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 . . .

The Mets treat the Nats like gnats this weekend—so far

d'Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

d’Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

To most appearances, when the Mets opened a weekend set with the Nationals Friday night , it looked like this could become the weekend in which the Mets were driven far enough down that they might not get back up again. Battered by the disabled list and losers of nine out of ten—including the previous weekend’s sweep by the Nats in New York—the Mets didn’t just look beaten, they looked half buried.

Wright’s plight and other spring springings

Wright hitting a two-run bomb in Game Three, 2015 World Series; at least he, unlike several whom injuries threw off the Hall of Fame tracks, got to play in a Series at all . . .

Wright hitting a two-run bomb in Game Three, 2015 World Series; at least he, like Tony Oliva but unlike several others whom injuries threw off the Hall of Fame tracks, got to play in a Series at all . . .

Yes, Yogi, you can observe a lot just by watching. Herewith some of my observations over the early weeks of spring training:

The Washington Strangler asks for and gets his release

The smirking strangler, captured against the dugout rail shortly after he tried choking Harper last September . . .

The smirking strangler, captured against the dugout rail shortly after he tried choking Harper last September . . .

When the Nationals reached out and landed then-Pirates closer Mark Melancon two days before the non-waiver trade deadline, I wondered aloud whether that meant incumbent Jonathan Papelbon’s days in Washington were numbered. They were. The Nats granted his release Saturday afternoon.

According to ESPN Saturday morning, Papelbon himself sought to put paid to those numbered days, reportedly asking the team to release him. The move ends a tenure that wasn’t exactly an overwhelming favourite in the first place.

Season on!

Take that, Donaldus Minimus!!

Take that, Donaldus Minimus!!

Let history record that the first run batted in of the 2016 season was delivered by a pitcher. At the plate. A pitcher who’d had only three runs batted in in his entire career (nine seasons) prior to last year, when he drove in seven. And his name wasn’t Madison Bumgarner.

Let history record further that Clayton Kershaw was the beneficiary of the worst Opening Day blowout in major leaguer history a day later. And, that Bryce Harper rocked the best postgame cap around the circuits. So far.

“This game is supposed to be fun!” Don’t tell the Goose

Bryce just wants to have fun while owning the National League . . .

Bryce just wants to have fun while owning the National League . . .

Before you decide that Bryce Harper needs to beat his gums a little less, when he unhorses a schpritz against baseball getting tired, remind yourself that he really earned his bones on the matter last September. When he called out Jonathan Papelbon for throwing twice at Manny Machado’s head, after Machado had bombed Nationals pitching otherwise, then took it on the throat from Papelbon in a disgraceful incident for which Papelbon got, essentially, a season-ending slap on the wrist.

Papelbon’s apology amplifies the Nationals’ unreality

Papelbon's choke attempt . . .

Papelbon’s choke attempt . . .

Jonathan Papelbon struggles with at least two things off the mound, apparently. He isn’t as good as he thinks with public apologies, and he’s no historian of Washington baseball. He showed both when he faced the press at the Nationals’ Space Coast Stadium spring digs and owned up over trying to choke Bryce Harper in the dugout on last September’s Fan Appreciation Day.

It may have been nothing compared to the Nats themselves showing how out of touch with things like reality they may well be.

Let the intrigues begin in earnest . . .

They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking:

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .