Here we are, friends, it’s Wednesday and we’re officially through the first week of the season. As of this morning, only one team remains completely undefeated (the Rays); we’ve had our first pitch clock violation ejection (Manny Machado); someone has been banned from Dodger Stadium for a year (for a stupid proposal); and we have seen some very mixed responses to the new rules in play.
I’m going to take a minute and be honest here: I would have previously considered myself someone who did not welcome changes to baseball. I lamented the loss of pitchers having to actually throw four balls to walk a batter. Ghost runners? No, thank you. But I’ve been watching games this season, and more often than not they are wrapping up in about two and a half hours, which is now shorter than the length of most new Marvel movies.
And I love it. I LOVE IT. I’m sure I’ll feel differently when I get back to games in person and want to soak in the atmosphere, but I cannot get enough of these shorter games that let me go to sleep at a reasonable time. It’s wonderful and I’m sorry for admitting it out loud because it means I like something Rob Manfred did, and I hate that.
Anyway, on to today’s links.
- Ben Clemens takes a very, very early look at how steals are paying off.
- Tom Verducci thinks baseball is already more exciting with the new rules in play.
- Brittany Ghiroli also explains how the new rules might truly be Rob Manfred’s moment to shine. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Who is the top base-stealing threat for every team? (MLB)
- Andy Nesbitt brings us this very enjoyable Korean call of a walk-off home run.
- Adam Frazier loved Pittsburgh, but did not love losing. Story by David Laurila.
- Rustin Dodd and Jayson Jenks bring us the movie-worthy saga of how the Red Sox became “The Idiots.” (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Thinking of proposing at a baseball game? Well, don’t do it on the field unless you want a one-year ban. (TMZ)
- Slow and steady progess...
In the latest update to the Negro Leagues data on @baseball_ref we've identified about 90 new players, expanded statistics for multiple seasons, and made a few leaderboard updates. ⚾— Sports Reference (@sports_ref) April 4, 2023
More details here: https://t.co/qYLMSitDY3
- Sandy Alcantara was just shy of a Maddux in his fourth career shutout. Story by Christina de Nicola.
- A salary breakdown shows us that MLB salaries are up by about 11 percent. (AP)
- Evan Drellich offers up a guide to explaining the minor league’s first CBA. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Speaking of the minors, Bally just became MiLB’s first national rights-holder. Story by Shawn Medow.
- Jay Jaffe looks at Madison Bumgarner’s very rough start in 2023.
- If you’re hoping to see Miguel Cabrera play during his final season, you’ll have to take it day by day. Jason Beck explains how AJ Hinch is playing it safe with the veteran slugger.
- Anthony Rizzo went big with a boozy Opening Day gift for his teammates. Story by Brendan Kuty. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Umpires aren’t fooling around with clock violations, Manny Machado learned the hard way. (ESPN)
- Michael Baumann spotlights Darin Ruf.
- Josh Smith feels “pretty good” after getting hit in the face with a pitch this week. (AP)
- The O’s not wasting much time on this move.
Multiple sources tell me that the Orioles will promote Grayson Rodriguez Baseball America’s No. 6 prospect to the major leagues. #Orioles— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) April 4, 2023
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.