We lead off today with more news of players acting badly. First, after a fan made a comment about getting him "some juice," J.C. Romero physically assaulted the fan in the parking lot outside Tropicana Field. The man was quoted as saying, "I just can't believe that a professional athlete would cross the line."
2:27 a.m. - Arrested
7:30 a.m. - Booked
12:38 p.m. - Released on $5,000 bail
Tonight - Pitching out of the pen?
Luckily for Belisario, Torre decided not to pitch him that night.
In other news, lots of people are coming to the defense of Geovany Soto, who recently tested positive for the use of marijuana. In fact, Lou Piniella now is admitting that he, too, has inhaled. Does this mean he tried steroids, too, or that he really can differentiate reefers and steroids?
Even Cubs bloggers are defending Soto, and Kyle at Goat Riders of the Apocalypse just hopes this isn't a sign of Soto's attitude.
The addition of instant replay has been rightly applauded by commentators, players and umpires. But there appear to remain problems with the system. Recently a Pat Burrell home run that ought not to have been reviewable was reviewed (and called a home run), while a Miguel Cabrera home run was not reviewed and called a double, despite the fact that replays showed it left the park. FanHouse recently examined these two incidents and tried to glean what still needs to be done. Personally, I am all for instant replay for everything except balls and strikes.
As the Pirates' streak toward sole possession of the longest string of consecutive losing seasons in baseball history, some fans are starting to get apathetic. Hutington traded away our best offensive player? "So be it." Our former ace is a total disaster who recently had to ask for a demotion (to escape "negativity")? "I wish I cared." Hate all you want on Pirates fans, I'm not sure anyone has a right to call them out on this except, perhaps, Natinals fans.
Like Rob Deer in headlights, Mariners prospect Greg Halman is striking out at a Reynolds-esque rate in the minor leagues. Through 58 games, Halman currently has 108 strikeouts, putting him on pace for 230 over 500 ABs. Last season, he struck out 142 times in 128 games, and before that it was 162 in just 114. He has balanced those strikeouts with respectable home run numbers (the Dutch-born centerfielder currently has 14 in Double-A), but at what point does he cross the contact rate nexus and turn into a Quad-A masher? At the link are plenty of examples of prodigious minor league strikeout artists (Charlton Jimerson!).