Time: 6:07 Central
Weather: 21° Canadian at first pitch, 30% chance of showers, They Have A Roof
Opponent’s “one guy writes everything” SB site: Bluebird Banter
TV: BSN (for now). Radio: Many Twins stations and Jays de mer de mer
Lefty starter Yusei Kikuchi once nearly broke MLB’s pretty dang ridiculous system of signing players from Japan; Kikuchi had considered joining an MLB team out of high school, rather than waiting the nine years it would take him to be eligible to do so under Nippon Professional League rules. (Had he broken those rules, he would have been banned from baseball in Japan for several years.) Instead, Kikuchi played for the Saitami Seibu Lions (whose manager, Kazuo Matsui, himself played several seasons in MLB). He signed with the Mariners in 2019 and the Jays last season.
An-All-Star in 2021 (because, by the rules, Seattle had to have one), Kikuchi throws a 95-ish fastball, a slider, split-change, and curve, with the slider his best pitch. Digits:
Because there’s nothing particularly interesting about the Blue Jays (they have good young players whose dads were good old players, and their current fourth-place team is better than the Twins’ first-place one), let’s just look at some recent baseball odds/ends:
One of the traditionally best-written SB sites, Outsports.com, has their review of each team’s Pride Night jersey. (The Twins get a thumbs-up on theirs, which has a Miami Vice 1980s look to me.) For rabid rainbow haters in the Anita Bryant mold, they can root for Texas, the only MLB team not participating. Although even rainbows wouldn’t make that stadium less ugly.
The San Diego Chicken might be retiring. “Might be” because the performer, Ted Giannoulas, is recovering from hip-replacement surgery at age 79. However, he keeps thinking up new things for the Chicken to do, and his wife (who he met in 1980 because she wanted to meet the man in the chicken suit) is on board with him continuing. This fantastic article by Zach Buchanan goes into detail about the Chicken’s history – it’s not the official Padres mascot, by the way. (That would be The Swingin’ Friar, which is rather a 1970s key party kind of name.) Seriously, if you read one baseball article in the next week, make it this one about the Chicken.
Hey, what’s going on with Bally/Diamond Sports? It changes daily. The Padres simply took over broadcasting and streaming of their games, with no regional blackouts. Meanwhile, the formerly-Bally basketball teams in Phoenix made a deal with regular-ol’ broadcast TV. You know, the antenna kind. The Twins’ Dave St. Peter says that the team’s prepared for any way the bankruptcy settlement goes down. Interestingly, he also lists $54.8 mil as the amount Bally/Diamond was due to pay the Twins this year. So, that’s one Correa, one Pagan, both Lopezes, and almost a whole Vazquez, to boot!
Saturday’s NCAA men’s playoffs featured this pretty amusing fakeout by Indiana State LF Adam Pottinger.
OK, one Jays thing. Their best pitcher last season, Alek Manoah, has really struggled, and was sent down to their rookie league to figure things out.
Finally, this is not baseball, but maybe it should be included as entertainment between innings: professional toe wrestling. Yes, this exists, and supposedly is “a medieval sport that was revived in 1974” when a bar owner “found” an “old rules document,” written on the back of Shakespeare's socks or whatever. Personally, I think the bar owner made it up.
|Donovan Solano - 1B||Bo Bichette - SS|
|Willi Castro - RF||Vlad The Impaler - 1B|
|Vampire Garlick - LF||Brandon Belt - DH|
|Carlos Correa - SS||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Kyle Farmer - 2B||Whit Merrifield - LF|
|Ryan Jeffers - DH||Daulton Varsho - CF|
|Royce Lewis - 3B||Santiago Espinal - 2B|
|Christian Vazquez - C||Cavan Biggio - RF|
|Michael Taylor - CF||Tyler Heineman - C|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Yusei Kikuchi - LHP|