old TV

ESPN to televise 10 spring training games


ESPN just announced that they will televise 10 spring training games. The schedule breaks down as follows:

March 3:  Detroit vs. Atlanta – 1 p.m. ET
March 14:  N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston – 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 16: Boston vs. Atlanta – 1 p.m. ET
March 21:  Boston vs. Philadelphia – 1 p.m. ET
March 22:  N.Y. Yankees vs. Baltimore – 1 p.m. ET
March 23:  N.Y. Mets vs. St. Louis – 1 p.m. ET
March 24:  Chicago White Sox vs. Cubs – 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 25:  Atlanta vs. Philadelphia – 1 p.m. ET
March 26:  Chicago Cubs vs. Texas – 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 29: Detroit at N.Y. Yankees – 1 p.m. ET

Yes, the World Champion Giants are mysteriously absent here, although they do kick off the Sunday Night Baseball schedule on April 3, if that means anything. The bigger issue for me is that only two Cactus League games will be televised. That’s a bummer. While we’re all crazy-go-nuts baseball fans here, remember that ESPN is trying to appeal to as many viewers as possible with a bunch of games that really have no impact on anything, hence three appearances each by the Red Sox and Yankees. So while that’s not fair to the rest of the country, it’s the reality of the situation. Hey, at least ESPN is trying to make Craig happy.

Kyle Schwarber is in The Best Shape of His Life

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16:  Injured player Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs is seen in the dugout before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.

Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”

May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.


The Red Sox may not hire a general manager after all

Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski talks with reporters during a baseball news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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When Mike Hazen left the Red Sox to go run the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox set out to look for a new general manager to replace him. Now, according to Pete Abraham, they may not replace him after all. Instead, president Dave Dombrowski may just leave the seat vacant and run the Sox all by himself.

Which, to be clear, is something Dombrowski is more than capable of doing, as he has been a general manager for decades now. A lot of this stuff is a function of job title-inflation, with guys in Dombrowski’s position being given elevated titles despite the fact that they are, more or less, still running the baseball operations department like they did when they were merely general managers. GM, meanwhile, has become a less authoritative position in many organizations, making it a somewhat less visible and perhaps less desirable job than it used to be.

Not that it’s totally about optics. The job of running a ball club is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and having one guy who can run big picture stuff and close deals like Dombrowski with another one being in charge of the more day-to-day tasks of the top baseball executive may be ideal. It also may help reign in some of the excesses of the top guy. Dombrowski, after all, may have been a master of a the big deal while running the Tigers, but in a lot of ways the win-now philosophy cost the club a lot of money and a lot of lower level talent. Another voice with a decent degree of power may be useful in that mix. As may a clear line of succession should Dombrowski decide to move on in a year or two.

Interesting times.