Mike Schmidt would like players to sign their autographs more clearly, please.

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I don’t know who gave Mike Schmidt an AP column, but I’m kinda glad they did.

It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you get the sense that he has a list of grievances he’s long been waiting to air and now, finally, he has the chance. Not major grievances. He’s never overly negative, but there are things that stick in is craw, and I picture him wearing half-glasses and nodding to himself as he types these out, happy that he has a forum in which to do so. There’s something kind of stately about Schmidt when he tells people to get off his no doubt well-manicured lawn.

Today’s topic: players these days don’t sign their name clearly when giving autographs:

My signature’s value has never changed over the years. Sure, I know there is a class system in the industry, certain signatures retain value and others don’t. In my case, one reason it has retained value is it’s neat and you can read it. It is legible, shows respect and looks as though I put some effort into the process of creating a collectible item.

I’m not in the class of Andre Dawson or the late Harmon Killebrew. Their signatures are artwork. Their slow, methodical signing technique shows immense respect for their names and the items on which they appear.

And Schmidt is right about autograph hounds, by the way. People who have turned autographs into pure commerce instead of using them as hooks for good memories and chance encounters.

Anyway, fun read. I disagree with Schmidt on a lot of things he writes about, but I find him kinda adorable anyway.

 

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.