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Monday, February 20, 2017


How 10 Facebook comments tell the story of Dexter Fowler, the Cardinals and America in 2017

Fowler hadn’t sought to make a grand political statement. His wife, Aliya, was born in Iran, and he was talking about how the president’s executive order seeking to severely curtail immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries affected his family. The law had mucked up his sister-in-law’s travel plans, and Fowler said he no longer was comfortable visiting Iran with his young daughter.

“It’s huge,” Fowler said. “Especially any time you’re not able to see your family, it’s ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2017 at 01:51 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dexter fowler, politics

Amiel Sawdaye on Arizona’s New Boston Culture | FanGraphs Baseball

On the potential of the 2017 Diamondbacks: “If you look at our team, our major-league team, there are some really good young players. I think most people identify with Goldschmidt and Greinke and Pollock — those guys are great players — but if you look down at the crux of the roster, we have Drury and Lamb and Owings and Ahmed. We have Corbin, Ray, Bradley… I mean, the list goes on and on. There’s a lot of good happening at the major-league level, and hopefully we can take advantage ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2017 at 01:18 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks

Help wanted! These problem positions have plagued teams for a decade

Almost every team has a problem position—you know, that spot where one season a hot prospect is starting (and failing), the next season it’s a washed-up vet, then some random Triple-A player—and the team can never get out of that cycle.

Maybe your favorite club has one, like left field for the Seattle Mariners. This one goes way back. Ken Griffey Jr. patrolled center field 11 seasons for the Mariners and played next to nine different regular left fielders, including Pee Wee Briley, Jeffrey ...

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Meatwad needs baseball Posted: February 20, 2017 at 12:55 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: bad players, chicago white sox, seattle mariners

Manny Ramirez gave hitting lessons to Twins’ Kennys Vargas

Now Vargas needs to execute on Manny’s tips.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2017 at 11:11 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: kennys vargas, manny ramirez, twins

Rio Ruiz arrives at Braves camp with new body | MLB.com

Maybe a picture of the new version would be a nice touch.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2017 at 11:10 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, rio ruiz

Rumors And Rumblings: Swihart Adamant He Doesn’t Have Yips

“You find one clip of one bad throw and put it on the internet,” Swihart said. “I know how you guys are. Make a big deal out of nothing. I had my family and a lot of friends call me (Friday night) and I had them to tell them all it was nothing, just one bad throw.

“Not one person in the organization said a word to me. No one. I’m not concerned. No one is concerned.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2017 at 11:05 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: blake swihart, red sox

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-20-2017

Tacoma Times, February 20, 1917:

Bill Pickens has made Grover Cleveland Alexander an offer which ought to help big Alex land the $15,000 salary he wants, regardless of whether he accepts it.

Pickens has devised a scheme, whereby a circus he represents is to retain Alexander at $1,000 a week for 35 weeks. He will do a freak baseball stunt inside the tent and later will exhibit his prowess by defending the circus’ offer to give $50 to anyone who can make a base hit off him.

This would have been a ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:27 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, grover cleveland alexander, history

A Vindictive President Destroys a National Institution

A story of a bombastic, vindictive man who brooked no challenge to his authority, had no tolerance for weakness, and hated whom he saw as “losers.” We’re speaking, of course, of Ban Johnson, founder and president of the American League.

gehrig97 Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: ban johnson, cubs, frank chance, yankees

Astros hope Yuli Gurriel can bring stability to first base - Houston Chronicle

“He can really time things up,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got a timing mechanism that’s unique the way he wraps his bat. But he finds a way to time things up perfectly.

“His bat-to-ball skills are really good. He gets very, very aggressive with his approach, which I think is something (where) he’s going to learn that the league doesn’t challenge you as much as it tries to disrupt your timing. So it will be interesting for him.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2017 at 09:54 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Sunday, February 19, 2017

OTP 20 Feb. 2017: Baseball in a Time of Politics

Unitarian Universalist minister Elz Curtiss offers sage advice on how we might use sports as a lightning rod for our political emotions:

As the pitchers and catchers settle in, I’m looking for a team to hate as much as I hated the Dodgers. I need it. Someone to wish into a baseball gutter, to jeer with ugly, dripping sneers when they take the field. I need them because I refuse to stoop to that level in discussing our president, his party, nor the people who put them in office. If this ...

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BDC Posted: February 19, 2017 at 08:35 PM | 2041 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, politics

Hosmer talking extension, but prepared for breakup of Royals’ core

Hosmer said Sunday that he, his agent Scott Boras and the Royals are discussing a contract extension, but indicated that he will test free agency if the sides do not strike a deal by Opening Day.

“I don’t know if it’s going to heat up now in spring training,” Hosmer said. “But during the season, I don’t like being bothered with that stuff. If something doesn’t happen here, I don’t see anything during the season really happening.”

Hosmer added, “It’s hard to make it to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 08:03 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: eric hosmer, lorenzo cain, mike moustakas, royals

A’s Khris Davis won’t play in WBC, discusses love for Oakland - San Francisco Chronicle

I get why MLB wants the WBC. I can also get why players, especially pitchers, wouldn’t want to be part of it.

Davis said he doesn’t believe the WBC would be a distraction but added, “I think this would complicate things a little. … It’s more of a timing issue. I need to be here in Arizona during these dates.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 02:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, khris davis, wbc

After rough debut, Lucas Giolito aims for encore with White Sox

Get to know Lucus Giolito.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 02:05 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: lucas giolito, white sox


Bryce Harper isn’t laughing off Syndergaard’s ‘douche’ rip | New York Post

When asked about Noah Syndergaard’s Instagram comment from New Year’s Eve – Thor dropped the “Douche’’ hammer on Harper — Harper responded with these serious words at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches: “I don’t know, Syndergaard does what he does and the Mets do what they do. So we are going to worry about what we do in our clubhouse and do everything we can do win ballgames and hopefully have a better record than any team in Major League Baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 02:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, mets, nationals, noah syndergaard

Polanco prepares for a full season, new position | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Will this be his breakout year?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 01:08 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gregory polanco, pirates

Yordano Ventura’s final year filled with family turmoil, emotional distress

In March 2016, Ventura was taken to a hospital in Arizona after overdosing on medication. Sangiovanni said he had attempted suicide, though some close to him are skeptical of that conclusion.

Whatever happened that day, Ventura’s personal life had become complicated for the young man from a remote Dominican resort town.

“I don’t think it was easy for him to get out of Las Terrenas and come into everything he accomplished,” said longtime friend Abel Padilla. “Not everyone can manage ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 01:00 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, yordano ventura

Padres’ ‘all-in’ Dominican push shaping franchise future - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Heading into 2016, ESPN.com senior baseball writer Keith Law ranked the Padres’ farm system 20th in baseball. Now, they’ve rocketed to third on Law’s list.

In the last eight months, the Padres have signed 45 players from outside the United States: 15 from Venezuela, 14 from the Dominican, six each from Cuba and Mexico, three from Colombia and one from Taiwan. Organization-wide, there are 65 native Dominicans under contract alone.

“It’s the speed at which it’s been done and the ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: padres

Remember 1967 and the impossible dream - The Boston Globe

Although I was too young in the 1967 to remember any details, I believe my great love of baseball is directly tied to the Red Sox success that year. After suffering bad teams for years, my father was so excited by the Red Sox that year that he held game-watching parties though most of the summer. All that excitement surely caught the interest of the three-year old me.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:18 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: history, impossible dream, red sox

Nick Cafardo: Here’s why the Red Sox aren’t likely to trade Brock Holt

Was Nick Cafardo on the Betances arb panel?

Top utility players at the plate
Based on 2016 batting average.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:08 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, red sox

Dellin Betances’ lost case against the Yankees shows the arbitration system is broken | FOX Sports

I was busy yesterday and haven’t read all the hot takes but, other than it being smarter for Levine to keep his mouth shut, Betances outcome fits within the history of the arbitration framework. If the system has been truly flawed why didn’t the MLBPA make it point during the recently settled contract? I get Betances complaint but the outcome shouldn’t have been unexpected. Set-up men don’t get paid in arbitration.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2017 at 08:09 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, dellin betances, yankees

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Yankees President: Dellin Betances’ Arbitration Filing “Had No Bearings In Reality”

“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer,” Levine adds.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that there’s “bad blood” between Betances and the Yankees going back to last season, when the Yankees renewed Betances’ salary for the league minimum of $507K despite Betances’ strong performances to that point.

Stay classy, Randy.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 01:20 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, astronauts, yankees

Deadspin: Here’s a reminder that Mookie Betts is legitimately great at bowling

Mookie Betts is awesome and the Truth.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts has never made a secret of his love of bowling—he’s said that he watches the game every Sunday when he can, he competed in the 2015 World Series of Bowling and he’s bowled two perfect games in the past four years. The guy has a profile on the U.S. Bowling Congress website.

So it’s not exactly surprising that he won last night’s All-Star Celebrity Clash at Chris Paul’s charity bowling tournament. And he ...

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The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 12:16 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bowling, cool and good, mookie betts, red sox

Who’s in Command Here?!?

So if pitchers who strike out a lot of batters while walking few tend to be very good, is the converse always true? Are pitchers with lousy K/BB ratios… lousy?

Well, yes.

And no.

It depends.

(Jerry Crasnick bears no responsibility for any of this)

gehrig97 Posted: February 18, 2017 at 10:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: clemens, command, control, curt schilling, kershaw, maddux, mike mussina, strikeouts, walks

Former D-backs GM Dave Stewart regrets trading Dansby Swanson, calls firing unfair

“I would probably say I should have stuck to my gut — although I think Shelby Miller is going to be everything I thought he was going to be when I traded for him,” Stewart said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio. “But my gut that whole time said I should not move Dansby Swanson.

 

 

shoewizard Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:25 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dave stewart, diamondbacks, general managers

Reynaldo Lopez hopes to start with White Sox | MLB.com

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it,” Lopez said. “When the people from the Nationals called me and let me know I was in a trade, I couldn’t believe it.
“But then my lawyer called me and explained to me the situation and told me this is a good opportunity for me and a good team for me, and I was happy then. But first I was very surprised.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2017 at 08:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: reynaldo lopez, white sox

Travis d’Arnaud’s Problem? Throwing With ‘Too Much Arm’ - The New York Times

Getting it all the way to second base is definitely a good goal.

“It takes a lot of stress off my arm and makes it easier to get it all the way to second base, and it makes you more consistent,” d’Arnaud said later.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2017 at 08:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, travis d'arnaud

Berrios believes ‘16 struggles can help development with Twins - StarTribune.com

Berrios had never been hit like that before, so it tested his confidence.

“You see what the big difference is between the major league and the minor leagues,” Berrios said. “So now I feel more comfortable and more confident with myself. I feel better. You have to stay mentally strong. Sometimes I feel rushed and it can be tough. But everyone knows I work hard every day. So I go out and do my stuff, the things I can control.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2017 at 08:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jose berrios, twins

Jon Gray believes he can become best pitcher in Rockies history

The question posed to Jon Gray was simple and direct: Do you think you have a chance to be the best pitcher in Rockies history?

His answer was measured and thoughtful.

“I think I can definitely accomplish that, because I don’t fear Coors Field at all,” Gray said last week as spring training opened. “I know I can go in there and give it everything I have and get the win.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2017 at 08:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: jon gray, rockies

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