Thursday, July 13, 2017


Photo: Getty Images
Watching Aaron Judge light up the Miami night with a fireworks display at the Home Run Derby with his big hairy bat and charm the baseball world with his big Strahan-ish grin as he rooted on his competitors was a sight to behold.

For most baseball fans across the country and around the globe, it was their first chance to really experience the amazing young player Yankee fans get to see on a regular basis. And for one golden, shining hour, division standings, playoff races and  trade deadlines  were pushed to the background and forgotten.

Photo: Getty Images
But then came the All-Star Game the next night, and that wild hare in Dellin's arm that Yankee fans unfortunately also get to see on a regular basis lately decided to make an appearance with the world watching -- and listening.

 As it turned out, Dellin managed to escape his sloppy inning intact.  It would've been a quickly forgotten appearance in a yawn of a game that will likely only be remembered for an ex-Yankee who replaced an injured Yankee winning it in extra innings and earning the MVP award for dropping by.

But thanks to MLB wanting to bring the fans into the game and their use of modern technology, he wouldn't be so lucky and his struggling became the launch point for one of the  most patently twisted media contortions of  the mid-season break.

Photo: Getty Images
It began, as the Post's Ken Davidoff reported it , with Dellin's "roller-coaster third inning for the American League, loading the bases on a single, two walks and two wild pitches before escaping when he retired former Met Daniel Murphy on a groundout to third. Betances did strike out the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon and Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton. “Harper put up a good at-bat,” Betances said of Bryce Harper, on whom he got ahead, 0-2, before issuing the free pass. “Then I got a little out of whack with [Buster] Posey.”  During the Posey at-bat, Betances indicated, he experienced some of the mechanical woes that plagued him with the Yankees, causing him to walk 11 opponents over five appearances from June 26-July 5. "

Just another wild and crazy Dellin inning, but no harm done this time, right? Not so fast.

Photo: Getty Images
Under the headline "Bryce Harper bashes Dellin Betances during All-Star Game after working walk" Nicholas Parco of the Daily News explained what happened after Harper, who was wearing a mic for the game, worked the walk from Dellin.

"While on first base, Harper’ microphone picked up him giving the NL’s first base coach a rather simple and blunt scouting report on Betances. “I feel like he’s a guy you can go up there and just take,” Harper said. “He’ll walk you.”

Photo: Getty Images
Now, I know writers don't write their own headlines, But the writers do decide what's "newsworthy" to write about.  So a pox on both their houses, along with all the hundreds of others in the print and electronic sports media who turned this steaming pile of poop passing for news into a perfect example of why you can't believe anything requiring nuance from the sports media during the trade deadline season.

First of all, anyone who knows anything about the game knows what Harper said wasn't derogatory, critical or mean-spirited and it doesn't even qualify as commentary. It's standard operating procedure for a team's best hitters (and he's one of the game's best) after facing a new pitcher unfamiliar to his team to share any useful intel after his at bat. It isn't like he said "This guy sucks." or "Tell everyone to swing away.  He's got nothing." It was straight strategy.  Nothing personal. Strictly business.

Second, is it really a hot take worthy of ink or clicks (sans phony headline)   that the best chance to get on base against Dellin -- or really anybody whose possesses a heater that sits at 97-99 mph with movement along with a good second pitch-- is hope his command isn't great and he walks you?

And thirdly -- and maybe this is hard for some to hear -- but there's a pretty small fraternity of pitchers that are confident and capable enough to regularly go straight at guys like Harper, Trout and others of their caliber batting eyes. It's called the Fraternity Of Aces And Closers.

So when he says Dellin's a guy "a guy you can go up there and just take" all  he may really be saying is Dellin is what he is. Not a closer. That's no insult -- unless, of course, your agent  foolishly invited you to attend your own arbitration hearing without first properly preparing you by explaining the process, formula or fact he was trying to make a test case out of you. But that's another media-created Dellin problem for another day.

On that particular day, only the media was doing the bashing.

Tomorrow, the Yankees begin a series of four at Fenway. When it's over they could be back in first place or down  7.5 games and looking up at  Boston, Tampa Bay and Baltimore in the standings and well on their way toward helping Brian and Hal to decide if they're buyers or sellers.

The Yankees have problems and  Dellin is looming large among them. What Bryce said doesn't matter. What Dellin can or can't do about it will.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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