I don’t mind telling you that I’m not terribly interested in sports that aren’t baseball. I’m peripherally aware of football, basketball, and hockey existing, but I don’t follow them. Still, you would need to live under a rock to miss that it was the Super Bowl this weekend. Whether you’re into the Super Bowl for the game, the commercials, the halftime show, or just having a party with friends, it seems like the kind of event that is bigger than the sport it celebrates.
For me, and many other baseball fans, the end of the Super Bowl (won this year by the Los Angeles Rams, if you wanted to know) usually marks one very important thing: the beginning of baseball season.
The days surrounding Valentine’s Day are usually the time when we see pitchers and catchers report to spring training camps, but MLB-level pitchers and catchers will not be making their way to parks in Florida and Arizona. They will be sitting home waiting for lockout to end. Which, alas, does not seem like it’s going to happen any time soon.
Six more weeks of winter? More like six more weeks of waiting for the billionaires to come out of their caves and see the light.
Now, onto the links!
- Iowan Robert Neustrom is on the cusp of a trip to the majors, writes Tommy Birch.
- If you’re not already completely angry and frustrated with the lockdown, add another thing to your list of reasons to rage at MLB, while they try to suggest minor league players don’t need to get paid for spring training. Because they’ll gain life skills. Story by Evan Drellich. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Ben Clemens takes a long look at César Valdez’s changeups.
- Anthony Castrovince tries to determine the likelihood of a no-hitter at every park.
- Don’t look to The Athletic for a ray of hope, because Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich don’t think there’s any reason to believe this season will start on time. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Daniel Chavkin expands on Drellich and Rosenthal’s work, looking into the “underwhelming” feeling the union has after recent meetings.
- Mark Feinsand looks at some of the economic issues being addressed in the most recent offer.
- Jesse Rogers likewise has a look at the more specific economic aspects of the CBA negotiations.
- Meanwhile, Rob Manfred is optimistic, and Jeff Passan explains why it will be a disaster if he’s wrong.
- Matt Monagan brings us the story of a catcher who got released after an on-field prank.
- Matt Kelly presents five innovations that we can thank the Negro Leagues for.
- The Athletic staff find a candidate for DH for all the NL teams. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Clayton Kershaw got prime seats to see his BFF win a Super Bowl.
COOL! Matthew Stafford’s best friend showed up pic.twitter.com/1vu4OTksZ3— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) February 14, 2022
- And because no one loves running a bit into the ground more than I do, here’s a picture of Kershaw and Stafford as kids.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.