I just wanted to share something from Craig Calcaterra’s Wednesday newsletter:
I’m not gonna Google it but I bet that, someplace in the United States, there’s a bar called “P.J. Higgins.” It bills itself as an Irish bar, and yeah, they have Guinness on tap, but when you walk in it has big TVs with sports playing all the time, all kinds of Bud Light and Coors light signs and posters and crap, and the best-selling item on the menu comes in “popper” form, just like 90% of the bars in this God forsaken country.
I’m going to say Calcaterra is likely wrong. The bar is probably called “P.J. O’Higgins.” Otherwise, it’s exactly like he describes it.
- Sarah Langs examines what it means to be in first place on June 1 and especially what it means to be 10.5 games in first place on June 1 like the Mets are.
- Gabe Lacques looks at how the Mets jumped out to such a big lead.
- Tim Britton and Fabian Ardaya compare the Mets and the Dodgers, (The Athletic sub. req.) the two best teams in the National League who are facing off against each other this weekend.
- The Mets had a slight setback as shortstop Francisco Lindor missed Thursday’s game after shutting his finger in a hotel door. He’s not expected to miss more than a game or two.
- One of the reasons the Mets have such a big lead is that the Phillies, expected to contend this year, have been lousy instead. Jayson Stark breaks down everything that has gone wrong for the Phillies this year. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Adding to the Phillies’ problems, infielder Jean Segura has a broken finger and will miss 10-to-12 weeks.
- Anthony Castrovince has nine “brash” predictions for June. That’s a new one. Traditionally. his predictions have been “bold.” Castrovince is branching out.
- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced that the team will not trade young superstar Juan Soto. So all those articles speculating where Soto might go can be ignored now.
- Reds outfielder Tommy Pham completed his three-game suspension for slapping Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and immediately blamed Mike Trout as “the worst commissioner in fantasy sports” for the entire incident.
- Trout refused to respond to Pham’s comments other than to say “every commissioner I know always gets booed.” Story by Hannah Keyser.
- Andy Behrens has three fantasy football lessons learned from the Pham-Peterson-Trout scandal.
- Josh Donaldson is upset that his Yankees teammates didn’t “back him up” in his dispute with Tim Anderson. Jeez, Donaldson. I wonder why they didn’t back you up? Maybe think about it for a while.
- Dan Szymborski writes that the decision of outfielder Aaron Judge to “bet on himself” this offseason and turn down the Yankees’ lucrative extension offer seems to be paying off as Judge is having an MVP-caliber season.
- R.J. Anderson has ten trade candidates this summer. Of course, Willson Contreras is on the list.
- As far as Contreras goes, he’s mentioned in this discussion of who is the best catcher in MLB.
- The Padres have optioned infielder Robinson Canó to the minors. Canó has rejected the assignment and has opted for free agency.
- Matt Snyder writes that Canó’s numbers say he’s a Hall-of-Famer, but his two PED suspensions will probably keep him out.
- Ben Clemens writes that Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt underrated. And also red-hot.
- Clemens also looks at which good MLB hitter is the worst at hitting secondary pitches.
- Zach Crizer looks at the adjustments Shohei Ohtani on the mound a year ago that’s turned him into a much better pitcher.
- Kiley McDaniel has a mock draft, (ESPN+ sub. req.) for those of you wondering whom the Cubs might pick with the seventh pick. For those of you who don’t subscribe, McDaniel predicts the Cubs will take Chipola Junior College third baseman Cam Collier, the son of former Brewers and Pirates utility player Lou Collier. I’ve read several people saying that the Cubs are strongly connected to Collier if he gets to the Cubs at number 7.
- On the 50th Anniversary of the 1972 Oakland Athletics World Series title, Daniel Brown talks with Gene Tenace about the Series and the death threats he got that October. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- On to the broadcasters-behaving-badly section, Twins broadcaster Jim Kaat gave an offensive nickname to Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes. Cortes says he’s not offended. Kaat, on the other hand, is 83-years-old and should probably step away from the microphone permanently.
- Former Cubs pitcher and current Padres broadcaster Bob Scanlan gave some harsh criticism of Padres pitcher Blake Snell when he thought his microphone was turned off. It was nothing that Scanlan is going to get into trouble about, but probably not something the Padres want their broadcasters saying on-air. I wish more broadcasters spoke their minds freely though.
- David Laurila talks to nine broadcasters about the best pitching performance they ever saw.
- Maria Torres and Ken Rosenthal talk to the Cuban MLB players who want their own team in the World Baseball Classic. (The Athletic sub. req.) The rules of international sport are going to forbid that, unfortunately, but it’s the first WBC content we’ve had in a long time and I’m happy about that.
- For Lou Gehrig Day in MLB, ESPN baseball writer Tim Kurkjian tells the story of his brother Matt, who was diagnosed with ALS last year.
- And finally for Lou Gehrig Day, Steven Goldman provides a guide to the 1942 movie Pride of the Yankees, starring Gary Cooper, Theresa Wright and Walter Brennan.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.