As of 16 March 2015 the question of whether Pete Rose should or will be reinstated to organised baseball became an official issue one more time. That was the date commissioner Rob Manfred announced he received a formal request for reinstatement from Rose himself. And Manfred was clear enough that nobody—Rose’s sympathisers and opponents included—should read anything deeper into that request or his receipt of it. Yet.
David Ortiz was one of the Red Sox players, however few they were, who didn’t join in, at once or pretty much ever, when Bobby Valentine’s divide-and-conquer managing and public relations style divided an injury-and-confidence wracked team and metastasised the toxins in a clubhouse still poisoned by the September 2011. And this is the thanks he gets?
Valentine sat for an interview with Bob Costas, of NBC, that aired Tuesday evening, and Valentine called Ortiz a quitter in every conceivable phrase that didn’t use the word explicitly.
Today, I’d rather think about Barry Larkin and Ron Santo going into the Hall of Fame, Tim McCarver going in as the Frick Award recipient, and Bob Elliott going in as the Spink Award recipient. Thank Murray Chass for putting that to one side for now. Chass, himself a Hall of Fame baseball writer (longtime New York Times reporter and columnist whose specialties included acute analyses of the business side of the game), has uncorked yet another in his periodic series which could be called “Valentine’s Day,” considering that Bobby Valentine has been a particular bete noire of Chass’s since Chass was still a Timesman and Valentine was the manager of the New York Mets.
. . . so let’s catch up on our reading a little bit, with the promise that I will have a few things to say about several of the following matters in the days to come:
* Essentially, the hapless Houston Astros were named as the team to be named later in the deal that sent the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League, with the Astros beginning American League play in 2013 as a condition for approving Jim Crane as the team’s new owner. We hope you can figure out a way to enjoy fifteen-team leagues, two more wild cards, and perhaps interleague play from Opening Day until the final regular season day. I’m not necessarily sure I can, even though I think Jayson Stark had a point when he wrote that among the scheduling headaches won’t be what he calls “trying to fit more postseason baseball into an already-overstuffed schedule.”
I’ve heard of a lot of baseball curses—from the Curse of the Bambino plaguing the Boston Red Sox until 2004 to the Curse of the Billy Goat that’s supposed to have plagued the Chicago Cubs since 1946 (tavern owner Sam Siamis was denied bringing his beloved goat into Wrigley Field, or some such thing)—but I’ve never heard of a curse tied to a baseball writer.
The Minnesota Twins and their fans may be tempted to change that. On 24 July, here is what Hall of Fame baseball writer Murray Chass (formerly of The New York Times, now writing for his own Website) wrote about the Twins returning to the thick of the American League Central hunt: