Full credit to Nationals OF Bryce Harper, who proved during Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Mets that even during a down year, he’s fully capable of going head-to-head with Yasiel Puig when it comes to disrespecting-the-game hysteria. As CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman explains, Harper letting Scott Rice off the hook last night didn’t escape the notice of of bench coach Randy Knorr.
“The thing about Bryce right now that’s tough: He gets frustrated,” said Knorr, who had to take over for an ill Davey Johnson mid-game. “I don’t think he does it intentionally, but he’s gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we’ve got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It’s something we’ve got to fix.”
Harper found himself at the plate for the biggest at-bat of the night, with two on and two out in the eighth, the Nationals trailing by a run. Mets manager Terry Collins countered with reliever Scott Rice, banking on Harper’s well-documented struggles this season to hit lefties. Rice, though, fired three straight fastballs low and inside to fall behind in the count 3-0.
With the NL’s hottest hitter, Jayson Werth, standing in the on-deck circle, a walk felt like the ideal outcome for Harper. Knorr, though, gave his 20-year-old slugger the green light, and Harper responded by fouling off a 3-0 fastball on the lower inside corner.
Harper then swung at Rice’s 3-1 fastball and rapped a sharp grounder right to second baseman Daniel Murphy. The crowd of 35,008 let out a groan, and Harper slowed down a couple of steps out of the batter’s box, assuming the inning was about to end.
But Murphy bobbled the ball, and though he recovered in plenty of time to make the throw to first, Harper’s lack of hustle in that situation still didn’t sit well with others.
There’s a fellow on the satellite radio — I’m having trouble remembering his name, I think it rhymes with “Screamo” — who routinely suggests “player-safety” is some sort of code for the sissification of the once-glorious NFL, and attempts to litigate over alleged brain damage amount to little more than a carefully orchestrated shakedown.
Never mind that the gentleman in question makes a living (albeit a modest one) commenting on and chronicling the exploits of more impressive physical specimens than himself. Ironically, this is same chat show host who claims he’s never seen dude-on-dude pornography. And why would he? For one thing, it’s way less exploitative than professional or collegiate football. For another, he’s not being paid to whack off over it.
Oh, and then there’s Pete Prisco. Lucky for him, he’s no longer an NFL beat reporter, otherwise he might have to explain to the human beings he covers that at the end of the day, he considers them to be little more than male hustlers or cannon fodder.
While Washington owner Daniel Snyder has insisted his club will “never” abandon the Redskins name, the chorus of those who find the moniker thoroughly unacceptable continues to increase in volume. Shutdown Corner’s Jay Busbee writes that Sports Illustrated’s Peter King-helmed Monday Morning Quarterback site shall in the future, refer to the franchise as, “Washington’s football team”. Or something like that.
Slate made news a few weeks ago by noting that it wouldn’t refer to the Redskins by name. But that’s a different media outlet, one with little reason to cover an NFL team. MMQB isn’t in the belly of the beast, it IS the beast, part of the media machine that keeps the NFL atop the sports news cycle every minute of every hour of every day. If a site with the imprimatur of King, one of the most established voices in the NFL, can make this change, it sends a definitive signal to the team, the league and to fans: it’s time to take a hard look at this name.
Regardless of what team owner Daniel Snyder and a vocal group of pro-Redskins-name fans hope, wish or believe, the name issue’s coming to a head. Somebody sometime soon is going to ask Robert Griffin III, point-blank, if he supports the use of the name “Redskins.” And the way he answers will determine the shape of this story for the immediate future. If he thinks the name should go, it’ll eventually go. And if he thinks it should stay? Then Snyder has all the court-of-public-opinion weight he needs to fend off any critics.
Summoned from his Calistoga, CA vineyard for a comment on Matt Harvey’s season-ending injury, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver tells the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden, “all this babying of pitchers — pitch counts and innings limits — is a bunch of nonsense.” Citing the lengthy careers of such innings-eaters as Juan Marichal, Ferguson Jenkins, Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton, Seaver promises, “most of these pitchers today would like to realize their full potential and pitch more.” If nothing else, that’s great news for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“These kids today, they want to be men, they want to be foxhole guys, but they’re not being allowed to do that,” Seaver said. “Imagine if these computer geeks who are running baseball now were allowed to run a war? They’d be telling our soldiers: ‘That’s enough. You’ve fired too many bullets from your rifle this week!’ ”
The old “Franchise” was really getting worked up now as he spoke by phone. He acknowledged that in Harvey’s case, the Mets didn’t go overboard in the babying and did let him be “the man” this year, going deep into games. (“They did all the right things with him. It’s nobody’s fault this happened. It just did.”) But he hopes this will not scare the Mets into putting more stringent innings limits on their other top pitching prospects, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.
“There is no set numerical value you can put on a pitcher,” Seaver said. “They’re all different. What’s important is to get into the pitcher’s head, to know what he’s made of.”
Though the chances Steve Lonegan being elected for any office higher than dog catcher are pretty slim, his career prospects aren’t necessarily limited. For instance, he seems fully qualified to host midweek evenings on Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio.
Nearly 8 years ago, Jason Whitlock publicly called ESPN.com columnist Scoop Jackson, “a clown”, adding, “the publishing of his fake ghetto posturing is an insult to black intelligence, and it interferes with intelligent discussion of important racial issues,” for good measure. Fast foward to the present day (well, yesterday), and Jackson just happens to have chosen the week of Whitlock’s return to ESPN to announce that he’ll no longer be covering any Florida sporting events in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal on murder charges.
Here’s the hopelessness in all of this: It means something but will accomplish nothing. My little divestment from all things Florida sports won’t change anything or have any significant ripple effect on the world of sports. There will be no mass following; more will disagree with me than agree.
I’m not from Florida so my investment isn’t high, and this isn’t South Africa in the apartheid era, so my actions aren’t clear. Yet, I’m the same person who refuses to watch the Masters until they change their policy toward women members (to me, the additions so far are tokens), who took a stand that I still hold today against Notre Dame over the difference in treatment it executed in the departures of Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis, who in 2007 stopped filling out NCAA brackets because I feel they are counterintuitive to the essence of March Madness. Why change now?
This is my Yasiel Puig swing at taking a stance while using sports as the scapegoat. As a sportswriter and fan, sometimes that’s all we have.
Indeed, Jackson isn’t based in Florida. He’s done a good deal of work for in recent years for ESPN Chicago, but he’s yet to be called upon to analyze the Florida Panthers’ offseason. In the view of an actual Florida journalist, New Times’ Kyle Munzenrieder, Jackson’s not being entirely constructive in this instance :
There are simpler and more direct ways to feel like you’ve done something if you disagree with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, like, say, donating a little bit of money to a Florida-focused gun control PAC, or finding a vulnerable incumbent Florida legislator who supports the law and ponying up $10 to his or her’s strongest competitor.
Jackson’s stance likely comes because he’s a sports columnist who wouldn’t normally get to write about issues outside of sports, so he’s found a dramatic way to let his feelings be known about the Zimmerman verdict in a way that includes sports.
….besides the guy whose wife was limo’d to the Bon Jovi concert. Rolling Stone’s angel dusty profile of embattled former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (“The Gangster In The Huddle”, was co-authored by notorious plagiarist / serial Belichick-baiter Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, and as you might expect, the Hooded Casanova fared poorly in the article. While admitting that “much of the feature is outstanding,” Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen considers the contributions of Borges and collaborator Paul Solotaroff easy to identify (“You can tell precisely where Borges’ takes over the narrative (the stoop-to-conquer Patriots of Bill Belichick) and when he gives it up. It’s not a smooth transition at all”).
By adding Borges to the story, someone with an axe to grind against the franchise, and who left the Boston Globe under a cloud (shouldn’t that have been a RED FLAG?) undermines the effectiveness of the feature.
Question: What does the Boston Herald think about this? How could they not even get an exclusive excerpt out of the fact that their writer was working on this? How can they not be pissed?