I want some Atlanta Braves-branded Kattobashi

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More news that is not Cliff Lee-related:

Hundreds of baseball bats are broken by pro baseball players over the course of a season in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The bits & pieces don’t go to waste, however, instead being reborn into cool chopsticks carrying NPB team names, colors and logos.

They’re called “Kattobashi,” a play on words from “KATTOBASE!!,” Japanese for “make a big hit” which is a term often heard (and heard often) at the ballpark. Also heard often is the crack of the bat – not only against the stitched horsehide sphere.

I don’t have much to say about this apart from “cool.”  Also, I want to know if Japanese newspapers include the price of Kattobashi chopsticks in the calculations for their bogus, trend-piece “what it costs to take a family to the ballpark” stories. You know, like the U.S. ones in which they include eight hot dogs, four large sodas, four boxes of popcorn, two replica jerseys, two giant foam “we’re number one!” fingers and tickets along the rail right next to the dugout, all before lamenting that a family can’t afford to go to the ballpark anymore.

You know, the essentials.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.