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Relief pitchers need a short memory, Prayers for Big Papi, and Can the W's flip the script?

What I learned this weekend in sports

Rich Herrera
June 10, 2019 - 10:30 am

A quick rapid fire of my thoughts from this weekend.


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The best asset for a relief pitcher is a short memory.  


Craig Stammen is one of the main reasons why the Padres have played well this season.  He has been the bridge for the Padres' young starting staff to get to Kirby Yates to close out games.  He got knocked around yesterday and is the talk of the town today.  I don't know if I even want to review the video to see what happened.  He has been a stalwart of a young bullpen and pulled the Padres' bacon out of the fire more than anyone else that I can remember.  A few weeks ago, I shared a baseball term called "scuffling" for when a player is doing the right things but not getting the right results.  Here is another term for you that is used around big league clubhouses: "hang with 'em."  Sometimes things just don't go your way.  Sometimes you are going to get knocked around.  Sometimes you just lose.  It doesn't mean anything more than that one moment in time when you failed.  I was watching the movie "The Catcher Was A Spy" last night and there was one moment that stood out to me.  Someone asked Moe Berg, the big league catcher who became an OSS operative during World War II, about baseball.  He told the Japanese professor he was talking to that "you fail" quite a bit.   Baseball is a game of failure.  Sometimes we forget that.    


Prayers for Big Papi 

What a shock to see the news that David Ortiz was shot this weekend in the Dominican Republic.  Everyone around baseball was shocked and saddened by the news.  There is a reason why everyone around the game loves him.  There is one moment that I will never forget that tells me a lot about him.  When he was a Red Sox player, the crush of people that wanted to be around him was suffocating.  Everywhere he went, the fans wanted a piece of him.  The Red Sox would have to have extra security on the road with the team because of the traveling rock 'n roll show Boston was.  Selfies, autographs, photos, handshakes were part of the deal when you become a superstar like Big Papi.  One of his only places of solitude was on the field.  It's the one place no one was asking for anything.  A few years back I would host kids from Make-A-Wish and the Children's Dream Fund in Florida for batting practice.  It was a big deal for many kids who were battling cancer and many other horrible illnesses.  Since I worked for the club, I was able to ask our players to come by and sign autographs for our "Tuesday's Champion" and it became something special for everyone involved.  I was, however, unable to make any requests from opposing teams to come sign autographs, as it was against Major League Baseball rules to ask.  For all the years I hosted these amazing kids, only one visiting player ever walked over to say hello to my Make-A-Wish kid: David Ortiz.  He didn't have to, there was no PR guy asking him to, and there was no camera to show everyone what a great guy he is.  There was only one reason for him to stop what he was doing when he noticed a frail young man standing there looking at him across the field. He did it because he is a good man and it was the right thing to do.  I have never told this story publicly until today.  I didn't need to, he did not do it to impress me or have me tell you what a nice man he is.  But I share this with you today as he is the one in a hospital bed, because wherever you are, whoever you are, please join me and wish Big Papi a healthy recovery.  


W's can fold, or begin to write their name on top of the annals of the greats.  


It would be easy for the Warriors to fold tonight and say it was a nice run because we are "so beat up". Tonight we get to see if the heart of a champion is a real thing for the Golden State Warriors. The first was the cute "Splash Brothers" club.  The next two with the "Hampton Five" after they added MVP Kevin Durrant to a championship club. Many have downplayed how good they are when you add an MVP to a championship club. They have been so stacked they have just been dominant. It took a Herculean effort by King James to beat them in 2016.  Otherwise, they would be playing for their 5th straight title. They are beat up, missing so many parts and find themselves down 3 games to 1. Only once has a team overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. The 2016 Cavs did it to the Warriors.  Can they flip the script?  We will find out beginning tonight.