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Great New World

August 10, 2014

So I just got back from the USA. I may work some statistical tidbits into the blog (“one in four adult Americans outweighs the other three combined”) but I wanted to report a change in the fabric there I had not seen before.

Whatever my own loyalties (Let’s go Bucs! We miss you Cutch, you and Cheese Chester get back soon!) and opinions (Kevin Towers needs to be fired as Snakes’ GM) I was pleasantly surprised that everywhere I went across two timezones people were talking about Goldy’s broken hand and the cowardly retaliation on Cutch.

Those are perhaps the NL’s two marquee players (they are certainly both top-5) but they’re on small market teams and one of those teams, the Snakes, was already out of it in April. And yet in NYC, Dallas, and points in-between, this story was being discussed 4, 5 days after the fact. Every sports fan had seen it, every sports fan had an opinion, and some people said that they were thinking about it enough that their opinion was evolving over time.

Would this have happened 20 years ago, before everybody had the Internet and nearly everybody had ESPN? I doubt it. If you’re a sports fan, it’s a great time to be alive.

Extra Bags, Fire Kevin Towers Edition: I’m not even that upset that McCutchen was plunked. It was done the wrong way (wait for the ninth inning, 2nd and 3rd, really?) but the stat heads have pointed out that not only have the Bucs’ pitchers hit the most batters this year, each of their affiliates leads its own league. If you’re going to literally pitch inside systemically, you will invite revenge.

I am bothered by KT going on radio in the offseason and announcing that organizational policy will be “an eye for an eye”. It’s troubling that pitching coach Charles Nagy was actually fired for not teaching retaliation.

But never mind, almost: KT just isn’t that good as a GM. In a 14-year stretch with the Padres and now 4 years with the Diamondbacks, he’s had one successful season early in each stint and then coasted thereafter. OK, if you don’t have the Dodgers’ and Giants’ TV deals, it’s now hard to compete in the NL West, but that’s a recent phenomenon. As KT’s Padres time wound down, the only huge contracts the Giants had were a fading Barry Bonds and a floundering Barry Zito. The Dodgers were awful.

Whatever successes KT has had as GM is the blind squirrel finding occasional nuts. I might even try to find excuses for him if he wasn’t a scumbag, but he is, so there.

I understand it’s hypocritical of me to begrudge a guy whose injuries as a kid forced him to try to make a living not as an athlete but to reinvent himself as something else in sports. That’s KT. But he’s not especially good at it, and he’s a fucking bastard besides. Guy needs to go.




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