Baseball and the professoriat have never been strangers, and never will be. When they have met, the net results have offered delight and instruction at once. Most of the time. They have also produced intriguing consequences among the professoriat, not the least of which involved one (A. Bartlett Giamatti, Yale scholar—of Dante—and president in due course) becoming baseball’s commissioner, albeit too ill-fated, too soon.
Vicente Padilla still doesn’t get it. He didn’t get it as a starter; he doesn’t get it as a reliever. The problem is that one of his teammates is probably going to get it. Maybe in the back, maybe upside the head, certainly on Padilla’s dime, sooner or later. It’s happened before, to other teammates on other teams. It’ll happen again. And if it isn’t because of his propensity to hit batters, it might be because of his big mouth.
The designated hitter rule keeps Padilla from standing in at the plate, but if he should have to cover first base on a play don’t be surprised if the next Yankee to face him decides to plow him under the pad.