If we were to make a list of the things a baseball player could do to ruin their career, the first that would come to most of our minds is take PEDs. Many a promising career, or a Hall of Fame worthy legacy, has been utterly destroyed by the decision to take steroids. Worse still, the decision to do it more than once.
Then, of course, there is the constant discussion of the light suspension punishments players receive when they’re being punished for incidents of domestic violence. These “punishments” are often much, much lighter than those for steroids, and rarely do much to damage the potential Hall of Fame chances for a player, in spite of character and integrity being considered integral to voting (see Ken Rosenthal’s Hall of Fame ballot below).
But these punishments are, bizarrely, nothing compared to what used to happen for a minor league players found to have been using marijuana. While MLB removed pot from its list of banned substances prior to the 2020 season (with the caveat players should not show up to games high), the damage had been done to many careers already, and Brittany Ghiroli takes a deep dive into how the policy did a lot more harm than good before it was put to rest. (The Athletic subscription required.)
And now, onto the rest of links, while we still wait, ever so patiently, for free agent signings.
- Did the lack of access to view video during games impact the seasons of players like Christian Yelich? Eno Sarris investigates the unexpected side effect of the shortened season. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Kimball Crossley asks the biggest question still on all our minds: what’s happening with the Universal DH?
- With all their offseason shuffling, Dan Syzmborski has had to re-assess 2021 projections for the Padres.
- It’s a slow-moving offseason if ever there was one, but Jeff Passan still has some rumblings he’s hearing.
- Brittany Ghiroli has a few suggestions to keep teams from intentionally tanking. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Mike Axisa looks at which team in the AL is building the most unstoppable 2021 roster.
- Speaking of the AL... recently the NHL has made a deal to allow sponsors for each of their divisions, which is super weird and I hate it. But don’t be surprised if MLB considers doing the same. What sponsorships would be the most fun?
The NHL has sold division names.— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 5, 2021
Scotia NHL® North Division
Honda NHL® West Division
Discover NHL® Central Division
MassMutual NHL® East Division
- Shane Barclay recalls what it was like to work with Kim Ng before she became the first female GM in baseball.
- Why did Dick Allen wear a jersey with “Wampum” on the back during his 1977 farewell? Alex Coffey shares the story. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Considering the David vs. Goliath pairing at the World Series, Craig Edwards asks the question: does payroll really matter?
- ESPN brings us the storylines that are likely going to define baseball in 2021.
- Vin Scully’s wife, Sandra Scully, passed away at the age of 76 following a long battle with ALS. Story by Chris Bengel.
- Jessica Kleinschmidt spoke to Trevor Plouffe about the bittersweet memory of being DFA’s when Matt Chapman got promoted to the majors.
- Ken Rosenthal shares his very mixed emotions about the choices he made on his 2021 Hall of Fame ballot. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Steve Cohen has been a figure of delight for Mets fans since he bought the team, but Jason Owens looks at accusations of vulgar and abusive language used towards Cohen’s female employees.
- The current free agents have barely started to sign, but Matt Martell looks ahead to the free agent pool for 2021.
- Baseball legend Hank Aaron joined several civil rights leaders in getting his COVID vaccine in an effort to convince more Black Americans to get the vaccine. Story by Michael Warren and Ron Harris.
- New Red Sox minor league coach Bianca Smith shares her coaching philosophies.
The @RedSox have hired @biancaesmith12 as a minor league coach, making her the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball history.— MLB (@MLB) January 5, 2021
Here are some of her coaching philosophies. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/28oqoKkK4q
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.