The Nationals Broadcast Went Completely Silent For A Full Minute After The Bat Cracked On What Ended Up Being Their Second Straight Loss On A Walk-Off Homer
You know, at this point, I'm sort of starting to feel bad that the Washington Nationals have to play out the rest of their schedule.
To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm more interested in seeing the players or those that are contractually obligated to both watch and talk about them every day put out of their misery first. You'd think it would be the former, considering the amount of on and off the field incidents that have plagued playoff hopes that are somehow still alive despite taking multiple kill shots between the eyes. However, after listening to two men who are paid to speak through the most trying of circumstances go dead silent for the broadcast equivalent of the running time of Titanic, I'm not so sure that it's not the latter. Suffering heartbreaking loss and heartbreaking loss is tough, but is it as tough as trying to be anything other than speechless while watching Bryce Harper's time in Washington tragically trickle to the darkest of depths?
If only because their commentators are apparently running low on words that can accurately describe their dramatic demise, I really hope the Nationals start losing both leads and games prior to the bottom of the 9th inning. It's pretty clear all invested parties would benefit most from letting go and enjoying the sweet release of complete irrelevance together instead of having to flip a coin to decide who's pulling whose plug.
Their heart might go on, but their collective soul has already been vanquished...
The Marlins' First Base Coach Wears Lettuce Under His Helmet To Stay Cool, And Dare I Say That He Sorta, Kinda Pulls It Off?
It's wouldn't necessarily consider it a secret that a little confidence goes a long way, but if you needed further proof of that than look no further than the Marlins' first base coach doing wonders for the social acceptability of wearing your food by candidly lining his helmet with lettuce in broad day light. I don't know that I too would give no fucks in using greens to keep myself fresh if I were in his position, but with how little hesitation he showed in doing so, I'd be a fool to not consider it. Every trend starts with a vast majority of society peering at it's pioneer as if he/she had...well...a whole ass leaf of lettuce on their head, so why should literally having a whole ass leaf of lettuce on your head be any different?
The truth is, I have no idea if lettuce helps in keeping the wearer of it cool in the summer sun. I do know that I no longer feel comfortable knocking it until l try it after the person who introduced it had "funny you should ask..."-type facts at his beck and call the second he was called out for it. I'm not about to get shunned from the produce section for testing cabbage for it's Under Armour-esque qualities. Therefore, from here on it Perry Hill is my foremost authority on all vegetative vestures and the use of salad for dress as opposed to dressing one's salad. If only because he's an incredibly convincing one, if I do say so myself.
Cesar Hernandez Of The Phillies Bunted A Home Run, And Somehow The D'Backs Weren't Responsible For The Worst Defensive Attempt On The Play
First and foremost, a quick shoutout has to go to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nothing pays homage to those participating in the Little League World Series quite like making those participating in the Little League World Series appear more fundamentally sound than Major Leaguers. So good on them for making pre-teens look like actual professionals by haphazardly flinging a ball that was intentionally hit as close to home as possible around the diamond like it had cooties. I'd imagine that the memory of seeing their role models give away unearned runs will really give those that will be left crying in the dugout a reason to wipe their tears.
Now, the Arizona infield may have made complete asses of themselves with defense that was offensive in every sense of the work, but there's nothing like a timely reminder that it could always be worse. With that in mind, at least they can find peace in not being this guy...
In fairness, it's a rarity that you find a fan that's able to restrain himself from interfering with a play that's headed in his direction, but it would simply be disrespectful to the memory of the latest and greatest of fictional baseball Managers if we failed to mention his most notable piece of advice at a time like this...
I mean, that "ole' bullshit" stunk to such a high heaven that the soul of Lou Brown probably caught an unmistakable whiff of it, swallowed down another pack of cigarettes, and started coarsely cursing from his cloud. I'm not saying that kid was totally complicit in letting some innocent lady take one off the chin, but how is Roger Dorn's protege expect to find himself anywhere but the stands if he doesn't instinctually get in front of the damn ball?
Coming From The Series That Brought You The Trash Can "Homecoming", We Have An Independent League Manager Literally Stealing Third Base After Getting Tossed
ICYMI: This happened during the series between the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Chicago Dogs on Monday...
I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that this one-upmanship of prop-aided conniptions from grown men on opposing teams is one borderline-to-bad call away from carrying on into tonight's series finale. The bad news, of course, is that tonight is the series finale.
Seriously, as anxious as the umpires must be for this three game set to end is exactly how much everyone that had no idea who these two teams were before it started wishes for it to continue on infinitely. After utilizing both a trash can and third base, I can't imagine where they'll turn next in their search for inanimate objects with which to project their anger, but I am already disappointed that it's hours away from reaching its conclusion.
Maybe it's better this way, as it would have become very awkward if they were to run out of creative ways in which to use their surroundings to disrespect officials, but I'm going to need a little time before looking back on this with a "don't emasculate an umpire because it's over, smile because it happened" mindset. Part three might soften the blow if it fails to live up to a maniacal Manager giving away equipment that is vital to the playing of the game while said game is still taking place, but if there are two teams that can wrap this trilogy of tantrums up on a tumultuous note then it's the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and the Chicago Dogs. May their early August mutiny against underpaid authority figures and all things that could possibly inconvenience them live on in Independent Baseball League lore.
Sidenote: With the small amount of fans these teams must draw, wouldn't they have been better off slapping down a parking cone at the hot corner as opposed to taking back the rarest of souvenirs from a lucky kid?
Think This Little League Umpire Felt Some Type Of Way About This Kid Who Didn't Wait Ten Minutes For Him To Make A Call?
There's a quite bit to be said about an umpire that clearly took offense to a child trusting his fully functioning eyeballs and overeagerly taking off down the line after the catcher caught what should have been ball four from a goddamn standing position. After all, as made evident by "strike two" (aka ball five), he's clearly an insecure, thin-skinned man with an authority complex. What he is not, however, is ready to let 10-13 year olds progress to the next stage of their baseball "careers" without knowing what to expect from the people officiating there.
Simply put, the integrity of a Little League game is a small price to pay for a lesson that will last a lifetime. That lesson, of course, being that you shouldn't make an umpire feel like less than the most important person on the field or he's liable to prioritize calling you out ahead of calling the game. It might not be nearly as egregiously at any other level, but sometimes you have to really have to spell it out for kids so they understand that the game isn't about them, but rather the adult men in masks behind the plate. That clearly befuddled kid that was looking around in bewilderment as if he were waiting for someone to explain to him what the hell was going on will never forget having to stand through six insanely inaccurate pitches to take one base, and thus he won't go damaging the fragile egos of any obnoxiously overbearing umpires in the future. What a relief.
We Have An All-Time Post-Ejection Freakout, Compliments Of Brennan Metzger From The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
As there isn't currently enough room for me in my garbage can, I would appreciate no one telling Brennan Metzger that I don't think that questionable strike three call was egregious enough to warrant the fuss he put up following it. I can't speak for how the first 6.5 innings were officiated, but if I'm taking that clip at face value than I'd say the amount of fuck's he flung in the direction of the umpire was disproportional to the disgracefulness of the call.
That being said, I do appreciate him earning every bit of his ejection. It's too often that booted players take their dismissal in stride, but - between the commitment shown in literally taking out the garbage and the hilarity of him telling an umpire to both get and live inside it - that can't possibly be said about Fargo-Moorhead's own Brennan Metzger. There will be no coulda, woulda, shoulda when he gets back to the clubhouse. When he hops in the showers there will be no retrospective over-analysis of his own battle cries in the war of words, as he left it all on the field in providing both a visual aid for his trash talk and a new workspace for the Oscar the Grouch of independently run Minor League Baseball. After managing his anger and watching it back, I speak from experience in saying he might have a regret or two about he reacted to a simple strikeout, but he won't be left thinking that he didn't milk that ejection for all it was worth and that's really all that matters after your evening officially gets ended prematurely.
Phillies' Carlos Santana Went Yard After Promising A Young Leukemia Patient In Attendance That He Would
Philly- Anthony Garcia, wearing the custom jersey that Gabe Kapler presented him a few minutes earlier, waited Saturday afternoon just outside the Phillies dugout hoping to meet Carlos Santana.
The 13-year-old baseball fanatic from Harrisburg said he favored Santana for his humble attitude. Kapler made sure Garcia’s custom-jersey with “Anthony” arched across the back also had Santana’s No. 41. It had been five months since Garcia’s leukemia was diagnosed, causing the teenager to miss his baseball season.
And then came Santana, who walked over from the batting cage to present Garcia with a bat and ball and pose for pictures. That would be enough for Garcia, who arrived at Citizens Bank Park after Go4TheGoal, a childhood cancer foundation based in Cherry Hill, reached out to Kapler. But Santana had something else.
“I promise to get a home run for you today,” Santana said.
Santana said he doesn’t often promise home runs, but he “was feeling something.” Santana returned to batting practice and Garcia and his family found their seats behind home plate, in Section 121.
Then Santana delivered. He homered in the fifth inning of the 8-3 win over the Marlins. He watched the ball land in the second deck of right field and thought back to his promise.
“I remembered, and I said, ‘Thank you, God,’ for letting me do that,” Santana said. “Everything I do, I do from my heart.”
The home run was the third the Phillies would hit as they routed the Marlins. Garcia had a perfect night. And Santana’s fulfilled promise was a moment to cherish.
“We got chills,” said his mother, Yisel Ramos-Marucci . “He almost cried. He had always dreamt about this day and it finally happened.”
This is quite obviously a great story of both the unseen hand that lends its help in clutch situations that are bigger than the game during which they take place far too often for its presence to be ignored, as well as the healing power (as temporary as it may be) of sports. I don't think there's a person on the planet that could read about a professional athlete delivering on the promise of a home run to the leukemia patient in attendance and be left with anything other than an ear-to-ear grin. Carlos Santana's premature dedication of a dinger that had yet to have been hit remmmminds me of a Westside Story in that it's a tale that has been told before, but still never fails in tugging on the heartstrings. Simply put, those chills were warranted, as I'm pretty sure I felt them through my computer screen as I read about the most uplifting of script coming to life.
That being said, scripts belong in movies, sports movies are typically insanely unrealistic, and sequels tend to massively underwhelm, so let's just be glad that all the counted chickens came to hatch and stop promising sick children things that are only mildly within our control. Anthony Garcia is probably old enough to know that a multitude of circumstances prevented his favorite player from fully guaranteeing a home run. However, as a general rule of thumb, I think it's best that we only make commitments to our suffering youth in which the math at least slightly favors our ability to uphold it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned in that way.
I couldn't be happier that it worked out to absolute, heart-warming perfection this time around, but all it takes is a rudimentary understanding of statistics to come to the conclusion that next time around that "feeling" is even more likely to belong to someone who ultimately ends up wishing they just offered an autograph, a photo-op, and a clubhouse visit. Even if they too are playing the lowly Marlins.
Astros' George Springer Did Shirtless Jumping Jacks In His Manager's Office To Prove His Shoulder Was Healthy Enough For Him To Play
I'd say there's definitely a "actions speak louder than words" aspect to this, as almost every professional athlete is overly prideful enough to say they are good to go, but a much smaller percentage are willing to do what it takes to prove it. In this case, the actions were basically that of Richard Simmons, but they still hinted at George Springer's shoulder being healthy enough to patrol the outfield more strongly than his mouth could have.
That being said, I can't help but think the timing of this "meeting" also helped the case of the person who chose to make it with his tits out. Much in the same way you would have said anything to get your mother or father out of the room when they'd stop at nothing to wake you up for school, I have to imagine that A.J. Hitch was unusually agreeable with the answer that would have cleared out his office the quickest.
Maybe I'm wrong, by the moments following a 3-4 hour game in which any one of dozens of difficult decisions could haven proven costly seem as though they'd be the managing equivalent of the type of me-time that usually includes the kicking off of one's shoes and the unbuckling of one's belt. Catch someone during that vulnerable period in which their peace and quiet is at a premium and they are almost guaranteed to tell you what's going to make you either sit down, shut up, or - apparently - put a shirt on, even if they don't mean it. But you don't have to take my word for it, because George Springer didn't play the day after greeting his coach with topless calisthenics. Not sayin', but just sayin'.
Adam Jones Strongly Defended His Right To Nix The Trade That The Orioles Had In Place To Send Him To The Phillies At The Deadline
I'm not going to lie, it seems like Adam Jones came on a little strong there. I don't know how ugly his mentions could have possibly gotten, considering he made a choice that's as rare as it is endearing in sticking by his team and going down with the ship. However, his response to them reads like someone who is following in the footsteps of the Civil Rights Movement, as opposed to referring to some collective bargained clause in his contract that allows him to ride out the remainder of a wasted season in the city he's called home for the last 11 years. I definitely appreciate the passion, but it does seem a bit disproportional to what I would imagine was a limited amount of skeptics.
The truth is, had he just come forward and said "moving sucks and I only want to do it at my own goddamn convenience" then I think we'd be looking at a unanimous showing of support for a player who, at the very least, loves the city of Baltimore more than enough to not want to go through the hassle of abruptly leaving it. Of course, continuing to ingratiate himself to all Orioles' fans wouldn't have afforded him the opportunity to tell a few of the more hypocritical variety to either pay his bills or shut the hell up, but it sure would have made his decision to actively avoid being part of a playoff run a whole lot less questionable. After all, there might have only been a couple dozen fans who would have tossed in their actual heart and soul if the return was as much as a mid-tier prospect, but there's even less people that can't relate to how excruciating an endeavor it is to pack up a bunch of your crap and find somewhere else to live at the drop of a hat.
Nationals' Pitcher Shawn Kelley Threw A Fit On The Mound After Giving Up A 9th Inning HR...While Being Up On The Mets By Approximately 1,000 Runs
As the antithesis of the baseball traditionalist, I'm hardly the type to pound my fist on the table and bemoan a winning effort just because it wasn't conducted with the upmost class. Despite being professional in nature, athletes who make it to the highest level of their respective sport do so by way of a competitive fire that blazes hotter than any of us beer league bums could ever possibly stomach without getting heartburn. For that reason, I try to empathize with those whose emotional outbursts might slightly sour a victory in the eyes of those whose ass calls a sizable stick home.
That said, there's a difference between showing a lack of class and being a total ass, and all it takes is one cringeworthy peak at a scoreboard that was hanging more lopsided than the work of an alcoholic interior decorator to know which best describes Shawn Kelley's mitt spike. Considering everything competitive about a complete joke of a game had already run it's embarrassing course by the end of the first inning that would have filled the most sought after of Super Bowl boxes, there was nothing remotely close to a legitimate reason to throw both his glove and a tantrum while still up by nearly three touchdowns.
I don't care if he thought he was too good to be locked in a "who can get this crap over with faster?"-type pitcher's duel with Jose Reyes, of all people...
...or if he was annoyed the umpires for even slightly extending a game that has to be in contention for the world's biggest waste of time...
....or if he just hated giving up a long ball in that situation. There's no excuse for being that pissed off when the team your pissing on tags you with some of the most meaningless runs in the history of baseball.
The Mets, who had already taken to laughing at their own incompetence, would have had every right to charge the mound out of principle to show someone who looked like an entitled infant what frustration really feels like. To be honest, I'm kind of upset they didn't, as getting the entire team tossed as one of their own was finally rounding he bases would have been the most comically fitting ending to a game that played out like a parody of the Mets' existence.
Shawn Kelley definitely deserved his designation for assignment, and here's to hoping that assignment is to transcribe the following tweet on a blackboard ten thousand times...
Major League Baseball's Twitter Account Had To Pound That Delete Button After Failing Miserably In An Attempt To Meme
HA! Get it?!? Because they are both Asian...::waits out prolonged silence::...and all Asians look alike? Why aren't you laughing? Do I need to explain it again?
Sure, that handshake basically symbolizes the passing of the generational torch from one historically accomplished and transcendently talented representative of a nationality that's underrepresented in the MLB to the young player who's most likely to fill his void as the pride of said nation going forward. That's probably a pretty important takeaway from that picture, but - aside from the obvious cultural significance - what else was a league-run social media account supposed to highlight other than the stereotypical similarities between the looks of two Japanese players? Never mind having the potential to mirror Ichiro Suzuki's impact on the entire landscape of baseball, because Shohei Ohtani's potential to mirror him as the lead role in the most racially insensitive biopic ever generated is really nipping at its heels!
Ya know, I thought that a league of dwindling popularity amongst younger generations was being stubborn in their reluctance to let the fans they do have in that demographic organically market their product free of charge, but I think I'm starting to come around on the MLB policing their own social media presence. Clearly the most repressive league in sports is more intellectually equipped than the entirety of the internet when it comes having the infinite wisdom to know the difference between engaging and offensive. The argument could be made that their pop culture reference was almost as outdated as their general point of view on just about everything, but I think they really nailed the spirit of the Spiderman meme by turning into something that you'd expect to see forwarded onto your FaceBook newsfeed by the kid that you forgot to unfriend when he dropped out of high school.
They may have swung at the lowest hanging fruit, but I'll be damned if their social media team didn't get all of it in pushing it about 100 feet foul. Two Asians, in the same stadium, at the same time! Before the MLB turned the attention on the extremely loose alikeness of their facial features, as opposed to the superiority of their standing in the sport, who would have even thought it possible!?!
A Fan's Call-Off Got Red Sox First Baseman Steve Pearce To Let A Foul Ball Fall Hilariously At His Feet
If only because the vast majority of fans that think the only thing stopping their words from having a lasting impact on the outcome of a professional sporting event is a lack of volume predictably fail, this anonymous fan earned himself a tip of the cap for some perfectly timed mimicry of Mookie Betts. I suppose it's not all that difficult to out-wit those that slur drunken complete nonsense from the stands. However, if the wide-eyed amazement with which the Red Sox first baseman desperately searched the field for the teammate he swore was on his tail is any indication, then someone out there is showing more attention to detail in helping the Orioles win than the actually Orioles themselves.
Even if you're the type of person that, for one reason or another, thinks gamesmanship should be left to those who are actually playing the game, I have a hard time believing you didn't crack a smile while watching Steve Pearce be made to appear as apathetic as Daria by a foul ball that kerplunked at his side as he momentarily looked to be stargazing. If nothing else, it made for an objectively and equally hilarious GIF, which is just about as much we should expect to be gifted by anyone associated with Baltimore's professional baseball team for the reminder of the season.
Trea Turner Was Announced As The Winner Of The Nationals 'Heart & Hustle' Award, Hours Before Being Benched For His Lack Of...You Guessed It...Hustle
Perfect. Just absolutely, positively perfect. Don't get me wrong, this amazingly ironic sequence of events would be awfully embarrassing if the 'Heart & Hustle' award wasn't only an accomplishment in the same way that Valentine's Day is a holiday. However, as made clear by the nonsensical timing of its announcement, it's basically just some made-up achievement that only stands to make those that try overly hard look good.
Therefore, much like a single person watching a couple stroll up to a restaurant without reservations on the night of February 14th, I enjoyed the hell out of seeing Trea Turner make an absolute mockery of both himself and some fabricated institution. I highly doubt the timing of the vote tallying was on his mind when he decided to leave no illusion of effort in his post-bunt pout down the wrong baseline, but the awkwardness that ultimately resulted from it sure did highlight how moronic it is to declare the official candidates for a season-long honor in July.
They don't enjoy much, but I bet even the type of baseball traditionalists that would require the use of a defibrillator after seeing the Nationals' shortstop disrespect the game could appreciate the paradoxical nature of him being acknowledged for playing it the right way shortly thereafter. After all, there's nothing traditional about some concocted candidacy that was created in 2005 to, presumably, encourage professional athletes to give it their all...for the first 100 games of a 162 game season.
Not So Coincidentally, A Fire Alarm Interrupted The No-Hitter Of Cardinals' Austin Gomber Just Prior To It Being Spoiled
Disclaimer: Given that it's both much more likely and interesting, I'm going to assume this was the work of a fan, as opposed to one of the rarest and most inconveniently timed alarms in sports history.
And well, I suppose that's one way to stretch a 7th inning. It's not a particularly organic or admirable one. However, having never felt strongly enough about any game to decide to instill fear into the thousands upon thousands of people in attendance in hopes that an interruption might influence its outcome, I do oddly respect how much the fella that cried "fire!" loves his Cincinnati Reds. We're talking about 1-of-162 being played between teams battling for last place in their division during the dog days of summer. To still be so worried about a basement-dweller being no-hit at this point in a lost season that a stadium-wide false alarm feels like a fitting attempt to freeze it from coming to fruition requires almost an unforeseen level of allegiance.
Now, given the emotionally-instigated stupidity of sports' fans, I do worry that the faux-vindication provided by the dependable bat of Joey Votto (who definitely didn't need the pitcher to be distracted to do his damage) might inspire copycat culprits. However, as a one-off act of gamesmanship, I can appreciate that someone went above and beyond the call of self-appointed duty to make sure his crappy team graced his presence with at least one hit.
Sucks that Austin Gomber's rhythm was the victim, but at least he has an excuse, as the odds weren't in his favor to finish with a spotless stat line regardless.
Presumably To Quiet The Cries Of Laziness, It's Being Reported That Yankees' Gary Sanchez Was Playing Through An Injury When He Dogged It To First To End The Game
Welp, that explains it. Gary Sanchez wasn't absurdly lackadaisical in getting down the first base line on the bases-loaded, game-deciding double play he presumably could have beaten out had he been running at anywhere close to full speed, he was just hurt and decided not to tell anyone. He didn't actively choose to dog it, he was physically incapable of doing anything other than dogging before putting himself in a situation in which dogging it was sure to cost his team the game.
Whew, what a relief! I bet knowing that Gary Sanchez would have continued playing at a lackluster level if not for being forced to use his compromised health as an excuse for taking a light jog into the loss column is sure to make Yankees' fans feel better about the situation! Their starting catcher wasn't lazy, despite getting halfway to first before showing any actual urgency in the most urgent of situations. He was stubborn and selfish in a way that, if not for him being outed in the most embarrassing fashion possible, would have unnecessarily persisted throughout a long season that provided for than enough time for 10 days of rest, relaxation, and recuperation to a struggling starter, but definitely, definitely not lazy!
He still put forth a losing effort in very winnable game, but at least he decided to be self-serving well before he power walked through a 6-4-3 double play...when he allowed the fist run of the game to score from second during his casual stroll to a runaway rebound...
Anyway, I hope we all learned a valuable lesson here, and that's that we should never jump to conclusions...in underestimating how stupidly professional athletes can act when their competitiveness is either in question or in high gear...
Josh Hader Took The Mound In Milwaukee For The First Time Since Having His Prejudice Tweets Dug Up During The All Star Game...To A Standing Ovation?
It's times like this when I'm forced to acknowledge the sheer idiocy of being a sports' fan. I'd be lying, to myself mostly, if I said that - if only for a fleeting moment of introspection - it didn't make me question whether the awe-inspiring highs were worthy of the abhorrent lows that come with rooting for common clothes over common sense. It's not so much an indictment of Brewers' fans (though Milwaukee is more...shall I say...regionally inclined to an uptick on the decibel level of one of the more dumbfounding standing ovations you'll ever witness), for every team has supporters who are liable to view the field of play as a moral-free zone. Instead, it's yet another indictment of fandom as a socially stupid construct that has, does, and probably always will run counterproductive to progressiveness.
Now, it might not be the worst one, as it would be pretty damn hard to top the amount of fans - of all genders - that showed up to Ray Rice's first preseason game immediately following the domestically violent TKO seen around the 'WWW' in Ravens' jerseys that donned the #27. Still, to loudly cheer for the mere appearance of a pitcher whose blatant prejudice, be it a result of youthful ignorance or not, was willfully on public display for years on-end before getting dug up by internet sleuths (who I find to be relatively despicable in their own right) is to display priorities that are just as out-of-whack as the wackness of Josh Hader's attempts at self-expression during his late teenage years.
A light clap that doesn't differ greatly from one that any reliever might receive upon his insertion into a game would have been more than enough to show Josh Hader that an adopted family is also quick to forgive the most unforgivable of failures. That said, it's important to note that even his biological family couldn't bear their own damn name in the tidal wave-esque wake of his wrongs...
The people that are genetically predisposed to taking a bullet for Josh Hader weren't about to take a verbal beating on his behalf, so for those whose familiarity with him begins with his outfit and ends with his ERA to not take the hint is nothing short of a black-eye on a culture that's too often blissful in its ignorance.
I'd like to think you can't survive in professional sports if you believe in even 15% of what Josh Hader tweeted in pre-2013, so I'm optimistic enough to believe that a teenager who was disproportionally close-minded and discriminatory for his age has greatly grown and matured over the last seven years. Be that as it may (or may not), there is absolutely nothing hopeful about setting the bar for a hero's welcome at saying "sorry" for a spectacularly sizable spattering of racism and homophobia. Defending the indefensible with a resounding reception that was fit for a recently released prisoner of war simply because he's getting ready to take the pressure off your team defense during crunch time isn't a show of acceptance or support. Not even letting him throw a single pitch before throwing away their dignity was a celebration of abject stupidity that displays a combination of the dangerously subjective blindness, deafness, and dumbness that makes sports' fan look worse and worse as the societal lens continues to zoom in on them as a whole.
That boisterous subsection of Brewers' fans is far from alone in their barbaric compartmentalization, but if you juxtapose that standing ovation next to the reaction that a certain former 49ers' quarterback received for kneeling in protest of beliefs that run pretty parallel to the following and you still don't see the problem then you are - without question - part of it.
Unfortunately, Even The Feel-Good Back Story Behind The Man Who Grabbed A Foul Ball Intended For A Young Cubs Fan Can't Make Him Likable
What could be derived from this video, and especially the back story that followed, is that the internet is a context-free cess pool that makes it way too easy to dump on the moral fiber of complete strangers without even having a full grasp of what little we know we've seen of them. Unfortunately, if that were considered "news" at this point then it would be about as breaking as the ligaments in the elbow of Tommy John himself, so therefore the most notable part of this story is that it's victim kind of stinks at appearing sympathetic.
In most cases, we'd offer a halfhearted apology to a person who was unjustly charged with being a thief of innocence in the court of public opinion, but in this case it just doesn't seem completely called for. Whether that Cubs fan had already given a ball to a kid or not, he was objectively too damn happy to happen upon one rolled to him from 5 feet away after being soft-tossed to a glove of someone who was so neglectful in his defensive awareness that he might be able to give Manny a few lessons in "being Manny".
The fan in question reportedly doesn't deserve to be criticized for shamelessly beating a child in a game of Finders Keepers, but celebrating that pity prize as if he were a Mets' diehard caroling the ball that rolled through Bill Buckner's legs seems a wee bit excessive depending on how strictly you uphold social norms. I mean, he pridefully posed that thing to his significantly other like he had just snuck up behind it with a self-carved club, beat it unconscious, and dragged it back to his cave to dissect as sustenance for the upcoming sun cycle. The self-affirmative clap and the thigh pat to an impressed peer were just icing on the least humble pie you've ever encountered.
I'm all for both loving the game and loving one's self, but - as social media forces us to make something out of nothing - I'm familiar with something being made out of nothing when I see it. The most recent victim of the internet's instinctual outrage was at least guilty of that, so I'm glad that someone much more modest got something even cooler out of the whole ordeal...even if, in retrospect, the lack of a shit given by that kid and his mother made it obvious that he already had a ball...
When The Commissioner Of A League Thinks One Player Is The Key To Marketing The Sport, That Sport Might Have A Marketing Problem
I don't particularly want to get into a debate about whether or not Mike Trout owes it the league that employs him to step out of his comfort zone, as the mild-mannered masher and indomitable introvert that he is, to market a professional sport whose popularity is regional at best and dwindling at worst. That's mostly because the idea that he should feel obligated to participate in anything outside of 162 contracted games per season (not counting media availability and charitable endeavors) is patently absurd. However, it's also because turning the MLB's marketing issue into a one-on-one pissing contest between a single athlete and the person responsible for overseeing upwards of one thousand athletes tells you all you need to know about how narrow-minded Rob Manfred and Co. have been at solving it.
I get it. Based on what the transcendency of his talent calls for, Mike Trout's 'Q Score' might as well have graded out as an 'F'. The consensus best player in baseball being merely as recognizable to the general public as a NBA role player who is most known for his hairstyle at this point in his career is an awful, awful look for the MLB, and for that reason it absolutely had to be brought up to its foremost authority.
It's the targeted response from said authority, that loosely translates to "why don't you ask him why he's not more popular?", that I take umbrage with...
I'm sure the question referenced Mike Trout by name, but I find it quite worrisome that the person that it was asked of couldn't see that it was clearly hinting at a far broader phenomenon. Imagine Gary Bettman being pushed on the NHL's need for more goals after a low-scoring Penguins playoff game, and him responding by saying "Sidney Crosby is too pass-happy, what the hell do you want me to do about it?". If hockey isn't your thing then picture Adam Silver taking a question about parity in the NBA that invokes the Warriors' dominance as an example and him slamming a cupcake on the table with candles that read 'KD' sticking out of the icing and walking off stage. Pointing a finger at the one specific guy that's indifferent about the camera being pointed at him is ironic, but the implication that the Angels' outfielder, as incredible as he may be, is the end-all and be-all of baseball players whose playing style could prove profitable if advertised properly is nothing short of moronic.
I suppose it would be cool if Mike Trout had both a vibrant personality and a desire to put it on display on a daily basis, but him not wanting to singlehandedly take on the task of growing the game doesn't let the people whose actual job it is to do so off the hook. Get the asses in the seats and he'll do his best to keep him there, but if orchestrating dog-and-pony shows is a stipulation in anyone's contract then it's that of the person who swung and completely missed the point by making a league-wide problem personal.
This Is Quite Possibly The Worst Blown Call In Sports History, But I Still Empathize With The Guilty Umpires
I want to make one thing clear, there's no valid excuse for even one umpire, never mind two, to miss that call. Completely whiffing on a baseball is an inherently blatant act and this one was no different, so shame must go to the multiple people who somehow thought otherwise despite being paid to focus intently on what's taken place in front of them on the baseball diamond.
That being said, I can kind of feel their pain. Maybe it's the undiagnosed ADD talking, but doesn't crouching behind a plate and paying the closest of attention to what is, at its core, a monotonous game of pitch and catch seem absolutely exhausting? I mean, these two idiots signed up for it, but watching them fail miserably at focusing is a reminder of why I never would. Even during shows I am fully invested in I'm liable to need a replay after catching myself mindlessly watching, so who the hell am I to act like falling asleep at the proverbial wheel isn't an innately human practice? It doesn't particularly make any sense for two separate officials to get caught simultaneously engaging in it during the first inning of a game. However, in (justifiably) mocking these two morons it's important to note that we do so from a high horse, as - generally speaking - our bouts of obliviousness at the workplace aren't being broadcasted.
Sidenote: I would definitely be the angle-worker who was taking a selfie during a historically stupid play and left wondering what all the hubbub was about after. The "phone", in my case, would have either been a structurally flawed hot dog (too many condiments) or a beer that was rapidly losing it's refreshment to the summer sun. Either way, I could have been sitting two rows away the ineptitude and it's likely I'd still need the use of the internet to find out about it. Just goes to show that even umpiring has made more difficult by social media, especially when you're really, really bad at it...
Bryce Harper Beat The Clock To Bring An Incredible End To The HR Derby, And Naturally Some Baseball Fans Accused Him Of Cheating
I don't know about you, but I couldn't have been more happy to have the undeniable brilliance of Bryce Harper's bat downplayed by a reminder of the most outdated of Home Run Derby rules. It might be a rule that's as senseless as calling traveling in a slam dunk contest, but in a challenge that's result is simply determined by who can hit the most balls the furthest in a short and specified amount of time, the thing we should all be most worried about is proper spacing between pitches.
For a moment there I thought a heartwarming father/son moment that was undeniably endearing to even the most casual of fan was the best possible result for baseball. However, in retrospect, it definitely would have been better to blow the proverbial whistle on a furious rally, stop the clock before it got beaten in a way that set up a superstar for a walk-off kill shot in his home stadium, and accuse the two generations of Harper's in question of cheating. To those that think it seems ass backwards to ask players to admire their dingers during a 4-minute round when doing so over the course of a 4-hour game will get them beaned in the hip with a fastball, I say that rules are rules...even if they are inconsistent, exist for no logical reason, and completely contradict the point of the competition.
Don't get me wrong. Watching Bryce Harper display an extraordinary rush of power, focus, and endurance that made it seem as though he sucked down some of Popeye's spinach during his last timeout was really awesome, but since when is treating the fans to the most entertaining show possible during a gimmicky game whose popularity is largely driven by their interest the golden rule of the Home Run Derby?
In all seriousness, I'm just going to need those that adhere to everything baseball-related as strictly as they stick to the script of their Bible teachings to shut the hell up for the sake of their own sport. I know it's more so the upset gamblers arguing on behalf of lost wages and pissy Cubs fans arguing on behalf of Kyle Schwarber than ticked off traditionalists, but they all sound mind-numbingly stupid in a way that reminds everyone that some baseball fans don't even deserve nice things.