On the love of baseball and eating alone.
The Astros fired Rusty Pendergrass this morning. They told him he’d missed on too many players. He’s the scout who signed Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist and would have signed Drew Stubbs if Drayton McLane hadn’t reneged on the offer. He’s maybe the hardest-working man I’ve known and loved the Astros more than 90 percent of the current employees at Minute Maid Park. […]
Scouts are the lifeblood of a good baseball organization. Yet scouting is where some franchises — the dumb franchises — cut corners. At the end of each season, many scouts have no idea if they’ll be rehired. When attendance dips or big league salaries rise, owners whack the scouting budgets. They think nothing of throwing $2 million at a mediocre pitcher, then cutting a scout making $50,000.
A sad but excellent feature on journeyman baseball player Reggie Willits, now 30-years old and playing in the minor leagues with kids almost half his age.
For every familiar leading man like Torii Hunter, the Angels’ right fielder who is guaranteed $18 million a season for five years, there are dozens of bit players like [Reggie] Willits whose survival depends on a mastery of nuances such as bunting, pinch running or being a step quicker on defense.
The stars have job security, but the reserves are always looking over their shoulder, agonizing over every mistake and hoping management doesn’t find a younger or cheaper alternative.
Jeff Pearlman waxes nostalgic about the beat and Jorge Posada:
[To] cap off my all-time favorite routine, we (the press) asked the Yankees whether this would be a distraction. “This” is supposed to be, on the surface, Posada asking out of the lineup. But “this,” in actuality, is us asking and asking and asking whether it’ll be a distraction. In other words, it’s the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy: By asking whether it’s a distraction, we’ve created a distraction. Love it!
To say I hate this shit is an understatement. I loathe this shit. Loathe it, loathe it, loathe it. When I was at SI, and an editor told me I had to report on such garbage, I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. It’s like we’re really bored with our own lives, and we need to be entertained by the misdeeds of others.
Amen, Jeff Pearlman. Amen.
One of the biggest problems with the lameness of sports crowds these days are corporations swooping down, purchasing enormous swaths of tickets, then using them to impress clients. The result is an audible yawn: Indifferent folks hogging up the best seats, sipping their luxury ale through a straw while complaining about the steak that just cost the company $40 (write off). What stadiums lack—especially in the good seats—are fans who care. Who scream. Who yell. Who roar. Who live and die with an at-bat. With a pitch. The upper decks of stadiums have become ghettos for working-class fans; the last places they’re allowed to be.