About Jeff Kallman

I've spent the better part of a quarter century as a professional journalist in print, on radio, and in cyberspace. Today, I work freelance. Here, I think and write about baseball.

Sending Schwarber down will fix only one Cub problem

The Scwarbinator going to the farm to right himself solves only one Cub issue . . .

The Scwarbinator going to the farm to right himself solves only one Cub issue . . .

Kyle Schwarber is lost for now. He’s been lost most of the season, in fact. So has been almost half of the defending World Series champions. Team president Theo Epstein could and did send Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa to find himself again, preferably not chasing bad pitches and rediscovering the groove that might have been fractured when he was moved to the leadoff slot.

Hey, Porter!

Umpire Alan Porter was not amused at being asked to un-block Daniel Murphy's sight line at second base Tuesday night.

Umpire Alan Porter was not amused at being asked to un-block Daniel Murphy’s sight line at second base Tuesday night.

Bet on it: If Daniel Murphy had F-bombed umpire Alan Porter Tuesday night, Murphy would be sent to bed without his supper and with a few thousand less dollars in his bank account. What’s the penalty for the ump F-bombing the player who did nothing more heinous than ask him to move a bit further out of Murphy’s sight line playing second base?

The Leaning Tower of 161st Street

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

These, I thought to myself, were the kind of home runs I saw Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Dave Kingman and Mike Schmidt hit. Not just home runs but conversation pieces. Not just an unimpeded trip around the bases but anything from a potential flight onto the number 4 el tracks to a broken window behind a ballpark.

Language barriers, brawl game jersey auctions, and other fooleries

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

We should be enjoying things this week. Things like the Astros’ staggering dominance of the American League West and maybe baseball itself, the bombing of Yankee rookie Aaron (Here Comes The) Judge, the near-classic pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, the four-homer game of an obscurity named Scooter Gennett, the 600th home run of Albert Pujols.

But no. Baseball is played and governed by human beings, and human beings are only too fallible. Consider:

Pujols hits a grand No. 600

Albert Pujols hitting number 600 . . . with ducks on the pond, yet . . .

Albert Pujols hitting number 600 . . . with ducks on the pond, yet . . .

Once upon a time, Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara became baseball’s first player to join the 500 home run club by hitting numbers 499 and 500 on the same night. Saturday night, he became the only one to join the 600-home run club with a grand slam at the expense of a former teammate.

“I’m not the only one [to surrender a homer to Pujols], you know,” Ervin Santana kidded after the game. “I’m No. 9 right now on the 600 club. He’s very nice and very humble. He always worked hard, and you can tell. He’s ‘The Machine’.”

Roll an ankle, pitch a no-no? Unheard-of

Volquez celebrates his no-hitter Saturday

Volquez celebrates his no-hitter Saturday

Let’s see. Jim Maloney, who dealt his entire career with shoulder and arm miseries, suffered a muscle strain while trying to pitch a no-hitter in 1964. Then-Reds manager Fred Hutchinson, himself a former pitcher, took no chances and lifted Maloney.

Maloney had two no-hitters in his future, but he’d also leave another no-hitter-in-the-making thanks to injuring his ankle running the bases in the top of the sixth. (His career would be marked paid for all intent and purpose in 1970, as an Angel, when he severed an Achilles tendon . . . on a baserunning play.)

Eleven days before Strickland’s final wrist slap

Harper charges Strickland after getting drilled Memorial Day . . .

Harper charges Strickland after getting drilled Memorial Day . . .

I wondered what was taking so long with Hunter Strickland’s suspension appeal, too. But now we know, thanks to the San Jose Mercury-News‘s Andrew Baggarly: Strickland’s appeal date won’t be until 13 June. And for those who think Bryce Harper got heard a little too swiftly and a little too favourably, there’s more than you think to it.

As Baggarly reports, baseball government—which too often behaves like government government when wisdom is called for—offered to cut Harper’s suspension if he dropped his appeal. Harper accepted the offer and got his suspension reduced to 27 innings. (Three games.)

Basebrawl’s jake with Arrieta

This kind of basebrawl is just jake with Arrieta . . .

This kind of basebrawl is (his word) refreshing to Jake Arrieta . . .

One of the most thoughtfully articulate baseball players of his time stands athwart sense, yelling “Super!” about brawl games such as that instigated by Hunter Strickland against Bryce Harper on Memorial Day. It’s enough to provoke lustful thoughts about the Kardashians, to whom exhibitionism equals articulation.

Schpritzing about who does and does not have the right to flip a bat upon a monster mash may be one thing, but Jake Arrieta, Cubs pitcher, thinks the Strickland-Harper rumble was “awesome.”

Skip sublime, go ridiculous, almost three years later

Between the end of the 2014 National League division series and this Memorial Day, Bryce Harper hadn’t batted against Hunter Strickland. During that NLDS, Harper faced Strickland twice and took him deep twice, both mammoth blasts, one of them a splash hit in the deciding Game Four:

This is the second of the almost three-year-old bombs Harper hit for which Strickland wanted his revenge . . .

This is the second of the almost three-year-old bombs Harper hit for which Strickland wanted his revenge . . .

Jim Bunning, RIP: Tenacity

Jim Bunning, pitching his 1964 perfect game against the Mets . . .

Jim Bunning, pitching his 1964 perfect game against the Mets . . .

Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame righthander who died Friday night of complications from an October 2016 stroke, didn’t mind breaking a few taboos. Whether during a perfect game, helping the hunt for the Major League Baseball Players Association’s first executive director, or driving even his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill nuts, the freckled Kentuckian feared no hitter, manager, owner, or fellow politician.