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Friday, February 28, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-28-2020

Phoenix Tribune, February 28, 1920:

At a meeting held in Kansas City [Wednesday], the National Negro Baseball Association was formed. The league will be composed of eight teams and will begin its season during the month of April. The clubs are the American Giants of Chicago, the Chicago Giants, Chicago; Detroit Stars, Detroit; St. Louis Giants, St. Louis; the Monarchs, Kansas City; the Marcoes, A.B.C. of Indianapolis, and Cuban Stars, a team in Havana, Cuba, which will be one of the traveling organizations.

Rube Foster of Chicago, who has been very active in consummation a league for the East and West, was elected the president of the new organization.

It was garbage that this league had to happen, of course, but what I wouldn’t give for a ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:10 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, negro leagues

Gary Sánchez Takes a Knee

While it was understandably overshadowed by Gerrit Cole’s pinstriped premiere, Gary Sánchez made his Grapefruit League debut on Monday. In doing so, he showed off a new stance behind the plate, one that’s intended to shore up the defensive inconsistencies that have cut into his value while making him the brunt of so much criticism during his tenure with the Yankees.

The game wasn’t televised, and the only video I could find was rather rough, shot from the press box and thus showing the catcher’s back, but here you can see what’s going on:

Sánchez now sets up in his crouch with his right knee on the ground, a stance whose purpose the New York Post’s George King III explained succinctly earlier this month:

“The lower setup ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: catching, gary sanchez, knee

Lawmakers push for Curt Flood’s enshrinement in Hall of Fame

WASHINGTON (AP) — Curt Flood’s widow has a simple explanation for why her late husband, who is revered by players for sacrificing his career to advocate for free agency, has not been enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

“I think the holdup is that he got on a lot of people’s nerves,” Judy Pace Flood said.

Flood has some powerful advocates on his side.

Members of Congress sent a letter to the Hall of Fame on Thursday asking that Flood be elected in December by the next golden era committee. The recognition would coincide with the 50-year anniversary of Flood’s defiant letter to baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in which he wrote, “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball hall of fame, curt flood

Whiff: Nats closer Doolittle calmed by lavender oil on glove

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle moves a glove out of the way as he reaches into a shelf in his spring training locker and grabs a different one, which he then hands over with a simple, if unusual, instruction:

“Smell it.”

So, of course, you do—getting a sweet whiff of lavender, the sort you might get from a candle or bowl of potpourri. And now you know what Doolittle sniffed each time he jutted his right elbow toward home plate and tucked his glove under his chin to get his catcher’s signs during last season’s World Series.

At the suggestion of Washington’s director of mental conditioning, Mark Campbell, Doolittle put lavender oil on the leather laces around the webbing of his glove ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:16 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: gloves, lavender oil, sean doolittle

Awestruck Ted Simmons marvels at the Baseball Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Ted Simmons just had to stop and soak it all in.

“It’s totally overwhelming and humbling, to say the very least,” Simmons said Thursday as he gazed at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s plaque gallery after a tour of the sport’s shrine. “You’re asking yourself every five seconds — what on earth makes you feel as though you belong in this place? I’m not big on false humility. I’m here to say that if you can’t come to grips with what’s really happening here and what this place is all about, you sure as hell don’t belong here.”

Simmons belongs now — at age 70 and more than three decades after his last game. He was elected in December by the modern era committee, becoming the first player to ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball hall of fame, ted simmons

Cubs reliever Brad Wieck has surgery for heart flutter

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Chicago Cubs reliever Brad Wieck had surgery this week for an abnormal heart flutter and is out indefinitely.

The team said Thursday an irregular heartbeat was discovered during the 28-year-old left-hander’s spring training physical. Subsequent tests showed an intermittent atrial flutter.

Wieck underwent a cardiac ablation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Monday and returned to Arizona two days later.


QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brad wieck, heart

Astros, ‘Field of Dreams’ game highlight 2020 MLB schedule

CHICAGO (AP) — The Washington Nationals defend their first championship. The Houston Astros take on, well, the world. Major league baseball comes to Iowa — and returns to London.

Here are a handful of dates to mark on the calendar:


St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds: Nick Castellanos brings his “Every day is opening day” mantra to Cincinnati, where opening day is pretty much a city-wide holiday. The quirky outfielder signed a $64 million, four-year contract with Cincinnati in January, a key part of an active offseason for the refurbished Reds. The Cardinals, led by Jack Flaherty and Paul Goldschmidt, are going for their second straight NL Central title.

So, see anything you want to attend?

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: field of dreams, hall of fame, london, opening day, schedule

David Ortiz selling baseball mementos, household items

WESTON, Mass. (AP) — Former Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is cleaning house, and you might be surprised by what he’s selling.

The man known to Red Sox fans as Big Papi is, of course, selling tons of memorabilia from his baseball career at an estate sale scheduled for Saturday at his home in the affluent Boston suburb of Weston. But he is also selling other odds and sundry, including a neon Rolls Royce sign, a backyard composter and a stone owl sculpture.

“In addition to some exceptional sports memorabilia, you’ll find beautiful furniture and decor, designer ladies clothing and accessories, gym equipment, game room tables and more,” the company running the sale said on its website.

Feels like there’s a broader ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, junk

Embracing the Romance of Spring Training

Spring training invites romance. It’s the basis of the seasonal vocabulary, all rebirth and growth and optimism. But this invitation is incidental: Spring training, if it is going to be at all enjoyable, requires romance.

If you are not romantic about the idea of grown men performing basic stretches in workout shorts, it will be insufferable. If you are not romantic about oddly positioned photography from beat writers at a distance, it will mean nothing. If you are not romantic about games with a steady stream of substitutions for players you’ve never seen, there is no reason to watch. Without romance, spring training is dull at best and ridiculous at worst.

Which is the point. The romance is the key. It’s the answer to the ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: romance, spring training

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, yasiel puig

Agent highlights injustice of spring training for minor leaguers

On Wednesday evening, agent Joshua Kusnick…. tweeted about an injustice one of his clients, a minor league player, is facing at spring training. He wrote:

“Have an milb client who showed up 2 weeks ago
He isnt being paid because spring training didnt start for milb 10 dollars a day per diem.
They have a 1200 deposit for the hotel. The player. Making 6k a year.
Player has no choice in staying at hotel Pays own way to field!
No gas reimbursement. If player has a car he must stay at hotel
This is insanity. Someone has to change this”



QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers, spring training, the price of everything

By 3 to 1 Margin Americans Say Astros Investigation was a Coverup and Players Need to Be Punished

South Orange, NJ – February 27, 2020 — By a sizeable margin, a majority of Americans feel that individual players should have been punished by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for their role in the sign stealing scandal surrounding the Houston Astros.

Fifty-four percent, responding to a national Seton Hall Sports Poll this week, said yes to punishing players in what was acknowledged as a player-driven scheme.  Only 17 percent felt they should not be punished.  Twenty-nine percent said they don’t know or had no opinion.

This was consistent with public opinion in the first week of this month when 52 percent said the Astros world championship should have been taken away, and 35 percent said it should not.

The Poll was administered this ...

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, opinion, polls

Sale won’t be ready to pitch Opening Day

FORT MYERS, Fla.—Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been ruled out for Opening Day and is expected to start the season on the 15-day injured list, interim manager Ron Roenicke said on Thursday.

Sale is not injured, but he is building back to a regular Spring Training progression after dealing with the flu and pneumonia for two weeks just before camp opened.

If the Red Sox back-date Sale’s IL stint by three days, the earliest he can make his 2020 debut would be on April 7 at Fenway Park against the Rays.

Sale hopes to start the first day he is eligible.

Cue the Red Sox fans in three, two….

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, injured list

Thursday, February 27, 2020

YouTube TV, Sinclair engaged in dispute impacting broadcasts of 15 teams

YouTube TV announced today that it has failed to reach a carriage agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. Sinclair is the company which owns the Fox Sports regional channels (Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Detroit, etc.) and the YES Network which broadcasts the Yankees. Those sports channels won’t be carried on YouTube TV after this Saturday. Those channels cover 15 of the 30 big league clubs. It’s not just baseball, though: this impacts over 40 teams across MLB, the NBA and the NHL whose games are carried on the Sinclair-owned stations.

No one knows how long this dispute will last. It could just be a hiccup in negotiations. It could, like the Dodgers’ situation, last a long time. Each side will, inevitably, cast it as the fault of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 27, 2020 at 10:20 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: youtube tv

MLB announces historic crew-chief assignments

Article first paragaph:

Veteran umpires Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth, Mike Everitt and Jeff Kellogg are all stepping away from the full-time Major League staff, creating four crew-chief vacancies that will be filled by Kerwin Danley, Dan Iassogna, Alfonso Marquez and Jim Reynolds. Danley will be the first African-American crew chief, while Marquez becomes the first Mexican-born crew chief.

Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 27, 2020 at 10:20 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires, umpiring

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-27-2020

Bridgeport Times, February 27, 1920:

Zimmerman And Hal Chase Are Dropped

Report That No Club In Either League Will Claim Them—Has This Any Connection With Crusade Against Gambling By Players?

The biggest sensation in modern baseball is due to break within the next few days. It is understood that Hal Chase, first baseman, and Heine Zimmerman, third baseman, of the Giants, have played their last big league game, and their retirement at a time when both are valuable assets to the Giants, will cause nationwide surprise.
[Earlier this week a] newspaperman spoke to Magee about this matter. His reply was: “Well, Bill, if they are going to [release and blacklist] me I guarantee you that I won’t be the goat alone; at least one other player ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 27, 2020 at 09:53 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, game-fixing, history

Dylan Carlson has flourished at every level despite his youth, so why would the Cards be cautious with him now? – The Athletic

In assessing Carlson’s prospect pedigree and the excitement that goes with it, Mozeliak has compared Carlson, 21, to none other than Albert Pujols and Oscar Taveras.

Please understand the context; Mozeliak’s reference was all about a prospect’s potential to emerge as a generational hitter. Those talents just don’t surface very often, and Carlson rates among the Cardinals’ top homegrown position-player prospects over the last 50 years. That group would include Ted Simmons, Keith Hernandez, J.D. Drew, Yadier Molina, Pujols and Taveras.

Here’s the quote: “I hate to do this,” Mozeliak told St. Louis station KSDK in December when asked about Carlson. “But he’s the Albert Pujols type or the Oscar Tavares type.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 27, 2020 at 06:42 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dylan carlson

Wondering about Wander? Take a look during Rays’ next games

He’ll be playing on Thursday and Friday.

Joe Ryan had his Wander moment last year during an early afternoon, late-season game with the advanced Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

“No one had put the ball in play for like six innings and some guy hit a ball up the middle and I was like, ‘(Darn), he hit it pretty hard,’” Ryan recalled. “And Wander just — all of I sudden I turn around — and it was almost like out of (the movie) For the Love of the Game, where the shortstop slides through, picks it up and flips it to first. I was like, ‘Wow, that was sick.’

“That side of him I hadn’t seen before, and that was really exciting. We talked about it later in the dugout, and he was saying, ‘Yeah, I realize what I need to do in the ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 27, 2020 at 06:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, wander franco

MLB’s Winning and Losing Efforts to Conquer TV, Part I: The Strike

When massive television dollars from broadcast giants ABC, CBS, and NBC stopped flowing directly into baseball owners’ pockets 25 years ago, the downturn in revenue helped to cause a strike that the sport took years to recover from. In the earlier part of this decade, a similar specter loomed in the form of a cable bubble, the bursting of which threatened to take away the millions that teams receive to broadcast local games on Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) like the Yankees’ YES Network or the Cardinals’ Fox Sports Midwest. Due to a diversification of revenue, an emphasis on developing streaming technology with a impact felt beyond the sport, and an increasing number of bidders, both traditional and non-traditional, that want to ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 01:41 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, cbs sports, strike, the baseball network

Getting the Marlins to 94 Wins

My girlfriend is a Marlins fan…sort of. She doesn’t really follow baseball, but she’s from Miami and has a custom Marlins jersey, so the trappings are there at least. And she knows I love baseball, so she calls herself the “Beisbol Girl in Training,” BBGIT for short.

I mention her because not long ago I was fumbling around for a Valentine’s gift, hopelessly looking for something original and special and affordable to no avail. And then, in my darkest hour, the Cupid of FanGraphs floated down to shoot me with an arrow of inspiration: Ben Clemens published his piece, Let’s Get the Rockies to 94 Wins.

That’s it! That’s the gift! Screw 94 wins, let’s just get the Marlins into the playoffs! That shouldn’t be too hard. I ...


Bregman becomes 7th Astros player hit by pitch in 5 games

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Houston’s Alex Bregman was hit on the back by a breaking ball from St. Louis reliever Ramon Santos on Wednesday, the seventh Astros player plunked in five spring training games.

“It was a splitter,” Bregman said. “It just got away from him.”

Some opposing players have called for retaliation against the Astros following Major League Baseball’s finding that Houston broke rules against electronic sign-stealing en route to its 2017 World Series title and again in 2018.

Dustin Garneau was hit Sunday against Washington, and José Altuve was grazed Monday against Detroit, when Osvaldo Duarte and Alex De Goti also were hit. Aledmys Díaz and Jake Meyers were hit Tuesday by Miami.

For those keeping ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 01:25 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, hit by pitch

A Minny switch: Sano moves across diamond for Donaldson

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — For the Twins to land free agent Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano knew what would be asked of him. He didn’t hesitate.

Instead, Sano sent a video to Donaldson, lobbying the 2015 American League MVP to join the Twins. The key to Sano’s pitch: He would happily move across the infield to play first base with Donaldson taking over at third.

Understand, too, that Sano has appeared in just 31 games at first base since making his big league debut in 2015, spending the last five seasons working to improve at third.

“The first time I met him, I saw that he’s a really good guy and he’s got a lot of energy,” Sano said. “He’s the kind of player that I love to see. He’s positive and he loves the game. He likes ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 01:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: josh donaldson, miguel sano, trading places

MLS owners predict league will surpass MLB, Premier League

NEW YORK (AP) — Three days ahead of the Major League Soccer’s 25th season, owners, executives and players gathered for a day of unbridled optimism and hyperbole.

Los Angeles FC lead owner Larry Berg predicted MLS will surpass Major League Baseball in popularity during the next 10 years and Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas maintained it will be of higher quality than the Premier League and La Liga by 2045.

MLS anticipates soccer’s status in the U.S. will be boosted when the Americans co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada.

“We definitely have the demographics in our favor, both in terms of youth and diversity. So I think we’ll pass baseball and hockey and be the No. 3 sport in the U.S. behind football and ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: hype machine, mls, predictions, soccer

Worcester approves about $30M more for new ballpark

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The Worcester City Council has approved a revised financing plan to address about $30 million in increased costs for a new baseball stadium being built in the city for the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.

The plan approved Tuesday addresses an additional $9.4 million in construction costs and about $20 million in increased costs associated with the redevelopment of the neighborhood where the park will be located.

The team, currently based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and known as the Pawtucket Red Sox, will play one more season in Rhode Island before relocating to Worcester in 2021.

Given what MLB has been threatening lately, I’m not sure that investing more in minor league stadiums makes sense at the current ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, pawtucket red sox, stadiums, worcester

That Time Obama Pardoned a Guy Who Stole Charlie Sheen’s Honus Wagner Card

Jumping ahead slightly:

If you’re looking for a snapshot of American culture before the turn of the last century—when traffic was starting to thicken at the four-way intersection of sports, celebrity, media and commerce—you can’t do much better than the scene at 1540 Broadway in New York City on Dec. 18, 1995. The grand opening that night of the first Official All‑Star Café reflected the latest in a trend of gaudy, zeitgeist-capturing theme restaurants. In ’92 there had been six such chains in the U.S., doing $300 million in total revenue. Within six years there would be 30, doing $2 billion.

At the center of all this was Robert Earl, a British restaurateur (in the loosest sense) who started his crusade against fine dining ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, food, honus wagner, theft

Counterpoint: The Astros’ Sign-Stealing Scandal Is Actually Good for Baseball

For those of you curious to see a hot take in the wild:

Baseball is crumbling. The Houston Astros, arguably MLB’s most successful team of the past decade, have been exposed as rampant cheaters. Their punishment is next to nothing, as commissioner Rob Manfred suspended the manager (A.J. Hinch) and general manager (Jeff Luhnow) involved in their scheme while letting the players skate. His grand crisis-control strategy was to downplay the importance of the Astros’ World Series win by referring to the trophy as a “piece of metal.” The past is tarnished, as the Astros’ 2017 championship and 2017 and 2019 pennants will forever be considered unfairly won. The present is chaos, as the game’s biggest stars have united in revolt against ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, contrarians on parade, sign-stealing

Japanese baseball to play remainder of preseason without spectators due to virus fears

Nippon Professional Baseball announced Wednesday it will hold all 72 of its remaining preseason games behind closed doors, becoming the latest Japanese sporting body to take drastic steps to address the spiraling coronavirus crisis.

It follows an announcement by the Japan Rugby Football Union earlier in the day that it will postpone 16 games across two rounds of the 2020 Top League season.

Representatives from NPB’s 12 teams decided at an extraordinary meeting to hold the popular sport’s preseason in empty stadiums a day after the Yomiuri Giants said fans would be barred from two preseason games this weekend at Tokyo Dome. NPB’s regular season is slated to open on March 20.

“This was a bitter decision to make. Because we can’t ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, japanese baseball

Ticket sellers tell Congress they’d support federal mandate to disclose all fees up front

Three of the country’s biggest ticket sellers told a congressional committee Wednesday that they would support a federal mandate to disclose “all-in” ticket prices, meaning ticketing fees would be revealed up front to fans, instead of only after a fan has entered personal information, the current industry-wide practice.

Amy Howe, Ticketmaster’s chief operating officer, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that the total ticket price “should be disclosed from the outset, not at the end of the purchase process” and that there should be “robust enforcement of this requirement.”

Her comments came as the committee opened hearings on practices among the nation’s largest ticketing companies that some in Congress have called ...

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: tickets

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Giancarlo Stanton likely out for start of Yankees season with injury

When Giancarlo Stanton slid out of the machine Wednesday he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of the right calf. Stanton, who wasn’t included in the batting practice groups before the day’s Yankees-Nationals game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, suffered the injury near the end of Tuesday’s fielding practice.

“He basically has a Grade 1 calf strain,’’ manager Aaron Boone said following an 8-2 Yankees win in a game shortened to 4 ½ innings because of rain. “He will be down for a little bit.’’

And possibly in jeopardy of opening the season on the injured list, where he spent a big chunk of last year due to a left biceps strain, a left calf strain and a right knee sprain that limited him to 18 regular-season games.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 26, 2020 at 09:25 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giancarlo stanton, injuries, yankees

Tim Tebow will play for the Philippines in World Baseball Classic qualifying

Former NFL quarterback and current Mets outfield prospect Tim Tebow will play for the Philippines in the upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifiers. WBC Baseball made the announcement on Wednesday. Tebow’s parents were Baptist missionaries in the Philippines at the time of his birth, and they moved back to the U.S. when Tebow was three years old.

Tebow, 32, is coming into his fourth minor league season with the Mets since deciding to pursue a baseball career. Across 287 games in the minors, he owns a slash line of .223/.299/.338 with 18 home runs and 85 walks against 327 strikeouts. This past season, Tebow put up an OPS of .495 in 77 games at the Triple-A level. He’s in camp with the Mets, and he recently hit his first spring training ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2020 at 06:37 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: tim tebow

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