[As the 2015 season draws nearer, I’d like to get back into sharing and discussing some of the more compelling/interesting/funny bits from around baseball, even if they don’t have a direct connection to the Cubs (though, let’s be real – this remains a Cubs site, so I can’t help but make that connection from time to time when discussing other MLB news). It’s something I did regularly a couple years ago, and it was well-received. I simply wasn’t able to keep up as much as I would have liked to, but I think it’ll be more doable, especially with the hired writing assistance that is coming (about which, more soon).
While we’re being all META, I also need to come up with a title intro for these. When doing them over at Bleed Cubbie Blue, as I did a few years ago, I used MLBullets as a play on the Bullets here at BN, but that name has lived on without me at BCB, so I’m not going to reclaim it. After that, I used “Around the League,” but North Side Irish has been using that over at Cubs Den, so I don’t want to reclaim that one, either.
I think it’s useful to have an organizing header for certain kinds of posts that folks can come to know and expect, so I’ve got to figure out a new one for this feature. Short, snappy, and not too witty tends to be ideal. “MLB Notes,” of course, is deeply lame. If you’ve got an idea, I’m wide open to suggestions.]
- There will almost certainly be some pace of play tweaks to the rules in time for the 2015 season, although we already know it’s not going to include a pitch clock (double although: the pitch clock will probably be in effect in the minors). Jon Morosi reports that MLB and the players association are making headway on some of those tweaks, and we could see them in action soon. It tentatively sounds like the two changes most likely to be in place are the least invasive: (1) players must be ready for action as soon as the commercial break is over, and (2) batters must keep at least one foot in the box unless specifically granted a reprieve by the umpire. Whatever other modifications are put in play, I suspect we’ll see them in time for Spring Training games so that players have a little time to adjust.
- David Cameron writes about the best transactions of the offseason, as well as the worst. The Cubs don’t show up on either list, which is … fine? I think the Cubs had a fantastic offseason, but I’m not sure I could point to any single transaction as so obviously great, in isolation. Getting Jon Lester, for example? Yes, that’s awesome – but the Cubs paid the price for awesome. I think the one move that could have showed up is signing Joe Maddon, given that Andrew Friedman/Farhan Zaidi to the Dodgers gets the top overall spot (so it wasn’t just player transactions).
- Whatever you do, do not throw high-and-tight to 88-year-old Lew Dunlap at a Rockies fantasy camp:
- In the pitcher’s defense, the pitch was still just about belt high …
- Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman has not endeared himself to Cubs fans over the years, and, if he keeps saying things like this, I’m not sure he’ll be endearing himself to thinking Reds fans for too much longer either:
"if this guy comes back and is content to lead the lead in OBP again, then this team is in deep trouble,"-Marty on Votto #Reds @700wl
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) February 13, 2015
- Indeed (I believe the “lead the lead” is supposed to be “lead the league”). If Joey Votto comes back and is one of the most valuable players in baseball, the Reds will be much worse off because of it. STOP GETTING ON BASE, JOEY! MOAR PRODUCTIVE OUTZ!!!
- The Miami Marlins are getting the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, which hopefully does a little something for the city that has paid so egregiously for that stadium. That also means that the Midsummer Classic will be in an NL park three straight years – Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati this year, Petco Park next year, and Crazy Outfield Sculptureville in 2017. Although Commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated a willingness to have cities “bid” for All-Star Games, I still think we’ll see the game head to the AL for 2018. From there, it’s possible the Cubs could have the game at Wrigley Field – freshly-renovated – at any point thereafter. So, you know, look forward to that down the road.
- This could be fun: MLB is going to ask teams to let their top non-40-man prospects compete in the Pan-Am Games this Summer. I’d think the upside of the experience would outweigh the downside of any added injury risk (since the players would be playing anyway). Here’s hoping a bunch of Cubs prospects are pulled in.
- Andrew McCutchen writes a must-read piece on the ugly economics behind trying to improve interest in the sport among youths who might not be able to afford any kind of serious participation. We don’t talk about it enough, and I’m going to try and do a better job of it, myself. For young, economically disadvantaged youths, baseball is not a very accessible sport, particularly if you want to get noticed, drafted, and developed.
- The Yankees are retiring the numbers for Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada. Meanwhile, they want Alex Rodriguez to meet with the media for a mea culpa at Yankee Stadium at some point before pitchers and catchers report to Florida at the end of the week. The idea is for Rodriguez to no longer be a distraction, but, well, good luck with that. Even I can’t wait to see how his story plays out this year.
- There’s just a liiiiiitle bit of snow at Fenway Park right now:
— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) February 16, 2015