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Game 81: Twins @ White Sox

It’s halfway through the regular season. Maybe the best is yet to come! (I told myself that at 40. I lied.)

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox
As an adult, Timmy would recoil in terror from green highlighter pens.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -180 MIN / +170 CHW

Weather: Fairly humid, start temp 86°

Opponent’s SB site: South Side Sox

TV: FSN. Radio: The Sheboygan sausage jingle haunts my nightmares

Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson just got put on the injured list in the middle of his first really good season. He’s pretty Zen about this, while Jose Abreu is not. The injury came during a very rainy game against Boston, and it’s possible MLB didn’t want to postpone things for a doubleheader the next day because the Red Sox are flying to London for a series versus New York.

That series begins tomorrow, and The Guardian’s Matthew Engel has a fascinating article about it — apparently vendors are being trained to shout American-style, and there will even be mascot races. I won’t spoil it for you by saying what the mascots are, but a Scottish Bigfoot is involved.

Engel’s article also goes over the history of baseball in England; there is some, although it never really took hold. That won’t stop MLB trying now, though — they know how European basketball went from a fringe sport in 1992 (year of the US Olympic “Dream Team” in Barcelona) to a huge moneymaker today. TJ linked to this interesting piece on Max Kepler’s role in MLB’s Euro outreach efforts.

Personally, I suspect that if baseball ever does catch on in Europe, it’ll be in some modified format which suits local culture (just as cricket/rounders became baseball in America). A while back, our own Dan Carlson pointed out the Finnish version, pesäpallo. Here’s a short video:

That looks like it’s insanely complicated, plus HUGE FUN to watch if you’re completely drunk. Finland is known both for having one of the world’s best educational systems and highest per capita alcohol consumption rates, so complex/boozy is a perfect fit. More on the sport, its popularity, and oddities here (home runs are considered foul balls!) Dan even found a video game version I haven’t tried, but badly want to.

Today's Lineups

Jorge Polanco - DH Leury Garcia - SS
Max Kepler - CF Jon Jay - RF
C.J. Cron - 1B Jose Abreu - 1B
Luis Arraez - LF James McCann - C
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Daniel Palka - DH
Jason Castro - C Eloy Jimenez - LF
Ehire Adrianza - SS Yolmer Sanchez - 2B
Miguel Sano - 3B Charlie Tilson - CF
LaMonte Wade - RF Jose Rondon - 3B

Chicago is calling up minor-leaguer TBD for today’s game. His arsenal includes the drop-kick, volleyball spike, discus spin-hurl, and “Ozzie Smith” (backflip where he throws the ball while upside down in midair). The latter is particularly effective at holding runners on second.

UPDATE: Chicago instead called up 31-year-old lefthander Ross Detwiler. Over parts of ten MLB seasons he’s amassed a 1.4 WAR. So you could basically define WAR as “wins above Ross.” Was better in his younger years, as is common.

imakesandwichesforaliving linked to this FanGraphs article on José Berríos’s Cy Young chances, if you didn’t catch it. If you read it already, feel free to skip, or memorize for recitation on first dates. Whatever works, I’m not your dad, no matter what the blood tests say.