Must-click link: Australian writer’s first MLB encounter

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Simon Crerar, an Australian-born staff writer at BuzzFeed, put together this comical rundown of his first experience with Major League Baseball, which just officially opened its 2014 season with a two-game series between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Crerar mostly points out oddities that we’ve come to accept as very normal, very necessary parts of the game.

Some highlights from Crerar’s writeup …

  • “Instead of a big oval with all the action taking place in the centre, baseball is played on a weird diamond, with all the action taking place in one corner.”
  • “Everyone wears pyjamas. Fancy pyjamas, but still PJs.”
  • “Half the time the players don’t seem to know what’s happening and the coach has to explain the rules.”
  • “Incidentally, these guys wear GREAT leather belts.”
  • “The balls are either super cheap or the MLB is super rich. Balls go into the crowd non-stop and never come back.”

How he ends it: “Thanks for coming Down Under, Major League Baseball! You blew our minds.”

Octavio Dotel, Luis Castillo arrested in drug, money laundering investigation

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Five years ago, Octavio Dotel retired following a 15-year career in which he pitched for a then-record 13 different teams. I’m not exactly sure what he’s been up to since then, but I know that today he got arrested, as did former Marlins, Twins and Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.

That’s the report from Héctor Gómez, and from the Dominican Today, each of whom report that the two ex-big leaguers were arrested today in connection with a longstanding money laundering and/or drug investigation focused on one César Peralta. also known as “César the Abuser.” So he sounds fun. Gómez characterizes it as a money laundering thing. Reporter Dionisio Soldevila characterizes it as “drug trafficking charges.” Such charges often go hand-in-hand, of course. I’m sure more details will be come out eventually. For now we have the report of their arrests. According to the Dominican Today, four cars belonging to Dotel were confiscated as well.

Dotel didn’t debut until he was 25, and for his first couple of years with the Mets and Astros he struggled to establish himself as a starter. He was switched full-time to the Houston bullpen at 27, however, and went on to make 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and a .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings. At the time of his retirement his career strikeout rate — 10.8 per nine innings — was the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings, edging out Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.

Castillo also played 15 seasons, with a career line of .290/.368/.351. He was a three-time All Star and won three Gold Glove awards.