So happy a second St. Patrick’s Day where you should be staying out of the bars and you need to put your own green food coloring in your own beer. But if we stay vigilant for the next couple months, we can probably have something close to a normal summer.
I think I’m only Irish by marriage. The DNA test I took a couple of years ago did say I might have a little Irish in me.
- Ben Lindbergh makes a strong case that the primary rule change that baseball needs is to move the mound back about two feet. If baseball’s problem is that the pitchers of today are just too good, then moving the mound back might be the easiest way to address that problem. The mound was last moved back in 1893 because pitchers were throwing too hard. Fifteen years later, the hardest-throwing pitcher in the game was generally considered to be Walter Johnson. Estimates are that Johnson’s fastball topped out at 91-93 mph. That’s an average fastball today, and historians doubt Johnson threw that hard all game.
- ESPN’s baseball experts discuss “What have we learned in Spring Training 2021 so far?”
- Mike Axisa also reports on what we’ve learned two weeks of Spring Training.
- One thing we’ve learned is that Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani can mash. Here’s Ohtani crushing a home run 464 feet over the batter’s eye. I’m sure it was off of some minor leaguer in his first Spring Training. Let’s see. He hit it off Shane Bieber. Has anyone heard of him before?
- Who will lead the leagues in stolen bases in 2021?
- Yankees manager Aaron Boone is back in the dugout after surgery to implant a pacemaker. Boone says he feels “great” now.
- Mike Axisa and R.J. Anderson list the top 25 current players under 25.
- Hannah Keyser writes that after winning the World Series in 2020, the Dodgers have a new mission in 2021: Winning a World Series that they can actually enjoy.
- We’ve discussed a lot about the Rangers decision to have full attendance on Opening Day this year, despite the pandemic. The Rangers did not consult with or inform their in-stadium employees about this decision beforehand and some of them are very unhappy about this. They also don’t seem to have a plan to keep their workers safe other than telling them to “use common sense” and “do your best.”
- The Red Sox will be using robots to disinfect Fenway Park this season. You were all waiting for our robot umpire overlords and the robot cleaning staff overlords got here first.
- The woman who was struck by a foul ball at Wrigley Field in 2018 will be allowed to sue Major League Baseball after an appellate court ruled that the arbitration clause that MLB includes with ticket sales was unenforceable.
- Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is happy to have former Astros manager A.J. Hinch as his new manager and he doesn’t believe Houston’s 2017 title is tainted at all.
- This has been a big story. NBA superstar LeBron James is close to purchasing a part-ownership in the Red Sox. Or in reality, he’s buying in to the ownership of the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox. But they also own Liverpool FC, and personally I wonder if that’s not James’ actual interest in FSG.
- In any case, Gabe Lacques thinks James becoming a baseball owner is great news for MLB.
- Brewers’ star Ryan Braun is not under contract, is not in Spring Training and said he is “strongly leaning” towards retirement. Maybe the Cubs could have a Ryan Braun Day at Wrigley just so he’d show up for everyone to boo him one last time.
- The Orioles have agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with third baseman Maikel Franco. Tony Wolfe writes about what the Orioles will get with Franco and why it’s a good deal for both player and team.
- My eyes normally glaze over when people start debating lineup strategy, but Lindsey Adler does a terrific job explaining why it makes the most sense for the Yankees to bat Aaron Hicks third. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Tom Verducci has a profile of Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena and asks can Arozarena live up to the hype he generated in last year’s playoffs?
- Michael Baumann thinks starting pitcher Lance Lynn is ready to lead the White Sox to bigger and better things in 2021.
- Staying with the Pale Hose, it’s the five-year anniversary of d’affaire Drake LaRoche. Dan Hayes went back to interview the players involved about the incident that led to Drake’s father Adam LaRoche retiring from baseball. (The Athletic sub. req.) Kenny Williams declined to comment on the story. Drake, however, is now a 19-year-old freshman pitcher at the same community college in Kansas that David Bote attended. For his part, Drake says he wasn’t really aware of the controversy at the time.
- Bradford Doolittle examines how teams are going about building a bullpen in 2021. (ESPN+ sub. req.) It’s never easy, but it’s really not easy after a season like 2020.
- Former major leaguer Ian Kinsler will play for Team Israel in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
- Umm, Minor League Baseball has a new logo:
Good thing they announced it because if they hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it had changed until August.
- It was hoped with the minors starting on May 4, teams would be able to have their annual Star Wars “May the Fourth Be With You” night. But such celebrations are going to have to wait until 2022. Apparently Lucasfilm doesn’t want to have anything to do with drawing giant crowds to in-person games in the middle of a pandemic. Or near the end of a pandemic.
- And finally, it’s also the ten-year anniversary of one of the greatest Spring Training performances ever when former Cub Jake Fox went nuts in the Grapefruit League for the Orioles in 2011. In 27 games that spring, Fox hit .297/.325/.797 with ten home runs. He played only 27 major league games after that.
And tomorrow will be a better day, everyone.