The champagne goggles are very lame, but very necessary

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Anyone else feel that the post-clinch champagne celebrations feel scripted and rote by now?  Like it’s something that players feel obligated to do as opposed to something done spontaneously? Are you telling me that a guy like Nick Swisher couldn’t, if baseball’s social conventions allowed it, find a more interesting way to celebrate than by pouring bubbly on his friends’ heads?  I’m guessing he could break 50 laws of God and Man within an hour of the the game ending if given the chance.  I haven’t seen something truly spontaneous happen after a World Series since Wade Boggs got up on that horse.

But alas, we get champagne. It’s too much of a tradition now, much like the rather awkward and scripted jumping up and down in the middle of the field after the final out (note: did anyone else notice that some guys — like Posada — started doing little awkward hops before the dogpile because, well, they sort of felt they had to? Gave me a chuckle). There’s nothing that can be done about it at this point.

The best we can hope for, I suppose, is that players at least act like its spontaneous and not cover the room with plastic and put on goggles or something.  Wait, what? We can’t expect that either?

Talk to an eye doctor, though, and you’ll be converted to the pro-goggle side with the speed of one of Sabathia’s fastballs.

Champagne
has a high alcohol content, high enough to damage the surface lining of
the cornea, says Dr. Matthew Gardiner, director of emergency
ophthalmology services at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. (For
those medically inclined, the lining is called the epithelium.)

“A
corneal abrasion like that usually heals within two to three days, but
it can be extremely painful while it’s healing,” says Gardiner.

Fine. We’ll let you have your little champagne celebration.  And we’ll certainly let you have your goggles too.

Now about all of that hopping . . . 

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.