I have tried to close off certain vents in our house in order to direct the heat more toward the children’s bedrooms (which stay especially cold, relative to the rest of the house). One of the vents I closed off was in my office, where I’m sitting now and freezing as I type. But before, when it was open, the heat would be blasting right at me, making this room crazily disproportionately hot compared to the rest of the house, which I did not need. Where’s the happy medium, house?
- In an MLB.com ranking of the top games of the 2016 season, you will be utterly unsurprised to see Game Seven of the World Series in the top spot. As we’ve said before, even if you stripped away the context of the game – final game, World Series, two crazy long championship droughts, a 3-1 series comeback – it was truly an excellent game. An offensive battle, a late comeback, extra innings, a short rain delay, runs scored in both halves of the 10th inning for a taught and dramatic finish. Best game of the year without the context? No. But a very, very good game nonetheless. And with the context? That’s one of the best games in baseball history, without any question.
- The rest of the list is a smattering of excellent and meaningful games, but you’ll forgive the Cubs homer in me for wondering how the Cubs’ win over the Mariners on July 31 didn’t make the list of 13 games. I feel like I barely even have to tell you what the game was for you to remember how absurd and amazing it was: Cubs go down 6-0 early, score three times in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie it (with the tying run scoring on a wild pitch!), the teams play scoreless until the 12th (including Travis Wood playing left field and making a catch up against the wall), and then Jon Lester comes off the bench to lay down a walk-off bunt. The game kicked off 11 straight wins for the Cubs, which cemented their place atop the National League standings. (I’d mention Game Four of the NLDS here, because it was truly special, but that was less a “great game” and more of an incredible 9th inning.)
- In fairness, maybe the Cubs’ crazy comeback win was excluded because the Mariners were already on the list with their own even crazier comeback win: in early June, the Mariners came back from a 12-2(!) deficit to beat the Padres.
- Well, Gleyber Torres’s star continues to rise. The former Cubs prospect is the second best in all of baseball to Jim Callis, though the actual discussion on Torres sounds a little less than we’d normally expect from a top two prospect in baseball: “Torres is the better offensive player [than Mets shortstop prospect Amed Rosario, ranked fifth overall], as he has a chance to become an elite hitter with solid power, while Rosario’s ceiling is more as a plus bat with fringy pop. Rosario’s advantage comes with defense (he looks like a future Gold Glover while Torres is more dependable than flashy) and speed (he has plus speed while Torres is an average runner). Both have plus arm strength.” A dependable shortstop with a chance to be an elite bat with solid power is not what I’d expect for a number two prospect who hasn’t yet played above High-A. That said, Callis – who speaks to sources all around the game when coming up with his rankings – was just answering questions in an “Inbox,” so I suspect when actual rankings come out, there will be a lot more to it. Torres is a stud prospect. There’s no question about it. He absolutely destroyed the AFL as one of the youngest players ever there. We’ll see how he does next year.
- (Obligatory: the trade involving Torres, which netted the Cubs Aroldis Chapman, was still a good baseball move. Full stop.)
- The early possible WBC roster for the USA is loaded. Ben Zobrist could potentially be included, by the way, but that’s not yet been decided. Javy Baez will be playing on Team Puerto Rico.
- Earlier, I looked at Willson Contreras’s debut homer.
- Although Travis Wood and other Cubs bullpenners played it tough, not everyone is willing to let foul balls come flying at them with regularity. Michael found an old clip of Rangers outfielder David Hulse clearing the bench after FOUR straight foul balls into the dugout.
- This is a beautiful illustration of how Kyle Hendricks helps his lack of superior velocity by increasing his deception:
Look how well Kyle Hendricks hides the ball. Behind his knee at separation from glove, behind his right hip, then up behind his head pic.twitter.com/CCO82n5L9O
— Cooper (@RushingBaseball) December 29, 2016
- I have been told by scouts that the ability to hide the ball during the windup and delivery is an underrated skill (among fans, at least), because it’s tremendously important. If you can make it that much harder to track the ball at separation from the glove, you can make it that much harder for the hitter to time up his swing mechanics perfectly. And if it’s off by just a little bit, maybe a rocket shot on an otherwise hittable pitch becomes a dribbler or a whiff.
- A visual check-in at Wrigley Field:
Wrigley today. pic.twitter.com/pmKPG4kH7K
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) December 29, 2016
- A great read at Baseball Prospectus on getting a gig in a front office, and the reality of unpaid internships.
- This is a very serious knife on a very serious sale. I coulda been on ‘Mad Men.’
- An all-timer:
Remember that time Steve Lyons totally forgot where he was? pic.twitter.com/XAqmFGcMPe
— Baseball Is Fun (@flippingbats) December 30, 2016