Florida Marlins


Jeffrey Loria (artist's rendering).

Jeffrey Loria (artist’s rendering).

There aren’t many storylines in Spring Training that deviate too far from each other. Most of the time, they fit neatly into one of these categories:

1. Player A in best shape of his life
2. Player B outperforming expectations, may make team.
3. Player C suffers bizarre injury.
4. Team has new manager/general manager/players and is changing club culture.
5. Player D is still without a home.

Looking around, there are probably plenty of players who could fill the first category (I know David Ortiz is looking especially trim these days). It’s a little early for someone to fill the second, Jake Peavy has already given us the third by almost cutting his finger off, a few teams have new managers and overhauled rosters, and Ervin Santana and Stephen Drew are easily the best unemployed baseball players in the world.

And so it goes for Spring Training, which is typically five weeks of watching games in sunny locales with palm trees in the outfield and players with ridiculously high numbers taking the field. Soon it’ll be Opening Day, real games will start and real complaining can begin.

Unless the Miami Marlins are in the equation, that is. (more…)

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He’s Giancarlo now, and he’s awesome.

Without emotional investment, there is little in baseball quite as boring as a home run. Honestly.

Among the league leaders in home runs this season are Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, Mike Napoli and Matt Holiday. What do they have in common, besides having between six and 10 home runs this season? They’re patient hitters, they walk a lot, the have their share of strikeouts and, for the most part, they’re boring.

They’re effective, and smart teams try to get as many of these players as they can. Players who can reach base that often and are that patient at the plate certainly have value. General managers love them, and many fans find them fascinating.

But beyond the spreadsheet, they don’t do much for me, mostly because they specialize in the three most boring aspects of the game, the “three true outcomes” of home runs, walks and strikeouts. (more…)

I had a weekend away, happily, from a computer, traveling a few states south for a wedding. But my Sunday night routine didn’t change much — come home, drop down my bag, flip open the laptop, and tune into the Sunday night game of the week.

The Reds were hosting the Atlanta Braves, both teams eying the top of their respective divisions, and the Reds were up 3-2 when I tuned in midway through, around the fifth inning. And the announcers were noting how good the starting pitcher had looked so far, how he could mean the difference for the Reds in the pennant chase.

They continued, while I was half distracted with unpacking and airing out a stuffy apartment, noting his long road back to the majors. Then came some otherwise innocuous comment, acknowledging another 1-2-3 inning for Willis.

Willis? Dontrelle Willis? (more…)

The first step in rearranging baseball? Bring the Brewers back to the American League.

Seemingly on cue every 15 years or so, baseball talks realignment. First reports were that it was inevitable that the leagues would go even at 15, with interleague play lasting throughout the season. Now, commissioner Bud Selig says that talk of realignment being definitely on for the 2012 season was premature.

Either way, there are a few parts of the system that have bugged me for a while. Having three divisions, an unbalanced schedule and uneven teams has never looked or felt right, so why not take this opportunity to right a few wrongs?

Well, I’ve had this idea, so we’re doing this. Grab a pen, pay attention, and get ready for the new-look majors, according to these five steps: (more…)