Major League Baseball has signed a new deal with T-Mobile to provide all communications between the dugout and the bullpen. They signed a two-year contract and won't be eligible for an upgrade until three months before the contract runs out. Despite this, major league baseball is still the second-most popular sport in America.
All the talk in baseball right now is about the Hall of Fame vote, which may have been announced already by the time you read this. I honestly think this subject has been talked out, but the sense that I get is between the voters who are voting for no one as a kind of protest against steroids and the others who are only voting for Jack Morris as a protest over sabermetricians who blog from their basement, it's sounding more and more like no one is going to get elected, and that's a shame. I can't think of a single reason not to vote for Craig Biggio except that he hung around too long. And one voter won't vote for Mike Piazza because he had "back acne." I guess I won't be getting his vote for Cooperstown either.
- The "big news" that was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that MLB is partnering with T-Mobile to make the call to the bullpen wireless. From the official press release, it doesn't sound like they're going to just give everyone a cell phone, presumably out of fear that a manager would be in contact with someone in the center field stands stealing signs. Or maybe they just don't want to enable Dale Sveum's Angry Birds addiction. They're calling it an "On-Field communications system" which I'm guessing will be probably look a lot like a cell phone. Also, T-Mobile is going to erect mini cell towers at each MLB park and will work to expand the capabilities of the MLB At Bat mobile app.
- We know that at least one ballplayer will be inducted into Cooperstown this summer, and that's 19th Century star Deacon White. Baseball Think Factory has an essay that tries to quantify the value of White and other 19th Century catchers, which isn't easy in an era when catchers didn't wear chest protectors, face masks or even gloves. White probably deserves to go into the Hall simply for the greatest baseball quote of his century in a protest against the reserve clause: "No man is going to sell my carcass unless I get half."
- Ryan Braun will play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. In non-related news, my official Netherlands Orange WBC cap arrived. Go Roger Bernadina.
- A poll says that Major League Baseball is America's second-most popular sport, after the NFL, of course. Of course, you wouldn't know that from watching SportsCenter.
- In more internet related news, MLB paid $1.2 million for the rights to Rockies.com. The domain name had previously been owned by a group promoting tourism in the Canadian Rockies. MLBAM now owns the domains for 26 of the 30 MLB teams, lacking only Rays.com. Rangers.com, Twins.com and Giants.com. That last one is probably impossible to get as it's currently owned by the NFL. But MLBAM owns Cardinals.com, so I guess they're even.
- Adam LaRoche is returning to Washington after accepting a two-year deal with a mutual option. LaRoche had been looking for a three-year deal, but he didn't get one.
- Francisco Liriano's deal with Pittsburgh is off after Liriano injured his non-throwing arm shortly after agreeing to terms but before taking his physical. The team is continuing to negotiate with Liriano on a new contract, presumably for less than the two years, $12.75 million that they had agreed upon.
- The Yankees don't want Rafael Soriano back, even on a one-year deal.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski tells the Detroit News that "You can't have six starters." Lynn Henning says Rick Porcello is the one most likely to be traded. No word on any three-way deals with the Cubs.
- Alex Rodriguez's doctor tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Rodriguez's woeful postseason was because of his injured hip and was unrelated to any steroid abuse. I know a lot of people don't like ARod's personality or his contract, but he used to be one of the transcendent talents of the game. I miss watching him play. His surgeon hopes he can return in July after surgery.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels said that Jurickson Profar will likely start the season in the minors and that Ian Kinsler is staying at second base.
- Finally, the Indians signed Scott Kazmir to a minor league deal.
The Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team was blown out by Michigan.
And next week will be better than this week, Buster.