible feeling you have inside." Cody, it's OK. Have a good cry and then give Eric Wedge a call. You'll be smiling in no time.