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.
Dave Dombrowski has had success with three teams: the Expos, Marlins and Tigers. The Expos success was a bit delayed — he was gone by the time his moves bore competitive fruit — but he put together the Marlins’ first World Series winner and built the Tigers up from nothing to a perennial contender.
As of now he’s trying to keep an aging Tigers team with no farm system to speak of afloat. Does he have a couple more years of magic in him?
I was in North Carolina at the end of December and I saw a Yankees cap in Braves colors:
This morning, this was retweeted into my feed:
So I guess we’re doing this “one team’s logo in another team’s colors” thing.
To the good people at New Era: I love you. I love your product. My big, bald, 7 3/4-wearing melon has decided that I can only wear your products to protect it from the sun. So when I say this, I say it with love and with your best interests in mind: please stop.
We can accept the solid black caps. We can accept the white caps. Though we may not personally approve, we can accept red, camo or any other fantastical color schemes with MLB logos on them. We’ll do what we personally want, but we will let others fly their freak flags if they must.
But this actual mixing of logos and colors — the forced union of two teams’ essences — is wrong. It’s an abomination unto the chosen deity of we fitted cap wearers. And we ask you, humbly, to cut it out.
Last week Yasiel Puig raised some eyebrows when he said that he considered the St. Louis Cardinals to be the Dodgers’ primary rival, not the San Francisco Giants. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was on a radio show yesterday and responded:
“He’s just young. He’s just young and dumb and he’s gonna say some stuff,” Krukow said on KNBR 680-AM Monday morning. “As a group, I doubt if they are gonna be talking about it openly but they are gonna be thinking about it. They don’t miss stuff like that … if there was any way to refocus a whole group with a World Series hangover, this is it. Thank you Yasiel Puig.”
Probably worth noting that Puig has had his only two big league seasons ended in the playoffs by the Cardinals so, just maybe, it makes some sense for him to consider them his team’s biggest rival, even if fans and folks who have been around longer think of it as the Giants.
Also: probably worth noting that historical rivalries are functions of fan bases more than anything. Which is why players generally don’t get too bent out of shape about guys like Brett Butler or Dusty Baker or whoever playing for both ends of a rivalry. Stuff that happens on the field, not the laundry they wear on their backs, is what motivates players.
For Puig, losing to the Cardinals likely looms way larger in his competitive consciousness than something that happened between the Dodgers and the Giants years before he got here.
Not surprising: a 4:30ish press release from Major League Baseball announcing multiple minor league drug suspensions. Surprising: one of them has a recognizable name. The player: Wilson Betemit.
Betemit a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine. Betemit spent all of 2014 playing for Durham, the Rays’ Triple-A team, where he didn’t hit well at all. He’s a free agent now, and one who is far less appealing to anyone given that he’s got a suspension looming. This could be the last news item we hear about Betemit as a player.
- Boston Red Sox Minor League shortstop Ricardo Cubillan has received a 76-game suspension without pay after testing positive for a metabolite of Nandrolone;
- San Francisco Giants Minor League right-handed pitcher Ethan Miller has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine; and
- Free agent Minor League first baseman Tanner Norton has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse
Which, on the bright side: those guys can all say that they were included in a news item with a genuine major leaguer one time.
Scott Boras told Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM that Barry Zito is going to throw for various teams on Thursday.
Which, hey, good luck Barry.
Zito sat out all of 2014 following a 2013 season in which he was posted a 5.74 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to hit .314 off of him. In December Boras told people that Zito had worked on his mechanics. Which, OK, we’ll take his word for it.
It doesn’t take a lot to get a team to give a player a minor league deal with an invite to a camp, so sure, we may see Zito pitching in February or early March. But much beyond that would be a surprise.