The Emotion of Baseball

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So if you weren’t sitting with two boxes of Kleenex last night during the Say Good-Bye to Mariano Rivera segment of Yankees-Rays, you’re a heartless bastard with no feelings or emotions.  At least that was the consensus on social media last night.

No doubt it was a special moment at Yankee Stadium last night when Rivera came in to pitch for the last time at home (or anywhere) and I watched and thought it was great but did it punch my emotional buttons? No. Did I get misty eyed with Andy Pettite and Derek Jeter came out to remove Rivera from the game? Nope, sorry. Did I think it was a nice moment? Sure.

Mariano Rivera is without a doubt the greatest closer in baseball history. He is a sure first ballot Hall of Famer –he won’t be a unanimous first ballot honoree because we all know some shithead from the BBWAA will leave him off their ballot in “a look at me moment”-but  since he was not a New York Met, then my emotions stayed in check.

Sorry if that pisses off the ultra-sensitive types but I save my baseball tears for the New York Mets, both happy and sad occasions.

I don’t get why the baseball writing eggheads get so bent out of shape over events on the field that fall under the “unwritten rules” of baseball. Seriously, what is it about this code of conduct that baseball players have amongst themselves that pisses you off? Is it that it doesn’t fall under your view of baseball through the eyes of statistical analysis? This is no way a knock at the analytic work done by many of these folks, if you are a MLB organization that doesn’t have a fully staff analytic department, then you’re in the working in the dark ages. I love how  baseball execs have so much data to look at and study to make help make important decision in player personnel to help achieve the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.  You still have to take the human side into account as well.    

When Brain McCann waited at home plate for Carlos Gomez to arrive after putting on an embarrassing display of being an ass hat when he hit a home run of Paul Maholm, I thought it was one of the best on field statements I’ve seen in baseball in a long long time. McCann just standing there explaining to Gomez just what an asshole he was and daring him to go through him to touch home plate showed me that McCann was standing up for his pitcher, his teammates and his organization. He should be applauded. Sadly some folks didn’t see it the same way I did and to tell you the truth I was a bit surprised by some of the reaction.

As I said, it was mostly the people who seem to be the baseball intellectual types that thought McCann was a jerk.  None of the McCann bashers mentioned that Gomez was still holding a grudge from being hit by a pitch from Malhom (who throws about 85 mph tops and that’s with a running start) earlier in the year. The first pitch of the at bat, Gomez nearly swung himself out of his uniform as he wanted to hit the pitch to Buckhead . He damn near succeeded on the next pitch which he hit a towering home run. Gomez stood and admired the shot then glared at Maholm to which Freddie Freeman screamed at him and he yelled back at Freeman while he leisurely strolled the base paths like he was out for a constitutional on the deck of the Queen Mary. As Gomez went down the 3rd base line, staring into the Braves dugout, he was startled by McCann standing in his way of touching home plate, a destination Gomez never arrived at. At that point the benches emptied and the Braves went after Gomez and any Brewer that stood in their way.     

Now why anyone who watches, covers or has played baseball was surprised at McCann’s actions baffles me. It’s the same way I can’t understand people getting upset when Tiger Woods curses after he hits a bad shot.  Those people have obviously never been on a golf course, same with the folks who are appalled by baseball player’s behavior on the field.  

What do they think happens on the field and in the dugout and clubhouse? This may come as a shock to some of the finger sandwich and high tea crowd but baseball players use very bad language at times, in fact they use the bad language a lot on the umpires. Ball players (I hope I don’t offend anyone here) also spit nasty tobacco juice and sunflower seed shells and (hold on to your pearls Francis) blow their nose without a tissue. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. The floor of a dugout is as nasty as a subway platform.

As much as baseball has to go forward using statistical analysis in decision making it also cannot forget the on field emotion of the game as well. I don’t know about you but my love of baseball didn’t come from a calculator it came from first watching it, then playing it , then embracing the camaraderie of being on a team. There’s no better feeling than being on a team that has each other’s back. There’s no better feeling than playing on a team that wins. There is no better compliment in baseball than “he plays the game the right way”.  If you can’t understand that, then I have pity on you, you’re missing a great game.

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Baseball Is Fundamental

If you’re going to lose three straight in the South Bronx, at least get blown out in all three so it doesn’t hurt Mets fans so much. Friday night was easier to take than the last two losses as we can expect Johan Santana to bounce back and pitch well but in the Saturday and Sunday losses to the Highlanders the two big deficiencies of this Mets team were highlighted for all to see, the inability to execute the fundamentals of baseball and a bullpen that doesn’t know how to pitch.

The lack of “fundi’s” were on full display yesterday. I know Andy Pettite has been gone for a year but everyone knows he has one of the greatest move to first base in the history of baseball. The Mets who are now a station to station base running team decide yesterday was the day to get aggressive on the base paths and it bit them in the ass as David Wright and Scott Hariston were picked off, with Hairston looking like deer on back road upset in the dead of winter look as Petitte ran right at him to get him out.

Then there were the errors. Wright was charged with a throwing error which was followed by the first Russell Martin homer to cut the Mets lead to 3-2 and before that Omar Quintanilla’s error allowed Jeter to go to second and that opened the flood gates for Bobby Parnell because no one in that Mets bullpen ever picks up a teammate.  So from a 3-0 lead the Mets are now down 4-3 heading to the 9th inning. Lucas Duda and Ike (That’s Right) Davis hits a game tying double and the Met tie the game at 4. Now’s the time to get that go ahead run over to 3rd base with Quintanilla with a sac bunt but of course he doesn’t execute the bunt because just like last year no one on the Mets can lay down a bunt, Q then hits a bullshit roller to short and Jayson Nix throws to 3rd to get Ike who runs like he’s pulling a frost free refrigerator, again poor execution.  Murph hits for Valdespin and gets a base hit with would have scored Ike had he stayed a 2nd base, so now it’s Q on 3rd 1 out and contact hitter Josh Thole up. A base hit would be great but fly ball to one of those noodle armed Highlander outfielders would suffice.  Thole works the count to 3-2 and leaves the bat on his shoulder to take a called third strike, then has the balls to argue the call with home plate Mike Muchlinski, are you kidding? SWING THE BAT!!!!!

So the Mets fight back to tie the score at 4 and in comes Jon Rau………………………game over 5-4 Highlanders on a Russell Martin home run.

Off to Tampa. Ya Gotta Believe!!!

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