It it possible to make anything resembling sense of the Miami Marlins’ latest l’affaire d’absurd? It is, though not even Edmund Burke (who conjugated the strategic mischief of the French Revolution), Martin Buber (who conjugated the spiritual foundation of dialogue), or Red Smith (whose conjugation of official baseball mischief in his time was second to none) themselves would find it easy to do without reaching first for their preferred distilled spirits.
Ethically, of course, the deal reeks like the dead Fish conventional wisdom claims it to be, particularly in view of:
Let’s get one argument swept aside right here and now. Either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout would have been a worthy American League Most Valuable Player winner. In fact, there should be no argument about that.
You wouldn’t have disgraced Cabrera, who did win (and by a larger margin than the debate might have led you to believe), had the award gone to Trout. (As a matter of fact, Cabrera himself—the essence of grace in accepting the award—though Trout might win it.) And it doesn’t disgrace Trout that Cabrera has won the award.
Maybe the one thing absolutely guaranteed about 2012 was that Mike Trout would nail the American League’s Rookie of the Year honours, which was made official with Monday night’s announcement. It wasn’t even close.
Trout landed every last first place vote possible as the unanimous pick. Nobody else in the running—not Yoenis Cespedes, not Yu Darvish, not Wei-Yin Chen, not Jarrod Parker—got any higher than 45 percent of a share of the voting. Bryce Harper landed the National League’s Rookie of the Year honours in a slightly tighter competition, with five more votes than runner-up Wade Miley and 70 percent of a share to Miley’s 66. The remaining National League contenders—Todd Frazier, Wilin Rosario, Norichika Aoki, Yonder Alonso (now, that’d be a name, if he had more than a little long ball power), Matt Carpenter, Jordan Pacheco—fell well behind Harper and Miley.
Lee MacPhail (center) with Mike Burke (left) and Ralph Houk (right), after MacPhail was named Yankee general manager in 1966.
When Lee MacPhail talked about the Pine-Tar Homer, everybody listened, even if some—mostly, those in or tied to Yankee uniforms—didn’t necessarily like what he had to say about it. But when MacPhail tried to talk about the owners’ need to practise economic restraint out of their own and baseball’s interest, everybody heard the absolute wrong message, and made matters worse.
Jason Bay (left), undermined by concussions during his now-concluded years as a Met . . .
Jason Bay’s fate with the New York Mets was sealed in earnest in his first season with the club. Going through the adjustments some players do with new organisations is one thing. Getting wrecked by a concussion, and a concurrent neck injury, when hitting Dodger Stadium’s outfield wall trying to make a play is something else entirely.
David Ortiz is not, perhaps, the first person in baseball to ponder aloud whether Bobby Valentine has mental issues. He might be, however, the first in baseball to ponder them after Valentine was fool enough to sit down with Bob Costas, on national television, the night before the World Series began, and call Ortiz a quitter.
The Red Sox made a formal presentation Monday of Ortiz’s signing a new, two year, $26 million deal. A deal not even this Red Sox management, whose competence was questioned often enough in the past twelve months, would have offered to a man who just quits because there’s no longer hope of reaching the postseason after a major housecleaning trade is made.
What I do understand is the Boston Red Sox coming to agreeable terms with David Ortiz, no matter how soon before the deadline to pick up or decline 2013 options or for teams to make qualifying offers to players in order to protect draft picks. With Ortiz having made plain his wish to finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, the Red Sox almost didn’t have to make just as plain their wish to see him finish that way.