August 26, 2013
What You Need to Know
Roy Halladay Returns
I Love Good, Bad Baseball
It gives me faith in humanity, in an Us Weekly, “Stars Are Just Like Us” kind of way, that big leaguers have a similar mentality late in the summer, especially in extra innings. In 2013, the Mets alone have played 17 extra-inning games, five of which went at least 13 innings, and as the season has gone on the players have gotten progressively less enthusiastic. Take a look at this photo montage from Newsday; watch as the photos go from, “Hey, we just won! Hooray!” to “Hey, nice win, guys,” to “Seriously, sunflower seeds?” and finally, “Screw this, I’m getting myself tossed in the 10th.”
Last night, while the Dodgers and Red Sox were starting a relatively important, nationally televised game on ESPN, the Cubs and Padres, two not very good teams playing for not very clear reasons, were doing their very best to send everyone home in time to get on with their lives. They failed: neither team scored before the Cubs put up two runs in the 12th, but Kevin Gregg blew the save in the bottom half. The Padres ended up winning on a Nick Hundley walk-off single after five hours and 13 minutes, and I think a lot of us reacted the same way.
But again, none of that is important. What’s important is the journey, and the ensuing comedy when you realize it doesn’t matter how many millions of dollars these guys make, they’d still like to get the heck out of here, thank you very much. Throughout extra frames, both benches looked better suited for chaise lounges. Gregg, whose wild pitch scored Ronny Cedeno with the tying run in the 12th, had the look of a man who waited all afternoon at the DMV only to be told he was in the wrong line. I don’t blame him. Complaining about millionaire pro athletes has been de rigeur since time immemorial, but we all know what it’s like to want to head home after an especially long day at the office.
Halladay Wins in Return
Halladay earns $20 million dollars this year, as he did in each of the last two seasons, and yet it’s not too extreme to say that he’s auditioning for a 2014 big-league rotation spot. His decline has been so precipitous—and his velocity along with it—that no team would make a significant commitment to him without some honest-to-goodness results. He could age gracefully a la Maddux, Glavine, and Moyer, or he could go from $20 million to NRI.
What to Watch for Monday