Last night, Theo Epstein and Tom Verducci met up for an on-stage “chat” at the Music Box theater (still one of my all-time favorite places in the city), but sadly, Anthony Rizzo and I were not able to attend.
Instead, we went to the John Mayer concert – well, not together but we were both technically there at the same time, so I think that’s basically like carpooling – which was, itself, a fantastic event.
If anyone did happen to make it to the Music Box, however, I’d love to know how it went and if there was anything especially revelatory mentioned during their conversations (let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Michael_Cerami).
And now for some news from around the league …
- The Indians returned to Progressive Field yesterday, for the first time since something historically awesome happened there last November. And while their day ended positively – a walk-off win courtesy of Michael Brantley in the bottom of the 10th – less fun storylines awaited the team off the field. Specifically, the eventual and highly-anticipated retirement of the Chief Wahoo logo. In a statement at the New York Times, Commissioner Rob Manfred intimated his desire to “transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo,” and a spokesman for the league suggested that the process is already underway.
- There is obviously an enormous divide on this issue – which is probably furthered worsened by the current political landscape (which needn’t be discussed, thanks) – but I’d urge you not to die on a hill of something that you only think about when others say it bothers them. To the anti-removal folks, I’ll say: It’s an offensive caricature and needs to go away. Period. To the opposite side: Be patient, the league is well aware of the problem and is working to fix it. Progress comes slowly. Much more at the NY Times.
- Did you know pace-of-play in MLB is a serious issue and the Commissioner is trying his best to address the problem? Of course you do, because it’s basically all he talks about! But that’s a good thing, as it is indeed an issue and needs to be addressed by someone. His latest plan is to limit the number of pitchers a manager can use in an inning – which, I think is a fantastic idea, because it sort of kills two birds with one stone. First, the time it takes to make a pitching change is not only long, it is boring and action-less. Second, more pitching changes inherently means more favorable match-ups for the pitcher. If a manager cannot make a change, the batter might gain a slight advantage and boom, action is created. Obviously, some caveats will be needed (pitch count, injury mess, etc.), but I think I’m on board.
- Last night, Yoenis Cespedes hit THREE home runs and broke two Statcast records in the process. One of the records – hitting four hits of 105 MPH or more in the same game – is shared by the Cubs’ own Kris Bryant.
- Injuries have been popping up all around the league, and, naturally, that means a Mets’ starter is down … or is he? In a strange story out of New York, Mets’ starter Steven Matz announced that he has a flexor strain in his pitching arm, but members of the organization are skeptical. Why? Well, while the Mets’ two orthopedists found “nothing wrong” with the pitcher, Matz received an outside opinion that suggested otherwise. No one believes he’s “faking” the injury, but the disagreement here is a obviously a bit concerning. The team is hoping he can make his debut in May.
- In addition, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (right-calf tightness), Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (sprained right knee), Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (hamstring issues), and Padres reliever Trevor Cahill (lower back strain) were all injured over the past few days, but only Cahill is headed to the Disabled List (as of now). I bring that up not only because those are four very notable players going down with an injury, but also because we haven’t yet seen teams be as aggressive with the (now-shortened) 10-game DL as we expected before the season. Of course, it always made more sense with pitchers (like Cahill), who don’t play every day, than position players, so we’ll have to keep monitoring how teams play the new-rules DL game.
- And that’s not the only injury-related news today, as Adrian Beltre continues to deal with a right-calf issue that has kept him out of the lineup all season long. What was at first considered to be a short-term absence, is now looking like a possible May 1 return from the disabled list. He is expectedly disappointed. You can read more about the timetable and his thoughts at the Stat-Telegram. Beltre is one of baseball’s finest and most fun, so I hope he’s back on the field soon.
- At some point in the future, the Miami Marlins are going to be sold. We know someone will take the leap. But whether that person is Derek Jeter (with a group of others), Jeb Bush, or someone else remains to be seen. Because as fun as it would be for someone like Jeter to buy a Major League organization, the Marlins’ financial situation is reportedly “toxic” enough to scare him and others away. Some sources familiar with the situation likened the the Marlins’ financials to a dumpster fire, worse than the Dodgers’ and Rangers when they went into bankruptcy. That won’t stop a sale from going through, but it could ward off a whole bunch of buyers.
- With that said, the Marlins president, David Samson, confirmed yesterday that “discussions with multiple parties interested in buying the Marlins are ongoing.” In fact, he added that he would not be surprised to see a new owner before the end of the season. He considers the current status of a sale to be “in the fourth-inning.” So, take that as you will.
- OOOOhhhh somebody better hold me back, because I’m about to go bananas on Phillies’ Manager Pete Mackanin:
Pete Mackanin on bat flipping: “It’s just unprofessional.” https://t.co/jHqSeKyV9S
— HardballTalk (@HardballTalk) April 12, 2017
- Indeed, at NBC Sports, Bill Baer has the scoop on the Phillies manager who is – surprise – not a fan of bat flipping … pizza, the Beatles, sunshine, or finding a quarter on the street. I joke, but the story is actually more infuriating than that. You see last September, Mets’ shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera flipped his bat and “raised his arms in triumph” after a walk-off home run against the Phillies. So, naturally, Edubray Ramos threw a fastball, basically, at his head yesterday. When asked to comment on whether or not Ramos threw the ball at Cabrera on purpose and/or Mackanin himself ordered the hit, he had this to say: “I’ll never ask a pitcher to hit a guy, but I can’t tell people what to do.” Are you freakin’ kidding me? You, the manager, can’t tell YOUR OWN pitcher what to do (or not do)?
- You might note that Odubel Herrera – one of baseball’s most prolific bat flippers – plays for Mackanin. Still Mackanin thinks it’s unprofessional and believes that if he wants to do it, he “has to suffer the consequences“. Yeah, that’s his own player he’s talking about.
- Now to get that bad taste out of your mouth, how awesome is this: “MLB and USA Baseball announced on Thursday that they’ll be hosting the Trailblazer Series, a baseball tournament that will celebrate girls baseball.” Oh, hell ya. A three-day tournament will be happening at the MLB Youth Academy in California starting tomorrow and will feature 100 girls from 20 different states (and Canada for some reason). There’ll be two four-team division and each team will be coached by top players/coaches from various levels of women’s baseball. A woman could play in the Major Leagues one day. Events like this help push that date sooner and sooner. Very cool.
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 12, 2017