Len Kasper does not care if you think he jinxed a no-hitter

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Cubs announcer Len Kasper — like every announcer in the history of baseball — will mention it when a pitcher has a no-hitter going. Because providing information to viewers is his job. As this story over at Awful Announcing makes clear, he has no intention of stopping simply because certain fans complain about it. He even has some backing — from over 50 years ago — from Vin Scully on the matter.

The no-hitter jinx thing is dumb for two reasons. First because of what Kasper says: it’s his JOB to keep people updated on what’s going in.

But it’s also dumb because it actually requires the person concerned about jinxes to believe that a person who is not otherwise involved in the game can affect its outcome based on his words. As if the fans aren’t talking about it. Or all of us bloggers who are posting in-progress updates and all of the TV networks doing “live look-ins” aren’t talking about too. Indeed, the only people who don’t, as a general rule, talk about it are the people in the actual dugout of the pitcher who has a no-hitter in progress. And at least that much makes sense because the pitcher could be influenced by that a bit and maybe start to get too inside his head or out of his routine.

Of course, such is the case with just about every superstition. But people won’t shake them because people, as a rule, are silly.

In any event, there have been close to 300 no-hitters in baseball history. Someone mentioned the fact that the no-hitter was in progress for every single one of them, I’ll bet my life on it. Yet they still happened. So chill out, OK?

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.