Mitch Haniger's "Lost" 3-WAR Season
caution: rant ahead


Out of no mood other than sympathy, let me say.  The worst possible place to be sucker-punched is, in the upper teeth, just under the nose, bending the nose up with everything else.  One time a fight I know of consistent of one sucker punch, an uppercut to just that area.  The victim was weeks recovering.

At 95 MPH?

However much you think that hurt, it hurt a lot more.


I never, never, never understood the "machismo" of the Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens people who thought this showed toughness.  To stand 20 yards away, wind up carefully, and throw in the vicinity of another person's head - while your teammates stood on alert to erect a picket fence between you and the victim.  Every. Single. Time. a Bob Gibson or Dave Stewart nods with satisfaction about how mean he is, it makes me wonder how he is when another man is within arm's reach to hit him back.  You, me, a closed room, a locked door, that's how you find out who's tough.  I never saw Dave Stewart in such a room, did you?

This applies to negligence also.  It doesn't matter to me whether Zaza Pachulia deliberately slid his foot into Kwahi Leonard's landing area, or whether he merely didn't care about Leonard's busted ankle.  Either way, it's on Pachulia.  And watch where the deuce you throw that elbow.

I know nobody asked me, but if anybody did, I'd like to see baseball take the "coolness" out of throwing at batters.  Hollywood took the "coolness" out of smoking cigarettes; we can make anything "cool" or "uncool" as we so deign.  There's nothing cool about what happened to Mitch Haniger.  There is also nothing cool about risking what happened to Mitch Haniger.

MLB took the coolness out of using baseball bats on your enemies.  Why can't it do the same about using baseballs on people?

I dunno.  Maybe DeGrom was aiming low-away.  Maybe Pachulia was trying to keep his feet out from under Kwahi.  Either way there should still be shame attached.  One simple rule would be, you hit somebody in the neck or head, a reliever comes in.  Mic drop.


Mitch Haniger has 1.2 WAR in 257 plate appearances.  SABRMatt made a good call when he predicted that oblique would derail Haniger's season.  Ah, well.  He's still a keeper for me.  Here is our March 15 BEST BET on Haniger and I'm not off it by a micron.  An excerpt from that article:


Seeing him play:  what's to like?  Everything.  His pitch recognition looks above average.  He's got excellent hand-eye coordination, good HIT ability.  There's no particular pitch he can't get the bat to, that we've noticed.  Beautiful aiki swing, all kinds of COILED power.  And he's quick.  He lets the ball travel and hits it the other way.  PWR is a given.  He's going to take extra bases.  They rave about his Edgar-like preparation.   It's just too good to be true!  Why would Arizona cough him up?


Haniger doesn't even have to hit to be a Heyward type, but of course he will.  Ah, well, the rest of this year we get lots of Guillermo Heredia -- maybe he's Cespedes lite -- and some Boog Powell and maybe Dipoto will swing a deal this last weekend.

By the way, Dutton pointed out that it showed nice resiliency for the M's to win that game.

Jacob DeGrom.  Bah humbug.

My $0.02,

Dr D



He missed near the same spot two other times in the game to right handed batters. It looked to me like DeGrom likes to pitch inside and today his command was a bit off. Not a lot off...but it got wobbly, especially in the second and third.

What I didn't like was that, when DeGrom hit Haniger, everyone on the field, including all Mets fielders, went into "oh $%&*" posture...cringes, submissive stance from Mets players, a lot of concern from D'Arnaud. Everyone except DeGrom, who seemed not to care much.

On that score, I absolutely agree with you. Hitting Haniger in the face should have made DeGrom upset. He should have cared.


The Big Unit never forgave himself for hitting J.T. Snow years back.  If that's the case, fine.  My comments are directed to baseball culture, which still cool-ifies the idea of a "mean" starting pitcher "intimidating" the batters.

Bah humbug


For what it's worth, here's what he said after the game:

"You never want to hit anybody in the face. It's not easy to pitch after you do that. I was trying to go inside there and it just sailed on me. I definitely feel bad about it. It was not easy to stay out there and re-concentrate."

He said the right things, and I don't see much reason to doubt that he was being genuine. In the context in which it happened, you gotta feel for deGrom too. He's now got the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. He's in some serious trouble. Sure enough, he gave up two crucial runs that inning which essentially decided the game. I think there's actually something kind of stoic and admirable about keeping yourself composed and trying to stay in the moment, do your job, get through the inning. I'm sure he had plenty of time to feel bad later, reach out to Mitch, all that.

Besides, what I saw in-game looked more like shock than nonchalance. I think he just wasn't sure how to process it, and knew that he needed to try to stay focused and survive the inning before he checked in with his emotional self.

Just my 0.02 cents as an armchair psychologist. The sports fan in me doesn't see any reason to harbor a grudge about today's incident. But I totally agree about how wrong it is to throw at a guy's head with malice aforethought. Who was it last year, Ianetta maybe, who got lit up by Matt Bush of the Rangers (fresh out of jail no less) in the first couple weeks of the season. I lost all respect for Jeff Banister that day, for the way he reacted to what was some pretty blatant head-hunting by his pitcher. The Rangers coaches all stormed out of the dugout like they wanted a fight, even though it was their guy who threw the sucker punch. I remember Blowers muttering "bush league" in the booth as it unfolded.


One of the worst years in American History.

Tet. Martin Luther King. Detroit. Bobby Kennedy. The Democratic Convention. Going to funerals of friends who had just graduated from HS the year before.

I remember, the evening after Bobby Kennedy was shot, descending into Washington National (now Reagan) Airport and seeing the flames and smoke from buildings burning just blocks from the White House and Capitol, and seeing just east of the Capitol enough flashing red lights from fire engines and police cars that it reflected off the clouds as we landed. 

1968 was one of the BEST years in baseball history. Marichal. Drysdale. Gibson.


Bob Gibson became a hero of mine in 1964. If you want to understand why, you have to have lived in Milwaukee in 1957 and 1958 and San Francisco in 1962. My heroes were Spahn, Burdette, Frank Torre (who always said hi to me at County Stadium), and then after 1958, Mays, Marichal, Cepeda, McCovey.... The enemy was the Yankees, Lords of Baseball. To understand more of 1964, you MUST read David Halberstam's "October 1964", which is both an elegy and a celebration of the rise of black and Latino ballplayers that displaced the Yankees until, really, 1996.

But Gibson was at his best in 1968. To watch a guy throw a baseball that from the CF camera looked like it would hit the batter in the back then swerve to be a clean, centered strike was amazing.

Intimidation. It can be dirty (being a Giant fan, I always suspected Drysdale of being Lucifer incarnate), or it can be a life full of pain being expressed in athletic performance.. 

Please read the following articles. ALL of us can benefit from thinking back on 1968 and what that year was to our country AND to baseball.

This year, it seems to me, we have forgotten many of the lessons we should have learned from 1968: about Imperial overreach, about treating fellow Americans with respect, about scepticism of the ability or will of politicians and politics to solve problems between us and our neighbors. Maybe being a baseball fan can bring out the best in us.

Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season. Read in good health.


 And for what it's worth, in my opinion Bob Gibson's seething anger was more understandable than most guys'.  It's a little different to have a legit chip on your shoulder as opposed to just enjoying the role.

thanks for the thoughts -


To be mistaken for TJM is an honor.



Bleary-eyed on low sleep it sounded like an (apropos) comment either of you could make.  Kudos to the both of you hopefully!


Bleary-eyed on low sleep it sounded like an (apropos) comment either of you could make.  Kudos to the both of you hopefully!


Bleary-eyed on low sleep it sounded like an (apropos) comment either of you could make.  Kudos to the both of you hopefully!

tjm's picture

. . .  about any of that miscommunication. But, Bat, I'll go to the grave with you any time.  We be brothers.

I think Doc was probably thinking about this from Gibson:

“It was said that I threw, basically, five pitches—fastball, slider, curve, changeup, and knockdown. I don’t believe that assessment did me justice, though. I actually used about nine pitches—two different fastballs, two sliders, a curve, changeup, knockdown, brushback and hit batsman.”


And that line, the one Terry quotes above, is in his book, "Offspeed."

Which, I will say again, you all must read.

So Leonys gets the callup.  Go get 'em.

But there is a whole lot of me that laments that the call up isn't Tank O'Neill.

Oh, that's right, we traded him to the best run franchise in sport, didn't we.

Even more lamentable.


just the paragraphs about driving across eastern Washinton on a moonlit night, listening to Dave, and falling in love again with baseball...more than worth the price of admission.  

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