I checked out Winterland at the Park at Wrigley last night, and it was a cool spot for families and food-and-craft-likers. The ice skating rink was a literal pond because of the unseasonable warmth, so there was no ice skating (which is a bummer for you, because I was gonna bust out some twirls and backflips and stuff).
Checking out Winterland at the Park at Wrigley, and probably chanting "Ohtani, Ohtani" … let's chat! https://t.co/Wolz9yfgfN
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 4, 2017
That's an extremely large present under the tree at Wrigley. I'm not saying it's definitely Ohtani, but I'm poking some air holes just to be safe. pic.twitter.com/BRKVtaCZl1
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 5, 2017
- Lots of Ohtani-specific rumors and bits this morning here, so catch up if you didn’t see it.
- Luis noticed something in Bruce Levine’s write-up about the Cubs’ pitch to Ohtani, and Ben Finfer also pointed it out:
— Ben Finfer (@BenFinfer) December 4, 2017
- From Levine’s response to Finfer thereafter, it doesn’t sound like excluding Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, and Albert Almora was necessarily intended to be a signal, though some do view those three as the most likely to go if there is a trade for pitching this offseason that involves a big league position player. That said, to me, to the extent the Cubs didn’t emphasize guys like Schwarber or Happ or Almora (or Jason Heyward for that matter), it could simply have been about not emphasizing all the outfielders the Cubs have. Since part of the pitch was that Ohtani could see time in the outfield, it might be in the Cubs’ interest to highlight that the outfield, unlike the infield, is much less “locked in.”
- Mike Petriello writes about the hitting side of the equation for Ohtani – specifically, where would he *actually* see more plate appearances as a hitter, the AL or the NL? It turns out, even in an ideal AL setup, he would only see about 370-400 PAs, versus the *expected* setup in the NL (no starts in the field), where he’d see about 200. He’d more likely see much fewer PAs in the AL, and that could range all the way down to about nothing if his team decides it’s no longer worth having him as the DH. In the NL, he’s always going to have to hit when he starts, and he’ll also have far more opportunities to pinch hit.
- The Supreme Court is entertaining a case that could lead to legalized sports gambling across the country (instead of solely in Nevada). For many, many years, the top sports leagues opposed legal gambling, ostensibly fearing it could threaten the integrity of their sports. But now, as Hardball Talk notes, the NBA is all for it, and MLB is possibly open to it. For me, it’s one of those ares that has to be handled with kid gloves, not so much because of the threat to the leagues (I actually think it would bring more energy and attention to sports), but because of the risks to individuals associated with gambling. For the most part, I’m a “let adults do what they want to do” person, so I’d support opening up legal sports gambling across the board. But I’d also want to see care devoted to support systems for people who are at risk for totally effing up their lives because of gambling.
- Here’s the quote from Commissioner Rob Manfred from earlier this year, by the way, via the Hardball Talk piece: “There is this buzz out there in terms of people feeling that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting. We are reexamining our stance on gambling. It’s a conversation that’s ongoing with the owners.”
- Speaking of engaging fans, I find this extremely interesting in light of how incredibly fan-friendly the NBA is in all phases, including very lenient social media sharing policies:
The NBA's viewership is up 32 percent, the most since the 2010-2011 season.https://t.co/kK1bPvACBN
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) December 5, 2017
- Other leagues are much more restrictive with sharing clips and highlights because they are trying to protect TV viewership. Well, you know, just sayin’.
- Willson Contreras won the home run derby in Venezuela’s highest professional league (h/t OGXRAYZ):
— LVBP (@LVBP_Oficial) December 5, 2017
- Today’s 12 Days of Deals installment at Amazon involves beauty and style, so you can treat yourself. Also, here’s a lightning deal on a burger press with patty ejector, shared in part because I find that phrasing hilarious.
- Cubs gear at the MLB Shop is 20% or 25% off today, depending on the size of your order.