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Hey MLB: I got a million dollar idea for you

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I have a friend who is a scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture. I do not know exactly what he does there. The last time I asked him was about 25 years ago and he talked about, like, genetically engineering square watermelon or squash or something to make it easier and more efficient to stack on trucks. Or maybe I dreamed that. Either way, what he does is way, way above my pay and intellectual grade. Just know that you’re eating better because of him.

Anyway, this friend of mine shared a tweet from the USDA today that I feel like I should share with you. It’s about our baseballs and their bovine provenance:

Given that we are firmly in the Camping World and Doosan Era of Major League Baseball in which the league markets everything that can’t be nailed down and, for the things that can be nailed down, markets the nails, that little set of facts got me thinking. Thinking about business and synergy and corporate partnerships and stuff. Rob Manfred, I know you and I don’t see eye-to-eye on most things, but I give you this idea free of charge.

Baseball Steaks™: steaks made from the same cows from which baseballs are derived. They can put the little MLB logo on the shrink wrap and everything. You dang well baseball degenerates would pay $2-3 more a pound, at least, for The Official Steak of Major League Baseball.™

Even better: if they can figure this out — and given how forward-thinking the league is on biometric tagging of players, cows should be a breeze — they can match up the steaks from each cow to the group of 120 balls that came from the same cow. That’ll allow ’em to do some team-specific branding. They can sell Yankees fans ribeyes and porterhouses which came from the same cow from which the ball that Aaron Judge cranked 465 feet against the Red Sox a couple of weeks back was created. There’d be a certificate of authenticity and all that crap. Maybe an autographed photo of Judge holding the box of steaks you ordered just before it hit shipping. It’d be glorious.

Some of you may question my sincerity here. You may wonder why an MLB-criticizing pinko commie like me is willing to pitch a sure-thing moneymaker to a guy I routinely slam for thinking only about money. To that I’d simply say that it’s a peace offering. Some people break bread to bury the hatchet, I say we break beef. To Rob Manfred I say let’s bury the hatchet by breaking out the captive bolt pistol.

And if you’re curious, no, I am not a vegetarian or a card-carrying member of PETA. Indeed, I’m pretty sure the people at PETA don’t much care for me given our past. This is a legit offer.

Anyway, how about it, Rob Manfred? We doin’ this or are we just gonna sit and let money go down the slaughterhouse drain?

 

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.