Lazy observation: baseball, a sport that is best experienced in the form of multiple installments over the course of long period of time (i.e. a 162 game season) has never been portrayed in a good TV series. At the same time, it has had multiple excellent treatments on the silver screen. Football, in contrast, a sport in which one game means everything, has had hardly any good movies done about it, yet had one pretty darn enjoyable TV series in “First and Ten.”* I suppose we can argue about all of that, but that’s my feeling about it. And please don’t tell me that “First and Ten” doesn’t hold up. I choose to remember it being nothing short of awesome.
Anyway, they’re trying again with a baseball TV series. Given the pedigree of the creator, it may just work:
Ron Shelton, the creator of “Bull Durham,” will be putting together a new hour-long comedy based on minor league baseball called “Hound Dogs” for TBS. Shelton will executive produce the project alongside Michele Weisler, Andra Buchanan and Todd DeLorenzo . . . Drawing from Shelton’s own experience as a player, the show centers on a minor league team and its general manager as they try to handle life’s ups and downs, both in and out of the locker room.
And since it’s on TBS, you know darn well it’s gonna get promoted up the wazoo during next season’s playoffs.
*I am immediately reminded by people that “Friday Night Lights” is an excellent TV series as well. I have never watched it — I don’t watch a ton of TV, really — but people I trust say it’s fantastic so I have no reason to doubt it. I’m also reminded by people that “Eastbound and Down” is a most excellent baseball series. I haven’t seen most of it either — being remedied soon thanks to NetFlix! — but why that escaped me I have no idea.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.