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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Schoenfield: What will Adam Greenberg do tonight?

In his newsletter today (subscribe here), Joe Sheehan writes:

Sports, and especially the best sport there is, should be a meritocracy. When you buy a ticket to see a ballgame, you should expect to get the highest level of play that the teams can give you. Sometimes that means the 2001 Mariners, and sometimes that means the September 2012 Red Sox, but there should never be any question that the guys on the field are the best that were available to those teams on that day. Giving away roster spots and at-bats in the interest of ginning up goodwill is an affront to the men who, even as I write this, are in a weight room or a batting cage or an agent’s office, doing anything they can to earn that which, sometime tonight, is being gifted. It’s not right. Baseball shouldn’t be a sideshow, despite the best efforts of the game’s administration to make it one.

... By the way, only in America: Vegas has posted odds on Greenberg’s result. From Bovada.lv:

Strikeout, 7/5
Groundout, 11/4
Air out, 7/2
Single, 4/1
Walk/HBP, 5/1
Double/triple, 10/1
Home run, 50/1

The District Attorney Posted: October 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: adam greenberg, joe sheehan, marlins

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4251815)
Giving away roster spots and at-bats in the interest of ginning up goodwill is an affront to the men who, even as I write this, are in a weight room or a batting cage or an agent’s office, doing anything they can to earn that which, sometime tonight, is being gifted.


I think this Greenberg thing was very silly, but honestly, do you think that the Marlins were all pissed about this? I really doubt it. The fans certainly enjoyed it.
   2. flournoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4251854)
I have to imagine that there are some AAA types in the Marlins' organization who are unhappy that this guy was given big league time as a publicity stunt, when they've been unable to get it themselves.
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4251898)
A three pitch strikeout? We waited all this time for that? Billy Crystal did better when he got a spring training at bat versus the Pirates.

Whatever. Please do not turn baseball into a version of "Make A Wish".
   4. John Northey Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4251915)
Sheesh was that dumb. He didn't play a single game in the minors, not even for an independent team, this year. In independent ball he hit 259/393/422 last year where 5 guys on his own team had better OPS scores. While there was a small amount of 'aw isn't that nice' to the story I'd have much rather seen Minnie Minoso get another plate appearance in a different decade again - he had an independent league PA in the 90's and 00's. So he is 86 - at least it would be an obvious sideshow with a near HOF player.
   5. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4251922)
It's all a Zionist conspiracy.
   6. McCoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4251927)
Now we get the backlash.
   7. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4251988)
People pay for a Joe Sheehan newsletter?
   8. JRVJ Posted: October 02, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4251997)
I like Sheehan's opinions, but he's been on a role this week (he rambled on and on about the AL MVP, quite btchily on his last podcast with Rany J).
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4252001)
he's been on a role this week

he's always been a B actor
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4252006)
I have to imagine that there are some AAA types in the Marlins' organization who are unhappy that this guy was given big league time as a publicity stunt, when they've been unable to get it themselves.
He earned the shot, and had it taken from him by a baseball to the skull. It's not like they gave me an AB.
   11. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4252008)
So I guess Joe would have been against Eddie Gaedel, perhaps the defining stunt of Bill Veeck's career.

Yes, I agree that baseball is a meritocracy, but sometimes, every once in awhile, we can drop all of the seriousness and remember that it's for fun, too.

Especially in a game that had no impact on the pennant races whatsoever.
   12. JoeHova Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4252044)
I don't agree with Sheehan. I think it's fun when weird things happen in sports. When I was a kid, I used to love reading stories of guys who only got their shot because of something bizarre happening. I still kind of feel like that. Wasn't there a story recently about a female soccer player who was at a national team game (I want to say Scotland?) as a fan and got pressed into service after too many players got injured? I think stuff like that is cool and I think that they add something to sports.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 03, 2012 at 02:04 AM (#4252063)
Wasn't there a story recently about a female soccer player who was at a national team game (I want to say Scotland?) as a fan and got pressed into service after too many players got injured? I think stuff like that is cool and I think that they add something to sports.


Sarah Crilly, a 20-year-old soccer player for Stirling University and Hamilton Ladies club, was invited by the Scottish National women's team to practice against them because the national team had suffered a string of injuries, and didn't have enough players for a full practice. As a thank you, the club gave Sarah tickets for their game the next day against Norway. So she got her friends together, and went to watch the game as a spectator. During pre-match warmups, a Scotland player got hurt. In the first half, another player got hurt, and Scotland was running out of players. The national team administrator saw Sarah in the concessions stand line at half-time waiting for a cup of tea, recognised her, and asked her if she'd brought her boots with her. She said no, but the administrator took her to the locker room, found her a uniform (way too big for her), and a pair of boots two sizes too big, which they alleviated by giving her three pairs of socks. They then stuck her on the bench for the second half. And two more Scottish players got hurt, and they had to put her in. This is the national team we're talking about, not some park league game. With five minutes left, Norway is leading 2-1...and Sarah scores the tying goal in what ends up as a 2-2 draw. So she goes to a national team game as a spectator, gets recruited at half-time, gets in the game, and scores!
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 03, 2012 at 03:18 AM (#4252082)
He earned the shot, and had it taken from him by a baseball to the skull. It's not like they gave me an AB.

I'm sort of sympathetic to the Greenberg story, but a lot of the fuss about this is, "Oh the poor guy played in one game and didn't even get an official at-bat," as if the difference between PA and AB is something monumental.

Greenberg got into a game. He got hit, and that may have ruined his career, but unfortunately things like that happen in sports. But he still got into a game and would have "retired" with a 1.000 OBP. It's not like his appearance didn't "count." He's in the box score and the record books and Baseball-Reference.com. Lots of minor league players never get to wear a major league uniform, or get to hear their named called at a major league stadium.

Greenberg's story was unlucky, but hardly tragic. I don't see how he feels any better now, except that more people know his story and believe that he might have been a good major leaguer. This certainly shouldn't give him any "closure" though.
   15. Flynn Posted: October 03, 2012 at 05:06 AM (#4252098)
He got hit, and that may have ruined his career, but unfortunately things like that happen in sports


Uh, may have ruined his career? He had terrible post-concussion symptoms after. It ruined his career. Anyway, career minor leaguers get called up all the time in September as a thanks for surviving the bus rides so those guys can cry me a river.

Sheehan's alright but man is he a whiny baby and man is he a narcissist. His MVP rant was pretty much all about how he, St. Joe Sheehan, is a better analyst than everybody else and sportswriters are trying to screw him over by picking Miguel Cabrera. When Joe Sheehan rants it can be accurately summed up as me me me me me why don't people just accept that I'M RIGHT me me me me me.
   16. John Northey Posted: October 03, 2012 at 06:10 AM (#4252105)
#13 - so when is that coming out as a Disney movie? Gotta say, that sure reads like a plot from one.
   17. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 03, 2012 at 06:17 AM (#4252106)
Uh, may have ruined his career? He had terrible post-concussion symptoms after. It ruined his career.

What I mean is, there's no guarantee he would have had a (major-league) career without the beaning. He wasn't exactly a can't-miss prospect. In 2005, at age 24, he hit .269/.386/.407 in AA. His season high in HR was 6, his season high in SB was 26 (74% success rate). His upside was probably 4th outfielder. That's a better fate than what he ended up with, but in a world where he got his "official" AB instead of a concussion, he still could have easily been sent down to the minors a few days later and never made it back.

And I agree with you about Sheehan. I used to enjoy his writing and his assertive stances. Then I realized he was wrong just as often as everyone else but kept acting like he wasn't.
   18. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 03, 2012 at 07:08 AM (#4252110)
13 - How was she eligible to play? Don't clubs have to turn in some sort of team sheet before the game or is that informational and not a formality?

Re: Greenberg - I'm happy for him but at the same time there are an awful lot of guys at AAA who deserve a similar shot and I don't want to see this become a regular, last day of the season thing. "This year's perseverance player is brought to you by Depends, for when you've held on as long as you can."

It's not that Greenberg wasn't deserving, it's just that there are lots and lots of guys deserving.
   19. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4252140)
Seriously, how is a 3-pitch strikeout as a novelty in a meaningless October game in Miami so much more satisfying than a plate appearance as a real player in a game in July? What did this appearance give him that he didn't already have? Do baseball players really dream of getting an at-bat -- not a plate appearance, but an at-bat -- in the majors?

To me, the dreams would be:

1. Be on a major-league roster, wearing a uniform, at a non-exhibition game.
2. Playing in a major-league game. (Could be pinch running or a defensive replacement -- you're in the books forever.)
3. Get a turn at bat in a major-league game.

Everything beyond that (first hit, first run, first home run, first game-winning hit) just seems like icing on the cake.
   20. JJ1986 Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4252182)
Greenberg got into a game. He got hit, and that may have ruined his career, but unfortunately things like that happen in sports. But he still got into a game and would have "retired" with a 1.000 OBP. It's not like his appearance didn't "count." He's in the box score and the record books and Baseball-Reference.com. Lots of minor league players never get to wear a major league uniform, or get to hear their named called at a major league stadium.


I mostly agree, but it's not like Greenberg drew a walk or even dropped a sacrifice bunt in his only PA. Getting hit in the head completely took the at bat out of his hands.
   21. spycake Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4252215)
Also, doesn't this stunt actually make Greenberg a less interesting part of baseball history? Sort of like if they had reversed the last call of Gallaraga's near-perfect game?

If Greenberg got to choose the charity to which his salary was donated, I suppose it would be hard to turn down, but I think I'd almost rather keep my unique accomplishment than do this stunt. (Although perhaps he also overrated his own abilities and expectations for the at-bat, maybe trying to get back into pro ball?)
   22. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4252225)
Unique accomplishment? Getting skulled by the only pitch one sees in the majors is hardly an accomplishment anyone wants.

So much cynicism here. Sheesh. He never had the chance to swing in his first appearance. He got it last night. It harmed no one. It was a cool moment. Greenberg seems to have greatly appreciated it.

It's a nice moment and I can't believe anyone's upset by it.
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4252238)
Also, doesn't this stunt actually make Greenberg a less interesting part of baseball history? Sort of like if they had reversed the last call of Gallaraga's near-perfect game?


I think it depends on whose perspective you are taking. I think it's clear that for Greenberg getting another shot is a hell of a lot more interesting. By the same token from my perspective the idea of a player who gets hit with the only pitch he sees is a lot more interesting.
   24. JRVJ Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4252246)
9, sorry - it was late, I was tired, what can I tell you.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4252267)
Wasn't there a story recently about a female soccer player who was at a national team game (I want to say Scotland?) as a fan and got pressed into service after too many players got injured?


I seem to remember Villanova basketball was once struck with either suspensions and/or the flu, got the team manager into live game action.


So much cynicism here. Sheesh. He never had the chance to swing in his first appearance. He got it last night. It harmed no one. It was a cool moment. Greenberg seems to have greatly appreciated it.

It's a nice moment and I can't believe anyone's upset by it.


This. Baseball is entertainment, not some sort of life-or-death morality play.
   26. danup Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4252277)
A baseball encyclopedia with entries for Victory Faust and Pete Rose Jr. and Mike Glavine can hold another at-bat for Adam Greenberg. I think it's worth arguing whether this is something Greenberg should want or get—I think I would feel weird about doing it, if I were him—but the idea that this is an affront to a game in which players like that have always been called up seems untenable. (For instance: Chuckie Fick's 2012 is going to go down in the books as a legit cup of coffee, but I'd be very surprised if he'd gotten it, with St. Louis or the Astros, without his father being a longtime Cardinals scout.)
   27. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4252343)
Chuckie Fick

Dear God, I'm glad I didn't have to announce that game. You know what would've happened...
   28. The District Attorney Posted: October 03, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4253136)
Sheehan's alright but man is he a whiny baby and man is he a narcissist.
I am wondering about his claim that the Cabrera/Trout kerfuffle is not about baseball, but rather is about the old guard making a last-ditch stand against the statheads.

In support of his position, it's stereotypically the old-schoolers who extol the value of defense and baserunning, whereas here they're seemingly doing the opposite. And we have seen them stick to that principle in MVP voting, e.g. Ichiro beating Giambi.

On the other hand, the writers often haven't put their small-ball money where their mouth is when it comes to the MVP. e.g. George Bell over Trammell and Dawson over Ozzie/Raines, and that's just in one season. (Or Morneau over Jeter in '06... it happens a lot.) It also seems like it's not solely an old guard thing... Olney and Morosi, these guys aren't "old" and they're very pro-Cabrera, if I'm not mistaken? (Although maybe we shouldn't even count Morosi since he's a Detroit guy.)

I do think that the writers honestly do believe that the Triple Crown is perhaps baseball's ultimate achievement, and that Cabrera has been a tremendous hitter for many years who is "due" for an award, and that RBI are awesome, and that playoff position is more important than team wins, and so forth... things that, even though they are bad reasons, are at least baseball reasons. On the other hand, it seems silly to deny that the dynamic that Sheehan is talking about, is something that is going on.

I really don't know where to come down. I suppose maybe it doesn't matter, since even if Joe is right that the "old guard"'s true motivation is not their stated motivation, it's not like you can ever argue that point to someone and expect them to agree with you.

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