Jason Turbow is the author of The Baseball Codes (Pantheon, 2010), which NPR called "one of the all-time greats," and writes for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated, among other publications. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Noah Syndergaard started Game 3 of the World Series by going up and in to leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar. The Royals grew irate. Syndergaard later described it as trying to set tone. The Royals decried the action as misguided headhunting. Syndergaard said that anybody who has a problem with it “can meet me 60 feet, six inches away.”
Syndergaard was correct in his justification … and wrong in his execution.
It is a pitcher’s prerogative to prevent hitters from getting comfortab
They say that a poor workman blames his equipment after something goes wrong. On Tuesday, Johnny Cueto was as poor a workman as he has ever been, allowing six hits, four walks and eight earned runs over just two innings pitched. Afterward, he did the baseball equivalent of blaming his equipment.
As relayed by teammate Edinson Volquez, Cueto’s rationale for his meltdown had something to do with Toronto stealing signs, both from the basepaths and from the furthest reaches of t
Jose Bautista’s bat flip yesterday was so powerful as to obscure the wildest game many of us have ever seen. It has drawn endless opinions, many of which consisted of little more than the notion, “Wow, wasn’t that something?”—the hallmark of any sporting act powerful enough to draw the attention of the non-sporting public. Pure, visceral response to a pure, visceral moment.
It was something. And it was magnificent.
It was an all-world player at the peak of his powers, unleashi
#THIS. Joey Bat Flip. https://t.co/CO59JyFCsa
— MLB (@MLB) October 15, 2015
It wasn’t so much that Jose Bautista unleashed the pure-attitude king-hell mother of all bat flips during Game 5 Wednesday, it was that the Rangers took notice and Ken Rosenthal still saw fit to ask him about it afterward.
Wherever we’re going, I guess we’re not there yet.
The old-timers called it: On Saturday, Chase Utley played ball the old-fashioned way. Hard-nosed. Team-first. Selfless and aggressive and by the book.
What the old-timers fail to acknowledge is that the book has changed. Once, it was permissible to barrel roll into a fielder, back first, and knock him nearly into the outfield grass:
Via SB Nation
Once, a runner had to make no pretense about touching the base when hurling his body at a fie
Depending on one’s perspective, Tony Watson’s decision to drill Jake Arietta last night was either supremely rational or patently ludicrous, depending on which details you want to focus.
Watson’s Pirates were losing a do-or-die wild card game, the 4-0 score mattering far less than the fact that Arietta had meticulously dismantled their offense, batter by batter, pitch by pitch. The Pirates couldn’t touch him, and they knew it. This is a bad reason to throw a fastball at the opposing p
Ration won the day again.
Wednesday, Cleveland second baseman Jose Ramirez homered against the Twins, admired it for a long while, then flipped his bat in the direction of Minnesota’s dugout. This was noteworthy less for the flip itself—which by now has become somewhat commonplace among the big league ranks—than for the reaction from the Twins dugout. Manager Paul Molitor stood on the top step and told Ramirez to “get the fuck off the field.” Catcher Kurt Suzuki lurked along
At least one of baseball’s unwritten rules is time sensitive, broken out only in the final days or weeks of a season, primarily by managers of mediocre teams. It’s an issue of sportsmanship-based lineup construction, hinging on the fact that simply because your team has little to play for, the opposition isn’t necessarily in the same boat.
Which leads to differing points of view. Does a manager field his best players when facing teams still in the playoff hunt
Turns out that Jonathan Papelbon’s old-school-vs.-new-school emotional crisis last week was only the beginning. At least then he was hitting members of the opposition.
In the aftermath of his physical assault on Bryce Harper Sunday, caught on TV for all to see, we’re left to digest the complex implications of not only what happened, but why.
After Harper failed to run out trotted slowly to first on an eighth-inning popup to left field (but still plenty fast enough to
By their inherent nature, sports are built to promote the concepts of good guys and bad guys. It’s them-vs.-us in tribal glory, where the opponent is the enemy simply by dint of wearing the wrong colors. This is why when we are provided an actual heel—Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, John Rocker—we so revel in lambasting him.
The series of events that began on Wednesday with Jonathan Papelbon needlessly drilling Baltimore’s Manny Machado had all the makings for just such a scenario.