First and Ten

“Bull Durham” creator putting together a baseball TV series

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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.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.