Craig Calcaterra

Mike Trout

2015 Previews: The American League West in a nutshell


For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2015 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West.

The Angels are down Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick and have some questions about their rotation, but with Trout all things are possible. The M’s looked armed to the teeth when it comes to pitching, but is there enough firepower on offense? The A’s have totally reshuffled, but that’s nothing new for them; they’ve done it and won before. The Astros are still rising, but how far have they risen? And the Rangers, well, at least they’ve met their health insurance deductible early once again:


Flights of bacon? Ribs in a helmet? The Ballpark Concessions Singularity is upon us.

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The “Singularity” refers to a notion that, eventually, our technology will push so far that it will lead to a point where artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity, thereby radically changing civilization. We will lose complete control, life will become unpredictable and possibly even terrifying. Our creations may bring about our very own destruction.

A related phenomenon: the Ballpark Concessions Singularity, when we lose control over the insanely over-the-top terrible-for-you novelty food they trot out each spring. I mean, it was nice and life-enhancing when we moved beyond mere hot dogs and peanuts and into things like nachos. But we’re entering into a chain reaction of concessions escalation from which we’re unlikely to emerge unscathed on the other side.

The latest example: what the White Sox will be serving at U.S. Cellular Field this year:


There is a lot more on their Twitter feed. I’m sure all of them are good for the first bite or so. But then, with each additional bite, our eventual destruction is sealed.

But I guess I’m cool with it if you are. There are way worse ways to die.

It’s time for children of the Steroid Era to take their game back

Barry Bonds

Here’s a review of the career and meaning of Barry Bonds from Grant Brisbee. Brisbee, of course, is a Giants fan and blogger, so it’s not an objective review. But why the hell should it be? People who write the assessments of the all-time greats almost always grew up with their subjects and carry with them no small amount of personal baggage and nostalgia. They just don’t cop to it. Brisbee does.

And he’s fair. He doesn’t deny the PED stuff or the Bonds-is-a-jerk stuff. It’s all in there. But so too is the dominance. And so too is what Bonds meant to young baseball fans — especially Giants fans — in the 1990s. Which is something that those who like to cast Bonds as a villain or cast him out entirely never mention. Mickey Mantle gets the “what he meant to people of a certain age in New York” consideration in all of his career retrospectives. Yaz gets the same stuff for Boston. But stars of the 1990s never get that. Probably because people who were kids in the 90s are just now starting to come into their own as baseball commentators, I guess.

Whatever the case, the by-now incredibly overwrought disparagement of guys like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and all of the others is not just a shame because of what it means for the Hall of Fame. It’s a shame because those doing so are erasing — or at least are trying to erase — baseball history. They are unfairly devaluing the baseball memories of a lot of people who grew up watching those players play. People who are not idiots and fully realize that many of the players took drugs and all of that. But people who don’t care, because they’re not fixated on the records and the nature and integrity of a player’s legacy like a sportswriter may be.

They care that the Giants didn’t move to Tampa in 1992. They care that they got to see an amazing player hit tremendous home runs and carry an entire team on his back for 15 years. That stuff matters, and it’s about time that the history of that stuff be written. Not just the tut-tutting of men who were too old and jaded to give a crap about it when it happened.

Not bad, New York Post. Not bad.

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I criticize the tabloids when they take dumb things seriously and treat serious things in a dumb manner. But sometimes they get the mix just right:


I’d like a blowup of that Girardi face for future use. It’d be pretty sweet to have.

UPDATE: Got it!


Justin Verlander to go to the disabled list for the first time in his career

Justin Verlander

The Tigers just announced that Justin Verlander will start the season on the disabled list. The culprit: triceps strain which had originally been thought of as a “cramp.” They still don’t think it’s terribly serious, however, and they’re saying that he should be good to go for an April 12 start.

This is Verlander’s first-ever trip to the disabled list. Had to happen eventually, I guess.