We’ve got very little news today, but we actually have some terrific articles. So enjoy.
Everyone have a happy new year and best wishes for 2022. Please celebrate responsibly tonight. (I feel like the odds of someone saying “I was going to drive drunk tonight but I was reminded by ‘Outside the Confines’ to celebrate responsibly” are pretty low, but if I saved even one life there, it would be worth it.)
- It’s the biggest moment of the baseball awards season. Few baseball off-season events are more anticipated than this one. Craig Calcaterra has announced his annual ranking of the most handsome managers in MLB. He even announced them in his free Thursday newsletter so everyone could get a glimpse of the 30 most handsome managers in the game.
- Here’s the biggest news of the past two days. Third baseman Kyle Seager announced his retirement. OK, technically Seager’s wife announced his retirement since Kyle refuses to have a social media account.
- As far as what is going on in the labor negotiations, the answer is nothing. But Evan Drellich manages to answer a lot of questions that people submitted (and that you might have) about the current state of the talks. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- The baseball writers at CBS Sports talk about what rules changes they’d like to see implemented when the lockout ends.
- This is a terrific article that everyone should read. Jordan Ritter Conn looks at how Braves pitcher Tyler Matzek overcame the “yips” (or “Steve Blass disease”) and became a World Series champion. It also goes a lot into what exactly the “yips” are and why they’re so hard to fix.
- Kiley McDaniel examines the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, what went so wrong for him in 2021 and how likely can he fix it going forward. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Howard Bryant looks back at 2021 in baseball and what (and who) we’ve lost along the way.
- Jayson Stark presents his final installment of “Strange but True” baseball for 2021. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- The Blue Jays are currently finalizing plans to undertake a $200 million renovation of the Rogers Centre.
- Jay Jaffe has made a career writing about the Hall of Fame, and now he finally has his own vote for it. Jaffe announced and explained his ballot.
- David Schoenfield looks back at the best and worst free agent signings of the past decade. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Scott Thompson examines the pros and cons for the Mets signing free agent pitcher Carlos Rodón.
- Jonathan Mayo looks at the most improved farm systems over the past year. (mlb.com article)
- The next several articles are mlb.com trips down memory lane as they aren’t supposed to mention any locked out players unless absolutely necessary. First, Mike Lupica celebrates the life of Sandy Koufax on the occasion of his 86h birthday on Thursday.
- Lupica also recalls that 47 years ago today, Catfish Hunter became the first free agent in baseball history.
- Thomas Harrigan lists the best players to have ever managed. They aren’t given any extra points for handsomeness, however.
- Dan Chichalski remembers when Billy Martin got fired from the Texas Rangers over a John Denver song. I mean, Martin really got fired because he was a sociopathic alcoholic who went out of his way to start fights with everyone, but this time the trigger was a John Denver song.
Harold Reynolds is pushing for a “Field of Dreams”-style game at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ, per @FOS— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 30, 2021
Hinchliffe is one of the last remaining Negro League ballparks & is undergoing a $94M renovation project. pic.twitter.com/zZuzdgDu95
- Astros pitcher Framber Valdez has fulfilled a promise that he once made that if he ever made the majors, he’d build a church in his hometown in the Dominican Republic.
- And finally, if you noticed the photo at the top of this story (or the one Ashley used last time), you’ve noticed that there are these pictures of baseballs with chains and locks on them. Hannah Keyser spoke to James Black, the photographer who took them, and he explains how they came about.
Have a great new year. End the lockout, commissioner Manfred.