People said the Dodgers tried to buy a roster and that you “can’t buy chemistry.” They also wrung their hands that the Dodgers “peaked too soon.” That first bit of hokey conventional wisdom has been demonstrated as ridiculous and the second bit is pending, but seems like a stretch too given how resilient this team has been.
What’s next on the baseball conventional wisdom checklist? How about home field advantage in the playoffs? Because Don Mattingly is not too concerned about that, either, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. He’s way more concerned with player health than pressing them too hard after everything is clinched and reminds us that “we’ve seen wild card teams win the whole thing.”
Now, I don’t put home field advantage into the same category as “peaking too soon” as there is some empirical evidence to suggest that, yah, home field is better than being on the road. But I still think it’s better to have a healthy team than a home team if a choice must be made and I like how Mattingly isn’t too caught up in the things the sportswriters get caught up with.
I know he was under fire earlier this season and I never really considered Mattingly to be one of the game’s top managers (or bottom for that matter). But he has definitely impressed me as this season has gone on. He’s dealt with bad play, great play, controversies and big personalities. He’s mixed kids and veterans and high dollar contracts with journeymen and nothing seems to have taken him off his game.
Here’s to seeing him do more to undermine the conventional wisdom too.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: