Turmoil in AL Central besides the standings

Tigers fire their pitching coach due to "insensitive comments" while Kansas City GM's makes ones of his own

The AL Central is still a mess, and the White Sox are doing their part. The Sox dragged the Twins down to 34-42 after taking the first two games of the series, which has allowed the Indians to stretch their lead to 8½ games. No other division features a lead that’s even half that margin (the AL West is the closest, but the Astros hold a 3½-game lead over Seattle).

Maybe the Twins shouldn’t be in second place, but the Tigers will not let them drop into third. Detroit has now lost its last eight games, and that’s somehow become the least of their concerns after they fired pitching coach Chris Bosio for “insensitive comments.”

WXYZ-TV in Detroit is sticking by its report that the comments were racist in nature, but no other outlet seems to be going that far yet. I’m guessing it had to be in that neighborhood of severity if it prompted that kind of punishment, especially since Detroit’s pitching staff had its share of pleasant developments.

Now they’ll have to avoid going too far down Ron Gardenhire’s history of mistakes. Rick Anderson, Gardenhire’s longtime pitching coach with the Twins, assumes Bosio’s position. Anderson was the one who preferred the pitch-to-contact strategy when the league’s hitters shifted toward maximizing said contact, and they also had a litany of pitcher injuries that were sloppily handled. Tigers pitchers have noted that Anderson’s philosophy (and personality) are vastly different.

Bosio made a quick and significant impact on a pitching staff that ranked at or near the bottom of nearly every statistical category last season. Many of his methods are unique to him and, as Wilson said, Bosio and Anderson are “of two completely different minds.”

Kansas City is having similar issues on and off the field. Before they beat the Brewers 5-4 on Wednesday, they were the subject of a startling stat:

Indeed, they had lost 18 of their previous 21 games, and they won those three games by a combined score of 5-0. So there’s that.

But now GM Dayton Moore is publicly stepping in it as he flirts with the idea of signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who went undrafted due to being convicted of child molestation as a 15-year-old. He tried to clear his name through Sports Illustrated and the New York Times by proclaiming innocence (he pleaded guilty, but now says it was only because it was the best for the family). This approach has seemingly backfired, because there’s a zero-sum effect. Going on the offensive reopens wounds for the victim, and maybe even sexual assault victims in general.

Whatever the case, it’s not surprising that a team with a shortage in prospects is looking into selecting Heimlich, because he’s a first-day draft talent. Moore has his public piety and a love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin ethos to fall back on, which gives him some cover as he floats this balloon.

What made this more of a mess for him was dragging Jarrod Dyson into it. When reaching for a similar case of players who rehabilitated reputations with the team, he pointed to his former center fielder:

“We’re an organization that made a stance against the harmful effects of pornography,” Moore said, “and how it affects our young players and our young people and young minds. We’re very sensitive to these types of things.

“We also believe in giving players second chances. We’ve given some players third and fourth chances.”

Moore used former Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson as an example of a player who received a second chance because they “believed in his heart.” He said the club would continue to monitor whether Heimlich was worthy of such a chance.

I didn’t remember Dyson doing anything WRONG-wrong during his time in Kansas City. He survived a tough upbringing and served a 50-game suspension for amphetamines in the minors in 2009, but searching turned up nothing that warranted Dyson being used as a like case.

The Arizona Diamondbacks reporter for The Athletic asked Dyson about it, and Dyson was equally miffed:

If the two are to talk, though, it’ll have to be Moore reaching out to his former player, not the other way around. After all, Dyson didn’t insert his own name into the Luke Heimlich discussion.

“At the end of the day, I ain’t put it out,” Dyson said, “so I ain’t going to be doing no calling.”

Asked to clarify, Moore said that they weren’t like cases, and tried to pin it on a local story being made national:

Dyson’s and Heimlich’s offenses are “not even close,” Moore said; he agreed that their transgressions are at completely different ends of the spectrum. Moore said he used Dyson’s name as a shorthand for what can result from second chances, meant for a Kansas City community familiar with the outfielder’s journey. He was not “speaking to New York or Arizona, Phoenix, Boston,” he said, but to a fanbase that “knows what I’m talking about when I mention Jarrod Dyson.”

Except Royals fans thought the comparison sucked, too. 

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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PauliePaulie

That Royals Review piece is well done.
Comment section devolved into the inevitable shit-show.
So, so very glad the Sox are not linked to that guy.

Josh Nelson

I was surprised that 41% approved of the Royals signing Heimlich on the RR poll.

billyok

Honestly surprised it’s only 41% even though that’s higher than it should be. My sense has always been that sports fans will more than not look the other way on some truly heinous shit if it means their team gets a potential star player. 

Anyway, glad to see other teams lighting their trash on fire instead of ours. 2016 left scars, even if our fires were hilariously dumb by comparison. 

asinwreck

The most vile aspect of Dayton Moore’s comments was this passage:

“We were very interested in Luke last year. And obviously this accusation came out. So we immediately put everything on pause, as we should, to gather facts, gather information. He went out and performed this year. Not only did he achieve athletic excellence, he achieved academic excellence along the way. He went undrafted, all 30 teams. I think teams are still trying to find out more and more information. They’re trying to come to grips with this. This is something that happened in their family. Their family has dealt with this. Their family remains very close today, all parties involved.

It’s a very complex deal.”

Calling a conviction based on a guilty plea an “accusation” is a particularly blatant discrediting of a sexual assault victim. This is not a complex deal; this is Dayton Moore waving away a due process judgement that Heimlich molested a small child.
Whether Heimlich has cause for embarking on a professional baseball career or not after completing the terms of his sentence is a good question, but the way Moore characterizes the case is horrible. I would not trust him with the care of my child.

mikeyb

Also Heimlich’s family has not remained very close. The parents of the daughter have basically said they hate him and will never speak with him again. The girl has no contact with Heimlich. It’s some absurd bullshit to cover for a child molester, but even more absurd to lie and imply that everybody in the family has forgiven him for what he did.

lil jimmy

I’m just going to say, there is a reason for juvenile courts. We want the person to have a chance as a responsible adulthood. The need to shove this kid in a hole and bury him does not feel right to me.

Patrick Nolan

I think that if he were more repentant and took accountability for what happened that this is the way I’d feel — it just seems from what I’ve read that he hasn’t done that, which prevents me from having too much sympathy for his situation.

There’d still be plenty of people looking to shove him in a hole even if he handled it better, and that part does bother me a little.

Lurker Laura

This. (On both points.)

Reindeer Games

This is a severe case.  I’m not saying he should be locked up for forever, but 15 is old enough to know what he did is horrendous and things that bad should preclude you from professions where millions of people cheer for you and you can become a millionaire, because that is unbelievably unfair to the victim who’s life he ruined. 

lil jimmy

It is this brand of justice that has 12 old’s tried as adults in this country. You don’t want to “lock him up forever”,
except you do. You are all interested in sentencing him life life under a bridge.
So he does not meet Pnoles standards. I say put in the stocks in the town square for a week. Let those with a beef throw fruit or stones at him. If he lives, release him and let him go.

PauliePaulie

I don’t think saying that he doesn’t deserve the privilege of pitching in MLB is the same as saying “shove this kid in a hole and bury him”.

Eagle Bones

I have admittedly not read enough of this whole story to this point, but it’s my understanding that he continues to express his innocence despite the guilty plea. It’s also my understanding (and this is one of those moments where I wish we still had access to larry’s encyclopedia of knowledge) that an innocent person pleading guilty really isn’t all that rare a scenario in our supremely screwed up court system.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m kind of with jimmy on this one. There seems to be at least some level of uncertainty regarding his guilt/innocence and even if there wasn’t, he’s not in jail or under house arrest. He’s allowed to get a job and make a living. It’s not MLB’s job to adjudicate his case. I feel like I used to be more on the side of “why are we letting criminals make millions”, but I’ve become more pragmatic as I’ve gotten older and I don’t really see why we’re trying to punish people for things they’ve already been punished for by the court system by preventing them from then going and making a living. I guess people want him to be able to get a job, but not one that will make him a lot of money. That seems like a fine line to try and walk. I don’t know what the answer is, I just don’t feel like it’s as cut and dry as people want to make it.

lil jimmy

I don’t have sympathy really. It’s the sanctimonious railroad job that seems to be taking place. There’s a smell to it, and I don’t like it. I refuse to pick up a stone and throw it.

gibby32

For what it’s worth, I’m with Jimmy. Further, no one here knows what actually happened, but some are pretending that they do in order to justify their moral superiority.

Trooper Galactus

Here’s what we know happened: Heimlich plead guilty to molesting his niece for two years when she was 4-to-6 years old. Neither the girl nor her parents have anything to do with him and still harbor hatred towards him for his actions. He now denies the event ever happened, this after serving basically no significant punishment for an absolutely heinous act. His excuse for why he plead guilty to something he purportedly did not do rings pretty hollow, and his denial directly says the victim and her family are lying.

Maybe this is a hot take, but I don’t think it’s a high bar for anybody here to clear to claim moral superiority over a convicted child sex offender.

Lurker Laura

Nobody is preventing him from making a living. 30 professional baseball teams are saying they don’t want the potential nightmare of having him on their roster. There are other ways to make a living.

lil jimmy

They would be happy to have him. It’s a baggage they don’t want. Colin Kaepernick is not worth the bad pub. Neither is this guy.

Trooper Galactus

That’s just it jimmy, they don’t want the baggage. The issue is that Heimlich is trying to say the baggage is a falsehood, which expressly implies his victim was lying. Heimlich shows no remorse for what he did through his denials, and indeed is framing himself as the victim in this scenario, which is absolutely absurd. As pnoles states, there might be better (if still dubious) moral footing if Heimlich were presenting himself as repentant and looking for redemption, but by his statements he insists no redemption is needed. If the White Sox signed him I would seriously reconsider my fandom.

Josh Nelson

You don’t have to worry about the White Sox signing him.

Trooper Galactus

I know. The White Sox have their warts, but in general they’ve avoided those sort of moral quagmires. I’ll be interested to see how they handle Castillo moving forward, as it’s the first time I can recall them having this happen on their watch.

karkovice squad

That’s a poor equivalence to draw. The baggage of being a registered sex offender isn’t directly comparable to that of political expression. Especially in the direction you’re drawing it.

lil jimmy

Not the person, the bad pub. As you know there is more, much more disdain for Kaepernick .

Trooper Galactus

I think Kap has as many supporters as he has detractors, really.

karkovice squad

I don’t think the argument is about how much money he can make but about the way he makes it.

I do have some sympathy along the lines of LJ’s about employers getting to punish people for behavior outside of employment. But I think we can draw distinctions both among types of behavior and types of employment where behavior can be disqualifying.

Someone employed as a professional athlete becomes a public figure. There’s potential for fame and celebrity that goes along with that. No one is entitled to those things and some forms of criminal behavior can be disqualifying from them. I’d argue molesting a child is one of them. Particularly since this isn’t a gray area like a 15 year old having to register as a sex offender for consensual sexual contact with another 15 year old.

35Shields

I’d maybe also feel slightly more sympathetic if his punishment for said offense wasn’t just probation.

I don’t really feel any need to give a second shot to a kid who got off easy and won’t even own up to what he did.

lil jimmy

So you think he getting off easy?
Google news headline yesterday
“Child Molester knocked out in the 5th”

Trooper Galactus

Being held over the coals in the court of public opinion is getting off easy for sexually assaulting a 6-year old, yes.

35Shields

Mean articles and not being able to play baseball, man he’s really paid his debt to society!

Foulkelore

Great catch about the term “accusation.” When I originally read that quote, I was hung up on the lie about their family remaining close (covered nicely by mikeyb), and missed that.
Let’s not forget about this either:

  • https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/03/21/kansas-city-royals-dayton-moore-anti-pornography-fight-new-drug
  • To me, there’s not much worse than a holier-than-thou hypocrite. Being religious is fine, but when someone preaches to others about how wrong/evil they are for something fairly innocuous, and then turns around and defends an admitted child molester, I know that person is truly awful. Dayton Moore is a horrible human being.

    Patrick Nolan

    Moore said porn was wrong/evil, he didn’t preach that users of porn were evil.

    Reindeer Games

    Taking a vocal stance against pornography, but defending and protecting a child molester is pretty fucking hypocritical imo.  Especially on the heels of comparing an amp suspension (lots of HOFers abused amps) to molesting a 4 year old is fucked up.  This wasn’t a one time thing, Heimlich molested his niece from the time she was four until she was six.

    Patrick Nolan

    I don’t think Moore believes child molestation is OK or anything (and I don’t think you believe he does either). The fundamental question here is that of redemption — whether someone who did something as heinous as Heimlich can rehabilitate themselves, pay their debts to victims/society, and one day be looked upon with the same level of dignity as anyone else.

    Your answer to this question appears to be “no”. The most problematic thing in this situation for someone who believes the answer is “yes” is that it doesn’t appear that Heimlich has even taken a minimal step (e.g. public regret) toward earning that redemption. That’s what makes me lean toward thinking Moore doesn’t have much ground to stand on here and that he’s just being tempted by the baseball pedigree.

    Reindeer Games

    A couple things.  

    1) Moore is willing to defend a child molester because it might help his baseball team win.  He’s a hypocrite and his hollow overly-sanctimonious bullshit about pornography is frankly offensive at that point. 

    2) I do believe in redemption for people if they actually try to redeem themselves.  This point is moot, because it doesn’t apply here.

    3) I don’t believe sex offenders or other serious criminals redemption includes entitlement to a job that comes with being a public figure and getting fame and fortune.  Imagine someone hurting you or your family like that, and seeing people cheer for them on TV.  Maybe it would be better if they showed remorse and had redeemed themselves, but it would still be pretty fucking terrible seeing people cheer for the rich and famous person who destroyed your life because he’s good at throwing balls.  

    Patrick Nolan

    His comments about pornography are totally irrelevant to this situation (and given Jim’s point about his love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin mantra, they’re not inconsistent). I honestly don’t know why they’re even being brought up. It’s easy enough to criticize Moore for what he’s doing now without bringing his thoughts on something completely different into the conversation.

    Reindeer Games

    They’re both completely inconsistent and relevant to the situation.  Being willing to abandon your morals because it might help your baseball team win (which is 100% what he is doing.  Don’t give me this love the sinner, hate the sin bullshit.  It is a very blatant lie to cover his ass.) in the face of previously trying to force your moral beliefs on others is absolutely hypocritical and nothing you say can change my mind on that.  

    Lurker Laura

    I believe in the right for redemption, particularly for something that happened when a person is young. However, admitting guilt and showing remorse are key, of which Heimlich has not done neither (despite his guilty plea.) Heimlich should seek his redemption outside of baseball.

    I’m sadly not surprised that 41% would approve of the signing. Most people think cases like this are exaggerations or outright lying.

    ForsterFTOG

    Why outside of baseball but not in baseball?

    Lurker Laura

    Too public.

    lil jimmy

    How about President?

    Lurker Laura

    Not sure what you’re asking?

    lil jimmy

    Our President proudly bragged about grabbing strange women by the crotch. (He was not 15)

    Trooper Galactus

    This is probably not the place to take the conversation in that direction.

    lil jimmy

    because he can’t hit a curve?

    Trooper Galactus

    Because this is a baseball community. Much as I imagine I agree with your stance, that is absolutely not a road I want to go down on this site. I imagine most people here, while of like mind, feel the same way.

    Lurker Laura

    And I didn’t vote for him, that being one of the reasons. He, too, can get his redemption, should he want it, somewhere less public. But I agree with TG that this has now officially gotten away from baseball.

    gibby32

    The requirement that the charged admit guilt and show remorse has always bothered me. If they did not do what they were charged with, irrespective of and contrary to a court finding, they are being asked to do something that would be anathema to me if I were in that situation. Yet, if they don’t do it, their punishment is even more severe. I haven’t read a lot about Heimlich so maybe the evidence is more damning than I know. But based on what I have read, I believe the outrage to be over the top.

    Trooper Galactus

    He plead guilty and barely even received a punishment. I’d imagine the victim’s family already viewed that as a miscarriage of justice. That he’s free to now deny his guilt is pretty disgusting, and renders one aspect of his “punishment” (a written apology to his victim) pretty hollow in retrospect. Personally, I’ll take the over-the-top outrage to sheer indifference or obfuscation on the matter.

    gibby32

    To me, it’s not productive to comment on this kind of issue in this kind of forum. I did it for a time, and then stopped. I broke my rule here because I didn’t want Jimmy to think that he was alone or one of two. (And no one should attribute anything that I have said to Jimmy.) So I’ll stop (this time) with this: the recognition that one does not know what actually happened, apart from legal formalities, does not make one guilty of indifference or obfuscation.

    Trooper Galactus

    It’s being commented on here because it was part of the posted article written by the site creator and it is baseball related. And the whole point of the legal formalities was to establish what happened.

    Willardmarshall

    Always wondered how Bills fans would’ve responded had OJ been accused at height of his career….

    Anohito

    The Sox are seriously the only thing keeping the tigers even close to afloat. Man that’s dumb.

    and 2 guys with lots of baseball potential now nothing because of their dumb and in Luke’s case straight up inhumane and criminal actions, it’s all just so stupid of them. I’ve joked before during the real bad times for my teams that I don’t care if Hitler himself was on the team as long as he could actually play well for a change but if the option were actually presented, even if he was a clear cut MVP that would lead the team to long yearned for success, then such a statement would definitely be unheard of…
    …Or would it though? I also do realize sometimes desperation kicks in. Even though it would seem obvious to say no, sometimes people put winning over everything. We saw some cases of this already, i.e Chapman or even that uncomfortable time during Kane’s situation back a few years. It really shows when you more deeply think of it, it isn’t as black and white as it seems and well, I guess we’ll see what happens in this situation.

    Jer-in-Az

    Excluding the PR stuff/has he repaid his debt, how many brawls would start if he threw inside. I’m sure a lot batters would be hot to trot the second he slips and hits a batter.

    L2R

    the NFL has a 10s of millions of dollars problem with players kneeling.
    And the Royals GM said, ‘hold my beer!”

    Imagine them playing in Boston. HO LEE COW how could anyone team play with that at every ballfield including your own.

    Trooper Galactus

    The NFL’s problem doesn’t stem from owner or management decisions so much as a certain individual deciding to make it his cause celebe. The Royals are bringing this heat down on themselves of their own volition.