I've spent a fair amount of time this season criticizing the pairing of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone, so it's only fair to highlight a moment between them from Tuesday that I really enjoyed.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Harrelson broached the topic of draft position, which is something the booth hasn't discussed as much as much as one would expect.
Harrelson: I know there are a lot of people who hope that we don't win many games over the last six because of the draft situation. I am not of that ilk. [pause] What's your position on it?
Often times when Harrelson asks Stone a question, he has a specific answer in mind. This time, it sounded like an honest inquiry. Either that, or Stone did not give Harrelson the answer he attempted to extract:
Stone: I'd like to see us get the third pick in the draft.
Harrelson started laughing, with an "OK..." in the middle of it. Stone managed to catch Harrelson off guard, resulting in a rare spontaneous reaction. Stone continued:
Stone: That being said, as long as both you and I played, I have never seen one game where the man who went to the mound, or the hitter at bat, has done anything but either try to beat you or get a hit against you.
Harrelson: Me either. I've never seen a ballplayer playing a game that didn't want to win it.
Stone: Nope. You go out there on the mound, you don't care what the situation is -- you could lose 110 games -- but you go out there that night or that day, you're going to give it everything you have.
Stone: And the same thing with managers. There are no managers that manage a game to lose. They manage a game to win. They might not have the horses and they might not win many, but on any given night, they're going to manage to the best of their ability to put their team in a position to win. That is the integrity of the game.
Stone: That being said, boy, I'd love that third pick.
The inning ended, but after Harrelson set up the first at-bat of the bottom of the fifth and gave a promotional read, he revisited what Stone said.
Harrelson: Let me see if there's anything else I can ask you that you can dance around.
Stone: I thought that was pretty good. [laughing]
Harrelson: Yeah, you did a good job. [laughing] You did a good job.
Stone: Very diplomatic!
Harrelson: Yeah it was!
A Hector Santiago throwing error on a Michael Bourn nubber, followed by a close call and replay at second, brought a natural close to the thread. It was a nice exchange of ideas, one where Stone was up for disagreeing, and Harrelson paid audible attention
t's a shame it's at the end of the season, but this is the kind of territory they might have to explore more next season, especially if it's anywhere near as dour as 2013. Fresh topics could go a long way into keeping them from being closed off. As would a National League refresher course.
- Video: Benches clear after Gomez goes deep -- MLB.com
- Top 10 Carlos Gomez Crazy Faces - Baseball Nation
If you didn't see it, you're going to want to see it, because a lot of people who have seen a lot of baseball can't remember seeing something like this. In Wednesday's Brewers-Braves game, Carlos Gomez crushed a homer off Paul Maholm, and really enjoyed hitting the homer. He admired the hell out of it as revenge for a plunking a couple months ago, and that pissed off the Braves, who seem to have appointed themselves the Guardians of Baseball.
Anyway, Brian McCann met Gomez before he got to the plate. They started jawing at each other, and as the benches cleared, Reed Johnson made the boldest move to punch Gomez, which started a group shoving. Gomez never touched the plate and was ejected, but the run still counted.
Grant Brisbee did the important work of going through the video in search of the most notable freeze frames, and he's a fan of the unwritten rules, so he should have something good today.
- Sale supports Scherzer for Cy Young Award -- whitesox.com
- Max Scherzer can't allow three runs if he wants the AL Cy Young - Baseball Nation
Even by A.J. Pierzynski's standards, the stalwart catcher is not walking this season. He's drawn just 11 walks in 509 plate appearances, including three in 58 second-half games. He's swinging at 60 percent of pitches this year, and so Jeff Sullivan was curious about the most consecutive pitches Pierzynski swung at this year. The answer: 14, eight of which were probably to definitely out of the strike zone.
- The Lineup Card: Nine of Our Favorite Moments Involving Retiring Players -- Baseball Prospectus
- Video: Helton homers in final game at Coors -- MLB.com
Among the noteworthy impending retirements this year, Mark Kotsay's stands out. Despite a long stretch of unremarkable play, he managed to wind down his career mostly on his terms. Then there's Todd Helton, who homered in his last game at Coors Field.
- Adam Dunn not going anywhere - chicagotribune.com
- Dunn: Please no ‘ambush’ if Sox don’t want him back - Chicago Sun-Times
I don't think Dunn needs to worry about being traded this offseason -- 53 strikeouts over 104 at-bats offers a lot of protection in that regard -- but I also don't think he's in a position to ask for favors. Also, Rick Hahn says talk of platooning Dunn is premature, mostly because of the number of non-locked-down roster spots means that the personnel questions can't be that specific.
Hector Santiago looks back on his season and says that he needs to get stronger in order to handle a full season's workload, and he needs to improve his command. The problems are related.
Erik Johnson and Marcus Semien were teammates at Cal when the university threatened to cut the baseball program. Scot Gregor talked to their college coach, David Esquer, about their history and progress.
Speaking of players who can save the White Sox, here's your Jose Abreu update.