Craig Calcaterra

Matt Harvey AP

Matt Harvey: A-Rod’s return is “exciting, good for baseball”

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I am intrigued by Matt Harvey’s ideas and would like to subscribe to his newsletter. From Kevin Kernan’s story at the Post:

“Obviously Alex wants to play, that’s good for him, good for baseball,’’ Harvey told The Post.

“If he is that dedicated and wants to come back then more power to him for going up to the organization like that, it shows a lot. It will be exciting to see what he can do.”

I presume this will lead to a lot of people who like to make villains out of New York sports figures really happy, as they can now bring the ever-stupid demands that so-and-so “denounce” a given person or idea from politics into sports. I mean, Harvey is already on deck to be the next big bad guy in New York because he, I dunno, goes to basketball games and stuff, so it’s not hard to see some columnist cite his A-Rod support as evidence that he “just doesn’t get it” should he struggle at some point this year.

But this also serves as just the latest example of players not thinking Rodriguez is the cartoon villain he is so often made out to be by the media and some easily manipulated sports fans.

The Indians will have some weekday games start at 6:10 this season

Alarm Clock
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This is interesting: the Indians are starting six weeknight games in April and May at 6:10 p.m. rather than the usual 7:05-7:10 we tend to see. The games:

• Tuesday, April 14 vs. Chicago
• Monday, April 27 vs. Kansas City
• Tuesday, April 28 vs. Kansas City
• Wednesday, April 29 vs. Kansas City
• Tuesday, May 12 vs. St. Louis
• Wednesday, May 13 vs. St. Louis

The team hasn’t formally announced it or explained why yet.

If memory serves the Rockies do this sometimes. Or maybe the Astros or Diamondbacks? One of those sort of out west teams has 6:00 or 6:30 starts. My assumption is that this encourages more people to hang out downtown after work, head over to the game and still get home at a reasonable hour, but it’s just a guess.

The beat writers will like it, that’s for sure.

Wil Myers declares a winner in the Wil Myers-James Shields trade

wil myers getty
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One of the more aggravating baseball arguments of the past couple of years involves declaring a winner in the James Shields-Wil Myers trade between the Royals and the Rays. When it happened, all the stathead/prospect guys thought the Rays fleeced the Royals. When the Royals made the World Series opinions shifted. Or, in some cases, some shade was thrown at the stathead/prospect guys. It’s been just as much proxy war in the grand battle over sabermetrics and projections as it has been actual trade analysis.

But never fear, because Wil Myers — who is, like James Shields, now with the Padres — has declared a winner:

To be fair, a LOT of people made that same joke Sunday night and Monday morning after news of the Shields signing hit. But it’s way better coming from one of the subjects of the trade itself.

The 56-year-old batboy

Cuba
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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
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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.