While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
Case in point: the MASN announcers covering the Yankees/Orioles game Friday night. In the second inning, Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez was plunked on the top of his wrist and was in a serious amount of pain afterwards. He ended up running the bases but was removed the following inning when he experienced issues trying to throw. But rather than focus on the obvious lean-in that Nunez did as he started to swing but pulled back at the last second, the announcers immediately threw out speculation that everyone watching was immediately thinking about this being payback for when CC Sabathia broke the thumb of Nick Markakis with a pitch last September.
Why in the world would you even suggest that? What are you even trying to accomplish by bringing it up? Networks refuse to show people running on the field mid-game so that it doesn’t encourage people to do it so they can be on TV, but they’ll allow their announcers to fan the flames of anger and a incite a need for revenge/physical harm by bringing up an incident totally unrelated to the current game? Unless you’re trying to make a point that either A. the Orioles were justified and well within their rights to injure Nunez should the throw be intentional or B. trying to find a way to push across your own personal agenda with how the league should handle such situations, then bringing up the incident from the year before is nothing short of stupid. And even if one of those were your reasons for bringing it up, well then that was just stupid too.
A similarly annoying occurrence happened on MLB Network’s Quick Pitch show.
In the fourth inning of the Dodgers/Diamondbacks game, Gerardo Parra singled off Clayton Kershaw to open the innings and eventually came around to score. It was the first run Kershaw allowed this season, a span of 19 innings. But rather than just focus on the inning at hand and move on, the program opted to lead with the fact that last season, Kershaw plunked Parra in the back after a number of Dodgers took issue with the way he admired a home run he hit the night before. Nothing happened last season, except for the fact that Parra simply took his base without incident, but the announcers needed to lead with that in order to make the highlight of Parra crossing the plate more enticing to watch.
Again, totally stupid and completely unnecessary.
Listen, I understand that when an incident like Quentin breaking Greinke’s collarbone occurs, everyone wants to chime in with their two-cents. But when you use it as a way to gain attention and potentially incite others, it’s not only petty and trite, but flat-out wrong. If you want to express your feelings on a particular issue, then by all means, do so, but be specific and stay on topic. Don’t use the incident to inflame a situation that doesn’t even exist, just so you can impose your moronic opinion.
OK. Rant over. Now let’s hit the highlights…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Justin Masterson, CLE||9.0||5||0||0||1||7||0.00||0.67|
While Justin Masterson’s complete-game shutout of the White Sox on Friday was more than enough to earn him top honors here today, it’s also the cumulative stats from his first three starts that warrant such attention. The big right-hander is now 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP and a 20:8 K:BB and is looking stronger and stronger with every start. These numbers obviously aren’t going to last, but the head-start that Masterson owners are getting in the pitching categories is huge. Not to mention, his value is at its peak right now which means that he is going to be shopped around pretty hard and could net his owner a fairly reliable bat.
Fantasy Bummer of the Day
Is there anything worse than seeing Jose Reyes roll over on his ankle? Watching him writhe around in pain and then get carted off with tears in his eyes spells nothing but trouble for those that made the Jays shortstop a second round pick in drafts this year. Brutal. Just brutal. Time to hit that waiver wire, huh? Zack Cozart never looked this good before, did he?
|Dexter Fowler, OF COL||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN||2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Daniel Murphy, 2B NYM||4-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 4 RBI|
|Shelby Miller, SP STL||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 WHIP, 8 K|
|Bud Norris, SP HOU||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 5 K|
Dexter Fowler – this year’s big breakout or this year’s flash in the pan? His career high in homers is 13 and he’s already at six right now. We’ve always been told that he has some pop in his bat lurking, but this might be a bit too much to take seriously. Few people like to actually do this, but I think selling high right now is the best way to go. Someone in your league sees Mike Trout-like potential in him and will probably be willing to overpay to get it.
I love it when the middle infielders make it their business to shine. We expect this type of performance from Brandon Phillips, so seeing him in this section is nothing new, but Daniel Murphy makes a rare appearance here with a strong and productive day at the plate. My guess is we see Phillips here a few more time throughout the season, but Murphy is definitely going to be more of a role player whose time in the spotlight will always be fleeting.
And how about a little young pitching to warm your fantasy hearts? Shelby Miller, so far, is living up to the hype he received as a 2009 first-round draft choice while Bud Norris jumps into the spotlight finally with more than just good strikeout numbers. Pitching for a team like the Cardinals should continue to help Miller’s value, but Norris’ value could see a significant jump sooner than later. Pitching for the Astros will keep many owners from coveting him since wins are going to be so tough to come by, but many pundits speculate that he’ll be the first guy the Astros trade when they’re mathematically eliminated from contention (two weeks, maybe? Three?). Should he land with a contender that provides quality run support, he could become a very highly-sought after commodity.
|Brandon Moss, 1B OAK||0-5, 4 K|
|Jose Bautista, OF TOR||0-5, 4 K|
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B CHC||0-4, 3 K|
|Vance Worley, SP PHI||L, 63.00 ERA, 9.00 WHIP, 1 K|
|Kyuji Fujikawa, RP CHC||BS, 27.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP|
Nothing unexpected but some disappointing things from the Cubs that we should mention. First off, there’s Anthony Rizzo and his wonderful world of whiffs. I truly believe that he is a superstar in the making, but six strikeouts in his last nine at-bats? That’s not gonna fly here.
And then of course there’s Kyuji Fujikawa and the blown save. That’ll happen from time to time with relievers, but six earned runs in his last three appearances is a good way to see if the club wants to give Carlos Marmol another chance. I’m sure the leash is longer for Fujikawa, but there’s still Shawn Camp and James Russell lurking. THIS JUST IN: Fujikawa lands on the 15-day DL. Not sure if it's real or phantom yet.
And Vance Worley? Ugh! So much for the ace of the Twins staff...
Aaron Hill, 2B ARI – hand (day to day)
Jason Kubel, OF ARI – soreness (day to day)
Carlos Santana, C CLE – wrist (day to day)
Carlos Carrasco, SP CLE – 8-game suspension
Erick Aybar, SS LAA – heel (day to day)
Alberto Callaspo, 3B LAA – calf (day to day)
Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA – shoulder (day to day)
Eduardo Nunez, SS NYY – wrist (day to day)
Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK – hand (day to day)
Coco Crisp, OF OAK – groin (day to day)
Wandy Rodriguez, SP PIT – hamstring (day to day)
Michael Morse, OF SEA – hand (day to day)
Jose Reyes, SS TOR – ankle (expected to land on 15-day DL)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a vaiety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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