Author: Craig Calcaterra

Aroldis Chapman

Arolids Chapman donated a locker room to a volleyball team


That’s pretty much the whole story. But you can read the details about it here.

I link this because I’m put in mind of that feature story from last year about Chapman sort of lazing around his house, smoking Marlboros, sleeping until the afternoon while his family sits around waiting for him to come downstairs and, like, eating a sandwich and sitting by the pool.

And then I wonder what part of the day it hit him “hey, I’m going to give that volleyball team a locker room.”

ESPN announces its early season Sunday Night Baseball matchups

old TV

ESPN has announced its Opening Day quadruple header lineup and its early season Sunday Night Baseball matchups. To wit:




People will, as usual, complaint about all of the New York and Boston. To which I say: “meh.” TV stations are in the business of getting ratings. This is what they would do.

Besides, Sunday Night Baseball has become all but unwatchable anyway. It features a three-man booth which, Dan Shulman’s workmanlike service notwithstanding, is always a distraction as 50% more voices than usual compete to provide insight that, most of the time, isn’t really necessary. And to better justify their presence they go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the game at hand. Quite often, actually. When they do talk about the game at hand they provide generalities and sometimes even misinformation about the players and teams involved. I’m sure John Kruk is a nice man, but preparation to analyze the parts of a baseball game we non-players may not immediately see is not his strong suit.

But then again, ESPN doesn’t treat Sunday Night Baseball like any other baseball game. They treat it as the weekly Baseball Show, and gobble up all kinds of time talking about events and news stories we’ve all been talking about for several days. They do things like interview managers in the dugout in the middle of the game. The typical Sunday Night Baseball broadcast does not act as if the game is just one of 15 that happened that day and one of 100 or so that happened that week. And for this reason most of what the broadcast chooses to emphasize is an unnecessary distraction.

Which is a shame given their technical production values and the huge platform ESPN provides. Just think what Sunday Night Baseball could be like if everything that is good about televised baseball were present there and so much of what is bad was not.

So, beef all you want about the Yankees and Red Sox dominating the schedule. It’s of relatively small concern in my view.

The 23rd best GM of all time is currently driving me nuts

John Hart

Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

John Hart is driving me crazy. I have no idea what the Braves’ plan is this offseason. I get maybe re-jiggering to be competitive in a couple of years, but I don’t get how signing Nick Markakis fits into that or why, if the Braves are experimenting, they don’t keep Kris Medlen around to see if he can bounce back. I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s a good idea for Evan Gattis to play in the outfield.

But maybe John Hart is smarter about how to build a baseball team than I am! It’s possible! He’s done it before! And as Mark Armour and Dan Levitt argue today, only 22 guys have done it better than Hart has.

It ain’t going to be easy to put grass in Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre

Last year reports circulated that the Blue Jays were looking into putting natural grass in Rogers Centre once the stadium stops being used for football as well as baseball. Good plan! A lot of Jays players and would-be Jays players have cited the wear and tear artificial turf puts on their bodies, and at this point, you have to wonder if having the fake stuff puts the Jays at a competitive disadvantage. The game has changed a lot since they designed that place.

But putting grass in that place won’t be easy. John Lott in the National Post explains just how hard it will be to grow the green stuff in that joint from a technical perspective.

Good luck, guys.

Report: the Yankees are interested in Johan Santana

National League New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana during first inning action in Washington

This is not a report from 2006: Dan Martin of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are interested in Johan Santana.

As we noted over the weekend, Santana is embarking on another, possibly final comeback, playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. There have been some reports that he’s hitting 90 on the gun, but we’ve heard that before.

At this point he’d likely be had by giving him a minor league deal with a spring training invite, so it’ll cost essentially nothing to see if he can still get major league hitters out. Best case: you have a lefty who could possibly help out in the pen. Worst case: you’re out nothing. The Yankees gave Billy Crystal a spring training at bat once. It really doesn’t matter if they bring Santana in for a few weeks in February and March.

So yeah, expect to see Johan Santana in a spring training game for someone, even if it seems like a longshot that he’ll pitch in big league games that count again.