In what is evidence of baseball being a funny game or the National League being way worse than the American League–or maybe both–Pat Burrell homered last night and is now 19-for-58 (.328) with four homers and three doubles for the Giants.
Burrell spent the first nine seasons of his career in the NL playing for the Phillies, posting an .852 OPS with an average of 30 homers and 95 RBIs per 150 games. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Rays last offseason, proceeded to hit .218 with 16 homers and a .672 OPS in 146 games, and was released last month.
Signed to a minor-league contract by San Francisco, he made a brief pit stop at Triple-A and quickly returned to the National League, where he’s currently sporting the highest OPS of his career while forcing his way into the Giants’ plans. In fact, if you simply pretend Burrell never set foot in the American League (something Rays fans would surely sign off on) here are his yearly OPS totals:
Burrell is earning the league minimum with the Giants, which is perhaps also evidence of life not being fair. Whatever the case, my advice for Hank Blalock is to sign with whichever NL team will have him.
Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.
Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.