There was a fight between agents during the Winter Meetings today. One guy threatened to burn the other guy’s house down. Jeff Passan has the story over at Yahoo! Sports, and he makes a reference to Punch-Out! in it, which is awesome.
Exactly what the title of this post says: Bull Durham will become a musical. Yeah, seriously.
Now, I have zero experience in musical theater and only slightly more than zero in theater in general, but I guess I’ll give this a shot, so without further ado, my one-man performance of the Bull Durham musical:
No, wait, no, I won’t. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to see it. You’d stab your eyes out, rip your ears out and then skins yourself so that you wouldn’t have any chance of even feeling the vibrations created by my voice. So… yeah. Sorry. (No I’m not.)
So, I found this in my family storage. It probably was gotten by my grandfather:
You see that? Well, yes, it’s an image of Pittsburgh’s hopes and dreams being extinguished, but it also is the cover of the Spring Training program for the Atlanta Braves in 1993, when they were in West Palm Beach.
Let’s go inside, shall we (after the jump):
Robinson Cano is now a Mariner. I did NOT see that coming. And they paid a ridiculous 240 million dollars for him, which is absurd, especially given the long length of the deal and the fact Cano is already in his thirties.
However, that, along with the fact that the Mariners are apparently not going in hard to get David Price (amongst others), means there is perhaps no better time than now to be remembering how back in 2002 the Mariners saved humanity from a grand Sasquatch Invasion, which is easily one of the ten worst types of invasions to deal with. And they did it in TWO issues! Yeah, some teams would stop with just one issue, but the Mariners released TWO in 2002. That is true devotion to giving the fans what they…. want? And, what’s more, They were available outside of the stadium too, available at local McDonald’s! That way, you wouldn’t even have had to go to the park to get your hands on these comics!
Oh, and yes, it was done by Ultimate Sports Entertainment/Ultimate Sports Force, why do you ask?
Both comics were written by David B. Schwartz, who’s Twitter account calls him a “entertainment lawyer by day, comic book writer by night.” He’s recently been doing things for independent comic companies like Aspen, where he most recently wrote a title called Idolized, if my research is correct. Since he’s a lawyer, I’m going to be extra-careful not to say anything that might cause him to sue me. Thankfully, he does a pretty good job with these comics, given the circumstances that surround comics like this.
Doing the art for the first issue- and the covers of both issues- was Brian Kong. Kong has done a ton of stuff over the years, from comics to cards to recently illustrating a children’s book about how baseball teams got their names. In part two, the art was done by Dennis Calero, a prolific artist who co-created Cowboys and Aliens, which was later very-loosely adapted into a movie, as well as work with DC and Marvel. Like with Schwartz, they do okay given the circumstances.
Go below the jump and let’s get started on the stories themselves:
I swear I’m going to get up the latest Bizarre Baseball Culture soon, but today has brought two major news stories:
A) Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans’ Committee. Marvin Miller wasn’t, but that’s another story.
B) Roy Halladay, the Doctor, has announced his retirement, signing a one-day deal with Toronto to end his career as a Blue Jay.
So, for those keeping score, that means perhaps the three greatest managers of the past 30 years are now in the Hall of Fame, and perhaps the best pitcher of the last 10 or 11 years has retired.
It’s an interesting contrast when you look at it, because while almost everyone expected the three managers to get in the Hall of Fame, it’s unlikely many people expected Roy Halladay would have gone out with such a whimper. Injuries and the cruelty that comes with growing old led to his sharp decline in 2012 and 2013, while the Phillies lack of hitting and the sheer randomness of October left him without a World Series ring.
It’s a stretch to compare Halladay to Sandy Koufax, but there are some similarities, as both came to the big leagues young, with their first few years being rocky as their raw talent was often unable to make up for inexperience. But then, something clicked, and for a span (five or so years for Koufax, ten or so years for Halladay, albeit with a blip in 2004 when he was hurt) they became the best pitchers of their generations. Then, however, injuries forced them into premature retirements (Koufax at only 30, while Halladay at 36 after two years of decline that Koufax never had).
Another thing they will have in common? The Hall of Fame. Matthew Pouliot over at HardballTalk has a good summing up of why, but it essentially comes down to how good he was over that 10-year span, as well as the fact that, for his era, he was an exceptional pitcher, for example throwing almost double the amount of complete games as the next pitcher who remains active.
Due to the shocking Robinson Cano signing, I’m going to be sending in a pinch-hitter tomorrow, replacing the would-be Bizarre Baseball Culture installment I was planning that featured Ozzie Smith and Tony the Tiger (seriously) with a very special installment that features two comics from 2002 in which the Mariners fight a Sasquatch invasion.
You have been warned.
Well, that escalated quickly.
You know how I made that post about how crazy it could get in the winter meetings? Y’know, with the name of the Mystery Team, the free agents and traded players all redacted? Well, as yesterday went on, it became a lot less likely and a lot less intentionally funny.
So, for those of you who missed it, this happened yesterday:
- The Orioles traded the ever hot-and-cold Jim Johnson to the Athletics for Jemile Weeks, a prospect, and perhaps some magic beans. This was late Monday, but I really didn’t hear about it until I woke up on Tuesday.
- The Red Sox signed AJ Pierzynski.
- The Tigers signed Joe Nathan.
- The Rays, Reds and Diamondbacks had a three-way trade that ended with Tampa getting Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell.
- It came out that that Mariners apparently are in on Robinson Cano.
- The Padres traded Luke Gregerson to the A’s for Seth Smith.
- The Astros got Dexter Fowler from the Rockies.
- The Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal.
- The Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year deal, $153 million dollar deal that is absolutely absurd given his injury history and the fact that he’s 30 years old.
- The Rockies signed Justin Morneau to a two-year deal.
- Oh, and we found out this morning that Paul Konerko will return for the White Sox this year, after speculation he would retire, and that Brandon Phillips will likely be back with the Reds, after speculation he would be traded.
Got all of that?
Next week, the Winter Meetings begin in Orlando. And while we no doubt will see funny images on MLB Network like Kevin Millar hanging out with Goofy and Brian Kenny trying to explain to Captain Jack Sparrow why the win stat must be sent to Davey Jones’ locker, ultimately, it will be about one team. What team is that? Why, it’s the ██████████████!
Here’s how it will happen, of course:
The ██████████████, after all, will no doubt be the ones that will be rumored to be signing ███████████ on the first day, and the team that will be behind the massive three-team trade involving ██████████████████, █████████████, and ██████████████, which will feature ███████ and top prospect ███████, amongst others. Everybody will think the deal is nuts, but some will praise the ███████████’s GM, █████ ██████████, for his initiative and brilliant thinking. Others will call for his firing.
Meanwhile, the ██████████████’s current star, ███████ ███████, will then make a funny comment on Twitter about how he fell asleep in his █████████ home a few hours ago and is honestly wondering if he missed anything, and then make a second comment saying that this is the first time he heard about the ███████████ trade. It’ll be retweeted by everyone and become a meme, with people talking about how “█████████ is sleeping, make sure you do your deals now” or what-not. Everyone will be sick of it within 48 hours and it will then be resigned to the dustbin of baseball memes.
Then, however, a lull will fall upon Orlando for most of the second day. Instagrams of Joe Maddon walking around EPCOT and Alex Rodriguez showing up for reasons beyond mortal minds will fill the void while Ken Rosenthal is forced to tell Twitter people that A) he is tall enough to ride Space Mountain so stop asking and B) he’s too busy to go to Disney World right now. But then, the ██████████████ will be rumored to have been talking to Scott Boras. But about who? The speculation will go throughout the day, until finally, we hear that █████████ has signed a deal! Except, it’ll turn out that that report is actually a fake account, and that ██████████ is actually going to somebody completely different.
Overnight, people will start talking about how lots of pizza is arriving at the ██████████████’s suite, and wonder whether this is proof that ██████████████ will be signing ████████. Nothing will really materialize, but, hey, it’ll kill time.
Then, later on, the ██████████████ will make that one final splash, signing ██████████. People will instantly declare them to be World Series favorites…
….and then, in 2014, they’ll miss the playoffs.
Whoops. Well, at least the ██████████████ will always have their great 2013-2014 offseason to remember.
As you no doubt have found out by now, Phil Hughes has signed with the Minnesota Twins. On one hand, you likely thought this was a crazy and reckless move by the Twins, throwing 24 million dollars at a pitcher who has been wildly inconsistent and who was 4-14 last year with an abominable 5.19 ERA. At least Ricky Nolasco, the other big signing for the Twins in their attempt to make their rotation better, was good last season, after all.
But, get this: this could actually end up being a good move. Maybe.
For one, keep in mind the type of pitcher Hughes is. He’s a fly ball pitcher. Last year, 46.5% of balls hit off Hughes ended up as fly balls, according to FanGraphs. That’s a lot, and it is especially dangerous in stadiums like the new Yankee Stadium, which is a hitters park that at times seems to turn routine fly balls into unexpected home runs. Compare that to Target Field, however, where the opposite seems to happen: if I had a quarter for every time it looked like Joe Mauer had just hit one over the wall only for it to fall short (either turning into a double or a fly-out, depending on the outfielder and the part of the stadium he hit it to), I’d have many quarters.
It’s entirely possible that, with more of his games in a more spacious stadium, Hughes will be able to cut down on the gopher-balls and deflate his ERA quite a bit. Although it’s admittedly a small sample size (and he was facing Twins hitters), Hughes’ regular-season numbers in his three games and 21.1 innings at Target Field seem to back this assessment up. He is a career 2.53 ERA pitcher in those three games, and gave up just one HR (That’s one HR every 21.1 innings, compared to one HR every 5.015 innings in the current Yankee Stadium). If Hughes can replicate anything close to that performance when he pitches in Minnesota wearing a Twins’ jersey, he could prove to be a reliable two or three starter for the Twins, and certainly an improvement over the revolving door they had last season.
And, what’s more, there is also the fact that at times, Phil Hughes’ roller-coaster career has climbed very high. Back in 2010, for example, he was an All-Star who went 18-8 (more on that next sentence). As recently as 2012, he won 16 games, although, as Brian Kenny would tell you, that more-or-less tells you nothing (and, what’s more, he also lost 13 games). Could Hughes be heading for another upward trend? Well, that has yet to be seen, and the answer may well make the Twins look like geniuses (or fools).
Hideo Nomo became the first Japanese player to be on the HOF ballot this year, and while he won’t make it, he definitely deserves to be on the ballot. So, to celebrate that, here’s video of the time Nomo threw a no-hitter in pre-humidor Coors Field.