Rob Neyer asked an all-star cast of baseball writers and thinkers — Allen Barra, Bill James, Bob Costas, Brian Kenny, Don Zminda, John Thorn, Joe Posnanski, Michael Schur, Richard Lally — what the subject matter of the next great baseball movie should be. The answers were all over the place, but most of them struck me as pretty darn good.
I’m sort of in Schur’s camp: we need a funny baseball movie. Something light. We’ve sorta been crushed by a lot of history in the past several notable baseball movies. I think it’s time for wacky. Which is hard because you have to keep the essence of baseball in there too, which can’t be easy. And with “Major League” or “Bull Durham” out there as near perfect examples of the form, it’s hard to match up to what came before.
Still, tell me you wouldn’t see most of these movies.
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?