I just took a break from reading everyone’s tweets and admiring Mel Antonen’s haircut to walk over to the Convention Center to check out the Trade Show. It’s really something to behold.
Geared more towards the minor leagues than the majors, the Trade Show is where some 300 exhibitors hawk wares ranging from caps, blankets, foam fingers, shot glasses, sports insurance, stadium architecture, concessions, bats, stadium seats, uniforms and any number of other odd things.
There are mascot costumes. There are fireworks — like the big kind that shoot up into the sky. There’s an accounting firm that specializes in valuing minor league franchises. There’s a particularly spartan and serious booth set up by the Major League Baseball Department of Investigations, which is basically the group to whom you rat out teammates when you see horse hormones in their locker or when you just found out your manager threw the ballgame because he’s into that bookie Lazar for ten large. I got one of their cards — complete with the hotline number. Next summer, let me know if you guys need anyone from your favorite team to be mysteriously suspended. I think I can make it happen.
Best booth by far: a company that hires out between-inning entertainment like “Breakin’ B-Boy McCoy,” the break dancing bat boy. Hey! He’s going to be in Columbus on June 11th next year! I’m so there!
Most importantly, however, there’s a booth set up by Jack Daniels. Yes, it is by the front door. Yes, I assume that it’s located there so that people are able to get their drink on before deciding whether or not they should buy stuff like this.
Crap. I bought two. What am I gonna do with the second one?
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.