Baseball was shocked by the kidnapping of an icon. Luckily, the victim was returned unharmed. Joe Mauer is going all-out on the "Minnesota Twins" theme. Clayton Kershaw regrets not playing for Team USA. And the Nationals have modernized season tickets.
The MLB Bullets seems a little light this morning, but don't worry. I've got two more articles coming out on the World Baseball Classic in the next couple of hours. You're going to get sick of me real fast.
- Is that a giant Italian sausage head or are you just happy to see me? The story in baseball over the past couple of days has been the theft of the Giant Racing Italian Sausage from a curling rink in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. That would be a good enough story, but it doesn't stop there. Apparently the big guy went bar-hopping around town and generally had a great time. But the suit was worth three thousand dollars, and the Brewers really wanted Guido to come home. Local Wisconsin food purveyors offered a year's supply of mustard and sauerkraut for Guido's safe return. Eventually, the the sausage was returned to TJ's Bar is Cedarburg by masked men who told the bartender "You didn't see anything." The bartender, Jen Mohoney, said "Like I didn't just see two guys plop a sausage on a barstool." In the end, USA Today got the full story of the theft. (Warning: Hilarious photos included, complete with the "Harlem Shake.")
- Anyone who knows me knows that I really have a negative attitude towards tattoos, although I do admit that how you want to mutilate your body is none of my business. Except, that is, when it affects my favorite baseball team. Luckily, Elvis Andrus plays for the Rangers and not the Cubs. Unluckily for the Rangers, Andrus missed a game because of "sensitivity in his left bicep" as a result of a tatoo. Luckily for the Rangers, it's still spring training.
- A Texas grand jury declined to indict Torii Hunter's son for sexual assault.
- The Yankees made a "significant" contract offer to Robinson Cano. So far, Cano and his agent, Scott Boras, have not accepted, although discussions continue. Or at least they will until they become a "distraction."
- Twins catcher Joe Mauer and his wife are expecting twins. I know Mauer is happy in his home state, but maybe he needs to ask himself if he's taking this "Minnesota Twins" theme too far?
- Clayton Kershaw is regretting not playing in the World Baseball Classic. He says the Dodgers "encouraged" him not to play. That sounds a lot like the "pressure" not to play that is banned in the CBA. Bud, do something if you want to save this tournament.
- The World Baseball Classic is sponsoring a NASCAR car.
- The Nationals are replacing tickets for season ticket holders with a "Smart Card" that allows for unmanned entry and also serves as a loyalty rewards card. Certainly some fans are upset with this, primarily from fans who collect tickets as souvenirs, although there are some privacy concerns as well. Fans are able to transfer tickets to other people, which I thought would be a big problem of such a program. My guess is that this is the future of ticketing, like it or not.
- Brett Anderson will start on Opening Day for the Athletics.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon thinks that smart base running can create the "illusion" of speed that can help the Rays win ballgames.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs uses Pitchf/x data and concludes that "umpires are improving" over the past six years since such data became available.
- I want to make one thing perfectly clear before I present this link: No one is calling the San Francisco Giants a "racist" organization. But Andrew Baggerly notes with sadness that the team of Willie Mays, Monte Irvin and Willie McCovey is the only major league team without an African-American player. Its simply a reflection of declining African-American participation in the sport. The answer is to give more opportunities to young African-Americans to play and succeed at baseball. Of course the problem is what is the best way for MLB to do that? The RBI program is a start, but more needs to be done.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Really, it has to be. Today stunk.