That was probably the best Super Bowl halftime show in a long time, yeah? I know that’s become an increasingly low bar, and I also know I was square in the age range that this particular show was geared toward, but hey, it was solid. Commercials were kinda meh this year. The football was good-not-great, though that’s probably largely a feeling based off of how bonkers amazing the divisional and championship rounds were.
• It’s unfortunate how true it is that, as soon as the Super Bowl ends, I want to get hyped about Spring Training starting and the coming MLB season. It’s a habit for me, and it’s fun. I suspect I’m not alone, which means a lot of us are waking up really bummed out today. Again. The “underwhelming” owners offer on Saturday – and how long it has taken them to make their two offers – is presumably being discussed at various levels throughout the players’ union. I’d only be guessing as to the response, but I suppose it’s possible it’ll just be a similarly-small-movement offer late this week.
• At least we’re getting close to baseball, though. While MLB chills, we’ve got D1 college baseball kicking off this Friday, and minor league Spring Training starting in just two weeks. It isn’t the same, and I won’t try to feign like it is, but it’s definitely true that *IF* you were going to have a lockout eff up the start of a big league season, now is as good a time as any for Cubs fans: the farm system is clearly very on the rise, and this year is pivotal for prospect development; and with the 7th pick in the first round of the draft, we can actually pay closer attention to amateur ball this year knowing that we are watching the guys who could actually be there on the board for the Cubs in the top ten.
• Part of the reminder on why pre-arbitration players are and should be such a heavy focus in the CBA negotiations? Baseball is different:
The most common career trajectory in MLB: you debut in your mid 20s, near your prime, accrue a few years of service at the min salary, shuttle back and forth between Triple-A and majors for a while and your careers typically ends before reaching arb (or at least arb 2)
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) February 12, 2022
• That is typical for so many players, and there are even more extreme examples, including former Cub Casey Sadler:
To an outsider it may look like millionaires vs. billionaires, to me it’s a shot at helping the next generation of ball players not go through what I did. This is why I’m so passionate. https://t.co/LzNyiahWjc
— Casey Sadler (@sadler_squared) February 12, 2022
• Sadler, who’ll turn 32 in July, has appeared in parts of SIX big league seasons, and has only just now qualified for arbitration for the first time. I hope he gets paid well and is able to sustain his level of success deep into his 30s, but he certainly hasn’t made big bank to this point, despite being a “professional” baseball player for 12 years. The point isn’t to ask for sympathy for Sadler or guys like him, it is instead simply to understand why the union is fighting for what it is (and also why the millionaire versus billionaire thinking is often factually wrong (63% of players the last two years were pre-arbitration!)).
• I like Marcus Stroman so very much:
I’ll pitch whenever. I believe Kyle Hendricks deserves to be the Opening Day starter because of his consistency throughout his career, his ability to be a reliable workhorse, and his experience pitching in the playoffs! Can’t wait to get crafty and carve with him all year! @Cubs https://t.co/DB4DNuo0M0
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) February 13, 2022
• It doesn’t actually matter who starts on Opening Day from a competitive perspective – it’ll even out by the end of the year based on the schedule and injuries and rest days and rainouts and all that – but it’s always a nice honor. To that end, I have to agree with Stroman that Kyle Hendricks will have to get the ball in the opener. Depending on what happens with the schedule – I do not expect Opening Day to take place as currently scheduled – maybe Hendricks can start the opener, and Stroman can get the home opener.
• Although McCullough does this style of a joke tweet each day, today’s is actually … uncomfortably on point:
A veteran ball scribe has been following other sports lately because of the recent legalization of sports betting. “I’ve been watching a lot of NBA and NFL,” the writer said. “Dude. Baseball is in trouble.” I have no further updates on the MLB lockout.
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) February 14, 2022
• Five Negro Leagues innovations that were adopted into MLB, including protective equipment like batting helmets and shin guards for catchers. Good history stuff in there.
• That Dr. Strange trailer was awesome, and the voice at the end – a very recognizable actor from a different Marvel franchise – has me like WHATTTTTT:
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) February 13, 2022
• Chargers, baby gear, books, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad