Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat some baseball.
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
What's happening, gang? I've got a half-hour to kick around all the great topics of October. If you'd like to debate me on my column today about the reaction to the Dodgers' theatrics and what it says about the culture of baseball, look forward to it!
Why is it that ESPN seems to like Ryu on the road over Wainwright if it gets to game 7? Is there something I'm missing?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
"ESPN" likes Ryu? As if we've all been told what to think? I said on Mike and Mike yesterday it's hard for me to pick against Wainwright at home in a Game 7. But remember, the Cardinals didn't score an earned run against Ryu in two starts (14 innings). And remember, the Cardinals hit .238 against lefthanded pitching this year. So the Dodgers have a real shot if it gets to a Game 7.
I understand where you're coming from on "changing the culture" in baseball. But remember that one of the things that appeals to a lot of people about baseball is the respect for the game and its traditions. I have no problem with anyone celebrating after a big hit in a key spot. But make sure the ball leaves the park first!
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
I think we agree on that! I wrote in the column I could do without a guy flipping his bat 50 feet on a ball that didn't leave the premises. But I don't get why baseball players aren't allowed to celebrate and show their emotions in the biggest moments and biggest games of their lives. Why can't you do that and still respect the game? I don't get it.
Ram (Orangeberg, NY)
Jayson, love your posts and appearences on Mike & Mike. Big Red-Sox fan. Do you think the Bosox will win with Clay after his not so-good outing last Sunday? Do you expect to see any rotational change?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
I'm not covering that series. But I'd seriously doubt the Red Sox would make a "rotational change" at this point. Who would they put in there? Dempster? Doubront? Don't see it. I think they'll find a way to win a game at home. But if you look at the starting-pitching matchups, it's hard not to think the Tigers have an edge in both games. The Red Sox game plan is to grind at-bats, get those guys out of there and do damage against the Tigers' bullpen. They've won the games where they could do that -- and were able to exploit Anibal Sanchez last night.
You think Donnie Baseball would order (or "encourage") a brush-back/knockdown pitch from Kershaw? As a Dodgers fan, I feel like one is not only DUE for the Cards, but also absolutely deserved after Lynn's brush-back of Puig and Kelly's plunking of Hanley.
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
The Dodgers don't think any of that was intentional. And I don't, either. The idea at this point is to win the game, not send messages. All the other stuff has to be secondary when you're playing elimination games.
Jayson, how much will replay slow down the game with the likes of a double play and the SS is "in the area"? Games will take forever if that's the case. Or if Molina really did tag the guy out at the plate (which he didn't). Thanks.
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
To be honest, this is being overblown. I don't think you're going to see a lot of challenges to the "area play" unless it's really egregious. Why? Because the manager who's challening it knows that his team does it, too. I also think A.J. Ellis said it well after that play at the plate. He said there's never been a time in the history of baseball where a guy was safe on that play. And Don Mattingly said that even if he'd had a challenge, he wouldn't have used it, because the ball clearly beat the runner home. By the way, I've seen screen shots that show Molina applying a tag. And I asked Molina about it, and he said he definitely tagged him, no matter how the replays made it look.
Why do reporters ask a question then kill the player for answering? Not like Beltran was standing up yelling at everyone saying it was BS. Cards didn't pull a Braves and try and start a fight after the hit.
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
As the reporter who asked Beltran those questions, I'd like to answer this. I haven't seen anyone "kill" Beltran for those answers. They just started a debate about Puig, and about the expression of emotion in baseball, that I think is well worth having. I totally appreciate the way Carlos Beltran answered those questions, with great dignity, with carefully chosen words and with an honest expression of how he felt. It was because he answered those questions so articulately that we've been able to have this conversation.
All I have to say is J. Leonard one flap down. Or Eck pointing at you when he struck you out. All of these fans need to get over being the Celebration police. Or how about Oritz standing there for 2 minutes after he hit a long fly ball. You guys pick and choose who you complain about way too much.
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
"You guys?" I'm the one arguing we need more shows of emotion and celebration, not fewer. How do I get lumped in with the "you guys" part of that post? My point is, in all the other sports, people accept these displays, and fans actually connect with them. Why is this sport different? No reason. I was defending the A's of the '90s 20 years ago, too. So I'm innocent!
Showing emotion and what is being displayed by the Dodgers are two different things. You can show emotion but to a point. The game of baseball has changed and in my opinion for the worse. As a fan of baseball I can't get myself to watch a playoff game that features the Dodgers because I get frustrated at how they play the game and their lack of respect for the game. You hear older players talk about how this stuff wouldn't have happened in their time and their right they would've taken care of it. Baseball has removed the self-policing aspect from game and I think is a reason for this unfortunate trend. The WBC has this issue as well and actually is worse. Realize I may be in the minority on this topic but find myself less excited each year for spring training to start. Thank you.
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
How do they not respect the game? Seriously. As I've said in Puig's case, I'm not a fan of a guy who flips his bat on balls that don't go out, and I'm not a fan of a guy jogging after a fly ball he didn't catch in the ninth inning of a playoff game. But I honestly think the response is more about Puig than it is about that team or about the whole issue of showing emotion in baseball. He's a category unto himself.
Jason (St Louis)
I guess it's a fine line between joyful emotion and showing someone up. Actually, depending on which side you are on it's probably the exact same thing.
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
I'm with you! It really depends on which team you're rooting for, I think. I also wrote about how the Cardinals' core group played for Tony La Russa and were trained to react to any perceived offense the way this team is reacting to Puig. I also think that's a big part of it. They've always used this sort of thing as motivation.
Jason (St Louis)
Any opinion on Gonzalez putting the mouse ears up by his head after the second homerun yesterday?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Also talked about that in the column. Now he's a guy who crossed the line. There was no reason for him to do that other than as a direct in-your-face to Wainwright after those "Mickey Mouse" comments. So when the Dodgers defend their behavior by saying it wasn't directed at the other team, I disagree on that one. It was totally directed at the other team.
Larry M (Athens, Ga)
Puig's behavior is not disrespectful to the game, it is unprofessional and disrespectful to the professionals in the other dugout. But let him be himself - and let him get a baseball thrown in his ear a few times. That's baseball. Look, ESPN has been on the Puig bandwagon since the beginning, pushing him for the All Star team over a more deserving Freddie Freeman. I guess you guys have to sell "page hits" to advertisers or something - I recognize ESPN is a business. But don't go trying to change the game of baseball to fit your business model.
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
Larry, we've been talking about this for three months now. There was no corporate directive at ESPN to jump on the Puig bandwagon. I promise! But this is a player we can't stop talking about and we can't take our eyes off, because he's so talented and so flamboyant, and people react to him. My take is that that's good for the sport. I just spent three days watching him and his team at Dodger Stadium. I've never seen a fan base react to any player the way those fans react to Puig. I'm serious. So you can dislike him. But all sports need guys like that. And I assure you, that opinion has nothing to do with ESPN's business model.
Ok, flipping the bat and raising your arms as though you won the world series=acceptable behavior. One second of mickey mouse ears= not acceptable. Thanks for clearing that up (probably 'in the column')
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
Try reading the column before you make comments like that, OK? For that matter, try reading the whole chat. I've already said two different times in this chat that I could do without the guy flipping his bat on a ball that didn't leave the park. And all I said about Gonzalez was that he was clearly aiming that mouse-ears gesture at the Cardinals. You're reading into that what you want to read into it, not what I said. Or wrote in "the column."
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
Jayson, I have been a baseball fan for nearly 40 years and I don't get why other fans don't like players celebrating great moments. I guess they also think that Joe Carter and Kirk Gibson should have just quietly circled the bases.
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
Thank you. Part of what made those moments so epic is those emotional trips around the bases.
Caleb (Springfield, IL)
As a die-hard Cards fan, I thoroughly enjoy watching Puigs antics, ESPECIALLY against us! Players like Puig bring the game a lot of interest and fun. When Puig does his stuff and beats us, it is a slap in the face. But I tell ya, when you see him strike out 6 times in a row, all compassion is gone. It is that much sweeter. Puigs are what baseball needs in the 21st century.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Couldn't agree more, Caleb. Like him or dislike him, the game is a more interesting place because he's playing it.
Jayson, I think the difference between the way the Cards celebrate is that they don't direct them at the opposition or show them up. Being emotional after a big K is fine as long as you don't stare at the batter or the opposition's bench. Making ears at your bench, in context, is the same as staring at the other bench. My thoughts...
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
This has been an interesting part of the debate. I agree that the Cardinals do what they do for their own dugout. The Dodgers players have been claiming that's true of them, too. The one exception was the Adrian Gonzalez "mouse-ears" sign. He aimed it at his dugout, but it was totally in response to the Adam Wainwright remarks. So that one's a little different. Other than that, none of it has been aimed at the other team, best I can tell.
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Sorry about this, but I only have time for one more. Busy day.
Dodger fan here. i'm glad Puig is around showing emotions. i hate it when players play like un-emotional robots. he looks like he is having fun playing the game and that shows on TV
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
Well, you'll never hear anybody accuse him of playing like an un-emotional robot! There's no denying the guy is having fun, and he lets every emotion show. The only part of that I'd like to see reigned in is the part where he lets his emotions override actually playing the game. You can't jog after a ball in the outfield because you're mad you didn't catch it or lost it in the sun. You can't flip the bat and admire a ball that hits the bottom of the fence. Run! The rest of it is great. Great for the Dodgers. Great for the sport.
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
Thanks for all the tremendous opinions on a great topic. See ya down the road in Chat Land.