NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did the right thing in banning Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life (and essentially forcing a sale of the team) for Sterling’s recently released (but privately expressed) racist thoughts. Even if you were just talking about the optics, it had to happen. There’s something that feels a little off about a guy getting punished for his private beliefs, but, at the same time, I have zero problem a racist idiot getting his comeuppance. It seems like there are deeper issues at play here, and Bomani Jones did a good job underscoring the issues, tying it back to Chicago violence, incidentally. Racism remains a really complicated pooling of economics, history, and human nature, and the context of sports – and the money involved – only highlights problems that remain in this country, even in 2014. Rather than feel justice after yesterday’s announcement, I just kind of feel depressed about the whole situation. It sucks that this is still a thing we have to deal with, but it is.
- It’s official: with just one game left in April, with a loss last night, and with a rainout that won’t be played today, the Cubs will go the entire first month of the season without winning a series. As a statistical matter, that’s something of a surprise, even if it is not a completely inappropriate reflection of the talent on the roster. What’s interesting is that, despite not winning a series, the Cubs managed not to be swept in any three-game set this month. In that way, an 8-17 record coming into the final game of the month is about as good as you could hope for if you knew your team wasn’t going to win any series. Not that that comforts anyone.
- Jake Arrieta is now set to make his debut on Saturday against the Cardinals. Travis Wood will pitch on Friday, and Jason Hammel will slide back to Sunday, giving him a full week between starts.
- Ricky Renteria got the boot last night in the 6th inning for arguing balls and strikes, and it sounded like it was the culmination of some frustration with the zone all night to that point. (Tribune) For what it’s worth, reviewing the PitchF/X data after the game … I don’t really see much of a beef here. There were a couple borderline strikes that Samardzija didn’t get, but Alfredo Simon wasn’t getting them either. The zone looked pretty fair for Zac Rosscup, who was pitching when Renteria was tossed.
- In that same Tribune piece, Ryan Kalish explains his horrible route on that Zack Cozart triple that wound up being the difference in the game. The short version? He started out going for the catch, realized he couldn’t get there, tried to break off his route, and it was a little difficult in the wet conditions. The ball skips past him, and that’s that.
- Jorge Soler played again yesterday in extended Spring Training (TCR). Although he was still DH’ing, he batted third in each of the first five innings to get him extra at bats. That’s a good sign.
- David DeJesus speaks with Patrick Mooney about his time with the Cubs, about being a leader, and about the state of the Cubs’ youth movement. He was a good dude to have on the team.
- A profile on Shawon Dunston, Jr., who’s off to a rough start at Kane County.
- Dan Szymborski writes about what he’s learned from his work developing the ZiPS projection system.