Enjoy your St. Patty's Day tomorrow. Give it the 'ole Mark Grace treatment...
- The Tampa Bay Rays might not be your favorite MLB team. You might like 'em. You might dislike 'em. You might never have really given them much of a thought outside of late September and October in the last few years. But, whatever your feelings about them as a baseball team, you can have good feelings about them as people today. Stylish manager Joe Maddon, GM Andrew Friedman, 33 other members of the staff and executives, and 36 players, including James Shields, Evan Longoria, and David Price, all agreed to have their heads shaved as part of a fundraiser for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. It gives you a good feeling, and is a reminder of how easily MLB teams and players can use their position in our world for good. Today, I'm a Tampa Bay Rays fan.
- MLB finally has a social media policy for its players, which, generally speaking, encourages players to use social media to engage fans and support charitable causes. Not so encouraged: talking up PEDs, sexual commentary, taking official positions on behalf of your team or MLB, disparaging races/sexes/sexual orientations, etc. Pretty basic stuff, but a step in the right direction for a league that has, historically, been slow to step.
- Chase Utley has been largely invisible at Philadelphia Phillies' Spring Training this year (he hasn't appeared in a game), but the Phillies insist he'll be ready for Opening Day. The odd thing? No one really knows for certain what the issue is, because Utley refuses to discuss it. Everyone assumes it's his troublesome knee, but he's not confirming. The Phillies are already without Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco.
- Roy Halladay says there's absolutely no reason to be concerned by his slow start to Spring Training (and reduced velocity). "I've had no issues. It's a matter of getting myself to game speed,'' Halladay said. "The older you get, the longer it takes. As fas as my health, I feel better than I have in a lot of spring trainings.'' He's probably fine. But if you haven't already considered the possibility that the Phillies could be in line for a surprise swoon this year, you haven't been paying attention.
- The Boston Red Sox are still monitoring Roy Oswalt's availability/plans, but neither side seems in a rush to make a move. Oswalt is content to sit out until mid-season before signing with a team a la Roger Clemens, and the Red Sox are content to see what they have in guys like Daniel Bard and Felix Doubrant.
- Jeff Moorad has been running the San Diego Padres for years, but MLB isn't ready to let him become the majority owner of the team. The CEO and former agent is being blocked primarily by his former Arizona Diamondbacks partner Ken Kendrick, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
- Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer likes long toss. Very long toss.