Because I’m bored, let’s follow-up that Josh Hamilton post with a survey of each Major League Baseball city to see what sport — using my totally subjective There Can Only Be One criteria — reigns supreme in each city. Which team, if the city could vote and only keep one, would stay:
- New York: High school hoops has a rich history, but professionally I think baseball. Specifically Yankees. Anyone really disagree?
- Boston: Probably the most “all sports” town on the list, but I’d have to say Sox.
- Toronto: Leafs, Leafs, Leafs, Leafs.
- Baltimore: For a long time baseball, but I do a lot of sports radio in Baltimore and it seems like the Ravens have dominated for years. And really, before the 80s, the Colts probably did too.
- Tampa Bay: Who knows? Anyone? Not the Rays, that’s for sure. Probably the Bucs. More probably shuffleboard and bocce ball.
- Detroit: Great baseball town, but they seem to live and die with the Wings more. My relatives who live there all do anyway. I could be persuaded that Detroit is primarily a baseball town, though.
- Cleveland: Browns. By far. Even when they didn’t exist for a few years.
- Chicago: This is an interesting one. I feel like it’s a Bears city, but I’d like to hear arguments on it. Walking around there in the summer and the city just reeks baseball, so it’s probably closer than I imagine.
- Kansas City: They don’t tailgate for the Royals like they do for the Chiefs and that’s not for lack of a parking lot.
- Minneapolis: I assume the Vikings. Gleeman should weigh in, though. Youth hockey may trump it all.
- Seattle: I really don’t know, but given that they’ve sent away a baseball team and a basketball team to other cities in the past, the Seahawks probably by default.
- Oakland: Kind of weird because (a) they’re so close to San Francisco; and (b) the people who dress up and act insane for Raiders games all probably live outside of Oakland, but based just on what you see, the Raiders.
- Houston: Texas = football. Even with the Oilers leaving.
- Los Angeles: It’s a status city and good Lakers tickets have to be pretty high up there as far as status symbols go.
- Dallas: Cowboys could go 1-15 and the Rangers could win the series and it’s still a Cowboys city.
- Atlanta: Probably college football more than anything, but the Falcons pretty obviously trump the Braves. I think, as far as local support goes, it’s probably more of a front-running town than anything.
- Philadelphia: I really don’t know. All sports, to be sure. But it may very well be a baseball town more. There are no shortage of Philly people here, so you tell me. Gun to my head I say the Phillies and Eagels are close, but I don’t know if that’s been the case for all that long a time.
- Washington: It begins and ends with the Redskins and anyone who tells you differently is an insane person.
- Miami: Well, I don’t think it’s controversial to say it’s not the Marlins. Dolphins all the time, the Heat are a big deal when they’re good.
- St. Louis: Maybe the most baseball town of them all, even if I think that Best Fans in Baseball Thing is silly.
- Cincinnati: I think it’s a Reds town. I don’t know too many people here in Ohio who disagree.
- Milwaukee: It’s over 100 miles to Green Bay, but I bet it’s still more Packers than Brewers. If you disqualify the Packers for distance it’s the Brewers by default. Still a great baseball town, though. It’s not the Brewers fault that people go Packers crazy.
- Pittsburgh: A good baseball town to be sure, but it’s the Steelers by far. They’ve become a regional thing, even. It stretches well into Ohio and many points north, south and east as well.
- San Francisco: I think the Giants have to be it, at least since they moved to AT&T Park. And now the 49ers are moving out of the city, so it’ll probably become more pronounced.
- San Diego: My brother isn’t the most reliable narrator in the world but he’s lived in San Diego for almost 20 years and says the Chargers are it. Having gone to a lot of Padres games I have to agree with him.
- Denver: Broncos, Broncos, Broncos.
- Phoenix: I really have no idea. Like, no sense at all. The Suns have tenure, obviously, but I’m not sure what that means. Spring training makes the whole city basebally for a while. I know people get behind the Dbacks when they win. Man, I’m rather stumped on Phoenix.
So that’s my take. Talk amongst yourselves.
Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.
Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”
Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.
Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.
Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.
Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?
Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?
Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a tremendous show in Saturday night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest up in Toronto, Canada. The stars were out to see it at the Air Canada Centre, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had one of the very best views in the house. Check out this video he posted to Instagram of LaVine’s final dunk, a between-the-legs jam from just inside the free throw line …
That is Toronto’s very own Drake going wild in the pink jacket. Gordon probably had the best individual dunk of the night, though, if we’re being really real …
Back to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. Pitchers and catchers report Friday.
The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.
The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.
The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.
Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”
Update: Here’s a table showing the last time each team hosted the All-Star Game.
||Olympic Stadium (Expos)
||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
||Jack Murphy Stadium
||Oriole Park at Camden Yards
||The Ballpark in Arlington
||U.S. Cellular Field
||Minute Maid Park
||Angels Stadium of Anaheim
||Great American Ball Park
Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.
Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.
The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.
One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.