Heads up: Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, and their significant others are currently playing laser tag together, according to Jess Bryant’s Instagram story. So I thought, for no reason whatsoever, that I’d leave this list of the top ten Laser Tag destinations in Chicago here, just to, you know, remind the four of them that Chicago has many of the finest laser tag facilities in the country.
That’s probably more fun to think about than the growing labor strife in MLB, the latest in which you can read about here, and which is summed up in this tweet:
Just talked to an agent who believes that we won’t see many, if any of the top free agents come off the board until March.
“It’s horrific,” the agent said. “I think that’s where we are headed.”
— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 6, 2018
Please, no. Please.
Anyway … on to other stuff …
- The San Francisco Giants are retiring Barry Bonds’ number:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) February 6, 2018
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) February 6, 2018
- They even tweeted out a list of Giants who’ve worn #25 over the years, before finishing with #EndofList. And I have to say, this gets me thinking, again, about Sammy Sosa and the unnecessarily broken relationship he has with the Chicago Cubs. It’s such a bummer that so many of his peers have found their way back to their organizations, but he and the Cubs haven’t been able to make it work. He’s such a big part of my Cubs fandom, and it’s disappointing.
- But let’s not go over that again right now. Let’s get back to Bonds. Here’s his response: “I’m both honored and humbled that the Giants are going to retire my number this season. As I’ve always said, the Giants and Giants fans are a part of my family.”
- And Cespedes’ Family BBQ with the all-time stat-tweet:
Barry Bonds (1986-2007) in 12,606 career plate appearances: 688 intentional walks
The Tampa Bay Rays franchise (1998-present) in 123,461 plate appearances: 577 intentional walks
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) February 6, 2018
- Moving on, David Schoenfield (ESPN) has a fun post up at ESPN called the “Way-Too-Early 2018 All-Stars,” wherein, you guessed it, he tries to forecast who’ll be playing in the Mid-Summer Classic this season. Last season, he correctly identified 28 of 71, which may not seem great at first, but it’s worth pointing out that only 23 players were All-Stars in 2016 and 2017. I mean, hey, Kris Bryant finished 7th in MVP voting and with the 6th most WAR … but wasn’t an All-Star. So clearly, especially when you factor in fan voting, this isn’t a science. In any case, I believe he probably nailed the American League side, with the Yankees trio of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way, but it’s worth pointing out that Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez are two projected All-Stars still without a home.
- In the National League, however … boy. I just can’t defend go with him on some counts. There’s not a single Cub in on the fan voting, but two Cardinals, Marcell Ozuna and Tommy Pham, and another, Yadier Molina, who “just misses” to Buster Posey. I know the fan voting component isn’t purely stat-driven, but come on. Yadi ain’t coming that close. First base and third base remain loaded positions, and while Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are among the very best at either spot, it’s not crazy to believe that Freddie Freeman/Joey Votto/Paul Goldschmidt/Cody Bellinger or … sigh … Nolan Arenado might edge them out. Bryant makes the reserves list though, as does … Javier Baez at second base. Interesting. Schoenfield also has Yu Darvish making the starting staff with the Cubs, so that’s enjoyable. Let’s hope that happens. Very fun read, go check it out.
- The Cardinals minor leaguer, Daniel Poncedeleon, who was hit in the head with a line drive last season – and was feared he might ever walk or talk again – will go to Spring Training with the Cardinals and participate in the first official workout. It took a lot of work and was a very scary process, but it seems like he’ll be OK. Interesting stuff in there, too, about using hat inserts to protect player heads.
- At MLB.com, Richard Justice writes about 10 dark horse candidates for a Cy Young award in 2018 and no Cubs make the list … but that’s totally because they’re too obvious of choices to be dark horses. Okay, I joke, but to be fair, two current Cubs starters – Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester – were finalists in 2016, Jose Quintana has finished among the top ten before, and a potential fourth guy, Yu Darvish was a runner up once and finished in the top ten twice. So, actually, yeah, they aren’t dark horse candidates. They’re just options. Oh, and naturally, there’s a Cardinal, Michael Wacha, on the list. But if he wins the Cy Young next year, I’ll jump in Lake Michigan after October. [Brett screenshots]
- At The Athletic, Zack Meisel writes about the difficult, but tantalizing life of a baseball scout and it’s definitely worth your time. Here’s a little taste of the posts from Meisel’s twitter account:
An MLB scout can log as many as 60,000 miles on the road between Feb-June. They spend 150-200 nights a year in a hotel.
"My biggest fear is that I look up in 10 years and my kids say, ‘Where were you?’”https://t.co/Wb9IkcXzPK
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) February 6, 2018
- Despite its reputation as an extreme pitcher-friendly stadium, the Tigers’ Comerica Park might not be as bad as we originally though. Mike Petriello runs through the stats behind the assertion, pointing out, among many things, that the 2017 Tigers, as a team, ranked very highly in terms of hitting better at home – close, even, to teams that are known for their hitter friendly parks. Want to know one hypothesized reason why? One of the biggest, darkest batters’ eyes in the game.
- Brett: I think this is really interesting to consider. Specifically, it’s interesting to think about how one part of the home-field advantage for hitters is that they are simply “used” to that same backdrop when they are hitting more than the backdrop at other parks. This is not something that ever crossed my mind, since every park has a batter’s eye. I never really thought about the size of it, everything around it, and your level of comfort seeing the same backdrop (whatever it is) 81 times a year.]
- Well this is just the coolest thing ever. At The Pitching List, you can watch a GIF of every pitch for every pitcher in baseball – there’s stats and stuff, too, but THE GIFS. Just going through these for everyone on the Cubs next season is an absolutely amazing way to spend a half an hour. Also, warning: don’t go to Jake Arrieta’s page, lest you start pining over a re-signing that probably won’t happen.
- Speaking of ridiculous pitching GIFs, a 94mph slider that moves like this …
Koda "Cheat Code" Glover, 94mph Slider movement. pic.twitter.com/eu1kUkwFR2
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 6, 2018
Freaking ridiculous. The pitch is almost to the plate on the outer edge (you better swing, dude!) … and then a split second later, it's so far off the plate that you could never hit that thing. pic.twitter.com/Uz82r2towS
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 6, 2018
- The Brewers should have an open stadium in October, so this scheduling should be just fine:
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) February 6, 2018
- Earlier today, Brett took a look at the MLB Players Association statement, regarding the disappointment in the free agent market, and the response from the league. And at ESPN, Jerry Crasnick adds a little more depth to the conversation, with more quotes from prominent players like agent Scott Boras (like it or not, his voice counts more than most), Commissioner Rob Manfred, Director of the MLBPA Tony Clark, and others.
- Among the most notable comments from MLB’s response, by the way, is this:
More Manfred: "It is the responsibility of players’ agents to value their clients in a constantly changing free-agent market based on factors such as positional demand, advanced analytics and the impact of the new Basic Agreement."
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) February 6, 2018
- And finally, from Baseball is Fun … How much would you pay to go back in time to see this?
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) February 6, 2018