MLBits: Teams to Honor Shooting Victims, Votto Wisdom, Harper Pokes MIA, Mattingly Responds, More

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MLBits: Teams to Honor Shooting Victims, Votto Wisdom, Harper Pokes MIA, Mattingly Responds, More

Chicago Cubs

I’m going to be playing Dungeons & Dragons tonight … and it’s not even my first time.

There. I said it. I like DnD, and I don’t care who knows it! [Brett: Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, I’m just gonna slide in this editor’s note that Michael is writing this post. [I kid, buddy. [But, yeah, it’s Michael.]]]

Does anyone else have any (funny and light-hearted, please) confessions or guilty pleasures? I know I’m not the only one, you nerds. So fess up. Okay, I’ll give you some time to build up the courage.

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • To honor the victims of last week’s school shooting in Florida, Major League Baseball players are planning to wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas hats on Friday, for the first Spring Training games in both Florida and Arizona. According to a source of Clark Spencer (Miami Herald), most teams are expected to participate, and 20 out of 30 have already made plans to do so. I don’t yet know if the Cubs are one of those teams, but given that this was actually Anthony Rizzo’s alma mater … I’d be very surprised if they weren’t (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if this was something Rizzo, himself, had a role in after he spoke gracefully and inspiringly at a vigil in Florida just after the tragedy).
  • Over the winter, the Miami Marlins made a ton of TRADE THEM ALL moves, trading away Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, and Giancarlo Stanton (and they clearly have plans to trade J.T. Realmuto eventually, as well) for seemingly light returns – perhaps with the exception of Yelich … but even that wasn’t overwhelming. Yesterday, Bryce Harper made some comments about the confusing moves, even suggesting that with the right pitcher additions, the Marlins could have become formidable. Well, as you can imagine, those comments weren’t met with love from Marlins Manager Don Mattingly who responded to Bryce with the old “Take care of your own dugout.” Mattingly continued, “He doesn’t really know what goes on over here. He may think he does. But he doesn’t know what the discussions are. He doesn’t know our players.”
  • I really don’t think there’s much of a scandal here. Instead, this is just some good ole fashioned fun between teams of the same division. You usually don’t see the manager of one team comment on the player of another … but what about Bryce Harper, the Marlins, or this offseason is usual?
  • So … Joey Votto is just the best, right?

  • Not only is Joey Votto an EXTREMELY talented player (clear future Hall-of-Famer in my opinion), he’s refreshingly honest, very understanding, and clearly well-educated on how this game works (obviously I mean that on a macro-level, not baseball itself). And perhaps more importantly, he delivers this message so tactfully – I’m really impressed. And while I neither hope nor think the Reds will do anything interesting this year, I wouldn’t mind if they came in second.
  •  On second thought, maybe Votto is actually evil …

  • At The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh has an informative and eye-opening post on “The Sabermetric Movement’s Forgotten Foremother,” Sherri Nichols. Basically, Nichols helped a then 22-year-old Gary Huckabay (a player-manager in the Sacramento Valley Baseball League … who went on to found Baseball Prospectus) discover and exploit the idea that getting on base is pretty darn important, no matter which way you get there. As you can imagine, Nichols faced a lot of obstacles, given her gender and novel ideas, but the legacy she left on the game is pretty undeniable. Very cool stuff.
  • At RotoGraphs (FanGraphs) Mike Podhorzer revealed 11 hitters whose xBABIP mark from last season (i.e. what their BABIP should have been based on a number of peripheral statistics (line-drive rate, hard-hit rate etc.)) who could expect a big jump this season. Unfortunately, no Cubs are on the list, but Ryan Braun is … so, you know, whateves.
  • In a similar undertaking, Matt Kelly ( picks five under-the-radar breakout hitters for 2018 and no Cubs make the list, but the Cardinals’ Luke Voit does, which, again … whateves. I’m just going to assume that none of the Cubs breakout candidates are under-the-radar enough to be included – that’s not a joke. Kyle Schwarber, for example, might be the most prime for a breakout, and it’s not like he’s not well-known throughout baseball. Ditto Willson Contreras (he broke out last year, yes, but he was also hurt and fell off the radar a bit, I suspect, there after August).
  • And finally, Paul O’Neill literally kicked the ball into the cutoff man, preventing a run from scoring once

  • Brett: I loved ‘Magic: The Gathering’ when I was younger. Remember that game? It was fun as heck. If I still had cards and some friends that played it, I would totally still play. So I’m there with you, Michael.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami