Craig Calcaterra

cuba hat

The Braves will hold a private workout for “Lazarito”


I’m linking this less for the baseball implications of it all — a 16-year-old prospect is still a long ways away from any of us caring too terribly much about him — than I am for the nomenclature implications.

First, the basics: Jesse Sanchez of reports that Cuban prospect Lazaro Robersy Armenteros Arango is expected to sign with a Major League team next week and the Atlanta Braves — who have a LOT of money in their international bonus pool —  are going to hold a private workout for him, suggesting that they are serious bidders. Whoever wins the bidding, it will be for serious money, as Arango is supposed to command upwards of $15 million or more.

While previous workouts have been somewhat underwhelming for the kid, he is considered a five-tool type with lots of potential. He probably has a future as a corner outfielder. Sanchez previously reported MLB insiders referring to him as a “front-line guy,” which is saying something given how early he is in his development.

But the key part of this to me is that Arango has come to be known as “Lazarito” in baseball circles, and I really and truly hope that sticks. Baseball needs more soccer-style single-named players. We’ve got “Ichiro.” A lot of lame contractions like A-Rod and I-Rod existed in the 90s and 2000s. Fans, these days, have taken to referring to some players by one name only if the name is unique enough like “Giancarlo” or whatever. But we really need dudes who just go by one name all the time. That would be boss.

The Phillies add a red alternate jersey

Phillies uni

The Phillies have long been one of the best-dressed teams in baseball. Even in the unfortunate 1970s and 80s when a lot of clubs moved away from their classic styles, they did way better than a lot of others in forging a new direction with different colors and fonts and things. The maroon stuff worked for them as did pinstripes and powder blue. All of those things were fashion options other clubs adopted to greater or lesser degrees, usually poorly.

And, of course, the Phillies classic uniforms — which, for the most part, is what they returned to in the 1990s and beyond — have always looked pretty sweet. As do their retro alternates they wear sometimes.

All of which makes me wonder how the new solid alternate they plan on wearing will go. It was announced yesterday. It looks like this:

Phillies uni

On the one hand, the Phillies have always made whatever they wore look good. On the other hand, solid alternate jerseys are usually terrible. Solid reds aren’t as bad as, say, solid blacks which are terrible on just about everyone, but it’s tough to pull off. The Reds look OK in theirs. The Braves look godawful in theirs.

I’m willing to give the Phillies the benefit of the doubt here given their track record, but I’d prefer to see them in their whites and grays all the same.

Funding achieved, ground to be broken on Tiger Stadium site development

Navin Field

For the past several years we’ve provided updates about what’s been happening at the site of old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. In that time it’s gone from ballpark, to Billy Crystal movie set, to half-destroyed backdrop for an Eminem video, to overgrown vacant lot to a field open to all, maintained by volunteers as a labor of love.

Now, with the funding approved, it will take on new life as a commercial and residential real estate development. The Detroit Free Press reports that The Detroit Police Athletic League will announce today that it has achieved its fund-raising goals for its new headquarters and a youth sports facility at the Tiger Stadium site. A residential development will take form at the opposite end of the property.

Inevitable, I suppose, even in a place like Detroit which has, for numerous reasons, not seen much in the way of development over the years. That that is changing means a lot of good things for Detroit, even if it’s sad to see the current iteration of the Michigan-Trumbull site disappear, as it will for all intents and purposes.