I thank my lucky stars that my job description does not include “talking to baseball players after the game to get their insight.” Because, if they actually have some insight, it’s buried under mountains and mountains of cliche.
You think you know this already because of that scene in “Bull Durham,” but the problem is way, way worse. To see this, read Emma Span’s wonderful/awful research piece over at Baseball Prospectus today. In it she compiles actual postgame quotes that made actual news reports over the last two weeks and puts them altogether into one giant blob of non-informative blather.
And think about this: for all of the quotes that were used in stories, how many were not used because the reporter who gathered them found them to not be at all insightful. These are the best of the quotes!
So do me a favor: next time you’re on Twitter interacting with your team’s beat writer, take it easy on him or her. Because until newspaper editors decide to eschew the standard game story and change the marching orders of the people they have covering the teams, they’ll have to wade through this muck every day. The horror. The horror.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.