Congratulations to the Dominican Republic, who won the World Baseball Classic with a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico last night. I'll have a full recap of the game later today. Also a big congratulations to former Cub Moises Alou, who was the GM of the Dominican Team.
- Baseball has a full-blown diplomatic crisis going on. The NFL wants the Ravens to open the football season on Thursday night, September 5, but the Orioles already have that date reserved. Since the two teams share a parking lot, playing at the same time is not considered feasible. Negotiations had been going on behind the scenes for a while now, but Roger Goodell decided to "go nuclear" on Tuesday and hold a press conference blasting MLB for being unreasonable and for preventing the people of Baltimore from celebrating their champion Ravens.
- Baltimore Sun writer Peter Schmuck says the Orioles are in the right here. The NFL is willing to pay the Orioles for the inconvenience of moving the game to a day game, but MLB says this isn't about money. The issue is that the Chicago White Sox have a night game at Yankee Stadium the day before, which means they'd have to play a night game, travel and then play a day game. If the White Sox are in a pennant race, that's a big deal. The union, the Orioles and the White Sox would have to agree to the change. To get the White Sox to agree, they'd certainly have to get the Yankees to agree to change Wednesday's game to a day game, and good luck getting the Yankees to agree to anything.
- Expanding on that point further, the NFL moved their Opening Night game to Wednesday last year to accommodate the Democratic National Convention, but they say they can't do that this year because Wednesday is the first night of Rosh Hashanah. However, the NFL has played on the first night of Rosh Hashanah and other religious holidays of all faiths without showing any sort of remorse many times before. What Goodell really seems to want to avoid is looking like he lacks the power to force MLB to move.
- Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers had a mini-stroke at Dodgers camp, and the Dodgers trainer, Sue Falsone, may have saved his life by diagnosing his condition and getting him to the hospital. Simers is grateful, but somewhat puzzled why they would do that for him.
- MLB wants to eliminate the pensions for non-uniformed employees. For shame. A rare round of applause around here for Jerry Reinsdorf, who is trying to fight this. MLB says that they just want to give clubs "more flexibility." Sure. (The Cubs, and three other teams, have their own pension plan and are not directly involved in this, although changes to the industry plan would allow the Cubs to change their plan.)
- The Tigers do not want Carlos Marmol, according to Bruce Levine.
- Marlon Byrd is has a "99.9% chance" of being the Mets opening day right fielder. I wish him the best. But ouch.
- After a summer of not knowing whether he'd pitch for the Cubs or the Braves, Randall Delgado is glad to settle down with the Diamondbacks.
- Bryce Harper took a few hours to sell Nationals season tickets over the phone.
- This is why we can't have nice things on the internet.
- Brandon Phillips says the "highlight of my career" was playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He wants to return in 2017 and win this time.
- Adam Lind is dealing with his back problems by taking up yoga this off-season. So far, it's working.
- Time-Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego are back in negotiations about carrying the channel and the Padres broadcasts. That neither side has called the other one a "poopy head" can only be seen as a positive sign.
- Ken Rosenthal says that the injuries are really starting to add up for the Padres. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune blames Team USA and the World Baseball Classic, because if Team USA had made the semi-finals, Chase Headley would have been in San Francisco and not getting injured in a meaningless spring training game.
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says that if the Rockies are going to improve this year, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa need to step up.
- The Rays marketing slogan this year is "Welcome Home." Sure, if I lived in an enclosed biosphere.
- The Red Sox sent Stephen Drew to be checked out by the University of Pittsburgh's concussion program. The Red Sox haven't officially said he'll start the year on the disabled list, but it's a foregone conclusion that he will.
- Roy Halladay has had a rough spring training, but he expects to be ready for the start of the season.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times thinks the Mariners finally have a decent middle-of-the-order.
- Chris Carpenter (the Cardinals one, not the ex-Cub) says his career is probably over. Even though he's a Cardinal, I never like seeing a ballplayer go out on anything other than their own terms.
- Eduardo Nunez could be the Yankees opening day shortstop. When asked for comment, Derek Jeter replied "Après moi, le déluge."
The Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball team received a number nine seed in the NCAA tournament. They open at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday against Miami.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.