Craig Calcaterra

Sparky Anderson

Sparky Anderson: the first Millennial Manager


It’s a profoundly slow day in the world of baseball. The majority of the sports oxygen is being sucked up by the Super Bowl and the inevitable “player caught up in prostitution sting” kind of business that seems to happen every year. What isn’t being taken up by that is being taken up by National Signing Day. You know, where colleges, the NCAA, sports networks and for-profit recruiting websites and newsletters make a crap-ton of money off of high school seniors. A nice introduction, it should be noted, to those same entities making money off of them for the next 3-4 years while they risk ruining their entire future if they charge someone $20 for an autograph.

What else is going on? Oh yeah, that O.J. Simpson miniseries started last night. I can’t bring myself to watch it. I lived through it and found it all tedious and depressing then, so I can’t imagine what I’d find interesting about it now. I guess it’s good that David Schwimmer and Cuba Gooding Jr. have found some work, though. They seem like nice fellas. And it did inspire me to write about what I remembered from the O.J.-mania of 1994-95 last night. Not that it inspired me to anything inspirational. I wonder what the guy who owned the bar with the “O.J. Simpson Trial Happy Hour” draft specials is doing now? Probably rolling in cash in the Caribbean someplace.

As for baseball: jack squat at the moment. The closest thing I’ve seen that has even inspired an ill-formed baseball thought this morning is a trend-piece in the New York Times about how Millennial men think that gray hair is really cool and sexy and they’re now dyeing their hair gray. Or, given that this is a New York Times trend piece, it means one celebrity and two New Yorkers the reporter knows have done it so it must be a thing now. All I’ll say is that these Millennials with their actual hair should check their privilege because SOME of them are gonna go bald before they’re 30. Or so I’ve heard. I wish I knew someone writing New York Times trend pieces in 1996. I could’ve gotten ahead of the curve.

Anyway, the baseball: Bryce Harper, who I think may be too young to be considered a Millennial but never mind that for a minute, dyed his hair gray back in October, so it must be a thing. From his Instagram at the time:

Harper Gray

He has since changed it back. At least mostly. This, from earlier this month, shows blonde highlights:

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper smiles after he signs an autograph during the team's "Winterfest" baseball fan festival Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Which is maybe just evidence that, by the time the New York Times has written a trend piece, the real cool kids have already stopped doing the thing they’re writing about.

And the SUPER DUPER cool kids were doing it, like, 56 years ago:


Sparky was 26 when that picture was taken. Check out those temples. It doesn’t get hipper than that.

God, baseball. Please come back. I beg you, please come back.

The Dodgers hire Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez as special assistants

Dodgers Logo

The Los Angeles Dodgers just announced that they have hired Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez as special assistants to the general manager. They will assist in scouting, player development, will work with players and do a lot of other stuff that special assistant-types do.

The Dodgers are gonna have to rent out a cubicle farm in the Valley or something given how many front office people they have on the payroll. There’s president Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and then an assortment of assistant GMs who, themselves, used to run teams. There’s Alex Anthopoulos and Josh Byrnes. Ned Colletti is still bopping around. Gerry Hunsicker has a job there. Tommy Lasorda is an advisor and was once an interim GM for L.A. I dunno. It takes a lot to make a stew.

As for Maddux, this is the third time the Dodgers have acquired him. Unlike in 2006 and 2008, however, Maddux will likely not be starting. Probably.

The Braves will hold a private workout for “Lazarito”

cuba hat

I’m linking this less for the baseball implications of it all — a 16-year-old prospect is still a long ways away from any of us caring too terribly much about him — than I am for the nomenclature implications.

First, the basics: Jesse Sanchez of reports that Cuban prospect Lazaro Robersy Armenteros Arango is expected to sign with a Major League team next week and the Atlanta Braves — who have a LOT of money in their international bonus pool —  are going to hold a private workout for him, suggesting that they are serious bidders. Whoever wins the bidding, it will be for serious money, as Arango is supposed to command upwards of $15 million or more.

While previous workouts have been somewhat underwhelming for the kid, he is considered a five-tool type with lots of potential. He probably has a future as a corner outfielder. Sanchez previously reported MLB insiders referring to him as a “front-line guy,” which is saying something given how early he is in his development.

But the key part of this to me is that Arango has come to be known as “Lazarito” in baseball circles, and I really and truly hope that sticks. Baseball needs more soccer-style single-named players. We’ve got “Ichiro.” A lot of lame contractions like A-Rod and I-Rod existed in the 90s and 2000s. Fans, these days, have taken to referring to some players by one name only if the name is unique enough like “Giancarlo” or whatever. But we really need dudes who just go by one name all the time. That would be boss.