Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

The Pirates are doing a “Game of Thrones” themed-starting lineup introduction


Before there were big jumbotron video boards, lineups were meekly read by a public address announcer. That was no fun.

Then, for a good 20 years, they were presented with nothing more than large photos of the players in question and the same meekly-read lineup read by the same public address announcer.

Then, one day, someone realized that you can actually have fun with this sort of thing. It wasn’t all that long ago, actually. And to be fair, I’ve not seen too many truly creative lineup presentations on big video boards. And I’m not sure if this “Game of Thrones”-themed deal the Pirates are using is truly creative — by definition it’s derivative — but it’s definitely cool:


(via the Post-Gazette)

Braves trade Kelly Johnson to the Mets

Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Braves have traded Kelly Johnson to the New York Mets. In return the Mets are sending minor leaguer Akeel Morris to Atlanta.

Johnson is finishing his third tour of duty with the Braves. The second tour of duty ended when the Braves traded him to the Mets on July 24, 2015. That season ended a couple of months later, he became a free agent and signed back with Atlanta. Now he’s heading to New York again. It’s sort of like those diagrams of how the water cycle works that you remember from junior high science class. At some point he’ll evaporate in New York and rain down in Atlanta again to complete the cycle.

Johnson is needed due to the extended absence of David Wright. The Mets are also missing Lucas Duda and could be out one Juan Lagares for a while too. Johnson will likely take over third base duties but don’t be surprised to see him playing first and some outfield too. He’s hung around the majors for a long time precisely because he can play multiple positions, including second base and all the corners. He even played a game at shortstop for the Mets last year, but don’t expect that to be a common occurrence. On the year Johnson is hitting poorly (.215/.273/.289) but he’s been an above average bat the past two seasons. He’s 34. He’s played for eight teams, including the entire AL East, which is quite a trick.

Akeel Morris is a 23-year-old righty reliever who currently plays for Double-A Binghamton. In 154 minor league games he’s 14-15 with a 2.91 ERA. He has struck out 12 per nine innings in his career but has walked five per nine, so yeah. Binghamtom is giving him trouble this year. He has a 1.382 WHIP and a 4.62 ERA in 22 appearances.

The Hall of Fame will open a 9/11 exhibit later this month


The baseball season was in its home stretch when the events of September 11, 2001 occurred. The season was put on hold temporarily and, when it resumed, several baseball moments, particularly in New York, were notably symbolic and inspirational. Now the Baseball Hall of Fame will open an exhibit devoted to those events.

The centerpiece of the exhibit will be the Mike Piazza jersey he wore on Sept. 21, 2001, in the first game played in New York after the attacks. Piazza hit a famous home run in that game. The jersey was in limbo for years and was recently the subject of an auction and some acrimony between the Mets and Piazza, but now it’ll be on display. Also: a baseball found in the rubble of the World Trade Center, the NYPD hat worn by Mets manager Bobby Valentine and the FDNY hat worn by Mets pitcher John Franco in September and October.

The exhibit opens on June 19 and will be there for the rest of the year.