Teams have broken camp and the regular season begins a little over 48 hours from now. Some exhibition games remain, however, and they’re being played in big league parks. A big reason for that is that big league park operators — the sounds guys, the TV guys, the ushers, the grounds crew and everyone else — need a couple of run-throughs before it all counts too.
The bullpen cart drivers need a run-through as well. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Diamondbacks have brought back that weird tradition of decades past, and last night at Chase Field we got to see it in action for the first time. Brace yourselves for the excitement:
Given the less-than-direct route and the fact that the guy still has to walk in from the track, I don’t feel like it saves all that much time over a jogging reliever. Then again, a jogging reliever isn’t brought to you by a parcel delivery company, the official parcel delivery company of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and isn’t that what really matters?
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.