Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that was filled with heavy doses of sludging and drudging. It’s my hope that at the end of every week during the baseball season, during that point of the day on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to check out some random observations and contribute your own opinions to my ten stray thoughts on a Friday.

So, without further ado:

A Bit More On Brett Lawrie

It seems that this entire week’s worth of blog content has been devoted to Brett Lawrie, after the Toronto Blue Jays third basemab blew a gasket after being ejected for his reaction to back to back called strikes from home plate umpire Bill Miller.

Once again, this is what that looked like:

A couple of things that haven’t really been addressed by the multitude of articles and expressed opinions spawned by the call and corresponding outburst: 1) If I was Bill Miller and Lawrie’s thrown helmet ricocheted off the ground and hit my hip, I would have stared at him right in the eyes as he stalked toward me, and then asked, “Why you mad, bro?” and 2) I don’t think Miller’s strike three call being out of spite is the foregone conclusion that people are claiming it is.

Even if the Pitch F/X chart doesn’t properly represent a player of Lawrie’s stature standing in the batter’s box, it was close enough, with allowance for Jose Molina’s reputation for framing strikes, to imagine that the strike three call was actually believed to be in the strike zone by Miller. While, no one can knows what went through the umpire’s mind in that split second before the call was made, I think there’s the same amount of circumstantial evidence of it being a legitimate strike three call as there is that it was done out of spite.

If you claim that Miller would’ve called it a strike no matter where the pitch ended up, then you’re essentially calling Brett Lawrie an idiot for not swinging at a two strike pitch that, in my opinion, was close enough to the strike zone to warrant a swing no matter what happened on the pitch before.

So, why you hate Lawrie, bro?

Taking Heat

I took a lot of heat on Twitter, from emails and most especially in the DJF comments section for claiming that Lawrie’s reaction to being tossed from the game was a childish tantrum. I really don’t know how anyone could look at the clip of his freak out and believe otherwise.

Aside: For a really good example of how a hitter should properly handle a disagreement with an umpire, watch Derek Jeter. He will calmly find an excuse to stay near the umpire after the strike out, never make eye contact, and state his case without getting excited.

I’m not bothered by being called a name or having my sexual orientation be put up for debate. It doesn’t hurt me personally at all. In fact, if someone is resorting to such boorish behaviour, I assume it means that they couldn’t come up a reasonable argument to counter what I’m suggesting.

I do find it depressing though. It upsets me that in the year 2012 people still feel the need to express themselves by resorting to such juvenile tactics.

I suppose I understand if you’re a teenager or in your early twenties and you feel such an intolerable rage for the world, that type of outpouring of emotion might be cathartic. Looking back at old DJF archives, I can see that it probably was for me. But if you feel that urge, it would be entirely much better received if it was done with an ironic wink or a joke or something to suggest that it wasn’t merely rage driven.

Because seriously, if a single person’s opinion on events that transpired is enough to cause you to lash out with threats or other forms of unfunny abuse, I don’t think it’s assuming too much to suggest that maybe you’re dealing with a bigger issue than merely disagreeing with someone.

Top Ten Unexpectedly Successful Seasons To Date

10. Alejandro De Aza, CHW
9.  Jed Lowrie, HOU
8.  Jason Kipnis, CLE
7.  Jose Altuve, HOU
6.  Martin Prado, ATL
5.  Josh Reddick, OAK
4.  A.J. Ellis, LAD
3.  Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
2.  Rafael Furcal, STL
1.  Bryan LaHair, CHC

I’m still working on a post titled LaHair Of The Dog, in which I suggest that we really won’t know if Bryan LaHair’s success is sustainable until after he has his first slump of the season. I will most certainly use a hangover metaphor in said piece.

Top Ten Unexpectedly Unsuccessful Seasons To Date

10. Russell Martin, NYY
9.  Jose Reyes, MIA
8.  Mark Teixeira, NYY
7.  Michael Young, TEX
6.  Drew Stubbs, CIN
5.  Rickie Weeks, MIL
4.  Danny Espinosa, WAS
3.  Yunel Escobar, TOR
2.  Albert Pujols, LAA
1.  Alexei Ramirez, CHW

If the White Sox could ever get true talent results from all of their players at once, they’d likely be a .500 team, and therefore win the AL Central every single year.

Therein Lies The Rub

A scary incident occurred on Wednesday night when Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Will Rhymes was hit on the right arm with a pitch and then passed out at first base during the eighth inning of their game against the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully, Rhymes was all right, and the infielder will be back in the lineup after taking a few days off for precautionary reasons.

Jason Turbow, writing for one of my favourite blogs, The Baseball Codes, used Rhymes’ injury to tell us about an unwritten rule in baseball that won’t allow recently plunked batters to rub their injury. As Turbow points out, this has nothing to do with superstition, and everything to do with machismo.

My favourite part of the post is this:

The prototypical player for this rule was Don Baylor, who crowded the plate to such a degree that he was hit by 267 pitches over the course of his career—and, reported the Washington Post, never once rubbed. “Of course,” the article went on to say, “several of the balls had to be hospitalized.”

Madison Bumgarner Is The Left Handed Roy Halladay

Comparing players isn’t really my bag, mainly because it normally results in the creation of unrealistic expectations, but …

I’m not saying that Madison Bumgarner is the next Roy Halladay. I’m just saying someone should get Bumgarner a copy of The Mental ABCs of Pitching, and teach him a splitter already.

The Texas Rangers Are The Best Team Ever

Popular Players

Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Josh Hamilton
  3. Derek Jeter
  4. Alex Rodriguez
  5. Barry Bonds

Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours has seen these player profiles visited the most:

  1. Brandon Beachy
  2. Kerry Wood
  3. Rich Thompson
  4. Yu Darvish
  5. James McDonald

Shameless Self Promotion

Have you guys subscribed to the Getting Blanked Show on YouTube yet? All the cool kids are doing it because all the cool kids want to watch our daily video show where we talk about each other and the Minnesota Twins in a derogatory manner.

As always, you can also check out our Facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates on new videos and funny pictures in your own Facebook news feed, as well as the occasional link back to the blog. Staying on the social media train, you can also follow Getting Blanked on Twitter to get regular links to all of our content and fresh bits of sarcasm.

While we’re on the subject, feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed as well, which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge, including our new daily show.

Interleague Games

This weekend will mark the first time this season that American League teams will face National League teams. As much as I think the gimmick is useless, it does act as an important reminder that the MLB schedule is completely unfair and unbalanced. Of course, that’s assuming that you’ve already stopped comparing the quality of talent in the American League East to the American League Central.

Still, when you look at other professional sports leagues in North America, there isn’t a problem with inter-conference mingling, so why does it leave such a bad taste in the mouths of baseball fans?

First of all, I don’t like that teams competing against each other in overall record have to play different schedules. Interleague play further complicates this preexisting condition. Mainly though, I think that if there are going to be separate rules for each league (just adopt the DH rule, already), then there should also be separate games.

Remember back to before Interleague? There was something bigger and better about the All-Star Game and the World Series.

Of course, with the Houston Astros set to join the American League West, we’ll be treated to an Interleague series on every day of the schedule next year. I’ve come back to this a few times, but I really think that MLB dropped the ball when they didn’t eliminate divisions as part of their realignment.

Doesn’t it just make abundantly more sense to have teams that are competing against each other in terms of record for a Wild Card spot share as similar of a schedule as is possible to facilitate?

I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for no injuries to American League pitchers this weekend.

Comments (27)

  1. Has anyone looked into why Getting Blanked and DJF blog pages don’t size correctly when you drag the window to a split screen? Every other blog I read does this without question, but The Score blogs seem to think the centre of the page looks best when left justified, leaving off the left side of the page.

    • Another for the complaint file is these gif’s load like shit on iPad and if you scroll past it keeps defaulting back to top of page to continue to load….really f’ing annoying to see the Lawrie one again

  2. The web CONTENT is the only thing The Score does well.

  3. u post pics like that and u wonder why ppl question ur sexuality?
    let the photoshopping begin…

  4. If your a true Texas Ranger fan where’s your gun and holster cowboy.
    For those of you questioning MR. Parkes sexuality , there’s no gays in Texas, just exes and worshipping of the greatest or scariest fairly tale of all time.
    So load your guns, ride some horses and all see you at the ballpark.
    Leave these here hipsters alone.

  5. re: Lawrie – I think you still need to address the point about umpire accountability. Don’t turn it into simply a question of ‘was it spite or was it a borderline pitch that he should have swung at?’ We have accountability mechanisms for players that are (somewhat) transparent. Lawrie’s meathead antics at least make umpire accountability a meaningful discussion to have. But I guess it is easier to say it was a borderline pitch that he should have swung at (which it was) and that he should have been suspended (which he should have). But if this umpire even remotely did it out of spite then its clearly bringing the game into problem territory.

    • An isolated incident of a single bad call by an umpire cannot be proven to have been done out of spite. If there is a pattern of bad calls against a particular team or player by that umpire, or just generally consistently bad calls made by that umpire, then accountability becomes an issue. In this case, the umpire can argue that he thought the pitch was a strike, and that’s the end of it because the opposite cannot be proven. The umpire isn’t the one who threw the helmet. Lawrie is the only one involved who unquestionably behaved badly and childishly, so he is the only one who can be punished.

  6. The National Post piece about Lawrie this week by Spurrier (I think) mentioned that Brooks Baseball (or someone) establishes a top of the strike zone independent from the chart for each batter or pitch. For Lawrie on the third strike it was 3.25 feet if I recall correctly, and the pitch looked admittedly just high on the 3.5 foot marking on the chart.

    Anyway, that would move the pitch from an inch high to about four inches. Still, though, probably should have swung. And definitely shouldn’t have thrown the helmet.

  7. thanks for officially killing this topic forever.

  8. First of all you are a smug, know it all piece of shit Dustin Parkes. Secondly, no I’m not calling Brett Lawrie an idiot for not swinging at that 3-2 pitch because any god damn baseball player playing at a competitive level would expect the umpire behind the plate to be a professional and call the pitch straight but of course you would know nothing about playing baseball at such a level. The umpire knew that he was gonna call that 3-2 pitch a strike beforehand but Lawrie had no clue because he expected a major league umpire to act accordingly you freakin dumbass. I am by no means a Brett Lawrie ball massager but let’s be real here….. those were brutal strike calls and Lawrie was deservedly pissed and that’s all, so stop making it more than it is.

    • It’s not your fault

    • rsouls, it’s not your fault.

    • It’s not your fault….

      • Some excellent mocking of a commenter Travis.
        Obviously you’re a fan of Good Will Hunting.
        Perhaps instead of being condescending ,would you actually be able to put your thoughts into a coherent sentence?
        Or maybe that’s too beneath you because your superior mind is way beyond what us mere mortals can comprehend.
        It must be a burden to be surrounded by people who are constantly wrong and you’re always correct.
        Glad to hear you’ve been accepted to the Triple Nine Society

        • “you are a smug, know it all piece of shit Dustin Parkes”
          “you freakin dumbass”

          Yeah Travis, how dare you be sarcastically condescending! You should have just called him a piece of shit for having a differing opinion like a reasonable individual would have.

    • I have an opinion. Someone offered evidence that my opinion is wrong. I’m going to argue against that evidence by restating my opinion, but this time with name calling.

      How to win an argument by rsouls.

      • wow this place is just filled with pompous, smart-asses lol I don’t know what evidence you’re referring too. He just stated his opinion that the pitch was close enough to be called a legitimate strike, and I disagree… what’s the evidence? Even Parkes acknowledges that chart is not completely accurate. Everything is a matter of opinion. I just don’t understand why Parkes keeps going at Lawrie, maybe he didn’t get enough attention as a young child and is trying to fill the void by getting everyone riled up. This is baseball, bad calls happen and sometimes players yell at umps. Parkes has no idea what its like to play baseball at such a high level and therefore cannot relate the emotions a player goes through at such an intense moment of the game, especially during a losing streak. It’s easy to sit from where he is and say “oh lawrie shouldn’t act like that” and he’s right but shit happens in the heat of the moment and it always will. He didn’t mean to hit the ump with the helmet so let’s just move on now Parkes. The issue is dead so get on with your life.

  9. I think the reason the unbalanced schedule seems so much more unfair in baseball is because there are only four (or now five) playoff spots. In hockey, so many teams make the playoffs that it’s hard to be upset if your favourite team finishes just behind a team which only got there because they play most of their games against the other sacks of shit in the Southeast division, because it still wouldn’t have been a problem if your team didn’t play like crap most of the year anyway. If you’re halfway decent in the NHL, you’ll make the playoffs.

    In baseball, and especially in Toronto, it’s frustrating to watch decent teams year after year which, in all honesty, don’t really have a prayer at making the playoffs, while teams which are clearly much worse win their terrible divisions easily.

  10. Anyone see Baxter throw his helmet, just didnt bounce.
    Yunel isnt going to fool them anyomre, next time he does that and he really does tag him, he might not get the call.
    you know Mlb Officials and their spite.

  11. While I do love Dunstin’s analysis, he is way too negative on Getting Blanked and DJF. He almost ruins both of those shows, which sucks becuase there is a lot of potential there. If you want to be above the name-calling, then be above the name-calling. Don’t go off on sarcastic rants about ‘idiot commentators’ every chance you get. It sounds incredibly unprofessional and only serves to spur on said idiot commentators.

    So, for the sake of the getting blanked and DJF podcasts, both of which I am a fan of, please just cheer up a little.

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