Rivera spitball

Can MLB do anything about video of an alleged spitball?

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In the wake of the alleged Jose Valverde spitball thing, the first question many people asked me was whether MLB can or would do anything about it.  My guess, based on recent history, is that they probably can do something but probably won’t either, for a couple of reasons.

The history: in game 3 of the 2009 ALCS, there was video that kinda maybe sorta showed Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. After that began to circulate, MLB reviewed it and issued a statement calling the video “inconclusive” and letting the matter rest.  While MLB discipline is nothing if not inconsistent, that implies that, had the video been more conclusive, they could have and would have done something about it.

I can’t find the video of the Rivera incident, but I do remember it and my memory of it was that it was far more ambiguous than Valverde’s thing, so perhaps baseball will review this one too and do something about it.  It’s possible, however, that even if they do think it’s conclusive that they do nothing to Valverde for fear of wading into — shock! — more replay and second-guessing of umpires and all of that.  As it stands, I can’t remember an incident that did not get noted on the field in some way during the game that later led to discipline based on video alone.

In any event, that’s the context. Baseball should probably look into it based on their looking into the Rivera thing from 2009.  But it’s doubtful that anything — except maybe a memo to the umpires to watch Valverde more closely going forward — will happen as a result.

Zack Greinke named the Dbacks’ Opening Day starter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.

Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.