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:

You can’t (and shouldn’t) forget the ’86 Mets, no matter how hard you try

Hernandez---his 1983 arrival in trade began the build to the 1986 conquerors

Hernandez—his 1983 arrival in trade began the build to the 1986 conquerors

Their 30th anniversary seems to be more sober than an awful lot of the team was. But Allen Barra is right. Three decades ago, the New York Mets steamrolled the National League on the regular season, then wrung their way through to a World Series triumph the hard way, against a pair of tough enough teams from Houston and Boston. There was and remains nothing wrong with that. There was nothing like a pair of hair-raising postseason sets to remind people that even teams as good as those Mets have to work, good and hard, for their prizes.

They, Too, Shone On Brightly—For Awhile . . .

With the All-Star Game come and gone, you almost can’t help thinking of more once-upon-a-time comers, All-Stars and others, who didn’t—or couldn’t—quite live up to their earliest promise . . .

They didn’t come more bullheaded than Pistol Pete . . .

Pete Reiser—Pistol Pete (Reiser was hung with that nickname decades before it got hung on basketball legend Pete Maravich) won the National League batting title in his rookie season (1941) and damn near won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in his second season. He was a five-tool switch-hitter who had Brooklyn fans salivating, after Leo Durocher scotched an unscrupulous deal by which the Dodgers’ then-boss Larry MacPhail kept Reiser buried in their farm system before he could be returned to the St. Louis Cardinals, from whom he’d been liberated by commissioner’s edict.

A Writer Apologises to the Kid

It still takes a big man to say he thinks he stuck the needle into the wrong vein.

Jeff Pearlman, the Sports Illustrated writer who seems never to have met a controversial athlete he couldn’t analyse nigh unto death, is proving himself a very big man these days. The news that Gary Carter’s brain cancer has taken a far more grave turn, news his daughter (Kimmy Bloemers, Palm Beach Atlantic’s softball coach, where her father is baseball coach) disclosed several days ago, has prompted the author of The Bad Guys Won, his remarkable retrospective study of the 1986 Mets, to issue a prose prayer with a mea culpa tucked inside: