A nation mourns Derek Jeter’s tragic, heroic calf strain

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There are, like, two dozen injury stories a week. Seriously, go back through the HBT archives and you’ll see that a huge percentage of our minor posts are this guy straining that muscle and this or that body part being sore.  It’s easily the most rote kind of post we or anyone else who writes about baseball does because it’s just matter-of-fact news, rarely with any serious potential to impact the general narrative.

But when it’s Derek Jeter, boy howdy, are things different. At least to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York, who writes about Jeter’s Grade 1 calf strain like it was the bullet that took out the Archduke Ferdinand.

After an opening paragraph that cited an unwritten pact of honor Jeter has with Yankees fans and a second paragraph with the now de riguer Joe DiMaggio comparison, O’Connor cites all of Jeter’s past glories, in which he selflessly put himself before his team, with the ultimate price being paid by his body finally — tragically — breaking down.  Get your hankies out folks:

… if Jeter were available to comment after his MRI he surely would’ve said he would return to the lineup the only way he knows how—ASAP. No captain who busted up his cover-boy face on a teeth-first dive into the stands against Boston in 2004 and then played against the Mets the following night would ever allow a silly little calf strain to keep him down for long … It was something that reminded all witnesses of Jeter’s extensive wear and tear, and of a noble willingness to play hurt that reminded Monahan of certified ruffians the likes of Thurman Munson.

Grade 1 calf strain, dude. Really.

I know O’Connor just wrote a book about Jeter and likely still has stars in his eyes and everything, but save the purple prose for Jeter taking a gunshot wound or dying young of typhus or something.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.