I’ve long thought that the best thing for Congress would be far more non-political interaction. People whose natural posture so often leads members of both sides to put special interests and partisan politics above the greater good, and to demonize each other in ludicrous and hyperbolic fashion, would do well to be forced to interact more outside of politics.
Frankly, the way the American political landscape looks in recent years, heck, recent decades, a Battle of the Congressional All-Stars-type Olympiad, or putting members of either side on a deserted island, Survivor-style, and forcing them to work together, might be the best thing for them. Alas, only baseball can, at least temporarily, bridge some of these divides.
The horrific shooting at the Republican team practice for the Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday could have been far more tragic. Fortunately, brave intervention by Capitol Hill police prevented anything worse. And, for the moment, an opportunity to come together has emerged as politicians of both sides have, at least roughly, adopted a tone of support and modest comity. Would that it could last.
In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who suffered multiple wounds and remains in critical condition. Three other attendees were also shot, including one of the Capitol Hill police officers who took down the gunman.
1. The Congressional Baseball Game was a bipartisan effort to support three DC charities. Regardless of politics, please give. Links here...— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) June 14, 2017
In the aftermath of the shooting, Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the long history of the bipartisan classic.
Tigers at the crossroads
Once again a piece of the Tigers’ puzzle fell into place last night, while another part hung them out to dry. Wednesday night the pitching was superb. The bats? Close but no cigar. Apart from several warning track fly balls on a night when the wind was blowing into home plate, the offense was quiet. The loss leaves the Tigers at 2-6 over their past three series. The abyss beckons.
Or doesn’t. Despite the Tigers’ struggles, the American League refuses to sort itself out. Like a pack huddling together to protect itself from the ravenous Houston Astros, all but two teams remain within three games of the final wild card. Still, the Tigers, at 30-34 after Wednesday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, are hanging on by their last claw.
The bright spot, is that Jordan Zimmermann appears to have fought his way back into form. The veteran right-hander holds a 2.25 ERA and 3.13 FIP over three June starts. His eight inning outing against the Diamondbacks was his deepest start since June 19 of last year. Should he and Justin Verlander get on a roll, this team could continue to be
incredibly frustrating in contention well into July. It would be very Tigers to make the decision to sell as difficult as possible.
David Laurila at FanGraphs interviewed manager Brad Ausmus last week, and compiled some of Ausmus’ thoughts on metrics, analytics and the realities of managing in real-time. Our own Jacob Markle broke down some of the Tigers further picks in the draft. Tony Paul picks it up beyond the 10th round for the Detroit News as the Tigers’ drafted Blake Bortles’ brother and the usual supply of filler. Hopefully a few of of these guys have a bit of upside.
Alex Spectrum runs a post-mortem on the MLB draft and the inability of the league to turn it into the kind of spectacle that football and basketball provide. Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs has a proposal to schedule the whole thing more effectively, taking into account the NCAA tournament. Eric Longenhagen continues to provide excellent perspective on the later round picks for FanGraphs.
Should they sell or should they go now?
RO Baseball takes a look at the end of the Kansas City Royals’ run and how they can approach the trade deadline. On the other end of the spectrum, the Washington Nationals are rolling but their bullpen remains a disaster. John Larue of Hardball Times takes a look at all 30 teams and which team from the past they most resemble in 2017.
Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics has been a mystery bag the past few seasons, but remains a potential trade target for teams at the deadline. That’s not even taking account the variety of grips he uses or how hard his stuff can be to classify. It’s a tough market generally for teams looking for starting pitching, as Ken Rosenthal reports.
Odds and ends
The Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez show in New York is getting a ton of support from an unlikely source.
Warbird takes flight.