Some of the big stories around baseball (where there is actual baseball being played right now between the Phillies and Yankees, as well as the Blue Jays and Pirates, and I am watching via MLB.tv, because I am a nerd!) …
- Perhaps the biggest baseball news in Chicago this weekend was the injury to White Sox starter Chris Sale, who broke a bone in his foot. In the pantheon of foot injuries, it doesn’t sound super serious, but it could sideline him for three weeks, and has put Opening Day in doubt (Tribune). Even when it’s not their arm, pitchers are fragile, man. But they’re also a mystery. Just watch Sale throw a few pitches and you’ll wonder how his arm hasn’t exploded yet.
- From one injured ace on a rival to another, Adam Wainwright returned to the mound yesterday, following his bout with an abdominal strain. He’s not ready to face live batters or to pitch in game situations, because his workouts are still limited, but it sounds like, if there are no further setbacks, he’ll be able to pitch Opening Night against the Cubs and Jon Lester.
- And one more: Homer Bailey, who had surgery on the flexor mass in his elbow in September, is iffy for Opening Day (or, well, the start of the season, since Johnny Cueto would presumably be the Opening Day starter anyway).
- Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this past weekend, and David Cameron has a good recap on the Commissioner’s thoughts on a variety of topics. Among them, the Commissioner expressed an openness to dialoguing about gambling, which is recognizes drives some of the interest in the sport. Ditto fantasy baseball, including daily fantasy baseball. The new data stream – Statcast – should be up and running in all 30 parks by Opening Day, and, over time, much of that data should be made available to the public. The Commissioner also expressed a preference for a “single point of entry” into MLB, i.e. a worldwide draft type situation.
- Although a worldwide draft is gaining steam, particularly on the MLB/owner side, the players association is not quite ready to sign off on it. Tony Clark wouldn’t quite get into the details on his potential concerns, but it sounds like there are simply a lot of moving parts, and they’re not ready to commit to anything publicly (presumably because of the relationship between international signing processes and the amateur draft and big league spending). This is going to be a big discussion over the next year as the current CBA comes up after next season.
- A fascinating read over at FanGraphs from Owen Watson: can pitchers “go to the well” and get a little something extra when they need it? Consistently? It kind of looks like this is one of those baseball aphorisms that is grounded in truth.
- The Cardinals have gone from a largely externally-built (and successful) team to a largely internally-developed (and successful) team in recent years. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve weathered changes in the game so well over the past 20 years, and it’s also no surprise that I hate them.
- Two pitchers overrated by ERA and FIP, according to Tony Blengino? Cole Hamels and Henderson Alvarez.
- Cuban star Alfredo Despaigne is very good, and also very good at enjoy his homers. Hey man, you hit it, you can take your time:
- Important (the actual kind, not the joking kind): when you write things to other people on the Internet, those are actual communications that go to actual people. If you act as a vile, disgusting person when you write such things, do not be surprised if the real world treats you as though you are a vile, disgusting person. That is the object lesson of some vile, disgusting people treating Curt Schilling’s daughter horribly on Twitter.
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