Brief Digression Theater: The Great Ketchup Debate of 2011

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It started, like many things do, with me mocking my mother on Twitter, but this time my followers turned the tables on me.

Every time my mom is in my house alone she takes the ketchup container off the kitchen counter and puts it in the refrigerator. Initially that seemed crazy to me, but it turns out I’m apparently in the minority by not refrigerating my ketchup. I’ve always been something of a rebel, so this isn’t that surprising.

On the ketchup container it says “for best results refrigerate after opening,” but a) that clearly implies refrigeration is not a must, and b) perhaps I prefer slightly less than peak results from my condiments. I am, after all, a rebel.

Other considerations in The Great Ketchup Debate of 2011, as it will come to be known in the history books:

1) Cold ketchup is pretty gross, especially on hot food.

2) Most restaurants don’t refrigerate ketchup, although admittedly they go through the stuff a lot quicker than one solitary fatso blogger.

3) Ketchup at ballparks sits out in the sun all day and the death toll has been relatively minimal (this isn’t so much a legitimate consideration as it is a lame attempt to incorporate some aspect of baseball into the post.)

4) I’ve posted more than 5,000 tweets on Twitter and no topic has ever generated this much response, which is either fantastic or really sad.

5) This whole thing is going to be incredibly funny when I die from some sort of ketchup-related illness later this week. I hope someone records my mom’s eulogy and sends it to me in hell.

In the meantime, though, what say you, HBT Nation? Refrigerate or not?

UPDATE: Craig has chimed in with his opinion on the topic, in picture form. However, given the presence of Gatorade in the same refrigerator I’d say his opinion can be ignored.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.