If the All-Star rosters were announced today, which as far as I know they are not, then there would be a good chance that Eduardo Escobar would be one of, if not the only, position player representative from the Diamondbacks (David Peralta health non-withstanding, shut up, this is my column.) Taking advantage of a barren free agent market and locking him up after acquiring him from the Twins last year was probably the savviest move of the Diamondbacks offseason.
For a team that has, let’s be honest, a mediocre at best offense and is dealing with a near-historical Mets level of injuries, Escobar is almost single-handedly keeping things from getting a lot worse. He leads the team in Homers, RBI, Slugging, OPS, OPS+, probably OPS- if that was a thing,
Even in underwhelming seasons, there’s usually something to hang your hat on. In 2004, it was Randy’s perfect game. In 2009, it was Mark Reynolds evolving beyond Rob Deer 2.0 for a brief time. If this season keeps going sideways, we can look at Eduardo Escobar and nod in agreement that it was pretty darn good.
The debate about extended netting came up earlier this week when the Cubs Albert Almora Jr. hit a screaming line drive that injured a child in the stands at Minute Maid Park. The scene was haunting. Especially when Almora broke down and cried in the arms of a security guard. It seems Baseball players are united that protective netting needs to be extended, because they have firsthand knowledge of how hard they can hit the ball.
Opposite them in that debate are, quite frankly, the worst f****** people on the planet. “YOU SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GAME!!!!” they’ll inevitably yell. This isn’t a straw man, this is like real people in the twitter mentions of anyone who suggests that. It’s a group of people who think that their perceived inconvenience is somehow more important than the safety of everyone around them, and it’s their fault other people didn’t dodge a foul line drive that came 100+ MPH off the bat. For some reason, because this is a go-to slam against younger people because baby boomers only have two jokes they repeat ad-naseum, they always assume they’re on their phone.
I assume that most of you reading this have been to a baseball game live and in-person. It is supremely impossible to always be laser-focused on the batter on every pitch. Stadiums shove a lot of flashing lights, sounds, food, other people by you talking, etc into your face that you’d have to be some kind of robot to never be distracted by something.
And even then... why would you only want to watch the batter during a game? An awesome thing about going to games in-person is that you can see things they don’t show on TV. You can watch the coaches position an infield and outfield defense in real time. You can see how outfielders get a jump on balls before the TV cameras cut to them. You can see all the between innings movements and rituals. Maybe you’re interested in whatever random factoid is on the scoreboard for the current batter, or what visiting city landmarks they use as the background for the headshot of an opposing player.
I remember going to a game against the Pirates in April of 2016. That game went into extras and had Shelby Miller in Left Field because of ejections, but my most visceral memories of that game were being able to hang out with a friend for a few hours at a game, and the people behind us talking about the most random crap, including going from their love of a department store to being mad Will Muschamp got hired at South Carolina. Baseball games are there to primarily watch the game, but they are foremost an experience, and not a dark cathedral where you must always be hyper-focused.
There’s a lot to take in, and you should, and that will sometimes require not looking at a pitch when it’s coming. I’ve never complained about sitting behind netting because your eyes quickly get used to it, and you can still see the game fine. Extend it, don’t listen to people who whine about it. If you do hear someone whine about it at a game, immediately get on your phone and take a selfie with a dog-ear filter on it. That’ll really cheese them.
Really, though, the cycle of netting goes as follows:
1. Team announces they’re extending the netting
2. A bunch of people with usernames like @GilHodgesWasBetterThanIchiro whine about the decline of America because of it
3. Netting Installed
4. Nothing happens after that because it’s always fine
So yeah, complaining about what you think is an obstructed view is not more important than preventing an injury or worse. If that’s you I have the following words: STOP WHINING YOU SELFISH ENTITLED DIPS***.
To put it mildly.
So it’s the last Friday of the Month, and I’ve been wanting to do Twitter mailbag columns for those ones, to change things up. So I asked for some via the @AzSnakepit twitter account and...
Got one question.
I get that typing one or two sentences is extremely taxing, but yeesh people. I am going to answer that question, and try again next month because I don’t know when to quit. That’s why I’ve been around here for a decade.
Def a step back during this series . What changes do you see coming for the bullpen in the coming weeks ?— Michael M. (@Michaelazrn77) May 31, 2019
The thing with bullpens is that barring major trades and whatnot, you’re kinda stuck with the group you have on the 40-Man roster. They can also be extremely volatile, so a group that’s solid through one month can meltdown in another, then rebound the one after that.
The Diamondbacks are kind of stuck with what they got. Whether that’s a failure of the front office to anticipate that in the offseason, or just a bunch of bad regression hitting all at once, who knows. It kind of is what it is. You can throw guys in different roles, but that is an almost literal rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. You just gotta hope someone figures it out and can be relied upon for a stretch.
Gonna close with it being Women’s College World Series and just wanting to say Go Cats. A championship in an unrelated sport would further validate my degree. Bear Down!