Sunday afternoon’s 13-inning, 4-3 loss to the Mariners could probably be argued for as the worst of 2013, but it has a lot less to do with the way the game ended, and more with the effect it has moving forward.
– Nick Tepesch pitched a very strong game that, sans one mistake to Kendrys Morales, could have looked very good. He wound up going 5.2 IP, surrendering 2 runs (both on a two-run Morales HR) on 5 hits, striking out 6 Mariner hitters. The rest of the game belonged to 7 Ranger relievers, who combined to throw 7.0 innings of 2-run baseball, which included Joe Nathan‘s first blown save of the year (on a Raul Ibanez HR in the 10th), and a walk-off BABIP single off the fists of Jason Bay.
Overall, it was a pretty well-pitched game to conclude a mostly well-pitched series in Seattle, but it’s unfortunate the Rangers couldn’t manage a sweep in a game they should have won, particularly with how well Oakland (-4.5 games) and Anaheim (-9.0 games) have been playing of late.
– Jurickson Profar hit his 1st homer of 2013 in his first ever game batting in the leadoff spot.
– Tomorrow, the Rangers have a double-header in Arizona, which will feature Yu Darvish in game 1, Martin Perez making his 2013 debut in game 2, and an exhausted bullpen. Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan all pitched multiple games in Seattle, with Nathan making an appearance in all 3 games. So if ever Yu Darvish was going to have an economical 8-inning start, it would be tomorrow afternoon.
I assume by the time tomorrow’s game is underway the Rangers will have made some sort of roster transaction to bring up a fresh arm, which I imagine will involve Nick Tepesch being optioned to Round Rock for 10 days.
– In a strange scheduling twist in 2013, the Rangers play two in Arizona tomorrow before getting the day off on Tuesday, then head home to play two more against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday and Thursday. Aside the playoffs I can’t recall another time the Rangers had a home-and-home series.
* * *
In the bottom of the 5th inning, with two outs, manager Ron Washington paid a visit to his rookie starting pitcher, Nick Tepesch, after he surrendered a base on balls to the Mariners’ 8th-place hitter, Jesus Sucre. Okay.
This prompted Dallas Morning News writer Evan Grant — who I’m sure most of you are familiar with — to Tweet, “Wash on the way to mound for Nick Tepesch’s first teaching moment,” to which I responded accordingly:
In my rational mind, I rarely regret when I call a spade a spade. If my convictions are justified, then I can accept any subsequent criticism that results. I’m not the type of person aiming to aggressively insult someone whenever I have an opening to, but at the same time, places like the Twitterverse are one gigantic free-for-all, and if your words, thoughts, or opinions are exposed to the public, they are inevitably subject to scrutiny.
So even though my goal in this instance was not to troll Evan Grant, what I said still must have struck some sort of chord within his mind, which bled into this next sequence:
All right. For starters, my use of #narrative wasn’t a “shot,” as Evan put it. I’m sure he wishes he had intelligent fans who took legitimate shots at him — you know, because he’s such a big shot — but my “shot” was only a squirt-gun kind of shot. It was lazy, punchless, but still obvious enough for Evan Grant to comprehend.
Secondly, my usage of Michael Young was not to straw-man an argument at his expense, it was to show him a specific example of how his narrative-driven world directly opposes reality. This is researchable. If you can look back and find something negative Evan Grant has said about Michael Young since 2008, then kudos to you. My bet is it will take you a long time, because Grant’s world is subjective, and in the battle of the haves vs. the have nots, Mikey Young is infallible.
At that point, I felt like I had said all I needed to, which was really to say, “Hey, Evan, stick to the facts, knock it off with so much storytelling.”
But he didn’t want to drop it, so he continued on, and so I responded. Again:
This is the point of the story where Evan Grant can’t win, because how is he supposed to respond to a fan — someone a decade-plus behind him in the world of writing — who accuses him of being the troll? If he responds, he confirms that he is, in fact, a troll, and if he doesn’t respond he’s submitting defeat to the aforementioned punk, who in this instance is me. Kind of. Even though it was not my intention.
Still, because it’s Twitter, and because people can go back and read shit that was previously posted, I did have a little bit of backup, as someone decided to dig a little deeper in the Evan Grant love fest of Michael Young:
As you see, I’m not the only person out there with a memory. In 2011 Evan Grant issued one of the more egregious 1st-place MVP votes — to Michael Young — which apparently he thinks is totally reasonable. For the record, according to FanGraphs, Young ranked 8th on his own team in fWAR (+3.3) in 2011.
The point I was trying to make with Mr. Grant was simple: Stop using the stories as trump cards over what’s actually happening. A “teaching moment” is less important than the fact that Nick Tepesch got out of the inning. A player generating positive production will win out against someone who is great in the clubhouse.
He does have a point, however. Sometimes humans do respond to humans.
This also, though, is acknowledging the fact that humans invented computers, and in 2013 baseball is driven by what the computers tell them. The reason things like numbers and metrics are in existence is to take the subjectivity out of what a player essentially is.
Evan Grant’s job is to generate a buzz — whether people love him or hate him — so that more people will subscribe to his articles. I understand that, and I don’t at all hold that against him.
But being that he has such a platform, I think he is as fair game as anyone to defend the things he says. If you want to use a fine-tooth comb on what I’ve written in the past, I’ll have no problem saying the same thing:
“That is what I felt was right at the time, and here are my reasons why . . . ”
Grant, on the other hand, says things that stand on very flimsy ground, so when I came in and checked him on it, all of a sudden it made me the bad guy. He went straight into defense mode because he couldn’t substantiate his opinions.
In the subjective fantasy world of Evan Grant, perhaps he has some sort of perspective that mere peons like myself simply cannot fathom. All I know is what’s real. That’s the world I live in.
Then again, maybe I’m just an asshole. I guess it’s up to you to decide.