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Matt Wieters loves his cat

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I think I’m going to have to start a Ballplayer Pet Hall of Fame. Not for the pets themselves — all pets are Hall of Famers in my book — but for the ballplayers who have the good taste to love cats, which most of you know is my pet of choice.

Matt Duffy is already in there. Mat Latos and his cat, Cat Latos. Greg Bird and Mr. Delicious. Kevin Kiermaier is not an inductee, but there’s going to be a large instructional exhibit about him given his past issues with cats. Kind of a cautionary tale thing.

The latest inductee: Nationals catcher Matt Wieters, who posed with his pet kitty Jalapeño in the Nationals team pet calendar, the proceeds of which go to the Humane Rescue Alliance of Washington, D.C.:

As the Post notes, he’s the only cat guy on there. Which is weird. I mean, yes, I understand the appeal of a good dog (they’re all good dogs, Brent), but you’d think that more ballplayers would like cats given how much easier it is to travel when you have cats. Ten game road trip? Have the neighbor feed the thing, like, twice. No problem.

Oh well. To each his own. But kudos to Wieters for representing Cat Nation. Even if doing so means that Jalapeño now needs months of therapy after being dragged out of its house and driven to the ballpark for a photo shoot. Cats are great, but my God they’re a pain in the butt sometimes.

(thanks to Wes for the heads up)

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.