One of the benefits of the White Sox traveling to Boston -- aside from the fact that I can see them -- is that David Laurila of FanGraphs usually comes away with something for us to read. That's where he's based, so he catches up with other teams when they play the Red Sox.
Sure enough, in his Sunday notes, he talked to Tyler Flowers about Chris Sale's pitch mix, and it kinda sounds terrifying:
Flowers on Sale’s four-seam fastball: "He’ll throw one that sinks and then he’ll throw it again, at 97 mph, and it will cut. Then he’ll throw one that’s straight as an arrow. He just throws the ball and it comes out different ways. Maybe he tries to manipulate it a little. If I really want a two-seamer, I’ll call it, but I rarely do. I just let him throw his four and it does what it does."
He also talked to Jeff Samardzija about the role pitching coaches play in his potential destination:
Samardzija doesn’t expect that to happen very often. He considers himself "a pretty low-maintenance guy" and prefers pitching coaches who are hands-on only when needed. He cited Chris Bosio and Curt Young as previous mentors who were "big stand-and-watch guys," who "mostly talked about how to approach hitters."
I can't tell if Don Cooper is purposefully omitted, or if Samardzija was just retracing some history.
- Toronto Blue Jays beat Kansas City Royals in heated game that saw beanballs, ejections and bench-clearing scuffle -- National Post
- ‘He was crying like a baby’: Tempers flare as Royals lose to Blue Jays 5-2 -- The Kansas City Star
It's easy to blame the Royals for yet another incident with a new opponent. Edinson Volquez was particularly remarkable after the game, both failing at big-timing Josh Donaldson while complaining about how he celebrates home runs (Volquez pitches for the team with the home run welcome wagon, mind you).
But really, umpire Jim Wolf couldn't have mismanaged this game more spectacularly. He gave a premature warning, then only enforced it against the team that didn't draw it.
- 10 Degrees: The Mets are on fire and trying to validate themselves, like so many others - Yahoo Sports
Speaking of failed attempts at big-timing, Yordano Ventura called Jose Bautista a "nobody." Twice. These guys.
Nancy Faust has been retired for nearly five years, but her legacy lives on in the form of walk-up songs for hitters. She doesn't care for the form it's taken, though:
But then came walk-up music as we now know it. Faust said she was approached by a member of the White Sox’ marketing department, who told her that the Cleveland Indians had begun letting players choose their own walk-up songs.
What ensued was that she would play walk-up music for opponents, while a stadium D.J. would control the songs for White Sox players.
This new approach, she said, eliminated spontaneity, and maybe enthusiasm. "If you have momentum going, and you’ve got three guys on base and the next guy comes up to bat, and you’ve got the fans going crazy — and it all stops to listen to what I might liken to a musical selfie?" Faust said. "It just stops the momentum. And then you’ve got to hope you can get it going again."
Melky Cabrera had a reputation for being an effervescent sort, but he waited until he started hitting to establish the identity with the White Sox, either in the clubhouse or on the field. Doug Padilla explained what's going on besides the stirring when Cabrera and others reach base:
[Carlos] Sanchez came clean Sunday saying his baby-rocking gesture is in reference to his young son. "He’s too young right now to understand that, but it’s something I love to do," Sanchez said through an interpreter.
Cabrera’s airplane wings are said to be in reference to third-base coach Joe McEwing, who stretches his arms out wide when signaling to players on base how many outs there are in the inning.
When the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that it was changing its electorate to remove writers who were more than 10 years removed from active status in the BBWAA, the Tribune's Philip Hersh was one of the first writers who I'd hoped the new criteria would eliminate him because of this:
I have a ballot because I covered baseball for nearly 20 years. And I'm keeping it just to vote against the druggies.— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) November 28, 2012
What's perfect about his farewell to voting column is that it unintentionally illustrates why the Hall of Fame needed to take this measure:
My only regret in losing the vote now is not having a further voice in shutting that crowd out of Cooperstown until their 15 years of eligibility is over. One can only hope that 26 percent of the 520 or so remaining voters will continue to bar the door.
They only have 10 years of eligibility now. Way to keep up with the times.