Let’s see. Just about the only thing to watch for Sunday is whether Giancarlo Stanton can meet, greet, and pass even by one the Roger Maris of 1961. Stanton has only to hit three bombs in today’s season-ender against the Braves to do it.
What’s next for the New York Mess (er, Mets)? Pitchers coming in from the bullpen in the Deathmobile? Hazing their rookies by sending them on a mass Food King shoplift? A toga party at second base? A food fight in the clubhouse? Welcome to Citi Field’s Animal House.
I’d better amend one of the foregoing. At the rate they’re going, three more Mets would be injured during the food fight, one of the rookies on the mass Food King shoplift would come up with a strained oblique, and another would suffer a shoulder separation firing the pistol at the rampaging horse.
Three decades ago, when Boys of Summer author Roger Kahn bought the minor league Utica Blue Sox, one of the first people he told was “my cherished Brooklyn Dodgers friend” Carl Furillo. “You? An owner?” Furillo replied in amazement. “You’ll be lucky if you don’t have two ulcers by Opening Day.”
Kahn sold the team after a year. But he was (and is) a writer. Players turning owners is almost as rare. The latest possibility may be Derek Jeter, who’s reported to be interested in becoming a major player in any push to buy the Miami Marlins.
You may or may not remember this, but the first time baseball heard of Jeffrey Loria in earnest, it had to do with the Orioles, in the early to mid 1990s, when then-owner Eli Jacobs decided he had no choice but to sell the team in order to raise cash. John Helyar in The Lords of The Realm told the unlikely story, worth revisiting in light of the news that Loria wants to sell the Marlins and stands to make billions from the sale, as if to prove failure is profit.
When Bryce Harper cracked on baseball needing to loosen up and have more fun, in a magazine profile published during spring training, he had players like Jose Fernandez on his mind as one of those who stood as evidence for the defense. Harper rather admired Fernandez’s ability not to take himself or the game so seriously that it became a job alone, an admiration that came slowly to others.
Shooting or brushing back the messenger is two things. One is bad form. The second is that, until or unless the message is demonstrably libelous or slanderous, it rarely works to the shooter’s advantage. It doesn’t keep people from trying. And it doesn’t keep those folks from looking foolish. (Donaldus Minimus, call your office. You too, Hilarious Rodent Clinton.)
For non-Miami Marlins fans, Tommy Hutton sounded too much like a homer. For the Marlins’ thin skinned administration, Hutton wasn’t homer enough. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
But if it makes Hutton feel any better, now that he’s been pinked by the Marlins, even Hall of Fame broadcasters have been fired for calling or reporting games and their atmospheres honestly. Hutton has only to look at Tim McCarver and, well before him, Red Barber. He’s joining some pretty elite company.
Spending at at least a year and a half as the subject of trade speculation, while insisting he really didn’t want to leave Denver, Troy Tulowitzki—swapped to the Blue Jays this week, for former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes—says he was blindsided almost completely by the deal. Apparently, he had a gentleman’s agreement with Rockies owner Dick Monfort that he wouldn’t be dealt without his prior knowledge and approval. Until he didn’t, of course.
One minute Giancarlo Stanton managed to get back ahead of Nori Aoki in the National League All-Star voting. The next, he was gone, for four to six weeks and maybe more, thanks to a hamate bone fracture in his left hand. This is just what the Marlins don’t need in a year in which they were trying to build on 2014′s fifteen-game improvement.
After the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the 1953 World Series, manager Charlie Dressen asked for a three-year contract. Owner Walter O’Malley demurred, reminding anyone who would listen, “The Dodgers have paid more men not to manage than any other club.” Egged on by his wife, who was said to have written O’Malley a letter demanding a multi-year deal for her husband, Dressen rejoined, “My wife and I got to have security.”