In this house, we respect Josh Donaldson
There was some discussion on Twitter last night about Josh Donaldson's leadership qualities.
Say one is talking to Curtis Granderson about leaders in the clubhouse and he doesn't mention Josh Donaldson. It's important to remember a few things:
- Josh Donaldson hasn't been in the clubhouse for most of the season due to injury. Curtis Granderson is new to the clubhouse in 2018. He can't speak to anything that happened in 2015, 2016, 2017 because he wasn't there.
- Curtis Granderson, like any baseball player (or any person, really) is trying to sell his skills. If he were to mention Josh Donaldson, it begs the question about the current state of leadership in the clubhouse. If Josh Donaldson left a hole in the clubhouse, why did no one step up into that hole? Also, one of Granderson's key bonus skills is his reputation as a good team guy and a leader. The man buys birthday cake for the clubhouse. He's not going to name an absent guy. It's against his own best interest to name another guy.
- And even if one doesn't ask Curtis Granderson about leaders, but asks other guys those other guys aren't necessarily going to say Donaldson leaves a massive hole because they aren't going to say negative things about the current guys.
The key to finding out who is actually a leader in the clubhouse is just leaving the question open and see what the guys say, see who comes up repeatedly. If they have a team-only meeting, who speaks at it? What isn't said by these guys is almost as important as what is.
Have no doubt that the Blue Jays have missed a healthy Josh Donaldson for most of the past two seasons. All of the effort to improve the team, to "raise the floor", hinges on having a healthy Josh Donaldson in that line up.
We might not ever have a healthy Josh Donaldson back again and it makes me wistful. It has been one hell of a trip. What a singular baseball player. What a beast.
The Chaos of Baseball
A recently retired Jayson Werth had some thoughts about the current state of baseball. The massively retweeted statement about "super nerds" that make up the front office and it became very much the talk of baseball on the internet (mostly because who writes about baseball on the internet if not super nerds?)
There were a lot of takes. Including an odd and pompous article in The Chicago Tribune:
Paul Sullivan seems kind of mad that average sports writers don't pull in that kind of bank. You sure told Jayson Werth, Sullivan.
Sigh. Being a nerd in 2018, post-Gamergate, is not innocuous. "Nerds" can be as aggressive and awful as any other subculture of humans, wrapped up in the anonymity of the Internet. Also, The Big Bang Theory is problematic for all kinds of reasons but I wouldn't argue that people watch that show because they think nerds are awesome. Much of the humour comes from how awful nerds are. Sheldon is a horrible human being, but funny. That's the show.
Anyway, the best thing written about Jayson Werth vs. The Supernerds was Patrick Dubuque's piece for Baseball Prospectus.
It's a gorgeous piece.
Jayson Werth also had some stuff to say about his former skip Dusty Baker. Dusty Baker was fired after the end of last season when the Nationals, once again, failed to advance in the playoffs. Dave Martinez got the nod to replace him and the Nationals, hovering around .500 and in third place in their division, are considered one of baseball's head scratchers. Has Dave Martinez lost his clubhouse?
Ken Rosenthal had a great interview with Baker this week. The breadth of Baker's experience is staggering and he's not afraid to tell it as he sees it.
Baseball is just the best. I don't have an issue with those who love softball. It's just that when I hear that girls are only offered softball, I have the feeling that they are getting the lesser game. Girls are being offered ground chuck. I think they deserve a T-bone.