A few WBC notes for those who aren't sick of them already. People are starting to wonder if the Yankees are looking at a hard fall. The Phillies and the Nationals discover that they really don't like each other. And Carl Crawford won't be exchanging Valentines with the city of Boston.
Most of the baseball news over the past couple of days has been about the World Baseball Classic and I think I'm covering that pretty well elsewhere. I do have a couple WBC stories, but I'm trying to keep it focused on the other stuff, even though I'm not really paying any attention to spring training this year. I'm not really missing it.
- Tom Verducci has a strong defense of the World Baseball Classic. noting how absolutely huge the tournament has become outside of the US. It's greatness, Verducci ironically stats, is that it's "un-American." He also notes that many of its US media critics have never actually watched a game.
- Paul Konerko declined to play in the WBC. He likes the tournament just fine, but thinks it should be held in July.
- On that last point, I want to go back to Verducci's article:
Can we at last please have a moratorium on suggestions of a better time of year to hold the WBC? Do you not think that MLB and the IBF have been studying this for more than seven years? Every other time period -- late March, All-Star break, November, etc. -- is fraught with more problems than what we have now.
It's important to remember that it's not just MLB that has to adjust its schedule. It's NPB, KBO, Serie Nacional, the Taiwanese league. Playing in March is not ideal, but every other time is worse.
- Rany Jazayerli writes in Grantland, perhaps prematurely, about the decline and fall of the Yankee Dynasty. Ken Rosenthal echoes Jazayerli, but not quite so grimly. But Rosenthal sees the retirement of Mariano Rivera as a symbol that the Yankees run is coming to an end.
- Oh yeah. Forgot to mention. Did you hear that 2013 is going to be Rivera's final season?
- Carl Crawford says that he and the Red Sox were a bad match and both sides should have seen that. He was particularly unsuited to deal with the Boston media who "love it when you're miserable."
- The White Sox and Chris Sale have agreed on a five-year deal.
- The Miami Marlins are having trouble selling tickets, for some reason. They're now offering a "buy one, get one free" deal for Opening Day.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin had to be rushed to the hospital after being stung by a scorpion. Negotiating with Scott Boras doesn't seem so painful after that, I'd bet.
- Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal is undergoing Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.
- Tony Campana got eight stitches. Don't worry. None were on his face or legs.
- This I love. The Phillies and the Nationals are discovering that they really don't like each other. The Mets will likely always be the Phillies' number one rival, but with the Mets being, well, so Met-like lately, it's nice to have another team to hate.
- Rod Barajas, or more precisely, his wife found his lost 2001 World Series ring. Also her dead grandmother. According to them, at least.
- It's still early in spring to really get worried about this, but Roy Halladay's velocity is down.
- Joe Posnanski looks at the spring training efforts of the "unbeatable" Kansas City Royals.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs noticed that Gio Gonzalez was really, really good at striking out the opposing pitcher. In fact, most of his improvement since he came to the Nationals was a result of being able to face so many pitchers.
- Also in Fangraphs, Wendy Thurm laments that the new Fox Sports 1 cable channel will mean even less baseball on network television. As someone old enough to remember the seventies, I'm sympathetic to her argument. But in a day and age where "The Talking Dead," a cable show about people talking about another cable show, had a higher rating than any program on NBC for the entire month of February, is not being on network TV maybe a good thing?
The Iowa Women's basketball team beat Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.