There will be Cubs baseball again today.
The New York Times announced that they are closing down their sports department and will instead rely on coverage from The Athletic. The Athletic does great work (although the NYT has laid off a lot of good journalists there recently) but fewer people covering sports is always bad. The New York Times says that none of the people currently working in the sports department will be laid off, but they may be assigned to non-sports departments.
- The second half of the season starts today and Manny Randhawa has seven storylines to follow.
- Bob Nightengale has storylines for the second half as well.
- Ken Rosenthal lists the ten biggest questions of the second self.
- Gabe Lacques has the five most “pivotal” players of the second half.
- Mike Axisa has five “bold” predictions for the second half.
- The biggest story of the end of the first half was the emergence of Reds rookie infielder Elly De La Cruz. C. Trent Rosecrans has a profile of this exciting phenom. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Alex Kirshner writes that De La Cruz has brought hope to a hopeless franchise.
- David Schoenfield has first-half grades for each team (ESPN+ sub. req.) and a question for every player.
- Jim Souhan speculates that the jobs of Twins president Derek Falvey and manager Rocco Baldelli depend on the team’s second-half performance.
- Sarah Valenzuela asks if the Angels still have a chance to make the playoffs and if they’ll trade Shohei Ohtani.
- Buster Olney says that if the Angels decide the trade Ohtani, the Yankees are the team most likely to make a deal. (video)
- Tom Verducci writes that Ohtani and his impending free agency are changing the game.
- Jorge Castillo explains that the breakout season for the Rangers started with Corey Seager.
- Christina De Nicola shows how general manager Kim Ng rebuilt the Marlins into a competitive team.
- Oakland mayor Sheng Thao spoke with commissioner Rob Manfred and shared that Oakland did (and still does) have a detailed plan for building the Athletics a new stadium, despite Manfred’s claim to the contrary.
- Ken Rosenthal has an interview with Mayor Thao. (The Athletic sub. req.) Also complete copies of all the documents on the Stadium plan given to commissioner Manfred. (The Athletic sub. req. on the article, but you can see the documents Part I, Part II, Part III. Part IV and Part V without a subscription. But be aware that it is over 300 pages total.)
- Manfred expressed his desire to serve another term as commissioner. (The Athletic sub. req.) Evan Drellich has the details on his situation.
- The $185 million class action court settlement between MLB and former minor leaguers is now final. (The Athletic sub. req.) The players will start getting their payments in mid-August.
- The All-Star Game had record-low TV ratings this year.
- Daniel Comer has the winners and losers of the All-Star Game.
- Hannah Keyser talks to various All-Stars about the best compliment they ever got.
- Stephanie Apstein gets All-Stars to reveal their “hidden talents” besides being great baseball players. Justin Steele says his is playing the Call of Duty video game.
- The Cardinals announced that they will be selling at the deadline. Mark Feinsand looks at who might get dealt.
- Ben Clemens looks at the resurgence of Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario and what the Nationals might get in trade for him.
- The Yankees have signed a deal for $25 million a year to put an advertising patch on their sleeve.
- New Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey says that his time as a broadcaster has helped prepare him for the role.
- MLB announced its international games for next season, including games in Mexico, London and for the first time, Seoul. There will also be a Spring Training game in the Dominican Republic.
- The Athletics are calling up two of their top prospects, catcher/first baseman Tyler Soderstrom and infielder Zack Gelof. Honestly, they should have done this months ago, but they’ve definitely pushed arbitration back a year.
- Jim Callis looks at the teams that got the biggest hauls in the recent MLB Draft.
- Michael Bauman looks at the phenomenon of teams drafting more shortstops than ever in the first round. Or are they? Is there a coverup? An investigative report.
- Bauman also looks at the risks involved with taking a high-school catcher in the first round. This is something I commented on in my draft previews—it’s a very risky demographic.
- The Mariners announced their 2024 schedule with movies.
Our 2024 home opponents... as their appearances in tv & movies— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 13, 2023
- And finally, you’re probably playing Immaculate Grid already and if you aren’t, you probably will be soon. But as long as he’s still writing about sports for The New York Times, Tyler Kepner takes a look at this baseball puzzle sensation now that it’s been purchased by Baseball Reference.
- And over at The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans also explains the game and its appeal. (The Athletic sub. req.)
And tomorrow will be a better day than today. Buster.