Gregg Zaun to retire

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Spring Training is usually thought of as a time for renewal, but there are always a handful of downer stories too. I think “cool catcher like Gregg Zaun retiring” qualifies as a downer. Sportsnet Ontario:

Sportsnet has learned that San Diego Padres catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire from Major League Baseball.

Zaun is expected to officially announce his retirement Monday.

The 39-year-old catcher played 1232 games in his Major League career, posting a career batting average of .252, with 88 home runs and 446 RBI.

That 39-year-old catcher actually turns 40 next month. And he missed most of last season following June shoulder surgery.  That said, if healthy and able, he stood to be a better option for the Padres than Nick Hundley did. It’s probably safe to assume, however, that at his age and with his shoulder, he was no longer healthy and able. And even if he was, he was obviously no longer willing.

It’s always amazing to me that, despite being the position in which guys take, by far, the biggest physical beating, if you have an old dude on your team, it’s more than likely that he’s a catcher. It speaks to the fact that catching is a place where fine-honed skills and brains count for hell of a lot.  Zaun certainly had both.

And of course, he also had Z-Game.

Fare thee well, Gregg.

The Yankees and Red Sox will both be wearing home whites for the London Series

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This summer’s series between the Yankees and Red Sox in London is, technically, a home series for the Red Sox, with the Yankees serving as the visitors. Pete Abraham reports that Major League Baseball is dispensing with the usual sartorial formalities, however, and will have both teams wearing their home livery: the Red Sox will wear white and the Yankees will wear pinstripes.

It’s marketing more than anything, as you can’t really put your league’s marquee franchise on an international stage and not have it wearing its iconic duds, right?

It’s also pretty harmless if you ask me. Baseball is not like football or basketball in which you have to have contrasting uniforms in order to keep one side from accidentally throwing the ball to the opposition or what have you. And with so many teams wearing solid color alternates now — sometimes both the home and road team are in blue or red jerseys in the same game — it’s not like there hasn’t already been a breakdown in home white/road gray orthodoxy. I prefer the classics, but I lost that battle a long time ago.

So: I say let a thousand colors fly. Heck, let the Yankees wear their pinstripes on the road all the time. Who’ll stop ’em?