"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Dogpile on the Rabbit

Here’s what I wonder in all of this—Okay, maybe some of the Houston hitters will get plunked this season because they cheated. And of course MLB wants to make sure things don’t get out of control. But what about Houston’s pitchers? Doesn’t this hamstring them? I mean, soon as Verlander plunks someone, don’t you think the other teams will figure it’s on like Donkey Kong?

In the meantime, every day, another player is out there talking about this, ramping up the WWF-nature of this scandal.

I don’t know how you feel but I find MLB’s ineptitude reassuring. A few months ago I met the writer Fran Leibovitz at a book party. I chatted her up for a few minutes and standing close to her you could not avoid the fact that she smelled like cigarettes. My father was a smoker I recall the stilted air in his apartment when I was growing up, waking up to clouds of cigarette smoke. I hated the smell at the time, how stale it was, how it clung to your clothes.

There is nothing charming about the smell of cigarette smoke. And yet, I loved that Leibovitz smelled like butts. It was oddly calming—of course, she smelled like cigarettes, as it should be.

Baseball screwing the pooch is like that. Proof that all is well—or unwell—with the world.

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1 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 18, 2020 7:38 pm

[0] Well said, MLB seems to ALWAYS 'screw the pooch' given the chance.

Well put about the smell of smoke, though I really miss it. 52 days smoke free for me now..need to stay out the music bars here to keep it going..

2 rbj   ~  Feb 18, 2020 9:04 pm

The Cheatos have managed to tick off the rest of baseball. Not just the other playoff teams. When even Mike Trout calls you out, you know you’ve done bad.

3 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Feb 19, 2020 10:07 am

Manfred's sanctimony about on-field retribution is late and hypocritical. He's the one person who had the power to leave the rest of the players satisfied that justice had been done, and he whiffed on that.

I'm trying to square my view on this with adult, civil tendencies. If one of us punched the other on the street I'd agree it was a crime. But whatever it is about me -- atavism, romance, projection? -- that permits the inconsistency, I don't see sports the same way. Whenever someone posts a link to the the Benitez-Tino fight for whatever reason, I watch. Yeah, Graeme Lloyd, you go dude.

You're stepping into that arena not only to participate in The Game according to The Rules, but also a century and a half of established normative culture.

And in that culture, some guys gotta wear one every once in a while.

Manfred should know that. Should have known that. What happens next is on him.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 19, 2020 1:48 pm

[0] I was never a smoker, but I like to say I was born in a cloud of smoke (my Mom smoked Winstons, so I got used to the scent early). With the advent of public smoking bans, the smell of a random cigarette often creates nostalgia in my mind, and nostalgia is a gigantic market these days. However, the bumbling baseball suits thing; that's always annoyed me, yet never more so than now. Manfred almost reminds me of Jeff Wilpon at this point; someone so unlikable and so bad at what he really wants to do instead of what he should be doing that he totally sucks the air out of the room even when you see his face on TV. Not quite there yet, but moving fast. I think it's well and good that players are getting their anger and frustration out now as opposed to stewing all season and possibly letting it affect their playing or destabilize their world.

Let's remember, baseball is not real life: they are a monopoly and operate within their own rules, not by the U.S. Constitution or local/regional laws that govern us (not directly anyway). If baseball wants to change their rules, they can do so with impunity whether we or the players like it or not. Not that it means players can assault or murder each other on or off the field, but they can fight and be suspended as long as baseball wants to, and be as hypocritical as they want to about it because it's really a bottom-line business with anti-trust exemption.

I believe the only way real change in baseball that players and fans alike can get on board with can only happen if the fans stop spending money on baseball. If the owners got ticked off about the money they would suddenly be losing, a host of changes would be made asap starting with Manfred "stepping down". But right now, as sports writers convince baseball fandom that this sort of bloodlust is good for baseball, the owners will breathe a sigh of relief and continue counting the gate tickets and merchandising revenue as always; maybe even more so because they expect an influx of train wreck-gawkers and justice-seekers hoping hoping to witness Houston getting crushed by every other team in existence.

As for the players, they'll settle down after a few weeks of venting and headhunting and be about trying to win, which apparently it's always been about with them. Sports media will continue to stir the pot, but more often than not it will be uneventful until the post-season, depending on whether or not Houston makes it there. A lot of teams are not going to risk making huge statements by allowing their prized players to risk injury fighting a team not worthy of their respect; even so, players will police themselves, seeing that the commissioner won't do it.

In the back of my mind, I wonder how any player can take anything Manferd says seriously at this point, but when the season starts, they'll include him in their order and hope that he maintains it along the lines of what they expect. If not, [3] there just may be a big push by the players and fans to see him removed, but that will only be addressed if the fans and advertisers stop buying into baseball (and I mean a precipitous drop in revenue similar to a strike). Manfred's safe for now, as long as he can keep a better handle on his mouth.

5 rbj   ~  Feb 19, 2020 4:29 pm

Yeowch, John Smoltz just compared the Cheatos to Milli Vanilli.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 19, 2020 8:26 pm

[5] Is that better or worse than getting a beating?

7 rbj   ~  Feb 20, 2020 3:24 pm

Judge with a bum shoulder, Sevy has forearm tightness, why am I getting a sense of deja vu?

8 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 20, 2020 4:10 pm

[7] When the team hired a new strength and conditioning coach, I figured that whatever the players learned under the previous coach was either going to have to be tweaked or unlearned, and that includes letting their bodies adjust to those changes. The injuries we see cropping up now seem like the residual effects of whatever regiment they were doing last season. I’d give it at least a season to see any tangible changes. If it doesn’t change or even gets worse, then the responsibility either shifts directly to the players or you have to question the validity and necessity of strength and conditioning in regards to baseball.

9 yankintexas   ~  Feb 20, 2020 9:42 pm

Well at least Stanton hasn’t shattered yet.

10 Boatzilla   ~  Feb 21, 2020 1:07 am

[8] And now Severino? FFS. Hell of a job, Brownie.

11 Ara Just Fair   ~  Feb 21, 2020 2:57 pm

I am only familiar with Fran Lebowitz because she is on Bill Maher once in a while. She is pretty damn funny. Any specific book recs? I grew up around smokers, too. Hated every second of it. Lo and behold started smoking my mom's Old Golds at 18 because my future wife smoked. Gah! Quit cold turkey about 10 years ago. Never looked back. Might start again if Luis' arm troubles are serious. Fucking Bollocks.

12 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2020 1:07 pm

Huzzah! Baseball. And Kenny’s back in the booth

13 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2020 1:27 pm

Great outing for Happ.

14 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2020 2:11 pm

Nice play, Gio.

15 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2020 6:29 pm

No one got injured today. That’s good.

16 rbj   ~  Feb 23, 2020 1:12 pm

Ugh, Tampa announces today. Still, Yankees baseball.

17 rbj   ~  Feb 23, 2020 1:25 pm

One man booth for the Rays.

18 rbj   ~  Feb 23, 2020 1:43 pm

Only 1 inning for Lasagna. Destined for the bullpen?

19 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Feb 23, 2020 2:03 pm

Just happy to see baseball again!

20 rbj   ~  Feb 23, 2020 2:43 pm

Miggy Jr!

21 rbj   ~  Feb 25, 2020 3:17 pm

Augh! TJ for Sevy

22 Ara Just Fair   ~  Feb 25, 2020 4:03 pm


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver