Yankees, White Sox will play ‘Field of Dreams’ game in Iowa

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I’m not a religious man and I do not believe in fate or destiny or any grand cosmic plan. I think the cosmos just . . . are, and our existence and our civilization is just a matter of random and improbable happenstance. The stars and galaxies do not know or care about us and neither our good fortune nor the tragedies which befall us matter to the universe one iota. We are but a blip in the space-time continuum and then we are dust. That’s that.

Sometimes, however, I think that, maybe, the universe is out to get us. And that, on occasion, it has it in for me specifically. I thought that this morning, in fact, when I saw this:

Craig: “Is this Heaven?”

Major League Baseball: “No, it’s a game at the ‘Field of Dreams’ field between the Yankees and the White Sox next year, during which we will, 100 percent guaranteed, revel in every nostalgic aspect of that 1989 film.”

Craig: “Oh, so it’s Hell then?”

It will be a regular season game on August 13, 2020, and will be considered a White Sox home date. The game will be broadcast on Fox at 7PM eastern time, so we’ll get a nice sunset. No word if, as in the movie, the sun will both set and rise over left field. I never quite understood that, but I suppose it made for some good visuals.

About those visuals: no, they won’t actually be playing on the field you see in the movie, and which has been preserved as a tourist attraction. The dimensions of that are too small. They’re going to have a regulation size field built next to it and will play on it. To wit:

Commissioner Rob Manfred’s statement:

“As a sport that is proud of its history linking generations, Major League Baseball is excited to bring a regular season game to the site of Field of Dreams.  We look forward to celebrating the movie’s enduring message of how baseball brings people together at this special cornfield in Iowa.”

I guess that’s one of the messages of the movie. The much stronger one is that we should revel in nostalgia and subordinate our own interests, passions, values and desires — hell, we should actually repent for them! — to those of the previous, dead and dying generation, whose values are more valuable than our own. But Manfred’s sounds better I guess.

OK, everyone who has been around here for a while knows how I feel about “Field of Dreams.” If you missed that, you can read it here. And no, I don’t care if the movie makes you all misty for your dad. If you can’t commune with those powerful emotions without the help of a Kevin Costner movie I can’t help you.

Jokes aside, I won’t hate on the idea of the game itself, though. It’ll probably be a pretty fun spectacle. Even better, unlike the 1989 movie version, this Field of Dreams game will actually have black and Latino players on the field. Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947. The Field of Dreams ghosts are all pre-integration guys.  I imagine that, at some point in the last 30 years, the ghosts managed to break the color barrier too, but who knows?

Anyway:

Terence Mann: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. ‘Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,’ you’ll say. ‘It’s only $20 per person.’ They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.”

Major League Baseball: “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. First of all, it’s not $20 a person. It’s probably gonna be $129.99 plus a $39 convenience fee per person. And do not park in the driveway, that’s for MLB VIPs only. There will be a surface lot at the freeway exist with a courtesy shuttle to the park. The “courtesy” thing does not mean it’s free, though. The shuttle will be $20, just like the guy said in the movie.

“Wait, sorry. It’s sold out already. Most of the seats will be filled by stars of next fall’s Fox prime time lineup and family members of Doosan and Camping World executives.”

This is gonna rule. NBC: please send me to this. I promise to cover it fairly and all that jazz and not be a complete and total buzzkill. For serious.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.