Monthly Archives: October 2016
Compared to previous years, the 2016-17 MLB free-agent market leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t intriguing players to follow as they search for new homes.
Like everyone else, I knew this winter’s class of available players wasn’t great, but the reminder was an unpleasant one while looking at the list again this week. Seriously, just take a look at who is expected to hit the market at shortstop and third base this year and tell me that doesn’t make you shake your head.
With that in mind, it means the few MLB free agents who would’ve been rather intriguing during a normal winter get super intriguing this winter. The following six players have unique situations that will shape their trip into the market over the coming months, and here’s why it’s worth following them on their journey.
Toronto is a beautiful large city, and their team, the Toronto Blue Jays play in a great park. The city has its fair share of pollution, a haze hovering over the city, but it’s an eclectic mix of pretty much everything and every type of person.
There are unique neighborhoods and great shopping—like along “The Path” in downtown Toronto.
I love visiting new parks. It gives me a nice idea of the true layout of the park and how likely foul balls are to go into certain sections. A seating chart only shows you where sections are. It doesn’t give you a clear indication of how much foul territory there is or distance from home the dugouts are (the areas to which most foul balls fly).
This trip offered me a first-hand understanding of where fouls go the most, at least in this one game.
Parking and Entering
If you go to Rogers Centre, note there is no central parking of any kind. You’ll need to locate a municipal parking area near the park. There are plenty. The one we parked in was $25 CAN (roughly $20 USD based on current exchange rates) and was about half a block from Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant and Walburgers. It was about a three block walk.
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Today the Dutch baseball federation came with a press release in which the roster of team Kingdom of the Netherlands was revealed. This team will face team Samurai Japan in a set of friendly matches. Biggest surprise is name of Jurickson Profar, the infielder from Curacao who is currently used as utility man by the Texas Rangers. In 2016, Profar has played all infield positions and also left field. At bat Profar was not quite impressive with an average of .239.
After a long absence due to a shoulder inury, Profar returned to the MLB in 2016. During the course of 2015 Profar returned to baseball in a minor league rehab. He played for A Full Season Hickory and for AA Frisco for which he hit a combined .256.
Like baseball? Like books? Like talking about baseball and books? Join Jeremy Lehrman, editor of Plate Coverage and author of “Baseball’s Most Baffling MVP Ballots” at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on November 10. Lehrman joins Bergino proprietor and long-time sports agent Jay Goldberg for an evening of spirited discussion (and spirits, for those of a certain age).
Live in the Clubhouse
Hosted by Jay Goldberg, the Bergino “Live in the Clubhouse” podcast series has featured Pulitzer-prize winners, Hall of Famers, and some of the most interesting people in baseball. Previous guests include HOF pitchers Jim Palmer and Goose Gossage; baseball legends Dwight Gooden and Ken Griffey; and a long list of literary all-stars, including Ira Berkow, Ben Bradlee Jr., George Vecsey, and Nicholas Dawidoff.
The event starts at 7:00 PM. Please note, due to space restrictions, a purchase of a signed book or Clubhouse gift certificate is required for a guaranteed seat. Please contact Jay at the Clubhouse for full details: 212-226-7550; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live in the NYC area, stop by and join the fun (especially if you’ve got a bone to pick with the author).
Cubs second-baseman John Evers had the metabolism of a hummingbird, the temperament of a wolverine, and a near-pathological need to win baseball games. Known as “The Crab” or “The Human Splinter” in his playing days, Johnny Evers wasn’t a very popular guy. At 5’ 9”, 125 lbs., he assiduously subscribed to the maxim of “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Because Evers fought – physically, verbally, and psychologically – every time he stepped onto the field. He fought for every hit, every stolen base, and every deftly turned double play. He fought with opponents, with teammates, and especially with umpires. A live wire of frayed nerves and inexhaustible energy, Evers was more than willing to instigate mayhem to gain an advantage on the field. He could start a bench-clearing brawl with a gesture, and these weren’t the choreographed slow dances that pass for on-field brawls today; these could be brutal scraps fought with intent. He was constantly ejected from games, and regularly suspended.
For the first time in over 70 years, the Chicago Cubs are National League champions and have an opportunity to end the most excruciating drought in pro sports. While the roster is loaded with talent, a trip to the Fall Classic wouldn’t have been possible without one player in particular.
With the kind of star power Chicago possesses, Dexter Fowler probably isn’t the “X-factor” kind of player to roll off your tongue first, but he should be.
The Cubs won 103 games during the 2016 regular season, and it happened because their entire team is solid. Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta led a pitching staff that produced a league-best 3.15 ERA, while the offense boasts two MVP candidates in Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.
So, why was it such a big deal when Theo Epstein and Co. agreed to a one-year dealwith Fowler (including an option for 2017)? Let us count the ways as the Cubs prepare for their first World Series appearance since 1945.
In the last few days, we have seen some amazing things happen in the baseball world. The World Series is upon us, with the upstart Cleveland Indians pitted against the spring favorite, the Chicago Cubs.
The coming week is what we long for when baseball season starts every year, when hope is eternal for all of our teams, and we hope for one good season from that aging veteran hurler, or a surprise year from an unexpected source. Both teams feature superstar players; both teams feature aging veterans looking for one more crack at glory; both teams ride hot streaks into the biggest series of their lives. The excitement is palpable and millions of fans are on edge. Which team will break their significant winless streaks? The Cubs have not been to the World Series since 1945; the Indians were last in the Fall Classic in 1997. The Cubs have not won it since 1908; the Indians last won in 1948. Someone is about to break a long streak of futility. Who will it be?
The clash of teams that haven’t won a World Series title in not only my lifetime but my father’s lifetime, is set to begin on Tuesday in Cleveland. A battle of Midwest team vs Midwest team will excite all of the East coast bias media outlets (don’t even try to deny it ESPN) and West coast ‘what about us’ whiners (yes I know they’re real because I live on the West coast and might be one).
Will the Dodgers extend the contract of their star closer Kenley Jansen? With the extension talks stalled and the interest in Aroldis Chapman that they had, it is questionable if Jansen will be with the Dodgers next year.
Even though I still think that the part of a closer is vastly overrated, he is part of the game for decades now. I still think that with a couple of relievers platooning for that spot, you can have the same result. But okay, the closer role is a part of baseball; even I cannot deny that.
The HOF website’s anodyne summary of the Selig Era reads like the inscription for his plaque: “Allan H. ‘Bud’ Selig was Baseball’s ninth commissioner, serving as acting commissioner starting in 1992 before being named commissioner in 1998. Selig oversaw two rounds of expansion, the creation of Wild Card playoff teams and interleague play as well as the creation of the World Baseball Classic.”
It’s an incomplete summation of the man and his tenure. Selig not only oversaw the game’s greatest geographic expansion, he led the game’s greatest sustained economic expansion (per Graham Womack at the Sporting News, annual revenues went from $2 billion to $9 billion under his watch, a compound annual growth rate of about 8%). He negotiated and approved landmark television and merchandising deals, and led baseball’s “early adopter” efforts with regard to streaming technology (it was reported earlier this year that the Walt Disney Company took a stake in MLB Advanced Media; while details weren’t made public, it was estimated that the deal values the company at $3.5 billion).
Of course, Selig was acting commissioner when the most calamitous work-stoppage (1994-1995) in the history of the game took place (he was firmly in the corner of ownership). He is the only commissioner to preside over an October without a World Series; and it is under his leadership that the use of performance-enhancing drugs proliferated throughout the game…