MLB 2023 - the season of pitchers and catchers approaches!

lizkat

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I love this time of year even if the weather is weird. Spring training news is how we get from February to April... 😊


In Boston where they never give up even with a team like lately, Truck Day remains a feature, so last Friday was time to honor the moment of packing up Red Sox gear for the trek to Fort Meyers, FL. The Globe doesn't have a gift-article feature (shame on those laggards) but y'all should glom onto this piece somehow just for the flavor.


Truck Day is Friday.

That’s right. Truck Day.

Even with five last-place finishes in 11 seasons and an angry fan base that booed Red Sox ownership/management at the club’s “Winter Weekend” in Springfield, Truck Day goes on. It’s kind of like playing “Sweet Caroline” after the Sox bullpen surrenders nine runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Truck Day is sponsored by JetBlue, but I’m told that’s only because the Orange Line [a notorious part of Boston commuting options] made its bid too late. I’m also told that George Santos — who claims to have won 20 for the Sox as a righty screwballer in 2009 — is available to formally launch the 2023 Red Sox season by turning the ignition of the 18-wheeler parked on Van Ness.

In the 1980s, local radio legend Eddie Andelman learned that the Sox truck got lost en route to Winter Haven, Fla., and called the Georgia State Police (on air) to launch a search party. Back then, people here cared about the upcoming baseball season.

And on and on... every winter I start swapping out stodgy ol' news briefings from my mail and hauling in some updates on what's really gonna matter as the year progresses. Yeah so this year starting with the Boston Globe's offerings, betting again that their columns will be more fun than the team's antics. Maybe their bullpen will actually boost their chances this year, who knows. It's baseball, so anything can happen.

Me, I'm a Cleveland fan so I got my own problems, and the Red Sox fans gonna have to look out for Boston on their own.
 

Herdfan

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I figured you would start one of these. I think for the most part it is going to be me and you talking about baseball, but that's OK. :)

I am working on a plan to visit the offspring over my birthday in mid-June. Just so happens she now lives in LA and I haven't ever been to Dodger Stadium. So trying to decide if seeing the White Sox mid-week or the SF Giants over the weekend.

Looking forward to seeing how SD comes out now that they have like 6 SS's on the roster. :eek:

As for the season, I am all for the pitch clock. Go back and look at old footage from Hank Aaron. He didn't even wear gloves, he just rubbed some dirt on his hands and got in the box. There is no need to strap and unstrap your gloves after every pitch. And also not a fan of the limit of throws to 2nd. I do expect to see more throws from the catcher down to first hoping to catch someone napping.

As for the ban on defensive shifts, not a fan of this one. If you get shifted on, slap the ball in the hole, and get on base. Small ball needs to make a comeback. As is it now the three outcomes are strikeout, walk or HR. Let's get back to how it was.
 

lizkat

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Man... talk about moneyball. It's an octopus.


After leveraging up to buy regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. in 2019, Diamond Sports Group LLC is suffering from a decline in cable-TV subscribers, spurring negotiations with creditors and major sports leagues about its viability as a going concern. The outcome will have serious implications for the $55 billion world of sports-media rights: the company’s channels showcase Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League games to fans from Detroit and Phoenix to San Diego.

With financial troubles mounting, the Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.-owned firm will likely skip $140 million in interest payments due mid-February, kickstarting a 30-day grace period, according to people familiar with the matter. A stark divide is emerging between would-be winners and losers: its $630 million first-lien loan is trading at 92 cents on the dollar, while nearly $5 billion of lower-ranked bonds change hands for under 10 cents — signaling a near-total wipeout for subordinated creditors.

How all this goes down matters. If Diamond, which operates under the Bally Sports brand, files for bankruptcy, it could potentially put at risk crucial broadcasting-rights revenue for the likes of MLB.

Diamond expects to emerge from any restructuring by May or June, one person said. At that point, its largest owners would include Prudential Financial, Fidelity, Hein Park Capital Management and Mudrick Capital Management, according to multiple people. The group ultimately aims to sell Diamond after the restructuring, one person said. Representatives for the asset managers either declined or did not respond to requests for comment.

Diamond’s financial struggles are a bad omen for the industry at large, given the amount of revenue from media rights influences how much players get paid, among other things. As the cable-TV business contracts, some sports and media executives are warning that teams and leagues will need to accept smaller rights payments going forward.

The beancounters are not just in the baseball team's offices... and when they land in the lap of capital management firms, look out. That's a step worse than being in the hands of media outlets.
 

Herdfan

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Stats like this fascinate me. Just how dominate he was and how fortunate I was to have been able to watch him in his prime.

IMG_0396.JPG


The way the game in played now, no one will ever catch him.
 

lizkat

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And we probably will never see anything like this again either
Not when nearly half a 40-man roster appeared to be bullpen artists in recent years for some teams. Now though I think they changed it so the max is 13. So maybe we'll see some of these dudes last more than 5 innings...
 

Herdfan

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Repeating. Sorry for y’all lol

Wouldn't surprise me.

And it looks like Alex Cora isn't a fan of the new bases:


I don't see wht they couldn't have just gone with a Double Base at first and left the other 2 alone.
 

lizkat

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The beancounting side of baseball 2023 is sure running into some revenue issues regarding rights payments from regional sports networks... latest problems are with the ones owned by Warner Bros Discovery, covering Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates... the most recent envelopes have been a little light versus what's actually been owed...


This on top of Sinclair's Diamond Sports Group's likely pending bankruptcy involving the Bally Sports networks that stream coverage of 19 teams' games.

 

lizkat

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So far in watching a few spring training games, I don't find it relaxing at all to watch some poor pitcher trying to stay inside the pitch clock while frantically fidding with his PitchCom signals gizmo while the batter fidgets in the box ensuring his gaze is on the pitcher and feet in the box while the plate ump's brain almost visibly whirls away tracking all his timers and counters and wondering when the robots will replace him.

Big deal, half an hour gets chopped off a game. And the damn announcers can think of nothing to talk about except the new rules and the stats on violations to date and how it worked in the minors last year and yada yada. I end up feeling like I've held my breath for the whole time. Whatever happened to "summertime, and the livin' is easy"?

I expect in the first season of these new rules, there will be more pitchers injured in the season. And more than one pitcher driven nuts trying to remember if he already threw to first twice on this batter, before he gets to celebrate many instances of the umpire putting a guy away via a "batter daydreaming his way into a called strike" gig. And then there is the matter of a max 30 seconds before the next wannabe hitter pops into the batting box. Managers will have to curtail their sometimes colorful requests to review a play...

Oh well. It's like learning a new language and the viewers have to learn it as well. Once we all get the working vocabulary down and a few rules of the new grammar, we can almost envision kicking back again in the bleacher seats like the old days. Big maybe!

I tell myself there was a time I didn't understand anything about baseball to begin with, past the idea that if any of us kids hit the ball between the poplar trees and nailed the neighbor's garage window again, our dad would fix it again, sure... but then have us marching once again through some long list of suddenly unpaid chores that ended up taking the shine off our glorious home run.
 

Herdfan

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I was searching my old emails to see if DirecTV had offered me the new Gemini combo satellite/streaming box and instead I found an email from them in my Junk folder giving me MLB Extra Innings for free.

Wow!

I subbed to it way back when I first got DirecTV 28+ years ago, but haven't in years. I do think this will come in handy once we get settled in the Pacific time zone. Every time I have been out there, there has been nothing to watch after 10pm. So at least I can watch some west coast teams play.

Nice surprise. :)
 

Herdfan

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@lizkat

Did you watch any of the WBC? I did not except I did tune in last night for the last couple of innings of the finale'. Wow. It came down to Ohtani in the 9th pitching to Trout for the title. It's what I love about baseball.

I know a couple of owners aren't happy about the WBC (Diaz is lost for the season and Altuve for a couple of months) but it is good for baseball overall.
 

Herdfan

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Never fear that if you make a new stupid rule (outlawing the shift), someone will outsmart you.

And that is exactly what has happened. So MLB decided it didn't want the infield shift, so they outlawed it and now require 2 infielders to be on each side of 2nd base AND no infielder can be on the outfield grass.

So what have teams done, they simply put the left fielder in the deep gap between the 1st and 2nd basemen. While not exactly the same as the infield shift, it works about the same.

Make stupid rules and someone smarter will find a way around them.
 
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