Craig Calcaterra

Greg Bird
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Greg Bird to miss the entire season following shoulder surgery


This is huge news. Huge negative news for the New York Yankees. Joel Sherman of the New York Post report that Greg Bird is going to miss all of the 2016 season following shoulder surgery, which he’ll undergo tomorrow. The Yankees just confirmed this, saying that Bird has a torn labrum.

Bird, who just turned 23-years-old, made a big splash after being called up to the Yankees last year. In 46 games he hit .261/.343/.529 with 11 homers and 31 driven in. While he sat as a backup on the depth chart behind Mark Teixeira and likely would’ve started the year at Triple-A, Bird was almost certainly going to see some playing time in 2016 if — or more likely when — either Teixeira or DH Alex Rodriguez hit the disabled list, needed rest or lost effectiveness. Which, at their age, is a fairly safe bet at some point.

Even if they didn’t, Bird is clearly the Yankees’ first baseman of the future, and a year of development lost and the potential for other physical problems spinning out of all of this (note: shoulder injuries are really, really not cool in any way) represents the most awful possible news for the Yankees as they head into spring training.

In other news: Pedro Alvarez, call your office.

The “Super Bowl Babies” ad and its horrifying implications

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holds her newborn baby princess, as she poses for the media on the steps of The Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, London, Saturday, May 2, 2015.  Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to theri second child, a baby girl on Saturday morning. (John Stillwell/Pool via AP)

The NFL just came out with an ad called “Super Bowl Babies.” It’s a 60-second commercial that is part of the league’s “Football Is Family” marketing campaign which will air in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. It features people who were born nine months after their parents’ favorite team won the Super Bowl.

Really. That’s the idea. Kids singing about how their parents experienced vicarious arousal based on what, say, Eli Manning did one evening and decided to take things to the next level. An ad campaign all but requiring people to think about their parents doin’ it:


I want to cringe at that, but it’s probably genius given how, um, passionately people feel about sports.

But it does get my brain working in ways I sort of wish it wouldn’t. For example, it makes me think about the other side of the Super Bowl Babies coin. Sure, if you were born in Chicago nine months after Super Bowl XX you may be the product of your parents’ joy, but what if you were born in Boston? Are you a “God, Tony Eason Sucks, This Game Is A Disaster So What Do You Want To Do Now” Baby? As some people on Twitter observed a bit ago, are there hundreds of Millennials in Buffalo right now conceived in disappointment? Are there Scott Norwood Babies? Don Bebee Babies?

Also, what if your parents weren’t football fans at all and, instead, watched counter programing? Might you be an “In Living Color Halftime Show Baby?” A “Lingerie Bowl Baby?” “Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Baby?” Take THAT one up with your therapist.

For that matter, there are far more dubious [Sports Event] Babies out there than Super Bowl-related babies. For this my mind, of course, turns to baseball. How many “Bucky F***ing Dent Babies” are there in New York and Boston? How many “Aaron F***ing Boone Babies” for that matter? Are babies born in the summer of 1987 in New York or Boston “Buckner Babies” or “Mookie Babies?” Depends on which city you’re from, I suppose.

Of course, humans being humans, it’s obvious that it doesn’t take the thrill of ultimate victory or profound defeat to inspire some baby-makin’. Any little bit of inspiration will do. Are there 17-year-olds in Miami named Livan Gregg who owe their existence to Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS? Are there “Don Denkinger Game Babies” in Kansas City? Someone, somewhere, may be a “Chase Utley went 3-for-5, drove in three and Cole Hamels tossed seven strong innings as Philly beat Washington 6-2 Baby.”  Someone I know who did the math a little while ago has a decent case for being a Ten Cent Beer Night Baby. That would be something.

Man, I gotta admit, at first I was sorta skeeved out by the Super Bowl Babies commercial, but now I am rather taken with the whole idea.

Or, at least I was until I did the math and realized I might be a “Hooray, Richard Nixon Got Reelected Baby” and now I wanna go curl up in a corner and die.

Yasiel Puig is getting a fresh start, say the Dodgers

Yasiel Puig

This is a little bit Best Shape of His Life, a little bit all-purpose pre-spring training story. It’s from Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, keeping us up with the Days of our Puig.

The BSOHL part: the Dodgers apparently asked Puig to slim down from last year and he now looks good, down about 15 pounds from last year. It wasn’t a fat thing, says Andrew Friedman, as much as it was a bulked-up thing. Which, yes, Puig looked rather beefy last year and it seemed to slow his bat down a good deal. Who knows if it had some effect on those hamstring problems, but a lot of players have said weight work has done that to them in the past. At least when they’re not showing up to spring training with new muscles saying that lifting weights is going to give them durability. It’s kind of a moving target, you know.

The all-purpose spring training story which, in the case of Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers is actually pretty relevant compared to how it may be for a lot of players: he’s getting a fresh start.

McCullough reports that new manager Dave Roberts has met with Puig (and Puig has met with Clayton Kershaw and Scott Van Slyke) and that the new year and the new coaching staff means that the difficulties the Dodgers have had with Puig and Puig has had with the Dodgers is in the past. Everyone’s saying all the right things, don’t you know.

My guess: the fresh start will last until the moment either (a) the Dodgers are more than four or five games out of first place; or (b) Puig does something dumb. Then the stuff from the past will all come rushing back and the often-controversial Puig’s slate will be proven to have been less-than-clean beforehand.