Well, shut my mouth. Way, way back a long time ago, in April when the flowers were just beginning to bloom, the ice was melting, and the rain perhaps beginning to subside, I dismissed the Pittsburgh Pirates as a team that did not look as though it was trying very hard to succeed. They had traded Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. They were still employing David Freese on a full time basis, they probably wouldn’t win 70 games and blah blah blah. After they got off to a hot start they slowly but surely faded and I smugly assured myself that, sad though it was, I had been correct. Whoops. They won eleven straight games, regained a pulse, and now look. They have traded for a solid, experienced 29 year old starting pitcher with strong character! Chris Archer came at quite a cost, since Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow remain in the vast potential category, but this should help, not only in the standings but also in the hearts and minds of faithful but sometimes skeptical followers. I stand corrected on wobbly knees.
That doesn’t mean that I’m going to change my calcified mind about the designated sitter. My spirit sank as I heard Tim Kurkjian on ESPN say that, in the 46th season since it was adopted by the American League, he was ready for major league baseball to add it to the National, or Superior, League in the interest of uniformity. Well, screw uniformity. Already they have homogenized the umpire crews and the foul (fair) lines and dismissed the league presidents for no good purpose at all. Okay, here is an argument that I haven’t used strongly enough previously but, damn it, now I’m mad. The San Francisco Giants, and I’m sure they are not alone, have a player on their roster who claims that he has never appeared in a batter’s box before, going all the way back to high school. Of course it is a pitcher. His name is Andrew Suarez, and this is maddening, disgusting information. If these bozos insist on having a designated sitter, it should only be permitted in the major leagues. The idea that we will tell teen aged ballplayers that they cannot learn to hit, or to field, or to run bases, or to bunt, or for that matter, to pitch goes against every good instinct that human beings possess. Besides that, it is stupid beyond comprehension. While I’m at it, let me foam at the mouth about training pitchers to be relievers! Balderdash! Everybody please let kids learn how to play ball or else quit wasting money taping PR spots that encourage them to “play ball” (but only how the coach says to play, and only to win, not learn). And now, we “build up arm strength” to 100 pitches, a magic number that is absurd. Harrumph!
Trade Deadline Head Scratchers: It’s nice to see the Phillies get Wilson Ramos back to the National League East, but shouldn’t Tampa Bay have gotten something in return? Hmm…Wasn’t Tommy Pham one of the Cardinals’ bright spots? What happened?
The Seattle Mariners have two more months to stop surprising us…here’s hoping they don’t.
What the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants have in common besides being .500 teams is a constant parade back and forth from the disabled list for too many players and a season long hope on the part of their fans that they will eventually catch fire and have a winning streak….doesn’t look like it is going to happen.