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Happy Pitchers and Catchers Month…
… or is it?
As we enter February, teams are still set to report in about two weeks, with the White Sox scheduled for Feb. 17. Those dates are set by the collective bargaining agreement, which is something to keep in mind as Major League Baseball submitted its latest proposal, which includes:
- 154 games, but players would be paid for 162
- Spring training starts March 22
- Regular season starts April 28 and ends Oct. 10
- Postseason expands to 14 teams
- Universal DH
This is closer to a legit offer, because it shortens the season without reducing player compensation, which ends up being a 5 percent raise for the players. On the other hand, it reduces the number of off days and provides Rob Manfred more power to suspend the season, and they wouldn’t be paid for any games canceled that way. The union is still expected to reject it, but with what level of prejudice is to be determined.
If the league had no history of exercising the CBA to the point of bad faith (or beyond), it’d make a lot of sense to unite and start the season a month later. Full-season, full-travel sports schedules are hard to pull off before the players get vaccinated, with the Blackhawks being the example most relevant to many of our interests. But with the CBA expiring after the season, it seems like it’s not in the union’s interest to show its hand with regards to what it might exchange for an expanded postseason, or setting a precedent for playing fewer games, even if a pandemic is generating those circumstances.
Normally at this time this year, Hawk Harrelson would be hyping up fans at SoxFest. Here, he tries doing the same through Scott Merkin, but it mostly serves as a reminder of how insular White Sox decision-making is.
“They decided to make the change and one of the guys from the White Sox called me the day they let him go and he said, ‘Who do you think [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] is going after?’ I said there’s no question in my mind, I told my wife, he’s going after Tony La Russa. I know Jerry.
“I was so happy. I loved it. I really did. I called Tony when he still hadn’t agreed yet and I told him, ‘Tony, you gotta come. You gotta come.’ We talked for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then we talked again either the next day or the day after, and he said, ‘Even [Jim] Leyland suggested I take the job.’”
Tony La Russa. Hawk Harrelson. Jim Leyland. What year is this again?
Evan Marshall’s White Sox career is not to be taken for granted for so many reasons, from how they acquired him (non-roster invitee) to his arsenal (great whiff rates despite pedestrian velocity). But there’s also the matter that he’s lucky to still be pitching to begin with after taking a line drive off his head that resulted in multiple fractured, a subdural hematoma and a ruptured artery. Marshall himself has just started talking about it, and he has a lot to say to James Fegan.
Focusing on baseball 100 percent was impossible when Marshall was beset by frequent nightmares and flashbacks to his ambulance ride that “ruined me for a little while” when they popped up. To this day, Marshall says he will never forget the sound of the crack of the bat, the hiss of a baseball sizzling toward him. On the field, he was regularly flooded with the sounds and images that brought his mind back to the moment when he was fighting for his life.
“All of a sudden, how do I avoid getting hit, not how do I get the hitter out?” Marshall said. “And I would go through spurts of eight straight balls and I’m out of the game. I was more worried about surviving than getting the guy out. Anytime someone would put a ball in play up the middle, I was flinching and there was nothing I could do about that. There is no level of sports therapy or however you want to address that, that can really take that away other than time.”
- Kiszla: By giving away Nolan Arenado, the Rockies make dumbest trade in Colorado sports history — Denver Post
It’s not just that the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for no particular prospects of note. It’s that the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for no particular prospects of note and paid St. Louis $50 million for the privilege.
But if a franchise that plays in a taxpayer-funded ballpark is a public trust, the Monforts are guilty of leaving Denver sports fans emotionally bankrupt on a regular basis. Paying the Cardinals to haul away Arenado like he was a busted washing machine instead of a human vacuum is only the latest example of why Bridich should never be trusted again to do right by paying customers.
Yes, fans have the right to spend their money as they wish. But if you give the Rockies your money in 2021, you might be dumber than this trade.
On Friday, I spent about four hours hanging out on Zoom with Josh and the guys from the 108 for the #108Fest, which took the place of the SoxFest Afterparty this year. It’s no replacement for the real deal, but it served as a suitable substitute for the circumstances. Reading this article later this weekend made me realize how few chances there have been to hang out (in one form or another) with people who aren’t inner-circle, but who are always a pleasure to run into.
Friends are sometimes delineated by the ways we met or the things we do together—work friends, old college buddies, beer-league-softball teammates—but they’re all friends, and Rawlins thinks that’s for the best. “Living well isn’t some cloistered retreat with just a few folks,” he told me. “The way worlds are created is by people sharing with and recognizing each other.” Many different kinds of relationships are important, he says, and man does not thrive on close friendships alone.
This realization, new to me, is also somewhat new in the general understanding of human behavior. Close relationships were long thought to be the essential component of humans’ social well-being, but Granovetter’s research led him to a conclusion that was at the time groundbreaking and is still, to many people, counterintuitive: Casual friends and acquaintances can be as important to well-being as family, romantic partners, and your closest friends. In his initial study, for example, he found that the majority of people who got new jobs through social connections did so through people on the periphery of their lives, not close relations.
One of the great things about baseball in particular is how it generates these connections on an everyday basis. I’m looking forward to its full and proper resumption.
(Photo by Arturo Pardavila III)