Associated Press

Someone claimed that Aroldis Chapman the best athlete in the majors

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I will grant that every single major league baseball player is a better athlete than me and most of the rest of us. From Bryce Harper on down to Billy Butler and Bartolo Colon, they’re all stronger and faster and more agile and more skilled than we are, even if we forget that sometimes. Ballplayers may look a lot more like “real people” than, say, basketball or football players, but they’re world class athletes in ways we simply don’t and can’t appreciate.

Still, there are some claims about a ballplayers’ physical abilities of which I am skeptical. Claims like these about Aroldis Chapman in George King’s story in the New York Post:

According to a person familiar with the situation, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Chapman would beat the 6-foot, 160-pound Hamilton, who stole 57 bases in 114 games last season, in a 100-yard dash. The person said Chapman might be the best athlete in the majors.

And it’s more than flat-out speed. Word is other Reds players wouldn’t go into the weight room when Chapman was working out because they didn’t want to be embarrassed by his strength.

On some days I may spend a lot of time asking why someone making that claim demand anonymity from a reporter, but let’s let that go for a second.

Have you seen Billy Hamilton run? It’s hard to compare across eras, but I bet he’s one of the fastest players in the history of the game. I’m less certain about Chapman’s weightlifting abilities. I mean, who can say? But I’m just sort of skeptical. Maybe because I remember that profile on Chapman from a year or two ago that talked about how he smoked Marlboro reds and, in the offseason, slept until like 3pm and stuff.

It doesn’t matter, obviously. The dude throws 102 m.p.h. on the regular and, as I noted above, he’s a world class athlete even if he’s burnin’ 20 butts a day, Jim Leyland-style. I’m just somewhat skeptical and feel like, maybe, someone is having some fun with George King.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.