And the only reason we’re limiting it to 1972 is because that’s what we have documented. In Harry Caray’s own diary, in which he kept a record of his bar visits and in which he tucked his receipts. All of that was reported in wonderful detail by Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday. The interviews and anecdotes with some of his drinking companions make the story.
The reason Caray kept the record appears to be tied up in his business arrangements with the White Sox, for whom he worked at the time. His compensation was tied to attendance at Comiskey Park and thus going out, glad-handing and getting people to come to White Sox games was a business expense for the man. If you want to take those deductions, you gotta keep your receipts, right? That’s the sober, er, I mean prudent thing to do.
Of course, it’s entirely possible — I’d say probable — that Caray would’ve been out in heavy rotation like this even if he wasn’t doing so for business reasons. Word on the street has it that, on occasion, Caray liked to have a drink or two.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.