Clay Buchholz is not in the best shape of his life

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Tweet from WEEI’s Chad Rob Bradford, who is on the ground at Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers this morning:

Buchholz at 198 pounds after pitching at 185 last year.

Somebody didn’t get the “best shape of his life” memo!

In other news, I have come to view Twitter as positively essential to doing this here job. Just about anything worth knowing in baseball gets tweeted first these days, so I’m on Twitter all day listening to what baseball people — writers, players, agents, whoever — have to say. 

But while Twitter is really valuable, it does have one problem: when nothing is really going on, the stuff that is just barely news gets really, really overplayed.  Take this morning for example, when we learned the following from various Boston writers:

That’s all in less than an hour.  By the end of the day I fully expect to learn that some other Red Sox players have shown up where they’re supposed to be and have begun to do things like throw baseballs to one another.  I know it’s Boston, and Sox fans are crazy, and they want to hear any little thing that happens, but if that level of coverage is required to keep the masses happy, the masses can go get bent.

In other other news, I’m going to be doing a little spring training trip in early March, and when I’m there I’m going to tweet my butt off.  Excpet when I do it, I’m going to make it interesting. Stuff like “Pedroia just walked by; told me Big Papi lost an arm in a thresher accident last night” and “Sabathia throwing a bullpen session; new eephus pitch looks good.”

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.