When I saw that FOX is going to debut Justin Bieber’s new video prior to Game 3 tomorrow, my first impulse was to scoff, as people of a certain age and disposition always scoff at whatever teen sensation is out conquering the world at any given moment.
But my second thought is to appreciate the move as pretty brilliant. Not just for Justin Bieber’s marketability — who cares? — but for baseball’s.
Game 3 is the early start game, with the first pitch going down before 7PM. The early start combined with all that Bieber Fever is going to ensure that a ton of young, impressionable minds are going to be watching. While I predict that the vast majority of the Bieber people will go off to shop for glittery lip gloss or trade Silly Bandz or whatever it is Bieber people do once the video is over, even a tiny percentage of those folks is a big number of people. If they stay, and if they watch, baseball may do what it’s always accused of being unable to do, and that’s attract some young fans.
A pipe dream? Maybe. But not every baseball fan was created via a nice game of catch with dad or watching the Brooklyn Dodgers through a knothole or whatever the hell old Brooklyn Dodgers fans claim they used to do. Some fans just happened to see baseball on TV once and it caught their fancy. If three minutes of bubblegum pop makes even a couple thousand new baseball fans, I for one will be happy to endure it.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.