Great moments in media synergy: Red Sox fat photos

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The Boston Globe certainly made the biggest news yesterday with all of that chicken and beer stuff — it was ludicrous, really — so it’s no surprise that they’re gonna stay on that story until its greasy, tasty end.

To that end: a photo slide show in which you can compare spring training pics of the Boston’s Fried Chicken Posse to pics of them taken in October.  Are they fatter? Happier? You decide!

My takeaway: fat or not, the Red Sox pitchers may be the ugliest in baseball. Just throwin’ that out there. We can make lists and have voting on it this winter if you’d like, but they’re my early favorites. Really, Wakefield is the best looking one in the bunch and he’s 45. He’s like Danny Ainge on those 80s Celtics teams.

And while you’re deciding, imagine how this would all be spun if the Sox had won the wild card and made some noise in the playoffs. I’m guessing there’d be some happy in-depth story about how chicken power and male bonding was the key to the team’s success.  In fact, I’m going to simply pretend that they lose five more games in 2011 if it wasn’t for the chicken and beer and treat this as a positive anyway.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.