This is kinda insidey, but it had everyone at the Winter Meetings dying laughing in the bar last night, so it’s worth passing along.
When the vote for the Veteran’s Committee choices from the Hall of Fame came down on Monday, a lot of people in the media room started to speculate about who failed to support Marvin Miller. It was a fun game while it lasted, but everyone’s busy so people moved on.
Not former New York Times columnist Murray Chass. He spoke with Miller. Miller told him that he believed that Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci voted against him, and then Chass proceeded to rip Verducci, not just for his presumed vote against Miller, but saying that he wasn’t a good reporter and being a general jerk about it. This seemed like an old grudge against a fellow former New York writer being revived.
Last night Verducci set the record straight saying he did vote for Marvin Miller, and related word that Miller, when informed of his error, apologized for passing Chass misinformation. Verducci also cited one of my previous posts about how Miller had walked back his comments about Jim Palmer the last time he spoke about the Veteran’s Committee, suggesting that, hey, maybe Miller isn’t the most trustworthy source on all of this.
But it was so much more delicious than that. Because in so doing, Verducci constantly refers to Chass as “the blogger.” People who really follow the baseball media know that this is a giant insult to Chass, who has stridently said that he is not a blogger, because bloggers are irresponsible vermin. He says to right on his, um, blog, which he insists is not actually a blog even though it clearly is. So basically, each time Verducci says “the blogger,” you can and should read it as “the idiotically irresponsible Murray Chass,” because that’s what he really means.
It’s not often that you see guys with the knives out for each other like this in the baseball writing world. And when you do, it’s pretty darn tasty actually.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.
Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!
Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.
The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.
For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:
A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:
And they go on and on.
How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?