A lot of you responded to the Peter Gammons news yesterday by saying something like “Good! Now that Boston homer can do his Boston homer stuff!” Well, you’re not 100% wrong. Gammons, speaking to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:
“A big part of it is that I just want to be home more . . . it’s very much a lifestyle thing . . . I grew up a New Englander, and I want to be part of my hometown. I
still live in Boston. I’m a part of my community, and I want to
continue to be part of my community.”
Presumably he’ll get the Boston stuff out of his system with the NESN part of his new life and will continue to be more of a generalist at MLB.com and MLB Network. Oh, and about those suggestions that ESPN-fatigue had something to do with it?
“A lot of people said to me today, ‘You know, you must have negative
feelings about ESPN.’ That’s so far from the reality. Some of the best friends I have ever had are there. The people from
ESPN were tremendous, and I truly loved working with them.'”
Gammons is a classy guy so he’d say that even if he left in a storm of acrimony, but I’ve heard nothing since yesterday to suggest he isn’t being straight up here.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?