I haven’t been ranting a lot lately, as when it comes to this time of year it’s nice to talk about opportunities – as in playoff opportunities, award opportunities and in the case of my Boston Red Sox, opportunities for off-season make overs! However, a couple stories caught my attention this past week that really rattled me and had me feeling bitchy and reaching for my pen. Get at me on Twitter with what’s been annoying you in the baseball world @simplemanbrook
1) Sports Illustrated cover jinxes the Houston Astros. No, no it doesn’t. Poor management, poor scouting and poor decision making have made the Astros beyond a joke this summer. The scary thing is, I’m not talking about their bottom feeding record on the field, I’m talking about how they butchered their draft. SI praised the Astros for their innovative, stats driven, forward thinking approach to running their team, loosely proclaiming them as possible 2017 World Series contenders. That contention took a big kick after the draft. Blessed with the first overall pick they took standout pitching prospect Brady Aiken. Then after claiming they discovered an abnormality in his throwing elbow gave him a low ball offer for a 1st overall pick which he angrily refused. They couldn’t reconcile and for only the 3rd time ever the first overall pick went unsigned. Brutal. Absolutely brutal. Turns out they were just getting started as they butchered a potential relationship with their 5th round pick Jacob Nix. With an apparent verbal offer signing bonus of $1.5 million on the table, the Astros had a change of heart and refused to honour it. To the astonishment to no one, the kid was pissed about this ‘gotch ya’. Now they’re facing more than just an embarrassing and lackluster performance on and off the field from a baseball standpoint, as the MLBPA has filed a grievance on Nix’s behalf for the dispute over the apparent signing bonus. I hope these jokers have to pay.
2) Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire gets ejected over a dirty look. Alright, he did more than that, but not a lot more. In a recent game against the Kansas City Royals, Gardenhire stretched his lead for ejections amongst active managers when he got sent to the showers early for the 72nd time. Except this time when he was tossed he hadn’t even been in the game long enough to break a sweat! In the bottom of the 1st inning with Twins franchise player Joe Mauer at the plate, Gardenhire came out to argue a disputed foul tip. In a 3-2 count, Mauer swung at the pay off pitch and tipped it into Royal’s catcher Salvador Perez’s mitt for the strikeout. The problem was Mauer was adamant that the foul tip hit the dirt, negating the strikeout, before Perez caught the ball. Gardenhire trusting his veteran came out to argue the call. The Twins manager asked home plate umpire Chris Segal to check the ball for dirt marks as proof of it hitting the ground – a fairly innocent and logical request. To be fair Gardenhire was fairly animated but this is all on Chris Segal for being a Sensitive Sally. It’s the 1st inning – it’s not as if he and the Twin’s manager had been bantering for 3 hours of baseball, or that Gardenhire had abused him verbally or physically. Segal wasn’t being shown up by some no name rookie manager – Gardenhire has been around FOREVER and is respected around the league. This is professional baseball, these are paid umpires, they need to be able to take some questioning from time to time. Don’t get me wrong a good ejection can be good for TV and is a bit of a throw back to the old days of Earl Weaver or Billy Martin shenanigans, but come on Chris, put your big boy pants on and suck it up – Gardenhire did not deserve to be tossed here.
Photo Credit: cbssports.com