Greetings and salutations! Here’s some stuff I’ve collected these last few months. Like, links to articles, not hoarding-style stuff. That’s all in boxes I’m scared to open.
Who should you root for in the World Series? Well, one old-timey Senators fan recalls what life was like during the eight years after our version fled for Minnesota and before the next went to Texas. Pretty bad team, not much to enjoy, although the egg-tossing contest with visiting Twins players sounds cool.
OTOH, the Nationals have adopted “Baby Shark” as their theme song, and now it’s even spread to DC’s NHL team. It’ll probably be the national anthem before long. Ugh. While Astros fans, apparently, are good at coming up with really cool costumes.
(And, incidentally, Joe LoGrippo at Pinstripe Alley called out the contingent of Yankee Stadium fans who behaved badly this postseason. It started with some mocking Randy Dobnak for having driven Uber, and only got worse.)
You’ll remember that Dobnak was one of the seemingly incessant pitcher callups from Rochester. Here’s some players sharing what it’s like to be a AAA/MLB frequent flyer. Craig Sadler of the Dodgers is married to a saint who lives in an RV and hauls their kid around (presumably, too young for school yet). Spouses of ballplayers, take your bow.
Maybe that travel time (read: inconvenience to parent team) is one reason MLB has proposed a radical reduction/relocation of the entire minor leagues. However, as a Baseball America deep dive into the proposal makes clear, it looks like a sort of shakedown, getting minor-league team owners to pay more for stadium upkeep and/or player salaries, should some pending lawsuits require MiLB players be paid (gasp) a legal minimum wage. Much of the proposal seems really iffy, like making the Saints an MLB-affiliated team. Why would they give up that control?
Speaking of unaffiliated leagues, Ryan Feierabend is living the dream of resuscitating his mid-30s career via the knuckleball, in this Washington Post piece about how that pitch appears to be dead today. That’s been said about knuckleballers before; the pitch always seems to come back.
Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer mused on what could be a new trend in pitcher specialization; the mid-at-bat pitching change. (If a pitcher has better numbers on an 0-2 count than another pitcher.) Because Joe Girardi did it back in 2015. Well, that would certainly increase those revolving door “back to AAA” numbers. Or maybe MLB can raise the rosters exponentially; 25 in 2019, 26 in 2020, then 28, 32, etc, until every human on Earth is a baseball professional and games last 500 years.
SI had an article explaining the Twins/Yankees “curse,” primarily interesting for its snobbish tone about how Minnesota isn’t as sophisticated as NYC (gosh gee!) and this tidbit I didn’t know: when the Twins signed Rod Carew, he was playing sandlot ball in New York. The Twins worked him out at Yankee Stadium, and immediately signed the future HOFer, essentially sneaking him out of town under the Yankees’ noses. Nice scouting, that. At least the SI article mentions an infamous hot dog incident, wonder where they read about it?
Also from SI, this strangely fun Jon Tayler post which starts off criticizing tanking teams then proposes a truly insane way to reduce tanking by revamping MLB’s playoff system. It’s bananas, but I’d watch it. (If I didn’t have to buy cable.)
Neil deMause files: here he takes a look at baseball’s declining attendance “problem,” and here he answers a question I’ve had for ages — if attendance is down, why not just lower ticket prices? Basically, it amounts to that teams are trying both to max the number of expensive tickets sold while simultaneously getting the most number of fans into ballparks to buy food/swag/etc. So the Twins aren’t the first or only team out there that have both fancy seating and cheap standing-room-only offers; the trick is making fancy seat people think their expensive tickets are worth the cash. (Also, deMause takes issue with Twins president Dave St. Peter claiming Target Field made the Twins win again, since they won a lot more in the last 10 years of Dome than first ten years of TF.)
On the silliness of juiced balls: David Roth (not of Van Hagen) suspects that while artificial homer totals will probably help keep pitching salaries down in arbitration, it’s unlikely to be some smart ploy by the owners. Just them monkeying around with the game for some dumb dang reason or another.
Finally, some site called Mandatory listed the best taprooms/breweries near MLB ballparks, not mentioning any of the several near Target Field. Other articles on Mandatory include hard-hitting exposes like “Overusing Your Phone in the Bathroom May Cause Hemorrhoids, Doctors Advise Faster Wi-Fi.” So take their ballpark brewery recommendations with that in mind...