Craig Calcaterra

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 8, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Jacob deGrom leaves start early, but not for the joyous reason you were thinking


This morning we learned that Jacob deGrom was prepared to leave today’s Mets home opener early because his wife is due to have their baby at any minute and might have to split. Well, deGrom left early. Unfortunately it was not because of joyous good news. Rather, he left after six innings due to back tightness.

It sounds like it was a precautionary thing and it’s not as if he was going to go more than another inning at most in his first outing of the year. As it was, the results were good: one run over his six six innings with six strikeouts. His velocity, however, was a tad concerning, with deGrom sitting in the 91-93 m.p.h. range with his fastball. That’s what he was doing at Port St. Lucie, but it’s below his norms. Probably not a thing to get worked up over — early season, cold weather starts aren’t always a great indicator of how a pitcher is doing — but it’s worth making a mental note.

White Sox say fire in storage room won’t affect home opener

U.S. Cellular Field

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Fire Department says an early-morning fire in a storage room at U.S. Cellular Field won’t affect the Chicago White Sox’s home opener.

Fire officials say the blaze was reported about 2:25 a.m. Friday near Gate 2 in a storage room and was put out at about 3 a.m.

Chicago is scheduled to host its first home game of the young season Friday afternoon against the Cleveland Indians.

White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said cleanup is underway and that the team is “ready for baseball.” The team also said the storage room contained posters, giveaways and promotional items that can be replaced.

One firefighter was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hunter Pence’s Twitter avatar and bio is spectacular today

Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt

Hunter Pence may be my favorite baseball player. I freely admit that a huge part of that is because I have interviewed him twice and he was very nice to me, gave me really intersting answers that I used in good articles and, to boot, he took the time to ask me stuff, not just answer my questions. Based on those personal interactions I decided that he was a good guy.

Most sportswriters won’t admit that sort of thing to you. They all have favorites for many of the some reasons — well, maybe not the “asked me stuff too” part, but definitely the “make my job easier” part — and how someone feels about a person is going to naturally affect how they are covered, even if it’s subtly. Or that they are covered. Or how, later, if something negative happens with the player, the negative stuff is handled. The facts are almost always right — I don’t know any baseball writers who are so in the tank for a person that they wouldn’t get the facts straight — but there’s a lot more to a story than just facts.

Reporters will tell you that their vibranium-fortified journalistic training and impartiality keeps them from falling prey to such human biases, but everyone is human and everyone has biases, even if they’re subtle. Just look to the coverage players touted as “good guys” get vs. certain other players who tend not to be described that way in passing. I’m convinced Torii Hunter could knock over a children’s hospital and some reporters would praise him for how candid he was in his  jailhouse interview. People are human. Some more so. I won’t speak for any other specific reporter, but I will freely tell you that if Hunter Pence gets involved in an ugly scandal, you can trust me to report the facts properly, but don’t necessarily make me the only person for the commentary, because I’ll likely have a sad if he ever steps in it real good.

In the meantime, we don’t have to worry about that. We can just laugh at how fun he is. As he demonstrated with his Twitter avatar and bio today:

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.52.32 PM

Closer . . .

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.53.15 PM

UPDATE: To show you how in the tank I am for Hunter Pence, I liked this before I even realized it was a joke based on the Jon Miller call of his home run yesterday.

I can never quit you, Hunter. If you ever get embroiled in a clubhouse controversy, I will DEFINITELY blame the other player. No matter what actually happened.