The World Baseball Classic gets underway again in Taiwan on Friday night at 10:30 pm Chicago time as Australia takes on host team Chinese Taipei. If you get up early on Saturday, you can catch Japan take on Brazil in Japan at 4 am Chicago time.
- Speaking of Taiwan, guess where Manny Ramirez has signed to play this season?
- Al mentioned this in his recap thread yesterday, but Zack Greinke told Jon Heyman that "I could play for the worst team if they paid the most." Now he didn't claim that money was the only factor in his signing with the Dodgers, simply the most important one. He said that being able to hit with the Dodgers was a factor in deciding between the "very close" offers of Los Angeles and the Rangers. He made his distaste for the DH clear by saying "It's boring watching American League games to me."
- I'd say at least 90% of major league ballplayers, if they were being honest with themselves and the public, would say the same thing. About the money, that is. I don't know what they think of the Designated Hitter rule.
- A real must-read (and free) article from Baseball Prospectus from Eric Knott, who pitched for the Diamondbacks and Expos in the early aughts, about a player's perspective on steroids and amphetamines. He says he never took steroids and was never seriously tempted, but he knew people who did and he downed a lot of greenies without anyone saying a bad word about them.
- Big news for a Cubs farm team and potentially all of baseball. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a fan who lost an eye after being hit by a foul ball can sue the Boise Hawks and the stadium. Traditionally, the "Baseball Rule" is that fans assume the risk of beiing hit by sitting in the stands. Now the Supreme Court did not rule that the Hawks were liable or should be, only that a jury should decide whether or not the "Baseball Rule" should be applied in this case.
- Here's a good one. The Mets, whose financial troubles stem in large part from their involvement in the Bernie Madoff pyramid scheme, have a new agreement at Citi Field with Amway, a company that has recently settled cases alleging that they are, in fact, a pyramid scheme. Amway will open up a storefront at the stadium. Really, only the Mets pull off something like this. (H/T Big League Stew)
- There's one problem with Josh Booty winning MLB Network's "The Next Knuckler" reality show and getting a non-roster invitation to spring training with the Diamonbacks. Booty's rights are still owned by the Marlins, even though he retired from baseball in 1999. It's not likely to be a problem as the Marlins are unlikely to want to claim a 37 year-old who's been a pitcher for all of two months, but if he does look promising, Miami can claim him and the Diamondbacks will receive no compensation.
- Hey! Miguel Cabrera and Adam Jones made a music video!
- Speaking of Adam Jones, the Orioles outfielder wishes "the media would just shut the hell up." Jones hasn't taken too kindly to suggestions that the Birds were "lucky" last season and that they should struggle to compete this season.
- More Marlins soap opera. Team President David Samson said that ticket sales last season were well below even their most pessimistic projections. This was true in April and not just in August and September. Hard to believe people weren't paying to see that dancing Marlin thingy.
- On the other hand, tickets for the season opener in Cleveland sold out in six minutes. It looks like Indians fans are giving a thumbs-up to their off-season moves.
- Bobby Valentine thinks he did a good job with the Red Sox and that "Connie Mack wouldn't have won with that team." Interesting Valentine would mention Mack, since Mack was the all-time losingest manager and had an overall losing record as a manager.
- The Reds are hoping that Shin-Soo Choo can be a quality lead-off man. Joe Lemire of Sports Illustrated notes that baseball doesn't have many of those left these days.
- Brian Roberts feels like he's finally over his concussion problems. So can the Cubs trade for him now?
- Meanwhile, ninety-nine miles up the road, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has a lot riding on staying healthy this season. So do the Phillies. So far, he feels good.
- Gio Gonzalez heard cheers when he took the mound for the first game of spring training. The Nationals left-hander wasn't sure how he'd be received.
- Cliff Lee has a lot of respect for Michael Young and he didn't like the way the Rangers treated him over the past two seasons.
- The Rays Kelly Johnson is adjusting to being a utility player rather than an everyday player.
- A lot of people have said negative things about dealing with Barry Bonds, but Giants outfielder Cole Gillespie said he was polite and helpful when he ran into him at a restaurant in 2006 while he was still at Oregon State.
- Dave Cameron asks whether the Yankees flipping Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner (or similar switches in outfield positions) has any real impact. The answer is not much, but a little.
Here's where I normally mention the Hawkeyes, where both my wife and I went to graduate school. But my wife did her undergraduate work at Gonzaga, whose men's basketball team was ranked second in the nation for the first time ever the week. Oh, and the number one team, Indiana, just lost last night.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.