Craig Calcaterra


The Spink Award: it ain’t what it used to be


Back in December Tom Gage, Tigers beat writer for the Detroit News since 1979, won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. The Spink is given for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” Winners of the Spink Award, which dates back to 1962 are honored by being included in a special permanent media exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a big deal for the recipients, obviously, and a big deal for the baseball writers who vote on it.

Which makes this bit of news about Gage’s future a bit . . . awkward:

Obviously career awards are not the same thing as current merit and obviously the Detroit News has a business to run. But this was not a mere gold watch award for an old timer, as some other Spink Awards have been. Gage is still an excellent beat writer who doesn’t draw attention to himself, doesn’t complain and who isn’t a polarizing personality like some other baseball writers can be.

And for cryin’ out loud, the guy is going to be on the state at Cooperstown giving an acceptance speech in five months. This couldn’t have waited until after that?

Which ballparks have Wi-Fi?

Rogers Centre

Reader Rik sent me this story about how the Blue Jays are now going to provide Wi-Fi for all fans in Rogers Centre. Before it was only in certain, premium seating areas.

I never go to Rogers Centre so I don’t much care, but the article was interesting to me due to it providing a breakdown of all 30 ballparks, specifying which have it and which don’t. Go check out the list to see if you’re one of the lucky ones.

And with that, cue The Best Fans in Baseball telling us all about how they don’t want Wi-Fi at the ballpark anyway because it distracts them from the pure baseball essence or some such nonsense.

Major League Baseball shuts down The Fan Cave

mlb fan cave

Four years ago MLB launched “a live interactive experience for baseball fans” which featured a couple of super fans confined to a tricked-out house/party space and whose jobs were to watch every MLB game over the course of the entire baseball season.

“The Fan Cave” lasted four seasons and, eventually, the idea of a couple of people watching all the games together sort of morphed into vehicle for the creation of multimedia content for’s video and social media platforms (think: funny videos featuring major league players walking around in New York). The tricked out space remained, and has been used for parties, social events, media things and the like. D.J. watched a couple playoff games there once. I visited it not long after it launched in 2011. It was kind of neat, even if it’s hard to say that Fan Cave dwellers ever really drove the social media and multimedia conversation around baseball the way its founder had hoped.

But for whatever its successes and failures, it is no more. From SBJ:

MLB is shutting down the Fan Cave, its much-acclaimed 4-year-old social media hub in New York City, representing an early sign of the unification of business operations under new Commissioner Rob Manfred . . . The move, led by Bob Bowman, president of business and media, is an attempt to consolidate all of baseball’s social media activities under MLB Advanced Media and the MLB Network.

The space will remain for concerts and events and there will still be those funny videos. But the notion of getting some young creative types to live there and watch all the games is over. Now, if you want to do that, you have to do it on your own time like the rest of us.

Barry Bonds makes [a] Hall of Fame

Barry Bonds

OK, it’s not the Hall of Fame. But it’s a Hall of Fame nonetheless. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Few understand the history of Bay Area sports like Barry Bonds, who has lived it and made it.

He’s now getting honored for it.

“It’s great. Being a Bay Area guy, it’s awesome. It’s wonderful,” said Bonds of his selection to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

The story says he got more votes than any other candidate. The story also features Alex Rodriguez telling Bonds that he wants to take Bonds’ home run record. Which, hey, everyone’s gotta have a goal, I guess. Let’s just not wait up for him to do it, OK?

The fifth greatest general manager of all time built a team that won 14 of 16 pennants. Then he was fired.

Yankees logo

Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

The Yankees had already won a bunch of pennants and World Series titles by the time George Weiss took the reins in 1947. But from that point on, until he was dismissed in 1960 because the Yankees thought he was too old to do the job — the Yankees went on a tear unlike baseball had ever seen, winning 10 pennants and seven World Series championships in 13 years. The team he built around a core of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford — all graduates of the Yankees farm system Weiss ran before taking the GM job — went on to win four more pennants and two more World Series championships.

Go read about Weiss here. Including why, for all of that success, he only ranks as the fifth greatest GM of all time.