Craig Calcaterra

Nick Swisher

David Bowie followed Nick Swisher on Twitter for some reason


It’s been a very slow news day, baseball-wise. And I’ll be honest, I spent most of the day listening to David Bowie music and reading David Bowie remembrances. Haven’t you?

Oh, like a lot of people in the content-creation business, I spent a few minutes lamely searching for some vague connection between Bowie and my area of content-creation. That’s what we do. I found nothing other than baseball-style David Bowie t-shirts, and even I’m not that desperate to stretch that into a post. The only person I saw make an actual legitimate Bowie connection to baseball was Dave Brown over at CBS who found out that the Yankees and Bowie were business partners during the early medieval period of the Internet age. That much was interesting.

Then, a few moments ago, when I was getting ready to sign off for the day, I saw someone mention David Bowie’s Twitter account and his random assortment of follows. So I went and had a look at who the Thin White Duke followed.

It was mostly the usual suspects. Artists. Record labels. Former collaborators. Respectable news sites, actors and celebrities. Oh, and this guy, in the top row, middle:

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“It’s on America’s tortured brow that Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow. Now the workers have struck for fame. ‘Cause Swisher’s health-y again.”

RIP, Ziggy. Good luck in 2016, Bro.

Pitcher and catcher report days, full squad workout days announced for all 30 teams

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Washington Nationals practice balls  during spring training workouts on February 18, 2014 in Viera, Fl.  (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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I can’t remember which baseball writer said it, but one of them said the other day that it’s weird how far away baseball season seems in late December and how close it seems in early January. But it’s true, it does. Probably because that’s when clubs start talking about the upcoming season a lot.

And releasing information such as when the pitchers and the catchers will report. Like they just did. Here are the report dates and the full squad workout dates of all 30 teams.

Plan your making-fun-of-beat-writer-iPhone-pics-through-chain-link-fence activities accordingly:

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A lawsuit with big baseball-on-TV implications goes to trial next week

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Next week, a lawsuit captioned Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball goes to trial. We’ve talked about it briefly in the past, but it’s an easy case to forget about given that it deals with antitrust and broadcast rights and stuff like that. It’s tremendously significant, however, and the fact that it has neither been settled nor dismissed before now means that the way baseball is broadcast could be radically altered in the very near future.

The short version of things is that a certified class of baseball fans is suing Major League Baseball, claiming that its broadcast policies — particularly broadcast territories and attendant blackout rules — illegally limit competition and consumer choice. Major League Baseball is arguing that such restrictions are, in the aggregate, better for consumers and ensure that more baseball games are broadcast.

You may scoff at baseball’s argument at first blush — how can restrictions lead to more of a product and/or a better product? — but it’s not ridiculous. If the restrictions were gone, perhaps the Yankees or the Red Sox become nationally broadcast teams? Perhaps a small market team, without a protected territory, decides it can’t make money broadcasting games, thus leading to a limited number of games for the fans of that team? Of course, that’s just Major League Baseball’s argument. All of us, as fans, can tell stories of the ridiculous and Kafkaesque nature of baseball’s blackouts and territorial restrictions which make watching the teams we want to see much harder and/or much more expensive than it should be.

Those are just the thumbnail sketches of the case. For a good, thorough analysis of it all, I highly, highly recommend that you go read Nathaniel Grow’s story on the case over at FanGraphs, where he breaks it down six ways from Sunday. Really, this is must-read material here.

It’s a bench trial, meaning that the judge, not a jury, will be making the decision here. For what it’s worth, Dan McLaughlin, an attorney/baseball writer/political writer who is familiar with the judge on this case just said that “knowing Judge [Shira] Scheindlin, expect a lengthy & detailed opinion; she won’t be afraid to break new ground.” There is no money at stake here, but Major League Baseball could be ordered at the end of this trial to change its broadcasting practices.

Stay tuned. Assuming you’re not blacked out, of course.