Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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USA Today ranks the 100 most powerful people in baseball

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USA Today has complied a list of who, based on their assessment, are the 100 most powerful people in baseball. Unlike a lot of lists like these, it’s well-reasoned and not played for laughs. Each entry has a good thumbnail of what role the person in question plays in baseball and why they appear where they do on the list. It’s hard to argue with too much of it, actually.

You will not be surprised that Rob Manfred is at the top of the list. You may be surprised that Sean Forman, the founder and owner of Baseball-Reference.com makes the list at #49. I guess I’m a bit surprised but I’m happy for him. That’s the best site on the Internet. David Appleman, head honcho of FanGraphs is at 62. Viva stat geeks.

The top player: Bryce Harper, at number 11, whose marketability and impending free agency give him a more prominent position than some better players. Derek Jeter isn’t even in baseball at the moment and he makes number 22 on the list. Same with David Ortiz at 32. Shohei Otani comes in at 47 and he’s on the NPB disabled list. Most of the active MLB’ers on the list are in the second 50.

There are a ton of executives, from the league, from clubs, and from media companies, obviously. The top pure-media guy, however, is Ken Rosenthal at number 51. The next time you get too caught up worrying about what this or that baseball writer or talking head says, remember, they’re not as powerful as a couple of dudes who run stats websites and several retired guys.

The thing I find most notable about the list: Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, is only at number seven. He’s behind his counterpart in Manfred, Dan Halem, MLB’s top labor negotiator, Tony Petitti, the man in charge of pace-of-play initiatives, Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, agent Scott Boras and Bob Bowman, the man who runs MLBAM.

Put differently: there are six people who are directly involved with decisions regarding the rules and conditions under which players work and who manage and benefit from income streams which players are most responsible for creating that, in at least USA Today’s judgment, are more powerful than the union rep. That’s . . . not ideal. And it’s telling.

Michael Bourn rejoins the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. Which is what you do with veterans on minor league deals who get hurt. It’s a tough gig.

Today, however, the O’s are taking Bourn back. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Bourn’s finger is just about healed so the O’s have given him another minor league deal. Bourn will report to extended spring training and could eventually be an option for Baltimore’s bench.

Justin Turner left last night’s game with an achin’ quad

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left last night’s game against the Cubs with discomfort in his quad.

It was a rough night overall for Turner, as he was hit by a pitch on his right hand. He was removed in a double switch in the bottom of the eighth due to the aching quadriceps. It may have happened when he slid into second base on a force out following the HBP.

It may not be too serious. Manager Dave Roberts said Turner would be reevaluated today, which the Dodgers have off before resuming their series against the Cubs.

Turner is off to a fast start this year, going 10-for-28 with five doubles in his first seven games. If he can’t play, Logan Forsythe will likely move over from second to cover the hot corner while Chase Utley would get the start at second.