Craig Calcaterra

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer’s offseason program is pretty high tech

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Indians starter Trevor Bauer resides somewhere between “get it together kid” and “don’t think, it can only hurt the ballclub.” He has amazing stuff and, at times, looks poised to break out as a star. At other times his command is lacking in pretty significant ways and his approach makes you scratch your head. He’s got a lot of pitches and he hasn’t always known when to throw what.

Which makes this article from Jordan Bastian at MLB.com pretty interesting. On one level it makes you wonder if a thing you often hear pitchers say — “keep it simple” — is being ignored. On the other hand, Bauer never strikes you like your typical pitcher, and you have to wonder if maybe this isn’t a better approach for a guy like him:

Bauer detailed one of the setups that he uses in the offseason. He will have a camera in each batter’s box mounted at eye level, so he can see the hitter’s perspective. Bauer also has a camera mounted from the center-field view in order to track the flight of the ball. He then films his pitches at 240 or 480 frames per second, and he can overlay the pitches on video to see variances in the movement.

There’s color-coding overlaid on all of that, as well as analysis of other pitchers like teammates Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar and Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman. It sounds pretty intense.

Proof is in the pudding, of course. And it’ll be really interesting to see if 2015 is the year Bauer truly breaks though the way so many have thought he might some day.

Are the Red Sox more respectful of Roger Clemens’ legacy than Wade Boggs’?

Roger Clemens Red Sox
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I ask that based on this from Nick Cafardo’s Sunday column:

A few readers pointed this out: the Red Sox wouldn’t give No. 21 to Rick Porcello out of respect to Roger Clemens, who is not in the Hall of Fame yet because of steroid allegations. But No. 26 is given to anyone, and Wade Boggs is in the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox cap..

I can’t find an actual news story which says “the Red Sox wouldn’t give” Porcello number 21. Or, for that matter, one which says what number he will actually wear. He did not have a jersey-wearing moment at his introductory press conference so we didn’t see. If they announced it otherwise, I missed it.

But even if he’s not wearing 21, it’s possible that that was his choice, not some honor given to Clemens. Porcello only wore 21 for a couple of seasons in Detroit, switching to it only after he let Torii Hunter wear the 48 that he had worn the previous few seasons. It’s not like 21 has some deep meaning to Porcello. Maybe he doesn’t want it.

If, however, the Red Sox have retired Clemens’ number on a defacto basis — no one has worn it for them since Clemens did in 1996 — it is at least mildly eyebrow-raising. As Cafardo notes, Boggs’ number 26 has been worn by many people, most recently Brock Holt. Last year Boggs himself publicly beefed about it not being retired. As I noted in the post at the time, there are maybe some reasons for that, however provincial they are, but it still is pretty lame that the Sox have not retired it.

Report: Hiroki Kuroda is going back to Japan

Hiroki Kuroda
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I can’t translate this, but those who can say it means that Hiroki Kuroda is heading back to NPB:

Kuroda turns 40 in February. He was 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 2014. He pitched seven years in the majors with the Dodgers and then the Yankees. He’s 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA over that time, good for an ERA+ of 115. He was always reliable and, if he wanted to stay in the U.S., probably could’ve had another one-year deal with the Yankees. But now it’s back home.

Baseball in Uganda? Yes, baseball in Uganda.

Uganda tourism destinations
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There’s a neat story in the Wall Street Journal today about a man named George Mukhobe, a Ugandan who was taught baseball when he was a boy. Now he teaches baseball to Ugandans and is a key part of Uganda actually fielding a competitive Little League World Series squad.

WSJ reporter Jonathan Miller paid Mukhobe a visit and watched as he taught the game to young children who had probably first seen a baseball five minutes prior. It’s a good read. Go check it out.

Padres season ticket sales have spiked in the wake of their offseason spending spree

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The Padres made a lot of moves in a very short period of time last week. This week those moves are paying off at the box office:

Fans had lined up at the box office before it opened Friday morning, pushing ticket interest to new levels in the midst of an already record-breaking month, Wayne Partello, the Padres’ chief marketing officer, said this week.

Although the Padres declined to reveal specific numbers regarding an uptick in sales this month, business on their six-game holiday packages this weekend alone trumped sales totals from the previous two weeks, Partello said.

Ticket sales often go up after a team wins something. But even before that happens, giving your fans hope after years of teaching them to temper expectations can be a boon at the box office as well.