A few quick examples:
* The St. Louis Cardinals lost Game 2 of the NLDS Thursday when (a) the always-overrated Matt Holliday let a routine fly hit him in the belly button with two outs in the ninth (above) and (b) closer Ryan Franklin apparently decided that absolved him of the need to throw strikes.
So the Cardinals, rather than blame their supposed stars, blamed ... the fans in Los Angeles. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright:
I mean, that ball got lost in 50,000 white towels shaking in front of Matt’s face. It doesn’t really seem fair that an opposing team should be able to allow their fans to shake white towels when there’s a white baseball flying through the air. How about Dodger Blue towels?
Someday I'd like to see a Tony LaRussa team lose with some class. It may take a while.
* Jim Leyland is still moaning about the no-call on Brandon Inge in the top of the 12th inning Tuesday:
I'm really upset that it ended the way it did, having Brandon get hit by a pitch, because that totally changes that game. I can understand how the ump didn't see the pitch hit him, but to say video was inconclusive upsets me, because everybody in America saw that it did.
OK, Mr. Leyland. I'm willing to concede umpire Randy Marsh blew that call if you're willing to admit Marsh missed the call on Alexi Casilla's slide home in the 10th. It he gets that one right, there's no 12th inning anyway. For that matter, perhaps you would acknowledge that letting Gerald Laird swing away on 3-1 with the bases loaded was a mistake.
Oh wait. That would be your mistake. Better to pin it on the ump.
* Speaking of the Detroit Tigers: Detroit GM David Dombrowski, who had the pleasant chore of fetching his $153 million first baseman from police custody last weekend, implied during his end-of-season press briefing that (a) this isn't the first time Miguel Cabrera has had too much to drink and (b) that he urged Cabrera, in a meeting Wednesday with the slugger and his agent, to get treatment. Implied rather than stated outright, with a lot of talk about the team's obligations and limitations under the collective bargaining agreement and employee assistance program. In other words: We can't make him do anything about his problem.
It wasn't sweet Tuesday night hearing fans chant "al-co-hol-ic" at Cabrera. The only defense for it is that it's true.
Meanwhile, there is serious speculation that Cabrera may still have been legally intoxicated at the start of Saturday's game against the White Sox, in which he went 0-for-4.
Cabrera wasn't the first big star to play in a key game hungover or drunk or otherwise self-medicated, and he won't be the last. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a problem. And when the team's got a $153 million commitment to the player, the team has the problem too.