So I moved over the weekend … into a building that’s even closer to Wrigley Field than my last place (which, itself was only about a mile away).
You can see the view from the roof of my building right here, and I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about living here during another potential playoff season.
This entire area was just so alive last year during October and I want to re-live it all. Thankfully, the Cubs figure to be just good enough to make it plausible.
Okay, that’s enough daydreaming for March 6th. Let’s hit on some bits from across the league ….
- Spring boarding off the Chicago Cubs’ potential six-man rotation in 2017, Anthony Castrovince explores various unorthodox rotations that could become more prominent as the game and bullpen usage continues to change. Among the options, he looks into the four-man rotation, the six-man rotation, and the tandem rotation, where a starter’s innings are split between a couple of guys. Baseball is ever-changing … try to keep up!
- “The Cardinals not only believe [Dexter] Fowler can be the difference that permits them make a return to October baseball, but perhaps just as important, help transform a city.” That’s the line that stuck out to me the most from the USA Today article sharing Dexter Fowler’s potential off-field impact to St. Louis. As we know, Missouri is just a little over two-years removed from the incidents in Ferguson, and apparently those issues were important to Fowler before signing with the Cardinals. In fact, the Cardinals had Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith contact Fowler before he signed to discuss what it’s like to play in St. Louis as a black man. “I just wanted some background information before I went anywhere,” Fowler said, “and Ozzie was real with me. I asked. He answered. And I definitely appreciated that.” Wanting his family to feel comfortable in his new home is a pretty justifiable need, and I’m glad that Fowler was able to find some peace and end up where he wanted.
- In addition, it seems like he’s ready to be something of a role model for the Cardinals and the city. Of course, he isn’t expecting or hoping to be some sort of a “civics leader,” as Nightengale put it (he’s a baseball player first and foremost), but “if he can help mend racial relations, or be a role model, he’s all in.” After all, the Cardinals haven’t had an everyday African-American player in their starting lineup longer than one season since Reggie Sanders in 2004-2005. And already, I’ve seen some unrest over this story on Twitter, but I’m not sure it struck me the same way. The Cardinals aren’t putting this on Fowler. The extent to which he wants to be more than a baseball player is entirely on him. I commend him for his efforts and hope he does some good in the community while performing well on the field.
- According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, “The question is no longer if Jeffrey Loria will sell the Marlins. It’s how quickly.” Indeed, according to sources familiar with the situation, Loria is expected to sell the team this year, barring a last minute change of heart (which is not going to happen). According to Jackson, the Marlins are already engaged in discussions with four groups and have had conversations with up to two others. MLB is involved in the process, and are aware of the suitors which include both “local and out-of-town,” investors. This should be a relatively interesting and important story to follow. You’ll recall, this all started with a failed attempt to sell the team to the family of Jared Kushner, an advisor to President Trump (failed in part because Loria was then suddenly a candidate to become ambassador to France).
- On August 20, the Pirates and Cardinals will meet head-to-head in the birthplace of Little League baseball, Williamsport, PA.
- Hey there, old friend. We know who you are!
— Cut4 (@Cut4) March 5, 2017
- In case you were unaware, 2016 featured an absolutely enormous explosion of power at the Major League level. Put simply: Major League hitters set a new record for homers with a rate of 3% of all plate appearances. The former record – which was set during the Steroid Era – was 2.992% of PAs. So, yeah, that’s pretty crazy. Many of have tried to explain the increase, and there’ve been some clues here and there, but mostly there’s just a lot of questions. So, instead of trying to investigate the cause further (for now), Hardball Time’s Alex Chamberlain is “digesting the outputs, understanding the implications as they stand, and evaluating how they might, or perhaps should, affect how you coordinate your strategies for your upcoming 2017 drafts.” So, the piece is written from the viewpoint of fantasy baseball, but it’s applicability and interest is much broader. If you have some time, that one’s definitely worth a read.
- Israel is in the middle of its first trip to the World Baseball Classic, having survived the qualifying round, sporting a roster that’s reminiscent of every underdog in sports-movie history … or so writes Eddie Matz of ESPN. “Of the 16 nations represented in this year’s WBC, Israel was the very last one in and is the only participant not currently among the top 20 in the world rankings. (It’s No. 41, just behind baseball powerhouses such as Poland and the Ukraine.)” You’re going to want to read about this rag-tag group of misfits (at least, that’s how a movie trailer would describe them), before they make history this Spring.
- After all, they’ve already won their opening game early this morning to kick off the WBC. This could get fun in a hurry.
- Speaking of fun, did you happen to catch the kinda-sorta back-to-back inside-the-park home runs from the Chicago White Sox over the weekend? Pretty wild.
- And also, our old friend Gleyber Torres swung a bit too hard this weekend:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 6, 2017
- And finally, if you’ve ever wondered about Michael Jordan’s transition out of basketball and into baseball (and back again), but your knowledge is limited to the narrative in Space Jam, we’ve got the story for you. At Complex.com, Rob Neyer tells The Oral History of Michael Jordan’s Minor League Baseball Career.