Today is a time to remind ourselves that no matter how important baseball -- and all of the silly things that get wrapped up in it -- may seem, it's just a game. This is a time to honor our veterans, and to remember those who have died in the service of our country.
As a liberal intellectual, it can be tempting to scoff at the phrase "defending freedom" and many of the other descriptions given to what the armed forces do, but that's a viewpoint born of privilege. I'm the grandson of Polish immigrants who knew firsthand the horrors of both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, and I've never met anyone else as proudly American nor as truthfully thankful. They remind me that those who have died did so, at least in the big picture, for a the most worthy of reasons.
So today, as you enjoy the beginning of Summer, give thanks. If you are a veteran and need help, here are a collection of resources for you. And if you want to get involved, helping our nation's veterans, here are some ways to do so, from supporting active-duty troops and veterans, to helping the wounded rebuild their lives, and supporting the families of those who have died.
Baseball (Sort Of)
It's fun to compare accounts of yesterday's benches-clearing incident from the Boston Globe and the Tampa Bay Times. This is about as Rashomon as we can get. In their version, Yunel Escobar is the clear instigator, and David Ross doesn't get mentioned at all until the bottom half. In fact, Escobar's eye-black is mentioned before Ross's involvement. Jonny Gomes is represented the same in both, though:
"I'm not one to have an arguing match with anyone," Gomes said. "What really has to be said? I figured a hands-on approach was a little more appropriate."
It's also kind of fun that the Red Sox bench coach, Torey Lovoullo was saying that they certainly wouldn't have run in that situation at the same time that Joe Maddon was pointing out that the Sox had done exactly that against the Rays, just last year.
Max Scherzer, R.A. Dickey, and David Laurila had a good discussion of pitch counts. To quote from the article:
"Could I get conditioned for 200 pitches? Yes, I think I could," said Scherzer. "But my per-pitch intensity would have to be less than where I’m at right now. I don’t think there’s any way [Marichal and Spahn] were throwing 95 [mph] and their effort level had to have been lower. So yes, some pitchers today could do it, but with less intensity."
Matthew Murphy at The Hardball Times completes his series on the value of draft picks.
We'll be getting in on the fun some more soon, but for now, Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball has you covered on all things MLB draft.