Zack Greinke breaks his collarbone in a brawl. Baseball should be proud of "42." Former A's phenom turned Catholic monk. And baseball as Platonic ideal. This is your Friday Reader's Edition of The Slurve.
April 12, 2013 - Baseball Should Be Proud
Jackie Robinson

Opening Pitch

The top story today: L.A. Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke threw a 3-2 pitch that hit the Padres’ Carlos Quentin in the arm. Quentin stalked toward the mound with stiffly malicious strides. The comparatively slight Geinke threw down his glove as if he were trying out for a role in Goon 2. [youtube] [Extreme violence, language]

At this sign, Quentin’s stride changed into a Panzer-like run to Greinke. Each lowered their shoulders. Greinke, who recently signed a $147 million contract, braced himself for contact. Everyone watching in the stadium and at home began calculating the great inequities involved. Quentin’s size advantage. Greinke’s relative value to his club. The Dodgers: contenders and the Padres: losers. Quentin hurled himself. Greinke’s collarbone did not survive the collision. 


And then a brawl. You can watch the video and amusing commentary for yourself. [huffpo] 

“Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly placed all the blame on Quentin for charging the mound in a situation where Greinke would clearly not be intentionally throwing at him. ‘That’s just stupid, that’s what it is,’ Mattingly told reporters in San Diego. ‘He should not play a game until Zack can pitch. He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base. That’s zero understanding of the game of baseball. He’s not throwing at him 3-2 in a 2-1 game.’” [lat] 

We agree with Mattingly. And if we were Dodger fans we’d agree even more so with Matt Kemp’s obscenity-laced belligerence in the long unsteady melee and peace negotiations on the field. We might agree with it anyway. 

The fued between Quentin and Greinke has history.  [kcstar]

Today is also opening day for “42” the Jackie Robinson biopic which everyone hates to pan. Wesley Morris reviews the “limp” film over at Grantland: “66 years after Robinson became the first black major league baseball player, here we are with 42, which has been made with such reverence for Robinson's importance that Robinson is barely there.” [grantland] 


Craig Calcaterra had a similar reaction: “The central problem with the film is a problem you see with almost all biopics: characters who appear to be overly-aware that they’re in a biopic. To be sure, Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson and others knew for a fact that what they were doing was historically significant. But I’m struggling to imagine how the real Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey could ever have carried on a couple year’s worth of conversations in which every other phrase was a platitude or a grand declaration underscoring just how significant everything was.” [hardballtalk] 

The Slurve is not equipped to write a proper reflection on the meaning of Jackie Robinson’s career and the integration of baseball. The ethos here is that baseball is not a religion, that it isn’t up to the task of being metaphor for our national life, or an entrypoint into the soul of our people. We’re more comfortable talking about the game as a game: ash bats, eye-black and the “Say Hey” Kid.  The history of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson seems obscured to us in its amber glow. It is almost unbelievable that a money-making spectator sport could shoulder the weight of so much history. And yet, the plain truth of it is that Major League Baseball integrated 15 or 20 years before so many other American institutions. It is easy to imagine a world where baseball remained segregated into the 1960s.  Acknowledging that may help us get a dim sense of the sheer boldness of that event in 1947 and of the men who played their parts in it. 

MLB is now paying a former employee of Biogenesis for documents related to player use of PEDs [nyt]

Card dealer says he doctored the Honus Wagner card he sold at a record price.  [npr] 

Jorge Soler, the bat-wielding brawler prospect, gets a five-game suspension [chitrib]

High school team “Tidewater Mets” once simultaneously featured current NL East rivals B.J. and Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright [mlb] 

Philadelphia Magazine profiles Chase Utley: “When he told his parents and teammates and friends a couple years ago that he was going to be a father, there was a collective … Chase? So hard-boiled and so … ruled by the routines of baseball. A guy who hung with Aaron Rowand and Jayson Werth and man-about-town Pat Burrell, big-time dudes. As Rollins thought, “How will he balance that with tenderness? We don’t see a tender side.” [phillymag] 

Royals' Billy Butler introduces own barbecue sauce [kcstar] 

Jonathan Bernhardt writes about the early panic in Toronto [soe] 

Mariano Rivera's "farewell tour” puts the focus on his opponents, their employees, and fans [wsj] 

Fangraphs takes a closer look at the new more hitter-friendly dimensions of Petco Park and Safeco Field [fangraphs] 

Evan Longoria' extension is a great deal, but will Rays extend David Price? [mlbtradeumors] 

Mariners Acquire Aaron Harang; Designate Loe [mlbtraderumors] 

The Continuing Rise in Strikeout Rate [fangraphs] 

Dave Schoenfield on a new book, “Facing Ted Williams” [espn] 

Ken Davidoff talks about the big players the Mets may try to nab, including Giancarlo Stanton [nypost] 

Snow and the Mets arrive for a series in Minnesota [y!] 

Former All-Star, Astros manager Grady Hatton Jr. dies at 90 [hardballtalk] 

Dave Schoenfield (yes, again) says that Bryce Harper's aggressive plate personality isn't hurting him [espn] 

Rany Jazayerli looks at the Dodgers: It took a fortune to assemble the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers, and it may take many more millions to turn them into a championship-caliber team  [grantland] 

Former high-upside A's prospect Grant Desme discusses his new life as a Norbertine monk in this fascinating interview. His call to the monastic life came during an injury while playing with the Vancouver Canadians: “I was removed from the superficial chatter and other noise that I had been accustomed to via electronic media. It was through the silence and solitude that I started to think beyond the baseball field and about life in general. I realized that even if I played 20 years in the major leagues and ended up a Hall of Famer, I would still die one day. No matter what I achieved, I would be just as dead as everyone else in the cemetery.[cal-catholic] 

Cleveland Frowns notes that Mark Shapiro says Chief Wahoo is here to stay with the Indians, and goes to great lengths to demonstrate the nettlesome history of the mascot. Good. Though we think connecting it to the Holocaust is a bit too far. [frowns] 

W. M. Akers writes in favor of cold-weather baseball: “When I'm not shivering uncontrollably, I count myself among those who choose to bear witness to this lost team. But if I wasn't going to go the distance on Sunday, why did it take me so long to leave? Some experiences require the ballpark. You can watch baseball on TV, sure. But to smoke a cigarette with the skyline at your back, and a nearly-empty stadium at your feet, the players tiny and alive so far down, playing baseball that counts? For that, you have to go to Citi Field.” [classical]

Our Friday #longread is a dense hymn of praise to baseball as “the perfect game” by a philosophical Platonist: “In a few, peculiarly favored lands, more refined and inspired adumbrations of the ideal appeared. The Berbers of Libya produced Ta Kurt om el mahag, and the British blessed the world with cricket, but, because the running game in both is played between just two poles, neither can properly mirror the eternal game’s exquisite geometries, flowing grace, and sidereal beauties. And then there is that extended British family of children’s games from which baseball drew its basic morphology (stoolball, tut-ball, and, of course, rounders); but these are only charming finger-paint renderings of the ideal, vague, and glittering dreams that the infant soul brings with it in its descent from the world above before the oblivion of adulthood purges them from memory; they are as inchoately remote from the real thing as a child’s first steps are from ballet. In the end, only America succeeded in plucking the flower from the fields of eternity and making a garden for it here on earth. What greater glory could we possibly crave?” [firsthings] 

Major Updates


        R   H  E (Final 9)

TOR  1   9  0

DET 11  16  0


TOR: RECAP: [mlb] • Jays are now 3-6 with a mere 153 games remaining [drunk] • Brett Lawrie plays in extended spring game [mlb] • Rotation letting Blue Jays down in early going [mlb] • The Anatomy of a Blue Jays Comeback [banter]   


DET: RECAP: [detnews] • Brayan Villarreal: Early candidate for Tigers’ punching bag [fungo] • Darin Downs nearly lost his life on a line drive back up the middle four years ago as a Minor League pitcher [mlb] • Torii Hunter talks about 2000th hit: 'What are they clapping for?' [blessyou] 



       R   H  E (Final 9)

SF     7   9  2

CHC  6  12  2



SF: RECAP: [sfchron] • Nick Noonan is a hit in first start in Majors [mlb] • Minor leage updates [mccovey] • Giants hope Cain can return to form against Cubs [mlb] • In bad weather, Bochy not stressing over starters [mlb]   


CHC: RECAP: [espn] • Castillo learning how to set up for Fujikawa [mlb] • Prospect Jorge Soler suspended five games [bleed] • Cubs' defense stumbles out of gate in '13 [espn]



        R   H  E (Final 9)

CWS  4  13  1

WSH  7  10  0


CWS: RECAP: [espn] • Axelrod struggles; White Sox swept [mlb] • A brief conversation with Frank Thomas [southside] • Sox's Gordon Beckham to miss six weeks (wrist) [espn] • Thigpen filling in as White Sox pitching coach [mlb]   


WSH: RECAP: [mlb] • Nationals begin three-game series with rival Braves [mlb] • John Wall throws out much-improved ceremonial first pitch [wapo] • Johnson: Additions make Braves more balanced [mlb] 



        R   H  E (Final NA) POSTPONED



NYY: Curtis Granderson cleared to resume throwing [mlb] • Mark Teixeira could be swinging a bat again soon [mlb] • Wells' happiness translating into results [mlb] • Joe Girardi loses cool after another Yankees rainout in Cleveland [nydn] • Hughes’ start pushed back so Sabathia can stay on schedule [nypost]   


CLE: Carlos Santana quickly recovering from bruised thumb [mlb] • Scott Kazmir working his way to bullpen session [mlb] • Cleveland Indians' Justin Masterson increasing production with reduced effort [plaindealer]




        R   H  E (Final 9)

BAL   3   9  0

BOS  2   8  0



BAL: RECAP: [sun] • Tillman, Gonzalez laugh off fender bender in Boston [mlb] • Return in two weeks will be tough for Brian Roberts [mlb]   


BOS: RECAP: [espn] • Ortiz gets two hits in first rehab game [globe] • Aceves' effort earns him another start [espn] • Farrell on Hanrahan: 'He's our closer' [espn] • Red Sox hope Dempster trades Ks for length [mlb] 



        R   H  E (Final 9)

OAK  8  16  0

LAA   1   5  1


OAK: RECAP: [mlb] • Too early to get caught up in rematch with Tigers? [cctimes] • Josh Reddick says he’s ready to go, Melvin holds off [cctimes] • Scott Sizemore's surgery to repair ACL set for Tuesday [mlb]   


LAA: RECAP: [lat] • The evolution of Mike Scioscia [monkey] • Erick Aybar's ailing heel improving, DL stint less likely [mlb] • Mike Trout moves from leadoff to second in Angels' batting order [lat] • Swept by the A's [espn] • Lineup switch unable to change course for Angels [mlb]



        R   H  E (Final 9)

LAD  3  11  1

SD    2   8  0


LAD: RECAP: [mlb] • Early signs show Crawford feeling at home in LA [mlb] • Ted Lilly to throw bullpen Friday, but status remains unclear [trublue] • Brawl not worth the pain for Dodgers [espn]   


SD: RECAP: [mlb] • Compact swing brings Hundley desired results [mlb] • Benches CLEAR! [mlb] • Bud Black keeps fans on the edge of their seats, scratching their heads, muttering words [public] • Casey Kelly returns to San Diego to start elbow rehab [mlb] 



       R   H  E (Final 9)

TEX  4  11  0

SEA  3   8  1




TEX: RECAP: [espn] • Grant: Now that Nolan Ryan is staying with Rangers, can he and Daniels make it work? [dmn] • Rangers’ announcer Tom Grieve on fans in Anaheim booing Angels: ‘Evidently, they’re not baseball fans out there either’ [dmn] • Rangers’ starting pitching depth is tested early [startel] • Derek Lowe remains in bullpen with Harrison on DL [mlb]   


SEA: RECAP: [tnt] • Struggling Mariners rotation gets veteran Harang [stimes] • Morse sidelined with fractured finger as Mariners woes continue [stimes] • Felix gets 1,500th strikeout, but not 100th win [mlb]




Off Teams


ARI: The Best Diamondbacks Debuts Of All Time [azsnakepit] • D-backs have top prospects all over field [mlb] • "Diamondbacks Hospital" injury updates featuring Aaron Hill, Daniel Hudson, Willie Bloomquist, and Adam Eaton [azsnakepit] 


ATL: Gattitude’ vs. ‘Natitude’ as Braves face Nationals [ajc] • Marlins series recap [talkingchop] • It’s Time to Trade McCann and Install Gattis. Really? [capitolave] 


CIN: Reds aim to win now, in future with stocked farm [mlb] •  Minor league report [reporter] 


COL: Rockies get pitching depth in RHP Stephen Hensley with deal that sends Harang to Seattle [mlb] • Nolan Arenado the cream of Rockies' prospect crop [mlb] • Mark Kiszla: As rookie manager, Walt Weiss more credible than Rockies franchise [dpost] 


HOU: Chris Carter on a good streak for Astros [ultimate] • Series in Anaheim a homecoming for Barnes [mlb] • Astros shifting gears when it comes to defense [ultimate] • Former Astros manager Grady Hatton dies at 90 [mlb] 


KC: Twins-Royals series was highest-rated Royals series ever on FSKC [kcstar] • Greinke/Quentin feud traces to Greinke's days with Royals [kcstar] 


MIA: The Marlins' farm system is pretty loaded [mlb] • Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton learning other pitchers, patience [mherald] • Shut out in four of nine, Marlins not swinging at enough strikes [sunsen] 


MIL: Injuries, poor pitching create challenges for Ron Roenicke [mjs] • Brewers Twitter round-up [brewcrew] • Series preview [disciples] 


MIN: Twins' system deepest it's been in years [mlb] • Tino Martinez leads seven bound for College Baseball HOF [mlb] • Twins prepare for freezing homestand against the Mets [startrib] • Can Joe Mauer Catch 120 Games In 2013? [twinkie] 


NYM: Ike looking forward to return to Minnesota [nypost] • Series preview: Mets at Twins [espn] • Jason Bay: The Worst Player Contract in New York Mets History? [y!] • Don’t Get Too Attached To John Buck [metsmerized] • Adam Rubin kind of destroys Ike Davis in this post [espn] 


PHI: Phils blogger breaks down the Marlins' awfulness [beerleagure] • Delmon Young takes step forward; rehab stint nearing [mlb] 


PIT: Reliever Wilson takes advantage of Rodriguez's injury [ppg] • The 2009 Draft [battingbucs] • Strong Pirates system doesn't stop with Cole [mlb] 


STL: Cardinals' farm system has grown to elite status [mlb] • Sutter voices faith in Boggs, bullpen [stlpd] • Bernie Miklasz: Remember it is a pleasure to watch Matt Carpenter take at-bats [stlpd] 

TB: Team advisor Don Zimmer helps put '42' in context for Rays [tbt] • Rays wear letterman style jackets on trip [tbt] • Alex Cobb relying on his curve [tbo]


Injury Report

Erick Aybar's ailing heel improving, DL stint less likely [mlb] 

Josh Reddick says he’s ready to go, Melvin holds off [cctimes] 

Scott Sizemore's surgery to repair ACL set for Tuesday [mlb] 

Brett Lawrie plays in extended spring game [mlb] 

"Diamondbacks Hospital" injury updates featuring Aaron Hill, Daniel Hudson, Willie Bloomquist, and Adam Eaton [azsnakepit] 

Ted Lilly to throw bullpen Friday, but status remains unclear [trublue] 

Carlos Santana quickly recovering from bruised thumb [mlb] 

Scott Kazmir working his way to bullpen session [mlb] 

Morse sidelined with fractured finger as Mariners woes continue [stimes] 

Return in two weeks will be tough for Brian Roberts [mlb] 

Delmon Young takes step forward; rehab stint nearing [mlb] 

Derek Lowe remains in bullpen with Harrison on DL [mlb] 

Ortiz gets two hits in first rehab game [globe] 

Sox's Gordon Beckham to miss six weeks (wrist) [espn] 

Curtis Granderson cleared to resume throwing [mlb] 

Mark Teixeira could be swinging a bat again soon [mlb]

Goods From Around The Web


Supercut: Every Scene Where Someone is Facing Something Incredible (and Away From You) [io9] 


Google Helps You Control Your Digital Life Once You're Worm Food [wired] 


Stephen Marche on “Why I'm Giving Up on Terrence Malick”  [esquire] 


Felix Salmon looks at the potential for the next, and better Bitcoin [rueters] 


Imperfect study suggests women have expectations of men that are just as unrealistic as men's for women [economist] 


Chart: Americans are more interested in North Korea than Beyonce or Obama right now [wapo] 


The 7 Most Half-Assed Monsters in Movie History [cracked] 


This is from last year, but The Punch Brothers' cover of The Cars' “Just What I Needed” seems fitting for a spring Friday [theonion]


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