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Rival Roundup, Vol. 48: New Year, New Park

A ballpark quest continues, and a legend lives.

World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images


  • Just to start things right off, let’s establish that Chicago White Sox legend Frank Thomas is still with us, despite Fox News’ claims to the contrary after the network misidentified a different Frank Thomas during an end-of-year “In Memoriam” segment.
  • THAT Thomas was 93 years of age and played major league ball in the 1950s and 60s; the Thomas YOU’RE thinking of — you know, he of the 521 homers, back-to-back MVPs, and Hall of Fame career — is still filming Nugenix commercials at the springy young age of 55.
  • Longtime Cleveland-outfielder-turned-Houston-veteran Michael Brantley is retiring from baseball, per his own announcement on Friday morning.
  • Debuting in 2009, Brantley had a fine career racking up 34.3 bWAR, making five All-Star Games, and posting a .298 career batting average with a 117 OPS+. He also had some rough postseason luck despite playing in 14 playoff series; Brantley missed the 2016 Fall Classic (consecutive shoulder surgeries, but Cleveland lost anyway), then lost both the 2019 and 2021 World Series-es with the Astros.
  • The Kansas City Royals’ ballpark saga — which doesn’t really feel like it’s a “saga,” given ballpark-related organizational meltdowns elsewhere these days — may be coming to a close, as details for a post-Kauffman reality start to come due. Royals Review has more great stuff, as they usually do:
  • The White Sox made a couple of auxiliary moves, while the market waits for the top pitchers to leave the board before determining if Dylan Cease is going anywhere. In the meantime, Chicago grabs a back-end starter, and one of the game’s memier players.
  • Finally, ranks the Detroit Tigers’ farm system as one of the most-improved within the last year. Is it enough to get worried about a team that finished runners-up in the American League Central almost by default? I remain more concerned about Cleveland, personally, but I also thought people were overreacting about Arizona’s young talent last spring. All that to say, you shouldn’t ever listen to me, and you should probably go read something else now.

Thanks for rounding up with us!