If there are any other Pirates minor leaguers who are looking for a promotion, I can try doing for you what I did for Gift Ngoepe on Wednesday. That was really freaky.
The layoffs at ESPN are not good news for anyone. There were eight baseball writers or broadcasters let go: Jayson Stark, Doug Glanville, Doug Padilla, Mark Saxon, Jim Caple, Jim Bowden, Dallas Braden and Raul Ibañez. Not all of those people are great, but a lot of of them are. Stark is among the best in the business. Here’s one interview with James Andrew Miller, who wrote a book on ESPN, on what has gone wrong and here is another good take on the state of sports broadcasting. Mike Oz also writes about what the ESPN layoffs mean for the future of baseball broadcasting.
As Oz notes, Baseball Tonight, a show which I think has been on forever, is now officially dead except as a pregame show for Sunday Night Baseball. I haven’t watched Baseball Tonight much recently, mostly because I’m watching West Coast games instead. But also because it had become impossible to know when and on what channel it was going to air. But for many years in the ‘90s and ‘00s, it was nightly viewing for me.
- Here’s Doug Glanville’s final column for ESPN on the unwritten rules and the time he charged the mound.
- Now for a gift from baseball, the promotion of South African infielder Gift Ngoepe by the Pirates. Phil Rogers writes that Ngoepe’s promotion was a great thing for MLB.
- Here’s a little more background on Ngoepe.
- It was an emotional night for Ngoepe, as you no doubt saw if you were watching when he got that hit off of Jon Lester.
- Hannah Keyser got an interview with Ngoepe.
- On to the butcher’s bill. Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller has a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is weighing his options. Of course, Tommy John surgery is one of them.
- And Mets ace Noah Syndergaard missed yesterday’s start with a “tired arm.” The Mets say it’s not likely a big deal, but they won’t know until they get it checked out.
- The Mets have now lost six straight games. Bill Baer declares the Mets a “mess” and lists everything that’s gone wrong.
- Mets manager Terry Collins is refusing to make excuses, but as Mark Townsend writes, their entire season may hinge on what happens in the next two weeks.
- One of the best stories of the early season is Brewers slugger Eric Thames. However, his return to MLB has been dogged by whispers of PED use. Will Leitch points out that those accusations are unfounded and need to stop.
- Matt Snyder points out that baseball is the only sport that tries to shame players who start playing better. He also attacks the double-standard where NFL PED use is shrugged off.
- Thames did leave Wednesday’s game with a hamstring problem, although the Brewers insist it is nothing serious.
- Leitch also has six other players who might be able to return from Asia and succeed in MLB.
- Jeff Passan thinks that Derek Jeter is the perfect man to lead and be the face of the Marlins.
- Jon Heyman points out that the problem is that Jeter and former Florida governor Jeb Bush don’t currently have the $1.3 billion to buy the Marlins.
- And commissioner Rob Manfred said that there is still another group in the bidding for the Marlins. I’m betting that Jeter and Bush get it done in the end though. MLB has to want Jeter running the Marlins for the good of the sport.
- Ben Lindbergh looks at the new 10-day disabled list and examines whether or not teams are gaming the system. Interesting thoughts, but it is still too soon to tell.
- R.J. Anderson points out that even without Chris Sale, the White Sox are leading MLB in ERA.
- This is despite White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana being off to a slow start. But Jon Tayler traces how Quintana went from fringe minor leaguer to major league ace.
- I think Quintana will be all right in the end. Anthony Castrovince has ten other players whom he expects to recover from slow starts.
- Cliff Corcoran has some early-season team stats that he doesn’t expect will continue all season.
- Also, in honor of Chris Coghlan jumping over Yadier Molina, Corcoran has compiled some of the best dodges of tags in baseball history. There’s only one Javy-slide in there, however. There probably should be six or seven.
- Bill Baer takes time out to praise umpire Angel Hernandez for making a tough call correctly on a slide at the plate.
- Buster Olney, who thankfully did not get canned by ESPN, thinks Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper looks better than he ever has this season. I should say so: he “just” has a 1.373 OPS so far.
- Jorge L. Ortiz thinks the future of the Giants/Dodgers rivalry is in safe hands with rookies Julio Uribe and Christian Arroyo.
- Grant Brisbee uses Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger as an excuse to compare major-league sons to their major-league fathers.
- Jerry Crasnick, another ESPN survivor, writes that history suggests that Buster Posey’s days as a major league catcher are numbered. He does point out that it is not wise to tell that to Buster Posey.
- Jeff Sullivan looks at Joey Gallo’s start to the season to examine how much can a hitter strike out and still be an effective hitter?
- Craig Calcaterra really likes Mariners pitcher James Paxton’s new nickname of “Big Maple.” He also likes Paxton’s strong start to the season.
- Paul Lukas looks at MLB teams that break from the tradition of team name on home uniforms and city name on road unis.
- Unbelievably, we’ve already had our second nine-inning perfect game in the minors this year.
- Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman turned a pretty wild unassisted double play.
- And finally, the Pirates paid tribute to usher Phil Coyne. The 99-year-old Coyne has been an usher for the Pirates for 81 years (!!!). Coyne started with the Pirates at Forbes Field in 1935, worked the entire history of Three Rivers Stadium and has been at PNC Park since it opened. When he first started working for the Pirates, Hall of Famers Arky Vaughn, Waite Hoyt, and Paul and Lloyd Waner were all playing for the team. Babe Ruth played three games for the Braves at Forbes Field that year where he hit his final three home runs. (h/t Big League Stew)
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.