- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
A teenager ran onto the field in Philadelphia and got tasered Monday night.
I obviously don't know the specifics of the situation from Monday to address that. In general, through the years, there have been two different standards for dealing with a fan who runs onto the field during a game.
1. In most parks, the fan is slowly corralled like a wayward sheep and then gently led off the field to face some sort of misdemeanor charge.
2. The Yankee Stadium standard, whereby fans are used as tackling dummies and often hammered to the ground. If I didn't know better, I'd guess that Brian Dawkins and John Lynch prepared for their time as NFL safeties while serving as security guys working in Yankee Stadium.
Is tasing the right thing? Is it really any worse or better than tackling? And should all fans who choose to run onto the field be handled as potential threats to the players and staff on the field -- such as former Royals coach Tom Gamboa, who was pummeled by a couple of thugs during a game in Chicago?
Readers, the forum is yours.
The Lee story
The other day, I wrote a story about how Cliff Lee is set up perfectly for free agency in the fall, and I quoted Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, as saying that it was likely that Lee would test the market, and that there hadn't been significant conversations with the Mariners to date.
Because Lee had made his first start for the Mariners the night before, he took some flak on the World Wide Web for the timing of this. To be clear:
1. I called Braunecker, not vice versa. This was not a case of an agent lobbying for his client (which does happen from time to time, of course).
2. The context for the conversation was the recent struggles of the other free-agent pitchers, from Brandon Webb (injured) to Jorge De La Rosa (injured) to Javier Vazquez (who has gotten pounded), and how Lee seems to be in a great position.
3. Braunecker never said that Lee wouldn't re-sign with the Mariners, as one of the headlines indicated; he just said there hadn't been any major negotiations to this point.
The Toronto Blue Jays took some big, big cuts against Ben Sheets' curveball Sunday, leading some to wonder if Sheets is tipping his curveball. The numbers certainly suggest that something unusual has been going on with his curveball the past couple of games.
• Opposing hitters versus Sheets' curve in his first four starts: 8-for-29, 4 extra-base hits.
• Opposing hitters versus Sheets' curve in his past two starts: 7-for-12, 5 extra-base hits.
A talent evaluator on the Boston Red Sox: "It seems like there's something missing with them right now. I'm not sure what it is, but something's going on."
A talent evaluator on Johan Santana's diminished velocity: "Not enough is being made of the fact that Santana pitches at 88-91 mph now. I haven't seen him exceed 91 mph. The drop in velocity takes away some of the effectiveness of his changeup. It's noticeable. I can't remember the last time I saw so many hitters have so many good takes against his changeup. So, in part I think it's a velocity issue; otherwise his pitchability is still good. The slider has been his third pitch, so with the decline in effectiveness of the fastball and changeup, I think left-handed hitters are feeling a lot more comfortable against him."
Ubaldo Jimenez is 6-0 and is arguably the best pitcher in the majors today, striking out 13 in seven innings last night. From John Parolin, Lee Singer and Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information, why Jimenez won:
He pounded away with the fastball. Jimenez threw 68 fastballs, holding Padres hitters to 3-for-15 (.200) on the pitch and striking out seven of them. In fact, his strikeout percentage with the fastball (46.7 percent) was almost double his already stellar season percentage of 23.7 percent and more than tripled the MLB strikeout percentage on fastballs of 13.3 percent.
He commanded the bottom of the strike zone. Jimenez held San Diego bats to 1-for-12 (.083) on pitches down in the zone, recording eight strikeouts (66.7 percent of plate appearances -- the MLB strikeout rate low in zone: 25.7 percent).
The Padres couldn't hit him if they tried. Jimenez posted a swing-and-miss percentage of 38.1 percent, besting by far both his season percentage (25.5 percent) and the major league average (20.6 percent).
The timing couldn't be better for the Rockies because Colorado, like the Oakland Athletics, is going to have to play some rope-a-dope in the days ahead. Three-fifths of the Rockies' starting rotation and their projected closer are down with injury, and so all general manager Dan O'Dowd can do is sit and wait.