I’ll be at Cubs game against the Diamondbacks on Friday at 1:20, and, afterwords, I’ll be participating in the Hefty Flips for Charity flip cup game on the field.
The game will set the World Record for the biggest game of flip cup ever, as well as raise some money for a couple of charities to be announced. Apparently, both teams will be led by Cubs players and I’m dying to see who our captain will be and if he’ll let me be the anchor (#college). This will be my first World Record (he says as if he plans on breaking several more) and first time on the field at Wrigley, so I’m pretty excited. If you see me, say hi!
Okay, let’s get to some news from around the league.
- It sure seems like the injuries around the league are racking up quickly; Hunter Pence was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday morning after re-injuring his right hamstring. Pence underwent an MRI on Thursday morning, the results of which implied that Pence will need more than 15 days to heal return to playing shape. Mac Williamson was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Pence on the roster, but it will be hard for him to replace Pence’s production (.298/.375/.486). The Giants (34-22) are currently in first place of the NL west by 5.0 games (the second biggest first place lead in baseball behind the Cubs).
- The San Diego Padres have gotten off to a rough start in 2016, after an expectedly (by just about everyone but them) frustrating 2015. At 21-33, the Padres are 12.0 games back of the Giants in last place of the NL West. But the story here isn’t simply about the Padres rough start. Instead, it’s about owner Ron Fowler’s comments on the matter in an interview with Dan Sileo on Mighty 1090 Radio in San Diego (relayed by Steve Adams at MLBTR). Fowler called the team “embarrassing,” and the recent road trip “pathetic.” Worse, he went on to claim that he is a “very competitive individual,” that has “won a lot more than I’ve [he’s] lost in my [his] life … To have a starter like [James] Shields perform as poorly as he did yesterday I think, is an embarrassment to the team, an embarrassment to him.” What he was possibly trying to accomplish with that statement, I’ll never know. Shields, for his part, said that he doesn’t like losing either, but that he’s not embarrassed by his play this year. Really wacky. I’m reminded time and again how lucky we are to have the Ricketts family in charge of the Cubs.
- Last year, the Seattle Mariners provided their players with the opportunity to wear something called a Readiband, 24 hours a day. The purpose of the watch-like wrist-band was to measure the impact of sleep on human performance. At VICE Sports, Rian Watt talks to various people around the game (including BN favorite John Baker), about the negative impact of the ever-expanding exploration and invasion of big data and other similar training/performance tracking measures into players’ lives. If at first glance you don’t see any issue here, I’d take the time to read further. There may be a time where the lines of ethics between players and what they owe to the team is blurred – especially dangerous for young players who may not feel that they have as much say. I’m not sure the line has yet been crossed, but it does feel like it’s heading in that direction. Excellent, informative, and revealing read.
- At Sports On Earth, Terence Moore sat down with Barry Bonds who discussed his major league career and the reputation of a “big timer,” he gained throughout it. According to Bonds, he did act poorly and it was his fault. “Me. It’s on me. I’m to blame for the way I was [portrayed], because I was a dumbass. I was straight stupid, and I’ll be the first to admit.” Bonds later added that it was sort of a snowballing effect and he kicks himself now, for acting the way he had. He claims to have since changed his attitude (and by the sounds of it, he has). That said, he’ll have some explaining to do to poor Joc Pederson, who got the full on “big-time” treatment … very recently as a Major Leaguer.
- How often do you get to see a very large American League reliever hit a double and score the winning run in a game that he also wins on the mound?
- Lastly, at ESPN, Jayson Stark points out that we may be in the golden age of third basemen, so to speak. Indeed, just consider some of the names: Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Matt Duffy, Jung Ho Kang, Todd Frazier, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Nick Castellanos, Martin Prado, Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon and Chase Headley. Those are all big names having mostly big years, and I still left some good players out. In fact, ten (10!) every-day third baseman have an OPS+ better than 120, right now [Brett: Whooooaaa. That’s nuts.]. That’s the most in the history of baseball. The collective OPS of third basemen (.771) is second best only to right fielders, and better than the average of first basemen (.757) for the first time since 1953. For many more similar and outrageous statistics, check out Stark’s article at ESPN.