ozymandias

Wanna get paid to watch baseball all season?

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You may have seen these ads floating around: Major League Baseball is starting a thing — and I think we can only safely call it a “thing” at the moment — in which some lucky sod is going to get paid to immerse themselves in baseball this season.

MLB is calling it a “dream job,” but I’m still calling it a “thing” because I think its more than a mere job. For one thing, they’re characterizing the search as a “casting call,” and the actual end product is going to be a “web series.” And, unlike most jobs, MLB is going to put the chosen one up in an apartment — at least I think it’s an apartment — in New York, which will be mission control. There certainly seem to be some reality TV elements to it.

The details as I’ve groked them:

  • The winner of the casting call will move to New York to star in a baseball web series and “be a part of a live interactive experience for baseball fans that will include watching every MLB game over the course of the entire baseball season.”  The idea, I’m told, is that there will be a wall of monitors in the apartment so you can watch all the games going on at once.
  • The chosen one will blog and interact with fans on the web via video and social media.  The series will be on MLB.com and Twitter and stuff.
  • What are they looking for? Someone who knows everything about baseball. Someone with an entertaining personality who can write and be funny and comfortable on screen.  I’d assume they also would prefer someone without a ton of familial obligations, seeing as though you’re going to be in a New York apartment watching games every night for seven straight months. Or maybe they don’t mind but, really, you should care about that. “Where’s daddy?”  “Well, junior, he’s in that MLB-funded crash pad, glued to a wall of TVs like Adrian Veidt.”  Not cool.

But for the “say goodbye to your kids for seven months” part — and the fact that I’m just too damn old to appeal to any demographic you can name — it sounds like a job tailor-made for me. Except I’m already paid to do all that stuff so I’m not going to apply. I have to provide my own video monitors, though. Maybe I need to send some memos around about that. Raw deal if you ask me.

Anyway I’m guessing a lot of you fit that job description. I’m also guessing most of you — based on the amount of time you spend here during working hours — aren’t too married to your current jobs and/or don’t have lives.  Go for it, dudes!

Apply here. If an HBT reader gets the gig, I’m going to insist that you let me crash at your Hella-Baseball-TV-Apartment a couple of weekends next summer. It would make for great web video.

Joe Panik says he’s “100 percent” recovered from back injury

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik follows through on a single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Denver. The Giants won 10-8. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”

Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”

“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”

Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.

After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.

Baseball America names Corey Seager as baseball’s top prospect

Los Angeles Dodgers' Corey Seager follows through a single that scored Austin Barnes, in front of Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.

This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.

Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.

You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.

Jenrry Mejia: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

New York Mets' Jenrry Mejia reacts after getting the last out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in Milwaukee. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.

Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

Bryce Harper on potential $400 million contract: “Don’t sell me short.”

Bryce Harper
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.

When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.

During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.