Activism Strikes and 3 Inconsequential Things From Wednesday

Activism took center stage on Wednesday.

Normally, this space is reserved for catching you up on some of the most fun or interesting things that happened around the game. On Wednesday, there was one thing of true consequence that happened in sports, and there’s no discussion of the day’s action without mentioning the admirable actions of many athletes around the sporting world. It started with the Milwaukee Bucks:

The Bucks’ boycott of their playoff game is a stunning display of activism, and kudos to those MLB teams that followed suit: Brewers, Reds, Mariners, Dodgers, and Giants. The Astros and Angels previously had their game cancelled due to weather. The Padres were scheduled to take on the Mariners, and while they did not play their game, they also made it clear that they were not protesting:

Maybe it’s just the language they chose, and maybe they wanted to credit the Mariners, but it’s still curious to see a team make such a pointed display of non-activism. They basically released a statement on Twitter that said: we’re not playing tonight because of protests, and we support those protesting, but we’re not protesting. 

Generally speaking, players from the NBA have been more fervent in their activism than MLBers, and that held true on Wednesday with most of the baseball world forging ahead. Meanwhile, the Lakers and Clippers are reportedly in favor of boycotting the rest of the NBA season. There were no basketball games played in the NBA or WNBA on Wednesday.

I think The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli has the right take:

Nothing in the sporting world matters but this. The boycotts around the sporting world deserve support and attention, because what they’re doing is far more impressive than anything that can be accomplished on a baseball field.

The following items might be fun and interesting in a vacuum, but we do not live in a vacuum. Still, because baseball was played on Wednesday night, let’s look at a few of the highlights, inconsequential as they may be.


Nolan Arenado Showing Emotion


We love it when our star players wear their hearts on their sleeves. Baseball is so much more fun that way! Arenado is a superstar in the field, he’s a superstar at the dish, and he’s a superstar in passion. With his club leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh, Arenado came to the plate. With two strikes, he checked his swing. Or did he?

Arenado was of the opinion–if I’m interpreting his reaction correctly–that he did not go around. Blue, what are your thoughts? Did he go around?

Well, there it is.


Bad Baseball (Read: Smallball) In Missouri


The Royals and Cardinals entered the top of the ninth inning in St. Louis in a tight intra-state showdown. What followed: I guess we’d still call it professional baseball. It started innocently enough with a Adalberto Mondesi base hit. Stolen bases may be passé, but nobody told Mondesi. Yadier Molina, generous as he is, gave him a BOGO deal to steal one and get one free:

That play marked two present-day oddities: successful smallball and Molina erring.

Mike Matheny and the Royals aren’t shy about their love of smallball, and as the saying goes: if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want to bunt. Unfortunately, not a great showing here from Meibrys Viloria. Here’s his first attempt to lay down the safety squeeze:

Here’s his second attempt:

Fear not, because Whitley David Merrifield was next at bat. Merrifield is having a Merrifieldian season thus far with a triple slash of .297/.349/.475, good for a 122 wRC+. Predictably, he roped one into the gap, at which point one good thing and one bad thing happened.

The bad thing: Tyler O’Neill tracked this ball down in the gap. The good thing: he overran it.

The official scorer gave Merrifield a double, securing a three-hit night for the Kansas City star.

Just for good measure, this was the very next pitch:

It’s a rare thing to get an error and a cross-up from Yadier Molina in the same inning, but he’d get his revenge by taking another pitch off his foot–this time as a batter–in the bottom half of the inning.

Trevor Rosenthal and Randy Rosario combined to surrender four earned runs despite only two hits–including this doinker to tie the game. They duo combined to walk four, with Kolton Wong taking the walk-off walk. Rosenthal’s enjoyed an impressive resurgence this season, but this was a tough inning.

For everyone.


Ketel Marte: Little Big Leaguer


Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondback is a legit star player. But he’s not a great actor:

Come on, Ketel! You’ve got to commit! Show him how it’s done, guy from Revenge of the Nerds and The West Wing:

Last thoughts: There are important things happening in the world right now, and then there’s baseball. When I wonder if my time wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere, I remember the wise words of Billy Heywood from the movie above, Little Big League: “Come on, Mac. It’ll be fun.”

On second thought, Little Big League’s premise is that Billy Heywood’s grandfather, owner of the Minnesota Twins, leaves the team to Heywood in his will, and Heywood installs himself as the manager. Heywood, mind you, is, like, thirteen or whatever. Basically, it’s nepotism and white privilege played out on a baseball field. So let’s forget Billy Heywood for awhile.

Instead, watch Ketel Marte. It’ll be fun.

TC Zencka

TC Zencka contributes regularly to Pitcher List, and MLB Trade Rumors. Come say hi on Twitter.

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