Author: Craig Calcaterra


The 56-year-old batboy


Jorge Arangure Jr.’s excellent Cuba Diaries series continues over at Vice Sports. In this installment he gives us a taste of what goes on at the ballpark before a big game in Cuba. And meets the most interesting batboy. His name is Fidel Ramirez Coll, he’s 56-years-old and he’s been doing this job since the late 70s:

In 1979, his playing career ended unceremoniously at age 18. He had no future prospects as a player. But he didn’t want to leave the game altogether, something he told friends and family in the area. Soon after his last game, the administrators of his local municipal team—baseball in Cuba is a regional sport where one plays for their respective town, then their county, and then finally, if talented enough, for the state (provincial) team in the Serie Nacional—asked if he would be interested in becoming the squad’s batboy.

After one year at the local level he was immediately called up to be the batboy for the Industriales, which is the premiere team in the premiere league in all of Cuba.

Fascinating story. Fascinating series.


The Padres officially announce the James Shields deal: it includes a fifth year team option

James Shields

The Padres officially announced the James Shields deal a few minutes ago. As we know, it’s a four-year contract for $75 million. What wasn’t official before was it includes a club option for 2019 to the tune of $16 million, making the total possible payout for Shields $91 million. There is no no-trade protection for Shields.

As we noted the other day: this deal, along with the many, many other deals the Padres made this offseason has transformed the team. While it doesn’t guarantee the playoffs, it certainly makes the Padres contenders.

From bigger seats on the airplane to a private toilet for the manager, the Giants look for an edge

giants logo

Eno Sarris of Fangraphs has an interesting story about how the Giants — and a lot of other teams, though he uses the Giants as his example — look for any sort of small edge to make the lives and work of their players, coaches and staff easier. Be it from making them more comfortable on the charter flight to making sure Bruce Bochy doesn’t have to poop in a stall next to Madison Bumgarner, the Giants are looking for ways to improve. Why? Here’s Giants Vice President Bobby Evans:

“Any advantage you can gain, or any possible roadblock you can eliminate, you should try to do it,” said Sabean. “It’s all value add and cost,” admitted Evans, “but the additional costs we’ve taken on are not that significant in the grander scheme.” In the end, Evans felt it was a question of “what do you value?”

That all makes sense. It still makes me wonder why teams don’t pay minor leaguers enough for them to avoid sleeping on air mattresses and eating at Carl’s Jr. six times a week, but either through lawsuits or teams realizing that taking care of all of their employees is the right thing to do, that will change eventually as well.