Four teams boycott breakfast over 'Cubs tax'

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Yesterday the Cactus League held its annual kickoff breakfast, but Jim Walsh of the Arizona Republic reports that the White Sox, Reds, Angels, and Dodgers boycotted the event to protest a proposed “Cubs tax” on league-wide ticket sales that would help build the Cubs a new spring training facility.
Angels spokesperson Tim Mead explained that “we just fundamentally disagree” and “feel it’s fundamentally wrong to implement a tax on loyal baseball fans.”
Dodgers vice president of communication issued a similar statement, explaining that “the Dodgers and White Sox simply feel it’s wrong to ask fans coming to Camelback Ranch to pay for another team’s new stadium with a surcharge on their tickets.”
State representative John McComish sponsored the legislation, which calls for a $1 surcharge to car-rental fees and an eight-percent surcharge to Cactus League tickets. Naturally he wasn’t happy with four teams boycotting the event, calling their behavior “what petulant children do.”
My feelings on this issue are mixed. On one hand I can see why other teams may not want to help finance $58 million worth of help for the Cubs. On the other hand, the notion of boycotting breakfast sounds anti-American and downright barbaric, and I can’t in good conscience support any cause that positions itself against bacon.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.