I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend, whether you celebrated anything or not. Maybe you just celebrate Seiya Suzuki being a Cub.
- Friday was the annual Jackie Robinson Day in baseball. Jack Baer has a roundup on how MLB celebrated the Hall-of-Famer and activist.
- Bob Nightengale looks at the festivities at Dodger Stadium which included Jackie’s widow Rachel Robinson and his son David Robinson, who delivered a powerful speech about how the struggle for racial equality continues to the present day.
- William Weinbaum has a collection of short videos where people from the world of sports, music and activism explain what Jackie Robinson means to them. I haven’t watched all of them yet, but the ones I have seen are very moving.
- Dayn Perry remembers Robinson’s one crucial season in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs.
- Chris Bumbaca talks about the role that Robinson’s teammate with the Monarchs, Hilton Lee Smith, played in getting Robinson to stick with baseball and on the path to the majors.
- Justice B. Hill wants us also to remember the importance of pioneering sportswriter Wendell Smith in integrating the majors and getting the Dodgers interested in Robinson.
- Rhiannon Walker has 75 facts about Jackie Robinson on his 75th anniversary. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- In an article re-published from 2018, Jay Jaffe outlines how teams that integrated early would come to dominate baseball for the next 15 years. And the Yankees, who didn’t.
- ESPN is also re-printing some stories about Robinson from SPORT magazine (and I wonder how many of us are old enough to remember that publication.) including this one on the loneliness of Jackie Robinson’s first season in the majors.
We’re praying for ya, Buck.
- More about Buck Martinez and what he means to the Blue Jays, by Keegan Matheson.
- There’s something going on over on the other side of the Pacific. One start after a throwing a perfect game, 20-year-old phenom Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines threw eight perfect innings before being pulled after 102 pitches. He’s retired 52 straight batters.
- He wasn’t quite as impressive as Sasaki, but Reds rookie Hunter Greene threw 39 pitches over 100 miles per hour in Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers. That’s a record since the start of pitch tracking in 2008.
- None of Greene’s pitches hit 103 on the radar gun, but Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru looks at the 11 pitchers who have hit 103 and how they rank.
- Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw doesn’t throw anywhere close to the velocity he once had, but as Thomas Harrington notes, Kershaw’s slider still keeps him in the ranks of elite pitchers.
- Eno Sarris has five pitchers whose stuff has changed the most so far this year. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Matt Eddy has five reasons why there are so many elite prospects reaching the majors this year.
- Ben Clemens writes that we should all tamper our expectations from Guardians rookie Steven Kwan and his terrific start, but just a bit. He expects Kwan to be good, just not this good.
- On Friday night, Angels manager Joe Maddon ordered the Rangers’ Corey Seager walked with the bases-loaded.
- Only two managers have pulled that maneuver since 1950. Maddon did it twice and Mets manager Buck Showalter did it to Barry Bonds when he was managing the Diamondbacks. But John Harper writes that Showalter is making his impact on the Mets felt early and it’s producing more wins. But no more bases-loaded walks.
- Ethan Diamandas writes that the Blue Jays new third baseman, Matt Chapman, is having a big impact as a team leader off the field.
- Giants manager Gabe Kapler said that the “unwritten rules” is not something he pays any attention to nor will it be something the Giants will adhere to.
- The Red Sox are going to be missing several players as they travel to Toronto because they are not vaccinated for COVID-19. Boston manager Alex Cora said the team just has to deal with it and they’re prepared.
- Josh Weinfuss examines what Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray would be doing right now if he had stuck with baseball.
- I’ve made a few references to the Guardians in this article and yes, sometimes I have to catch myself. But David Waldstein talked to several Cleveland fans and most (but not all) of them are not on board with the name change.
- In the wake of the end of pitchers hitting, Rodger Sherman looks back at some of the greatest moments of pitchers hitting in recent MLB history. There’s a lot from the Big Z in there.
- The Yankees are the most valuable franchise in all of sports, according to Sportico, worth over $7 billion.
- Ichiro threw out the first pitch in Seattle.
This ceremonial pitch was clocked at . MPH! ⛽️— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) April 16, 2022
There are over 100 MLB pitchers who have not thrown a faster pitch this season!pic.twitter.com/HF3NplU4pL
- Phillies (and former Cubs) reliever James Norwood was preparing for Opening Day when he was told that his father had suddenly died. Matt Gelb talks to Norwood about his dad and how much he meant to him and his career. (The Athletic sub. req.) Norwood is grateful for everything his dad sacrificed for him and the memories he has of his dad.
- And finally, the eye-opening story of a historic high school baseball game in 1945, when the Tucson Badgers, winners of 52 straight games, lost to the team from the Gila River Relocation Camp. Gila River was a internment camp for Japanese and Japanese-Americans during World War II and playing baseball was one way the residents tried to keep a sense of normalcy. Two of the players on that Gila River team would go on to be the first Americans to play for the Hiroshima Carp of NPB. Others played college baseball for Cal-Berkeley and Fresno State after the war.
And tomorrow is going to be a better day than today, Buster.