To the mailbag:
Mr. Answer Man,
Are too many MLB teams wearing orange this season?
-Never White after Labor Day, Peoria, IL
The Miami Marlins, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets now feature orange jerseys once a week or so, and the Houston Astros have a lot of orange touches in that horrid throwback uniform they’ve dug up for their 50th anniversary this season. African-American and other, darker-skinned players don’t actually look bad in orange, but white players look as though they didn’t get the memo that the 1970s are over. Moreover, the general suggestion of any dark or bright jersey and white pants is “softball,” so the answer is: yes.
Dear Answer Dude,
How bad are the Philadelphia Phillies, and is there any chance that they will come back more strongly in 2013?
-Grinding My Teeth in South Philly
Dear Dental Patient:
Bad and maybe. Health for an older team is key, and although it is commonplace for MLB team spokespersons’ to declare that “injuries are no excuse,” those declarations fall under the heading of Ripe Nonsense. The Phillies’ core players have simply missed too much time this year, and it’s never a good sign when one of the 25 roster slots is actually filled by a paramedic. It’s far worse when, as has happened this year in Philly, that paramedic outhits several regular players. But seriously, Ty Wigginton is no replacement for a healthy Ryan Howard, and some major housecleaning is needed this winter. To help with your dental issue, I will say that Chase Utley now looks strong and effective offensively, if a bit rusty in the field, and that Domonic Brown looks as though he finally learned to play baseball this past spring.
Is Yankee Stadium too small?
Mr. Answer Man attended his first game in new Yankee Stadium this season, and the answer is: yes. Indeed, the field itself looks even smaller than it is because of the height of the grandstands, and 314′ to the right field foul pole just seems silly. There are few parks in which you can be so sure that a batted ball is going out before it even passes the pitcher. My text message record reminds me that at the game I attended 71 total pitches had been thrown in the first 1½ innings, and Baltimore led New York, 7-5.
Is Mike Trout better than Andrew McCutchen? Isn’t McCutchen really better than Roberto Clemente?
A Fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the North Side, Dormont, PA
Dear Geographically Specific:
OK, I liked them better when they were the California Angels too, but: yes and no. Trout is so spooky-good that Mr. Answer Man is shocked he hasn’t been compared more often to Mickey Mantle. As for McCutchen and Clemente, check back when Andrew’s actually completed a season with a winning team, or perhaps, when he single-handedly wins a World Series when he’s 37.