Moose Skowron, RIP: Quiet Suffering, Quiet Strength

When he was still a baby Yankee aspirant, Joe Pepitone had the pleasure of sitting next to Casey Stengel during a spring training game. Knowing Pepitone was a first base prospect, Stengel pointed toward Moose Skowron, the Yankees’ regular first baseman. “Watch this Mr. Skowron at first, Pepperone,” Stengel purred, using the malaprop by which he addressed the skinny Brooklynite.

In his self-lacerating memoir, Joe, You Coulda Made us Proud, Pepitone recalled the scene: As soon as Stengel advised him to watch the Moose, the Ol’ Perfesser dozed off. “Skowron moved like a dump truck,” Pepitone remembered, alluding to Skowron’s not-so-fast feet around the pad. But he picked a difficult throw over to first just in time to bag the hitter gunning it up the line.

Happy Anniversary, Mets. We Think . . .

Well, it could have been worse. As a matter of fact, for much of the New York Mets’ storied history—if you like your stories to have been written largely by James Thurber, with illustrations mostly by Rube Goldberg, that is—it has been worse. But there’s something to be said when the Mets commemorate their regular-season fiftieth anniversary by permitting Stephen Strasburg and company to shut them out. It shouldn’t happen to an Original Met. As a matter of fact, it didn’t.

Splash, Flash, Alacazam, and Other Opening Day(s) Thoughts

The Miami Marlins’ opening at their, shall we say, splashy new ballpark had only two things to spoil their fun. Thing One: Kyle Lohse getting thisclose to throwing a no-hitter at the Fish while his St. Louis Cardinals—as in, the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals—won, 4-1, with thirteen hits. Thing Two: Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman daring to call out Marlins Ballpark for its South Beach garishness and its apparent pitcher-friendliness:

The (Alleged) Punk Plunk, and Other Sorrows . . .

Jimenez.

Tulowitzki.

Ubaldo Jimenez got a five-game suspension for drilling Troy Tulowitzki on the first pitch Sunday. The Players’ Association intends to back him as he appeals it. They are actually right about this. This turns out not to have been a mere sticks-and-stones issue. The backstory is Tulowitzki’s public criticism of Jimenez’s public gripe that the Rockies—who traded him to the Cleveland Indians during last season—offered and signed Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to big-dollar extensions after signing him to a mere “team-friendly” deal but not thinking of a comparable extension after he had his big year. Tulowitzki suggested once or twice recently that “a certain point (comes) in this game where you go play and you shut your mouth. And you don’t worry about what other people are doing.” He may have been absolutely right. Jimenez may have been absolutely wrong to fret over one or another man’s deal compared to his own. His pitching in 2011 would certainly suggest how wrong he was.