A new podcast, a new rumor, and a new Lukewarm Stove, all coming today.
- The Chicago White Sox are trying to take over the city of Chicago, Pod People-style. That is to say, they are trying to befriend and invade the children of the city, forcing them to grow up as Sox fans, rather than Cubs fans. How? From the Tribune: “Oak Park Youth Baseball & Softball, with similar organizations in Elmhurst, Downers Grove and Elmwood Park, has partnered with the Chicago White Sox for the upcoming season. The pro team will provide young ballplayers with jerseys and caps that are variations of White Sox uniforms, and each youth team’s name will include at least the word ‘Sox.'” Devious.
- Interestingly, the sponsorship and the “Sox” requirement might actually be backfiring on the White Sox. Again, from the Tribune: “Gone are the uniforms of the Padres and Cardinals – and even the Cubs – that adorned Oak Park T-ball players for decades. And while some Cubs-loyal parents snarl at the very thought of an all-White Sox league, most are simply mourning the loss of each team’s legacy and wondering how on earth people will tell the more than 120 different teams apart. ‘Baseball and softball has always been a big part of Oak Park culture,’ said Vic Vanek, 45, who has two sons in the league. ‘But this idea, to me – the best word I can come up with is goofy. You want your teams to have some identity. ‘Hey, I’m a Cardinal.’ ‘Hey, I’m a Pirate.’ ‘Hey, I’m a Royal, and these are my guys with me.’ Bill Sullivan, president of the Oak Park youth league, said details of the team names are still being worked out, but he expects some will carry names like ‘White Sox Yellow’ or ‘White Sox Red.’ The teams that long carried the names of local sponsors will continue to do so, but instead of Cardell’s Crushers it will be Cardell’s Crushers Sox.” Read the whole article for more on the White Sox/Cubs beef part of the story. It’s very Soxenfreude.
- The Cubs, for their part, sponsor a couple leagues in Chicago, but they do not force the players to use the Cubs’ name or colors.
- The MLBullets at BCB look at a variety of random stuff, but here’s my favorite: “A huge chunk of fans – a majority? – remain staunchly opposed to electronic means being employed to call balls and strikes. Despite the technology existing, which would allow us to know for certain whether that Greg Maddux comebacker really did clip the outer edge of the plate, we refuse to use it. That may sound like a judgmental statement, but it isn’t – I’m not so sure I want to use that technology either. However, studies in this area are going to force us to confront the issue. For example, FanGraphs performs a study on the strike zone, and how it shifts dramatically based on the count. Specifically, the difference in the strike zone, over the course of a season’s worth of data, on 0-2 counts and 3-0 counts is extreme. Check out the article for a visual that might make you rethink your position on electronically-called balls and strikes. Still, I struggle with the issue. There’s something fun and intimately “baseball” about the argument that follows a close ball or strike call. Sometimes it’s brutal, because the umpobviously screwed your team, but those moments all even out in the end, right? I just think I’d miss that feeling – the ups and the downs – associated with the ump jutting his arm out to the right, signaling the end of an at bat. I can’t rightly redirect my anger at a computer, can I?”
- Patrick Mooney at CSNChicago talks a bit more about how the Anibal Sanchez situation shook out, and just how stealth the Cubs were in their pursuit (until the end):