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ESPN’s Calvin Watkins doubles down on his Yu Darvish nonsense. Also fails to understand how the DL works.

Aug 26, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

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Last week ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins — who is primarily a football writer — slammed Yu Darvish for not pitching through elbow pain. As if that’s a thing any sensible baseball analyst would ever recommend in this day and age given the prevalence of Tommy John surgeries, given the value of a top-flight pitcher on a team-friendly contract and given the fact that the Rangers’ season has effectively been over since before Memorial Day.

Yesterday it was reported that the Rangers were probably going to shut Darvish down for the season. A move suggesting that maybe — just maybe — Darvish isn’t being soft or whatever he’s accused of being. A move which suggests that Watkins’ analysis of the situation from last week was off-base.

Watkins doesn’t seem to care. Indeed, he’s doubling down on his dissing of Darvish, once again citing the bumps and bruises of other players and saying that it appeared as though Darvish was “quitting on his team.” But that’s not the best part.

Check this stuff out. It would appear that the man the biggest sports news and information organization on the planet has covering the Major League Baseball team in one of the largest cities in America doesn’t know how the disabled list works:

Darvish could have handled things differently regarding his stint on the disabled list.

Instead of electing to go on the DL, he probably should have asked for some rest — because the Rangers would have given it to him. General manager Jon Daniels made the correct call in sitting Darvish, but perhaps the ace should have delayed the DL process a little bit.

Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts before being asked to do anything. If he was still having issues, then he would have been placed on the DL.

Darvish going on the shelf without waiting to see how he felt after a little time off raises some questions and some perception issues . . . I just wish Darvish had waited a little while before going on the DL, because you don’t want to come across as quitting on your team.

Based on that, here are the things Watkins apparently believes or misunderstands:

  • He is unaware that Darvish has been on the disabled list for some time already.
  • He believes that yesterday’s comments from Jon Daniels did something official regarding Darvish’s status as opposed to merely stating that the team does not believe Darvish will be able to pitch this year.
  • It appears that Watkins thinks that players just choose when to go on the DL as opposed to having their team put them on it.
  • It appears as if he thinks that the disabled list — like the NFL’s injured reserve list — is a season-long thing, from which no one can return once one is placed on it as opposed to a temporary thing. A temporary thing which allows for players having their time on it calculated retroactively to their last appearance. In Darvish’s case, back to August 9, when he last pitched.

Maybe some of you agree with Watkins’ “suck it up, dude!” attitude about Darvish and his injuries. I think you’re wrong if you think that way, but you are entitled to your opinion. But I’m not sure how anyone can take a thing this guy says about baseball seriously when he quite literally does not know what on Earth he is talking about when it comes to baseball.

We miss you, Richard Durrett. We miss you very badly.

  1. Detroit Michael - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Terrific job, Craig!

  2. pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Other than this Calvin Watkins guy who seems a bit clueless about baseball, I don’t believe anyone else is questioning Yu’s toughness.

    Craig, is there a personal feud between you and this Calvin guy that’s got you fired up?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      He said it looks like Darvish is quitting on his team and he is comparing him unfavorably to other Rangers players who are banged up. On what planet is he NOT questioning Darvish’s toughness and his dedication to his team?

      And are you ignoring the fact that he literally does not know how the DL works and that Darvish has been on it for two weeks already? Because if you read that part, I think you wouldn’t be asking if this is some personal vendetta of mine.

      • pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Fair points. I stand corrected. I think ESPN bears some responsibility for this as well. This guy clearly shouldn’t be talking about baseball much less a particular players toughness.

      • tved12 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        Craig, I think you’re taking his comment personally when he was simply asking a question.

        He didn’t even say you were wrong, simply that this is the only guy he’s seen ripping on Darvish. Why don’t you show some class next time and just say, “No I don’t have a personal vendetta. I do have an issue with somebody that doesn’t know anything about the game of baseball questioning a baseball players toughness.”

        This comes off as you think you’re smarter than pete2112, how dare he question you. Are you trying to attract readers and commenters, or are you trying to push them away?

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        It’s ESPN; what can we say?

      • poolboy87 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        If this is the only guy you’ve seen taking Darvish to task over this BS then you’re presumably not paying attention to Rangers coverage for whatever reason.

        Because this has become an exceedingly annoying and stupid narrative that far to many Rangers writers/radio jocks are pushing.

      • eoyguy - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        He probably asked the question because some of us can remember the days when journalists had some appearance of neutrality when it came to these things and didn’t react as if personally offended. I realize that for the most part those days are long gone, just like the days of proper spelling and grammar, but some of us do still remember them. Oh those halcyon pre-internet, pre-texting days, how I miss them…a little.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        As a big NFL fan, Watkins article is clearly written from a football centric perspective. Playing through pain is part of football for the most part… but in baseball, his suggestions are incredibly stupid. Darvish could suffer a long-term injury by playing through the pain… If there were an open forum for giving feedback to Watkins, it is the equivalent of suggesting Tony Romo play through a shoulder injury… it risks permanent damage to your most valuable property’s most valuable asset…

        In all honesty, the criticism should lay on ESPN (surprise) more than Watkins… Watkins is just writing the articles he’s asked to write… ESPN should know better than to have a football guy writing baseball articles… but hiring another real writer would take away from their ability to throw money at more washed up former athletes like Ray Lewis, Tim Tebow and Jalen Rose to spew incoherent BS on the airwaves.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Craig, is there a personal feud between you and this Calvin guy that’s got you fired up?

      Bad baseball writing is probably what gets him fired up. Writing about baseball and not knowing how the game works probably does as well…

      • pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        Thanks. I got it.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        That cannot be it. It must be a personal beef. Why would you get mad about someone who gets paid to write about sports saying ignorant things about sports? It’s not like Watkins is a secret pie eater or something. I mean, if Craig’s gonna get upset every time some sportswriter says something dumb about baseball…

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Wow, the thumb sucker is out to pout today. Just to blend in, I’m gonna thumb you down.

      • pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Well not open up a huge can of worms here, but Craig could be found just as guilty for stories he’s written.
        I’ll use last weeks story about the Cubs grounds crew as an example. I felt that Craig went far beyond where it was needed to go from a sports journalistic standpoint, but Craig kept heaping it on story after story. My stance on that story was and still is that there was a lot more to it than just an incompetent grounds crew that he disparaged far too much. No mention of the umpires timing on calling for the tarp and his lack of calling out the Cubs organization for cutting back on the crew, which were all factors.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        his lack of calling out the Cubs organization for cutting back on the crew

        You mean like this:

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/08/22/the-cubs-grounds-crew-was-short-staffed-because-the-cubs-were-trying-to-avoid-obamacare/

      • pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        I knew about this, but it’s not calling out the organization when he continuously blames the understaffed grounds crew. You do realize calling out someone is more than a story blaming it on Obama care? What else do you have?

        Are you Craig’s personal blog defender?

    • floodoobious - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      Craig always uses his writings here to air grudges or just call someone he doesn’t like names. That is Craig’s fav thing to do. Call people names. And he loves to blame the retaliator, not the instigator. Someone must have hit him w/ a pitch when he was young and it hurt real bad. Boo hoo Craig. You are whiner and this is like the 12th article you have written dissing another writer this year! Congrats – you win most biased sports blogger on PBT. You are literally the worst writer on this site!

      • 18thstreet - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        And yet, here you are.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        PBT? Did I wander to the wrong blog?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        you win most biased sports blogger on PBT

        This isn’t PBT…

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        Man, are you way off base or what? This is like the 120th article on this subject this year. Get a clue. Sheesh, I despise it when people get their statistics wrong.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        “And this is like the 12th article you have written dissing another writer this year!”

        You are undercounting by a WIDE WIDE margin, dude. You don’t have to like me, but please, do not sell me short.

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        boo! Boo!

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        This is the 544th article Craig has written this year dissing another writer.

        Does that help either @floodoobious or @craigcalcaterra? :)

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        PBT? Craig is writing about pro bowlling?

        PBR? Craig’s getting hipster with a Blue Ribbon?

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Calvin Watkins will be part of the BBWAA and helping decide MVP’s, Cy Youngs and who goes to the HoF in 2 years.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Craig has made a career of going after terrible, reckless, irresponsible reporting, and this is no exception. I for one am glad he does, it’s one of the things that drew me to this site. Evey-one makes mistakes, but the media is becoming full of hyper-bowl reporters, shooting their mouths off, spouting outright lies, in a vague attempt to generate as much attention as possible, and ESPN is the world wide leader in that category. Keep up the good work Craig. Someone needs to shine a spotlight on these people and force them to take responsibility for their writing.

  3. Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    There goes my sides. This is just HILARIOUS!!!! Stick to the one thing you knew there bud. Cause you are doomed to fail if you don’t.

  4. Jackofallsports - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Who lets this moron write. Even to a casual baseball fan this is comical. Someone needs to stick to football.

  5. nvl004 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    “Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts,”….then could go on the DL.

    Wow this exactly what going on the 15 day DL would accomplish. This guys doesn’t seem to have a clue about Baseball.

    Craig, maybe the blame should be placed on his superiors for asking him to do something he was incapable of doing.

  6. Wesley Clark - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    So Darvish should have rested, 2 or 3 starts, without going on the DL? This shows a distinct lack of understanding even basic baseball roster moves. With so many better options out there, why would anyone even bother with ESPN? This is worse than some local hack spouting off. This is complete ignorance. Wow.

  7. hackerjay - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I love that he wanted him to “delay the DL process for a bit” and skip “two to three starts”. The DL is for 15 days. The average pitcher would throw about three starts in a 15 day period. So, he wanted the Rangers to play a man down because…well, I suppose just because.

    • twinfan24 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Watkins also doesn’t seem to understand how playing even one roster spot short can hamper you in MLB. That’s why they have shorter duration leaves for bereavement, paternity, etc. and a shorter DL for concussions. But, I’m sure he doesn’t know about any of those either.

  8. fbwangus8736 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    No feud, Calvin just stinks as a sports writer! He has been fired or not had His contract renewed at every newspaper and radio station in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. He and another writer did a year long thing how fines had been reduced under Wade Phillips after Bill Parcells had been the Cowboys coach. The only problem was the fines in question were set by the league and the Players Union. When confronted with the info all Watkins could do was say my source told me this. Glad someone is calling the POS liar out on what He has no idea about!

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      I used to live in the Metromess myself; agreed totally on Watkins.

  9. georgewashingtonsghost - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    ESPN.com/Dallas editor–“Let’s take a look here. You’ve got words strung together to make sentences. There’s a couple of paragraphs. Punctuation seems to be in order. Okay, everything looks good. Let’s put it up on the website. Good work, Cal!”

    • sdelmonte - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      “We need someone to make Wally Matthews look good.”

      “But that’s impossible!”

      “No, wait. I know someone…”

  10. greej1938l - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I get the feeling that there is something personal there as we’ll. Whether there is admittance or not

    • floodoobious - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I get that feeling almost every time I read an article that Craig wrote. He always makes it personal. Worst writer.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        The best part of that is “every time I read an article that Craig wrote.” It’s funny that you hate-read Craig…and that you think you can’t take exception to people’s words and ideas without it being a personal thing. You must think a lot of people personally hate you. That’s kinda sad.

      • Wesley Clark - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        “I get that feeling almost every time I read an article that Craig wrote. He always makes it personal. Worst writer that I continue to read and feel compelled to complain about.” – I fixed it for you.

  11. historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Craig, you’ve probably given him more page clicks than he would’ve gotten from Rangers fans reading his stuff alone.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Do you really believe that? I mean, the headline is essentially, “This piece is stupid.” Seems unlikely to generate a lot of traffic.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Hmmmm. Maybe my point was unclear? I was trying to suggest that so few “Rangers fans” would bother to read Watkins’ story that Craig probably gave him more readers in poking fun of him than he got on his own. I was attempting to insult “Baseball Town” there.

  12. eagles512 - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Wow, how does this guy not lose his job after that piece?

    • floodoobious - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      You mean Craig right?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Why are you still here reading his articles if you don’t like them?

  13. beefytrout - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    The comments on the article are hilarious. No idea why Watkins has such a personal vendetta against Darvish.

  14. tysonpunchinguterus - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    I wish I could believe that this guy is just trolling Rangers fans, but the ever-growing number of clueless reporters/”experts”/”insiders” at ESPN is what caused me to stop watching anything they air but live games so this is most likely just one more loudmouthed dolt on their payroll.

  15. dhar77 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    “We miss you, Richard Durrett. We miss you very badly.”

    yes we do

  16. happytwinsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Isn’t the disabled list the place you send pitchers to because they are doing to so terribly that you just want them to go away for a while?

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      I thought that was Minnesota? ;)

      • El Bravo - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        AHAHAH! I laughed. Nice one.

    • Wesley Clark - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      Like Edwin Jackson’s “Lat strain”. Wink, Wink.

  17. chip56 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again: ESPN is to sports what MTV is to music videos. They only cover the sports that air on their network and have lost the best analysts to other outlets like MLB and NFL networks and CBS and FoxSports – they’re a hot mess and their people just keep embarrassing themselves

    • El Bravo - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Maybe they can hire Mitch Williams.

      • Wesley Clark - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Has word ever come down that he is 100% done at the MLB Network? Last I heard he was just suspended/leave of absence.

      • El Bravo - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        No word. He’s still on a forced LOA as far as I know.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        He’s “playing golf in Idaho” with D.J. Johnson.

    • pete2112 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      I agree. I was watching SportsCenter last night and it made realize how far they’ve fallen. I remember the days in the early 90’s when they actually had a small core of people you counted on to give you news daily that wasn’t skewed to their own network and it wasn’t this big fancy set with over the top graphics. It’s gotten too big and over produced. Give me Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann back.

  18. chip56 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    As proof of what I just said above about ESPN – this just came into my Twitter feed: http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sportscenter-is-reporting-on-michael-sams-showering-habits.html

    • Wesley Clark - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      I fully agree with the best talent being on the MLB Network and not on ESPN. I don’t have the foggiest about their NFL coverage (don’t follow and don’t care about the NFL).

    • deepstblu - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      “Dear ESPN, everyone but you is over it.” That works for so many things, on so many occasions.

      • cshearing - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

        That was a great reply.

  19. tedwmoore - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Calling players soft for choosing to not play through potentially career altering injuries is a fun new trend in baseball reporting. Last season one of the columnists here in Minneapolis called Joe Mauer a sissy for not playing while concussed. It was charming: He actually used the word sissy. I believe similar charges have been laid at Mauer’s feet every time he visits the DL, including the year of his weird bi-lateral leg weakness, or whatever, which pretty much all evidence suggests was the result of the team pushing him to rehab too early. Class acts in the media, class acts. Why someone would criticize Craig, or anyone else, for calling these guys clowns is beyond me; counter speech is always a good thing when faced with silliness like this.

    • El Bravo - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      If Craig didn’t tear into Rob Dibble for doing the same thing to Strasburger a few years back, I would have never had the opportunity to classify that guy as a total douchenozzle. Craig Calcaterra: the tried and true douchenozzle locator.

      PS. Strasburger had season-ending surgery and Dibbs lost his job. Maybe history will repeat itself (although I sincerely hope Yu has avoided any need for surgery).

  20. xbam1 - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    its stories like this that make this site un-readable….if it wasnt linked to PFT i wouldnt give it one click…it would be pretty cool if they cleaned house and hired all new writers who werent such momma boys…

    • cshearing - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      It’s comments like this that make me happy I stopped reading comments on PFT.

  21. kappy32 - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    This guy is an idiot, but to me the onus falls on ESPN for allowing this guy to cover a team in a sport he clearly knows nothing about. This guy is obviously an NFL writer, your story said as much, and he is trying to bring an NFL mentality to the world of baseball: it’s not going to happen. Baseball is a sport where guys miss up to a month with a minor hamstring injury. With football, you have guys who break bones, get casted up, and return to the field in the same game as the injury took place. The reason for this difference isn’t that baseball players are weaker than football players, rather it is due to the length of a baseball season (162 games over 6 months) compared to the length of a football season (16 games over 17 weeks), and that isn’t taking into account spring training & training camp. A baseball player who suffers a nick early in the season needs the rest because it could become a season long issue that could hamper his performance & subsequently hurting the team on the field & in the standings. With football, a player who suffers a nick doesn’t have the time to rest because missing two weeks (similar to the 15-day DL) could significantly hurt the team. While you can’t win a Super Bowl in September, you can certainly take yourself out of the running for one, as my NY Giants showed last year after starting 0-6, only to finish out the year 7-3 & miss the playoffs.

    The writer of this article is assuming that the MLB Disabled List (DL) is the same as the NFL Injured Reserve (IR). There is a HUGE difference between the two. As readers of this blog know, when you’re injured in baseball he gets placed on the DL for a stint of either 15 or 60 games, meaning he can’t return until the time runs out. On the other hand, when a football team places a player on the IR, that player’s season is over & he cannot return. There is 1 exception to that rule where the NFL instituted 1 “IR – Designated to Return” spot for each team. This was a hard fought issue in the last CBA negotiations & was a key issue in the NFL Lockout. There were times where a player would, say, break his arm week 1 & could feasibly return by week 12 at full strength. However, due to roster constraints on the 52-man roster, the team couldn’t carry an injured body for half the season & needed a healthy body to step on the field. Teams were forced to place the injured player on season-ending IR, ending the player’s season when it didn’t have to come to an end. Now, NFL teams are given that 1 IR-DTR spot, but still, they have to use it wisely because once a player is given that designation, the spot is lost regardless of whether he returns or not. The whole IR-DTR explanation is just me rambling on, hoping to enlighten someone who doesn’t know the rules of the NFL. Nevertheless, as I said above, it is obvious this writer doesn’t know the difference between the DL & the IR. In my opinion, the blame for that falls squarely on the shoulders of ESPN for not educating this guy on the difference between the two sports. Furthermore, it is beyond me how that clear confusion gets past an editor & he/she allows this guy to publish the article. Then again, it is ESPN. ESPN has long given up writing & reporting on sports news in favor of becoming Sports TMZ, or a televised version of Deadspin. This is just another example of how ESPN has fallen so far. I don’t understand how people still pay any mind to that entity.

  22. pbastille - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    ESPN is kinda like rehab games for writers coming off the DL

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