Two psychiatrists pass in the hall. One says, “Good morning.” The other says to himself, “I wonder what he meant by that.” Old gag.
Yet, those raised on practicality were led to believe that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Now? Well, it’s like “good morning” — it depends on how you choose to look at it or are told to look at it.
In the last three weeks, Brett Gardner, nearly 36, has become conspicuously, excessively, senselessly, noisily and unusually combative. He has appeared to grow illogically unhinged, three times registering his disagreements with umpires by vandalizing the ceiling of the Yankees’ dugout by repeatedly smashing and denting it with end of the business side of his bat.
It has been disturbing to watch, as if Gardner, at such a time in his terrific, overachieving career, has been reduced to conduct more often seen in 10-year-old spoiled brats.
But it also seems the only folks who don’t see it that way — not even a hint — are most media assigned to cover the Yanks, especially YES Network communicators who have witnessed then selectively, as in eyes half-closed and minds washed, described these three episodes.
They’ve seen Gardner’s conduct as legitimate protest commensurate with rotten umpiring “out to get” Aaron Boone and his newly named and, of course, marketed, “Savages.”
Even though the umpiring crews have changed, they’re all “out” to elect then eject Gardner for the mild, standardized baseball act of trying to violently dislodge the dugout roof from its moorings.
That the second and third of these umpiring crews likely were acting in accord with an MLB directive that Gardner’s aggressive, demonstrably petulant misconduct — how can it be missed or ignored? — is not to be indulged.
And that’s what first base ump Phil Cuzzi demonstrated when he ejected Gardner after his latest bat-banging tantrum Saturday. If Cuzzi was waiting to catch Gardner, as the YES voices suggested, Gardner made it easy.
Heck, in Gardner’s defense, the YES voices argued that he was not in violation of any specific MLB offense, to which reader Eric Hooey wrote, “There’s probably no rule against lighting fireworks in the dugout or throwing dog feces on the field, so maybe Gardner should do that, too.”
Or are minimal standards now way too high?
YES’s David Cone and Paul O’Neill — the latter predictably blames the umps for every raindrop that strikes a Yankee — agreed with Michael Kay’s assessment that, “I don’t understand why that gets you ejected.” Cone and O’Neill added that it’s unfair to kids who came to watch Gardner play.
Perhaps that’s something Gardner and the Yanks should act on, not the umps. Or are kids entitled to watch Gardner play and flip out?
Next, in tribute to Gardner’s violent vandalism, Aaron Judge was seen standing on second, cleverly miming a bat attack on the Yanks’ dugout. Et tu, Aaron? Hasn’t Gardner become a better candidate for concern — worry — than encouragement and admiration?
Again, it’s the 2-plus-2 conundrum.
Sunday, Braves manager Brian Snitker pulled young star Ronald Acuna for home run-posing a double or triple into a single. Again. It stands to reason that Snitker had previously told him to cut it out to best serve winning, team baseball. Radical, I know.
Yet Snitker’s removal of Acuna sparked debate among those who feel that Acuna is so good he’s entitled to play as he chooses — in defiance of his manager’s old fuddy-duddy party-pooping.
Michael Cunningham, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “In the third inning Acuna hit a high fly ball to right field then walked to first as he watched it go. Purists hate it, but I like it when players admire their work.”
He then added, as if it made a difference, “It’s not even clear Acuna was styling so much as hoping the ball would keep carrying.” Good grief.
Tuesday, Cleveland left fielder Oscar Mercado dropped Met Joe Panik’s pop fly. Panik didn’t stop to admire his work, thus made it to second, from where he’d soon score with two outs. Yet, in 2019, the sensibility in Panik running all the way — 2 plus 2 — is open to debate.
Has Francesa flip-flopped on gambling? You betcha
Mike Francesa’s shamelessness never escapes the shaming from @backaftathis.
December 2015.: “Let’s Be Honest” screams at a Long Island assemblyman that the bill he’s sponsoring on behalf of fantasy sports gambling is bogus as such legalized wagering “is completely a game of chance, not skill.”
Monday: Pandering to the CEO of DraftKings — always on the prowl, perhaps Francesa was currying favor as a tout — Francesa declared fantasy sports gambling favors “skilled” players.
Francesa would make a lot of money for any bookmaker as a “my picks have value” tout. Not that he’d bring it up, but last football season he went 25-45.
Reliever’s share shot payback
Late last season Yanks reliever David Robertson chaired a players’ meeting during which daily support staff members — the poorest-paid daily regulars — were either shorted or stiffed on postseason shares.
Now with the Phils, Robertson has missed most of the season with arm surgery, thus reader Malcolm Yull asks what kind of share Robertson should be voted should Philly make the postseason.
ABC/Disney’s “Dancing With the Stars” this year will include invited guest stars Lamar Odom, ex-husband of Khloe Kardashian, ex-NBAer and ex-arrested drug and booze abuser, and Ray Lewis, the NFL star head-breaker who paid the families of two homicide victims after copping a plea for obstruction of justice in that unsolved case.
Seems we’re in for another NFL season loaded with players — college men — spewing and tweeting insults, vulgarities, dares and boasts. Already, I’m sick of the news and noise made by Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, Jalen Ramsey. And that goes double for Jerry Jones.
So NBC all year sells golf viewers on the incomparable importance of the FedEx Cup as the huge PGA season-closing event. Yet last week and weekend, with the field fighting to make the top 30 to qualify and Tiger Woods with no chance, NBC stuck with Woods.
Larry King has been married so many times, he has rice marks on his face.
Bet on the Little League World Series? Of course you can! South Korea opened at even money, Japan 3/2, Louisiana 3/1, Hawaii 5/1. Seriously. Hey, you can have the 12-year-old starting pitcher throw the game for an X-Box!
Reader William Cook: “Now that the NFL has hired Jay-Z to be its social conscience mentor, is it OK for me, as a white male, to sing Jay-Z songs at Karaoke Night down at my American Legion?”
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