TAMPA — Nothing beats spring-training lingo, right? Best shape of my life. Working on a new pitch. Looking forward, not back.
Seemingly premeditated retaliation.
The last one comes courtesy of new Astros manager Dusty Baker, who on Saturday urged Major League Baseball to protect his players from beanballs, dangerous slides into second base and any other tactics the other 29 clubs have in mind to punish Houston for the sign-stealing scandal that has shaken this sport like nothing else in modern times.
The sage Baker as usual speaks the truth. Rob Manfred, who will meet with the media Sunday at the Braves’ new complex in North Port, should authorize his umpires to enforce a zero-tolerance policy against opponents who attempt to exact justice on the field. Even if that wish gets granted, though, no one can deny the Yankees’ top rival will experience a most unique season that will test its collective constitution.
Consider that, when I asked veteran Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino on Friday whether he thought his club could turn its Astros anger into 2020 fuel, he turned the question on its head.
“I don’t think so. You can’t play with anger the whole year,” he…