Tag:MLB
Posted on: April 2, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Pepper: Facebookin' baseball fans

Giants

By Evan Brunell

FACEBOOKIN': Oh, the things you can find out.

A group of Facebook data scientists got together and analyzed all 30 teams' fan pages on Facebook as well as status updates of its fans.

"While the U.S. may be a country of 50 states, to fans of Major League Baseball, it's a country of thirty teams, each with its own sphere of influence," the report stated.

So what was found?

For one, the World Series last season that opposed the Giants and Rangers pitted America's most liberal baseball fans against its most conservative. Not that much of a surprise given each team's respective locations. But the Giants were also part of a list of fans that were young and single. The two teams that paced baseball in having the youngest and most available fans were the Athletics and Blue Jays. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Cardinals, Reds or Tigers fan is more likely to be older and married.

How about popularity? There are plenty of teams that "vie for popularity in Southern California, [but] teams like the Braves are dominant over most of the South," the report said.

The most popular team, though, was the Yankees as a fan "liked" the team every 1.5 teams. Bringing up the rear were the Nationals with over five teams liked per fan. (San Francisco Chronicle)

READYING FOR SUNDAY: Barry Zito is expected to make his start Sunday after coming through a throwing program Friday with no repercussions. Zito is still recovering from a car crash Wednesday night that has left him with a stiff neck. (San Jose Mercury-News)

FRENEMIES: A nice feature story on both Ed Wade and Ruben Amaro. Amaro, of course is the GM of the Phillies that has made bold moves lately to create a vaunted rotation while Wade hired Amaro to the front office and preceded Amaro as GM of the Phillies back in the dog days of Philly baseball before Pat Gillick came in and turned things around. (Philly.com)

BACK HOME: It was a strange return to Texas of sorts for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made his second straight opening start in the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Of course, last year he was a Ranger and ended up delivering the first game-winning hit of Texas' 2010 season. "I've got nothing but good things to say about Salty," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The guy works his butt off. The tools are there, but it's like anything else. Talking and writing about it is one thing. Getting it done between the lines is another." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

STOP CHEWING: Commissioner Bud Selig fully intends to attempt a ban on smokeless tobacco in the next round of labor negotiations. He may have a difficult time getting the ban in place. Where's the line between what baseball can demand and a player's on personal choice? (MLB.com)

MMM, FOOD: Here's an interesting list of the best new food at ballparks for 2011. Topping the list is the "Meat Lover's Hot Dog" that is being rolled out in Cincinnati. It's a quarter-pound hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and then topped with pepper, jack cheese and fried salami. Sounds delish, but also sounds right in line with America's obsession with pigging out and then complaining about being obese. (Mantestedrecipes.com)

LINEUP CONTROVERSY: Brennan Boesch is in the lineup for Saturday's tilt against the Yankees, while presumed starting left fielder Ryan Raburn has hit the bench. That creates lots of questions about just what is the status quo in Detroit. (Detroit News)

NOT ROLLING IN MONEY: Forbes created a bit of a stir by revealing the Padres had the highest operating income last season at $37.2 million. Does that mean San Diego is pocketing money rather than reinvesting it back into the team? Not quite, as Forbes could have overstated the amount of profit by the team as much as $10 million. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

OVERCLAWING: The SEC believes Irving Picard is taking things a bit too far in his fee requirements in his capacity as trustee overseeing Bernie Madoff's financial empire. Picard is supposed to return the money to its rightful owners and yet could threaten the $2.5 billion fund of the government-sponsored nonprofit organization that manages the liquidation of failed brokerage firms in personal fees. (New York Daily News)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:51 am
 

Top 20 things to expect from 2011 season

Jeter

By Evan Brunell

The 2011 season is slated to start Thursday, and with it comes no shortage of storylines to watch. Last year brought the advent of Stephen Strasburg, yet another Cliff Lee trade, and of course, the Giants being crowned champions. What's on deck?

1. East Coast hype

An all-too easy criticism of mainstream media or any sports journalist is the dreaded "East Coast bias" label. However, this season, most of the intriguing teams and races will come from both the AL and NL East.

In the senior circuit, the Phillies have a vaunted rotation, but injuries to Domonic Brown and Chase Utley have left the door ajar for the Braves to sneak in. Many seem to be overlooking Atlanta, but the club won 91 games and will add Dan Uggla to the lineup while improving production out of left field. The Marlins, meanwhile, have a strong rotation and enough offensive potential loaded in their young players that they can't be discounted. Add in the mess that is the Mets along with some nice storylines in Washington (Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Jayson Werth to name three), and there's plenty of topics to go around.

Likewise, in the league with the DH, the Red Sox were the darlings of the offseason after importing Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, while adding Bobby Jenks to the bullpen, and appear to be the team to beat, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman has admitted. But you can't count out New York, and Cashman has a quality club ready to push for the division. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, underwent quite a remake but can't be counted out, as this is a club that could crack 90 wins with only a smidgen of luck. The Jays are fresh off a surprising year and have Jose Bautista to draw national interest, while the Orioles are hopeful the middling veterans imported will push the team toward the .500 barrier.

That's not to say that other teams don't have compelling storylines, but the concentration of quality and ease of finding compelling storylines for each team means that the East Coast will dominate the news.

2. Breaking records

It will be a banner year for three players set to hit significant milestones, and there are plenty of other players nearing milestones that, while not Hall of Fame caliber, will put emphasis on the productive careers they have had.

Rounding the Bases

Perhaps the most revered milestone for a hitter to reach, 3,000 hits will come into play for Derek Jeter, who is just 74 hits away. He will probably reach the mark in late May or early June, depending on if he's the .270 batting average Jeter of 2010 or the .314-average Jeter of his career.

Jeter isn't the only Yankee poised for a milestone, however. Mariano Rivera is closing in on 600 saves, as he currently has 559. Given that the major-league record for saves is 601 by Trevor Hoffman, Rivera could also make it to the top of the mountain. That said, Mo will need a good year to reach 600 saves as he has not cracked the 40-save barrier in four out of the past five years.

Ivan Rodriguez is also close to 3,000 hits, needing 183. However, given he has not reached that mark since 1999, you can bet I-Rod will need until at least 2012 to reach the milestone. Heck, depending on how much he plays and produces, he may need until 2013, even though that is quite unlikely.

Jim Thome is 11 home runs away from becoming the eighth member of the 600-club. Paul Konerko needs 35 homers to reach 400, while Adam Dunn (354) and David Ortiz (349) would need big seasons to hit the 400 mark.

Closing in on 2,000 hits are Carlos Lee (1,967), Orlando Cabrera (1,948), Scott Rolen (1,944), Jason Giambi (1,914), Albert Pujols (1,900), Adrian Beltre (1,889), Luis Castillo (1,889), Konerko (1,861), Michael Young (1,848), Derrek Lee (1,843), Juan Pierre (1,842), Andruw Jones (1,840) and Placido Polanco (1,836).

3. A new labor agreement

Baseball's collective bargaining agreement is due to expire after the season, but both baseball and the players union are already beginning work on coming to an accord. In a year where the NFL has locked out its players and the NBA appears headed down that path, it's important for baseball to work together with players and come to an agreement in short order.

Fortunately, after years of rancor, both sides have a harmonious working relationship and it should not be difficult to come to an arrangement even with sensitive topics such as revenue sharing and draft slotting among what will be discussed. The last agreement was finalized and announced on Oct. 25, 2006, so any announcement may not come until the conclusion of the playoffs.

However, recent word comes from the Boston Globe that any hint of a work stoppage would be a shocker, even with delicate issues such as revamping the revenue-sharing agreement. Also on deck is adding wild cards, an international draft and draft slotting.

4. Giants doing just fine

There are a lot of people wondering if the Giants can possibly repeat their World Series run of last year, doing so with a suboptimal offense and squeaking into the playoffs by the skin of their nose.

However, the offense should be much improved with Buster Posey behind the dish for a full year, Aaron Rowand squarely on the bench and Miguel Tejada replacing Edgar Renteria. While Tejada may have his issues, especially on defense, he should be able to improve on what Renteria gave the Giants last season. In addition, prospect Brandon Belt should be in the majors by June at the latest and will add another dimension to the club.

The rotation is one of concern, even if it's ridiculously deep given how young everyone is sans Barry Zito and the load they shouldered last year to win a ring. Fortunately, the Giants are cognizant of this and plan to give starters a lighter load to start the year. Plus, even if one or two starting pitchers fall flat on their face, there's still plenty of quality starters. One concern is the depth behind the front five, which is extremely thin.

5. Yankees trade for starting pitcher

There's simply no way the Yankees don't strike for a starting pitcher this season, but it may not be Francisco Liriano. The lefty is the hot name in trade circles and while Liriano still stands a good chance of being dealt, it probably won't be until after the year.

But the Yankees need help now. They had enough trouble filling the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation, so imagine what the depth behind them is like once injuries strike -- and they will. Fortunately for the Yankees, they have a solid farm system and a top prospect in Jesus Montero they can dangle for the right pitcher.

Even if the right pitcher doesn't come along to whisk Montero away, there will be no shortage of candidates as the year goes on for the Yankees to grab. What bears watching is who they grab. While acquiring a No. 4 starter would certainly deepen the rotation, it's more important for New York to get a frontline pitcher. Does anyone feel confident with A.J. Burnett following CC Sabathia in the playoffs? Didn't think so, and it would be presumptuous to project Phil Hughes' emergence into that pitcher even if the talent is there.

6. Strasburg recovering from Tommy John surgery

StrasburgStrasburg underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow on September 9, and recovery from such surgeries these days tends to take 9-12 months. Edinson Volquez returned to the majors 11 months after such a surgery. While the Nationals may play it cautious, Strasburg is right on schedule, and given his tremendous work ethic and young age, should have no problem meeting the conservative 12-month estimate.

That means Strasmas could be back just in time to close the season out, where he'll certainly dominate headlines once more. Strasburg would certainly need minor-league rehab starts first, but his timeline should assure him of the ability to get into games before the minor-league regular season ends in early September. Given the club will have expanded to 40 players at that point and will likely be out of the division race, it won't be difficult to get Strasburg back on the roster and in a major-league game.

Could the Nationals play it conservative and hold him back until 2012? Sure, it all depends how Strasburg progresses. But even if they hold him back, Strasburg certainly would play Winterball to get his footing under him. Most pitchers returning from T.J. surgery tend to struggle with command upon return, and the only way to address that is to get on a mound and pitch.

7. Bonds, Rocket dominate headlines

BondsThe trial of Barry Bonds has already started, but is still ongoing. It should be wrapped up before long, but that doesn't mean that Bonds will exit the headlines -- whatever the ruling on Bonds' perjury trial, it will have long-lasting ramifications on the game.

If Bonds is found guilty, many ink will be spilled on how this cements Bonds' exclusion from the Hall of Fame, plus articles on how Bonds is finally getting his comeuppance.

In addition, Roger Clemens will be put on high alert, given the Rocket will be undergoing his own perjury trial in the summer. If Bonds is found innocent, there will be a hot debate once more on whether to vote Bonds into the Hall. You will find those writers who believe that, despite the acquittal of Bonds, he knowingly abused steroids. There will be those who concede that while Bonds likely knew exactly what was going on, the law has deemed him innocent, and thus should be elected. And of course, a broad spectrum of opinions therein.

The Clemens trial, meanwhile, will dominate headlines even more than Bonds given the salacious details that have leaked out about Clemens' career, plus the off-putting way in how Clemens has fought the rumors he used steroids.

Much like the Bonds trial, the verdict will spark debate amid wide-ranging opinions. If both are convicted, there will be those who consider the steroid mess closed thanks to triumphing over perhaps the best hitter and pitcher of the steroid era. If both are innocent, it may open the door for those to wonder openly if they are not truly innocent, that the problem may lie with the system itself if it allows Bonds and Clemens to walk free.

Either way, the Bonds and Clemens trial will spark plenty of discussion that will last for years as they attempt to get into the Hall of Fame.

8. Questioning if Mets stay solvent

WilponsThe Mets are hoping to close a deal to bring in a new investor by the close of July. While it is not yet known what percentage of the team these investors will hold, it is expected to be in the 20-25 percent range, although the Wilpons are focused on acquiring a certain price over selling a certain percentage.

Why? 

They need the money. The Mets have debt to pay off, a $1 billion lawsuit staring them in the face (thanks, Irving Picard) and a ticking clock in which to stay solvent. If the Mets aren't able to bring in a new investor by that time, they will likely need a loan from MLB. At that point commissioner Bud Selig would likely have free rein to do what he wants with the Mets, including telling the Wilpons to sell the entire club.

That's incredibly unlikely, especially since the Wilpons (Jeff pictured on the left, Fred right) and Selig have a long, good relationship, but it bears mentioning.

Most investors are requesting majority control of the Mets -- which won't happen, unless the Wilpons' hands are forced -- or right of first refusal if the Wilpons eventually have to cough up the team. This should be an acceptable compromise to the Wilpons, who need to worry about money more than they do any possible future owner of the club.

9. New wave of prospects arriving

At the beginning of March, CBS Sports revealed its top 100 prospects, and along with the list came information on which prospects could make an impact this season.

Topping the list was No. 3 prospect Domonic Brown, who was expected to start in right field for the Phillies and attempt to replace Werth. Unfortunately, the team is now left scrambling after Brown fractured the hamate bone in his hand. He shouldn't be out terribly long, but may struggle with his power stroke upon returning. Philly may have to wait until 2012 to extract real value from the kid.

Meanwhile. No. 6's Jeremy Hellickson will open the season as a member of Tampa Bay's rotation and could easily replace the statistics Matt Garza tossed up. He's that good, that ready for the major leagues and has to be considered the front-runner for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

A fellow pitcher in Kyle Drabek (No. 16) appears on the verge of cracking Toronto's rotation after a successful late-season stint with the Blue Jays. Across the border in Ohio, Aroldis Chapman (No. 9) is readying for a full year in the bullpen and could wrest the closer's job away from Francisco Cordero by year's end.

The prospects keep on coming, as the Braves boast three in No. 19's Freddie Freeman, No. 29 Mike Minor and No. 85 Craig Kimbrel. Freeman should provide a steady presence at first base even if he lacks high-end ceiling. Minor figures to open the year in Triple-A, but should make an appearance before long and have a nice career in the middle of the rotation. Kimbrel is considered by many to be the Braves closer of the future.

There are plenty of other projected starters who will infuse baseball with youth, such as No. 33's Chris Sale, who will relieve for the White Sox; No. 66's Matt Dominguez who is on pace to play third for Florida -- ditto the same for No. 96's Brent Morel for the White Sox; No. 71's J.P. Arencibia is readying for a season as Toronto's backstop; No. 86's Danny Espinosa rocketing through two years of the minors to open the year as the starting second baseman for Washington; and No. 95 Jake McGee's apparent future as Tampa Bay's closer. You also can't discount No. 18 Brandon Belt, who could easily take home the NL Rookie of the Year honors provided he logs enough time for the Giants. Starting pitchers Zach Britton (No. 14, Orioles), Simon Castro (No. 52, Padres) and Kyle Gibson (No. 37, Twins) are on the verge of the bigs as well.

10. Philly thankful Blanton stayed

When the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, the consensus was that Philadelphia would trade Joe Blanton. After all, who needs a No. 5 starter due $17 miliion over the next two years when you have Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels?

Philly couldn't find a fit, however, and will now head into the season with Blanton on the roster. This is a good thing. Just because Blanton is the No. 5 starter doesn't mean he doesn't hold value, and being able to trot Blanton out against the back of the rotation for other teams will give Philadelphia an edge -- one it needs after losing Brown and Chase Utley.

Will Blanton stay with the team for the remainder of the year? Who can say, but even trading Blanton in July for pieces Philly knows it needs for a World Series run -- and to teams who will be increasingly desperate for pitchers once injuries and attrition hit -- is far more valuable than any deal of Blanton in January would have accomplished.

11. Firings

There's no question some managers and GMs will be shown the door in 2011. But who?

Skippers on the hot seat are covered here, so let's take a look at some GMs that could get the axe.

CollettiNed Colletti, Dodgers: Granted, Colletti has been hamstrung by the financial woes of owner Frank McCourt, but Colletti hasn't exactly done a good job with what he's been given. He appears to have learned from his mistakes in signing disasters like Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones and giving away Carlos Santana, but he also hasn't improved the team significantly. This team is simply muddling along, and Colletti looks like the classic "change for change's sake" for McCourt to try to improve morale. Of course, nothing will improve morale more than McCourt taking a hike.

Jim Hendry, Cubs: Hendry has been an up-and-down GM with the Cubs. While he made a bold gamble in trading for Garza and the Cubs may be a mild sleeper, if the team missteps yet again it's difficult to fathom the Ricketts family holding still. Hendry is a holdover from the previous ownership regime and is signed through 2012, but that wouldn't give the ownership pause in firing him. If the Cubs slip, Hendry is highly likely to be given his walking papers, especially since he stuck his neck out by hiring Mike Quade.

Tony Reagins, Angels: Reagins has done nothing but take steps back since taking over for Bill Stoneman, all the more curious given Stoneman was promoted and oversees Reagins. But the moves Reagins has made, such as (obviously) Vernon Wells are head scratching. Similar moves for Scott Kazmir and insisting on playing Jeff Mathis have followed. Manager Mike Scioscia loves Mathis, but it's up to Reagins to tell Scioscia no and take Mathis away if need be. Unfortunately, this team looks lined up to disappoint again and hover around .500. Will that fly for a second consecutive year in L.A.? Doubt it, and Scioscia won't be the first candidate on the chopping block.

Ed Wade, Astros: It's possible Wade could be on the chopping block in his third season with Houston. The Astros are widely expected to slide back and simply aren't successful at the major- or minor-league level when it comes tom talent. That may speak more to the owner than GM, but the owner doesn't get fired. Also, McLane is thought to be interested in selling the team and is reportedly close to selling to Jim Crane, who previously attempted to buy Houston and lost out on the Rangers last season. Should that happen, new ownership would absolutely want to bring in its own leader.

Jack Zduriencik, Mariners: Jack Z's leash is likely long enough to give him at least one more year, but in Year 3, the Mariners simply don't seem to have improved from his tenure. Yes, they surprised many in 2009, and part of it was probably flukish, but Zduriencik took a historically anemic lineup from 2010 and added ... Jack Cust. If he can get a strong season from Justin Smoak and impressive debuts from Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda, he should be safe.

12. Surprise teams

It happens every year. There's always that one team that takes a big step forward and contends for the postseason. Last year was especially notable in this regard, with the Reds, Padres, Giants and Blue Jays all performing better than expected. The one team to keep an eye on for 2011 is Colorado.

The Rockies finished with 83 wins last year, which is a surprise given the talent. Everyone knows the name Ubaldo Jimenez, Troy Tulowitzki (pictured) and Carlos Gonzalez, but the rest of the team aren't scrubs either. Colorado has been in the national consciousness the last few years given its Rocktober run in 2007 and another postseason appearance in 2009, but it hasn't been able to sustain that excellence.

TulowitzkiThat could be changing now that Gonzalez has fully matured into a middle-of-the-order hitter and have built out a rotation that should keep Colorado in the game. The Rockies are counting a bit on production from Ian Stewart at third and Chris Iannetta at catcher, but when you look at this team, it's a playoff-caliber club that should challenge the Giants in the NL West.

Unlike Colorado, however, there will also be those teams that crash and burn despite expectations. San Diego is widely expected to slide back, but expectations have also been adjusted due to trading Adrian Gonzalez. The one team that may not be able to live up to its billing is the Brewers.

Like Colorado, the star players are obvious -- Zack Greinke and Prince Fielder are the star names, but Ryan Braun and Shaun Marcum are no lightweights, either. The one area of concern in Milwaukee is the utter lack of depth which will end up a real problem if and when injuries strike. Look at what's happened to the rotation -- without Greinke to start the season, the club is going to have to trot out what will effectively be slop in the No. 5 spot. There's similar stories on offense with little help ready to step in and a complete punting of shortstop defense and center field offense.

The Brewers should finish .500, but they are a popular pick to win the World Series and it's difficult to envision them even making the playoffs unless everything goes right. The odds of that happening are as slim as Greinke accepting a trade back to the Royals.

13. Suffering in K.C ... plus optimism

"The day is darkest before dawn," or so goes the saying. That's certainly true in Kansas City, which will throw out a team capable of losing 100 games. But boasting the game's best farm system in a very long time is just the salve to ease the pain Royals fans will enjoy  watching Luke Hochevar function as the team's "ace."

The Royals have pared payroll, knowing it's pointless to try to pretend they can contend, plus the necessity to keep certain positions open for prospects that are nearing the majors. While Alcides Escobar will start the season in the majors, that won't be enough to excite the masses until the first wave of prospects hit, with Mike Moustakas likely to join the club in June or July.

Fans are going to have to sit through Jeff Francoeur flailing at pitches, Alex Gordon trying desperately to reverse his "bust" label and Jason Kendall struggling to take corporeal form ... but the picture only gets rosier, starting with 2012 where it's possible three of the most heralded prospects could break the year with the club, then an additional three hitting the majors at some point over the summer.

While watching the Royals, at least in the outset, will be an exercise in futility, by September, they may become the hot team to watch for the baseball fanatic.

14. Pirates finish last -- or will they?

The Pirates are poised to register their 19th consecutive losing season, but there is some optimism in Pittsburgh. The first wave of position player prospects have hit, and the club can point to Andrew McCutchen in center field, Jose Tabata in left, Neil Walker at second and Pedro Alvarez at third as reasons to be optimistic with the offense. There are some other intriguing pieces down on the farm offensively that could make an impact such as catcher Tony Sanchez, and with a strong year, outfielder Starling Marte could be knocking on the door.

The club is also building solid pitching depth, with Rudy Owens and Bryan Morris perhaps making their big-league debuts this season, although the cream of the crop in Jameson Taillon (the No. 2 overall pick behind Harper in last season's draft) and Stetson Allie are further away. While the team waits for Taillon and Allie, however, it could pluck Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 pick in June. Cole has been called by some as the "next Stephen Strasburg." Lofty expectations to be sure, but if Cole is picked and advances quickly, the Pirates could start doing some damage in several years.

In 2011, finishing under .500 is a virtual certainty. But will the Bucs finish in last place? It's possible they could pull out a fourth-place finish. It all depends how well the rotation performs and Alvarez, Tabata and Walker all adjust to a full year in the majors. The Astros may just have enough solid major-league talent to grab a fourth-place finish, but that's in doubt. Hey, any type of progress will be welcome in Pittsburgh.

15. Wild (card) about the postseason?

There seems to be overwhelming momentum toward expanding the playoffs with another wild card likely being added to the fray to battle the other wild-card winner in a best-of-3 series. That means that for the first time since 1995, the postseason would take on an entirely different complexion.

In 2010, the Yankees would have taken on the Chicago White Sox, while the Braves would have had to stave off the San Diego Padres, who lost the division by one game to the Giants.

The year prior, the Red Sox would battle the Rangers, giving the national audience a hint of what was to come in Texas while the NL would have pitted Colorado against the division-rival Giants. Assuming two wild cards can't come out of the same division, the Marlins would have drawn the honor.

Sounds like fun, right? Except that there would be no Game 163s anymore, so knock out the epic Tigers/Twins battle for the division in 2009. Likewise, the Rockies and Padres would never have played Game 163 in 2007.

Should the second wild card be added to the game, an NFL-style tiebreaker will most likely be used to determine outcomes when two teams tie for the wild card or division. On one hand, that's a bit disappointing, because Game 163s are tremendous fun. But on the other hand, that fun would simply be extended to the new wild-card playoff format and happen every year instead of having to wait for the occasional Game 163 scenario to roll around.

Either way, it would be a shocker if there wasn't a new playoff system in place for 2012.

And here's five more things that could happen this season ... 

Ramirez1. In the first game between the Red Sox and Rays, Manny Ramirez forgets he's on the Tampa Bay squad and runs on the field with the Red Sox to begin the game. He asks Crawford what he's doing in left field and why they are wearing opposite uniforms. Crawford tries to explain the situation, but ManRam simply shrugs and heads into the Green Monster.

2. Ozzie Guillen surprisingly releases a book about Jenks (remember when he said he could "write a book on the kid" in the offseason?), full of salacious details about Jenks' time in Chicago, including the revelation that Jenks ate a middle reliever during one game. In his first game against the White Sox in 2011, an enraged Jenks throws at the head of the first two batters, hitting them before Guillen comes out on the field to complain. Jenks then beans Guillen and the two brawl on the field, which leads to a multi-million dollar match between the two in UFC in which Jenks, who hired Mike Tyson as trainer, attempts to bite Guillen's ear off.

3. During one particularly heated Cincinnati-St. Louis matchup, the benches clear, and Johnny Gomes comes face to face with Adam Wainwright. Without a word exchanged, Gomes promptly delivers a crane kick to Waino. "First learn stand, then learn fly," Dusty Baker sagely observes.

4. Joe Maddon, who is already known for using uncommon words, takes things to a whole new level. Witness this quote: "David Price can unequivocally bung. How dexterous is the swain? He's as recherché as Sandy Koufax in his diurnal course." Good luck deciphering that.

5. Pujols announces the team he has chosen to sign with during the last homestand of the season -- against the Cubs on Sept. 25. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the bases loaded, down three runs with a full count and the division title in the balance for the Cardinals, Pujols watches strike three right down the middle. As the crowd groans, Pujols rips open his jersey, revealing a Cubs home jersey underneath and dropkicks Tony La Russa as the announcers scream "NOOOOOOO!" And fade to black.

OK, so these five things won't happen, but one can dream. The rest you can expect.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: March 28, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Learning curve for Dominicans

Dominican Republic

By Evan Brunell

Imagine being thrust in a new country where you don't know the language and are expected to perform at the top of your game in the job assigned to you. Should you fail, embarrassment awaits you back home.

Such is the life of teenaged Dominicans who make the leap to full-season ball in the United States. The Giants' Gabriel Cornier is no exception, but he's receiving a lot more assistance these days than ex-Giants manager Felipe Alou did when he went to the United States to pursue baseball. While Alou would eventually be called up in 1958, and enjoy a productive career both on and off the field, the early going was not easy.

Back then, Spanish was barely known, and Alou didn't know English at all. So when his manager told his team certain information one day, Alou pretended to understand.

"I come to the park with nothing but the clothes I was wearing, and I saw other players bring suitcases and I thought, 'What's going on here?' " Alou reminisced. "There was a bus parked outside and I see all the players get inside the bus, so I get in the bus. I had nothing.

"We went on a nine-day road trip. Nine days. I don't say anything because you don't want to sound stupid, but the guys figured it out and bought me another pair of pants and another shirt."

While Cornier has more support around him, with Spanish-speaking coaches and an English trainer on hand, even in the U.S. and received basic English training in the Dominican. However, it is still difficult for players, who are terrified of being released.

"You come over here, you leave your family there, they're putting all of their future on you making it," Alou said. :Every time their name is called, they think it's to be released. How do you tackle that? You cannot tell the kid, 'We're not going to release you' because maybe you do next week.

"If the Latinos go back home, what do they have there? Baseball is the only thing they have." (San Francisco Chronicle)

CINDERELLA STORY: Tom Wilhelmsen is 27 years old, has never pitched above Class A and was out of baseball from 2004-08 before pitching in indy ball in 2010. That leaves just 2003 and 2010 as seasons of experience with a major-league team, but the righty is one of eight candidates left for seven relief spots. (MLB.com)

LABOR PEACE: Worried that the labor negotiations for baseball could end up as contentious as the NBA and NFL negotiations? Don't worry -- an agreement could possibly be reached by season's end, and even the player's union is willing to talk about changes in revenue-sharing formulas. Even the mild hint of a work stoppage would be a shocker. (Boston Globe)

RIGHTY, LEFTY: The Yankees appear poised to move forward with a lineup that will have Brett Gardner leading off against right-handers. Derek Jeter will lead off against lefties as the team takes advantage of platoon splits. Also, coming Monday will be a majority of the final roster decisions for the Yankees. (The Journal News)

STADIUM ISSUES: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016, but that's unlikely to happen given the process of building a new stadium would have to start by 2012 at the absolute latest. Angels owner Arte Moreno for his part believes the current 45-year-old stadium is viable, simply requiring structural upgrades. One potential issue is the city refusing to assist in renovations due to the team's name change that embarrassed the city. (Los Angeles Times)

PLAY THE MAN: The Diamondbacks have a power-hitting first baseman, but insist on not giving him an extended shot. Instead, Arizona will go with aging Russell Branyan and Yankees minor-leaguer Juan Miranda. That leaves Allen yet again on the outside looking in even as he brims with talent. It's time for Arizona to let Allen go to another organization to get his shot, Eric Seidman opines. (Fangraphs)

WANTED: LEFTY RELIEVER: The Mets are looking for a second left-handed reliever to help combat the potent lefty bats in the division. My suggestion? Take a look at lefty Ron Mahay, who was cut by the Dodgers Saturday. (Sports Illustrated via Twitter)

A TASTE OF CHICAGO: The Cubs have switched hot dog and pizza vendors, electing to remain with Chicago staples for each. Vienna Beef returns as the hot-dog supplier after last representing Chicago in Wrigley Field back in 1981 while D'Agostino's pizza replaces Connie's, which also lost out on acting as the White Sox's pizza provider, who will go with Nestle's DiGiorno's. The Cubs are emphasizing Chicago vendors to give fans -- of rough around 37 percent are from outside Illinois a year -- "an authentic Chicago experience." (Chicago Tribune)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

PHOTO: July 13, 2009; St. Louis, MO, USA; National League players Hanley Ramirez (second left), Albert Pujols (second left), Francisco Cordero (right), and Miguel Tejada (second right) pose with Dominican Republic minister of sports Felipe Payano during the 2009 All-Star workout day at Busch Stadium.

Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: March 23, 2011 11:42 am
 

Pepper: Greinke explains why Nationals were nixed

Greinke

By Evan Brunell

JUST WIN, BABY: Zack Greinke spoke about rejecting a trade to the Nationals in favor of the Brewers, turning down an extension that would have been worth over $100 million.

The reason for the deal, Greinke says, has nothing to do with having anything against Washington. In fact, Greinke wouldn't rule out going to the Nationals once he hits free agency, but Milwaukee is where he wanted to be.

"The one thing I couldn’t get over was the fact that, here I was trying to get out of Kansas City because the team wasn’t good," Greinke said. "Not saying [the Nationals] don’t have a chance, but I was trying to get to a team that was looking really good at the moment. And I believe [the Nationals] will be good eventually."

In addition, Greinke cited the fact that Washington would have given up too much of its building blocks that could take the team into contention, including Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa and others. Milwaukee, meanwhile, coughed up players that weren't crucial to the contending process.

But for now, Greinke is with the Brew Crew and rehabilitating a cracked rib. While everyone involved would prefer Greinke was healthy, the extra time has allowed those in the organization to get to know Greinke. (Washington Post)

STICK TO THE MALL: Tommy Hilfiger came out with some redesigns of iconic sports uniforms with his take on the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Yankees. Umm, Tommy... stick with what's gotten you here, 'kay? (San Antonio Express News)

WELCOME TO THE JOB: In Joe Garagiola, Jr.'s first ruling, baseball's new disciplinarian is expected to hand down a ruling on the Cardinals-Nationals fracas from Tuesday in which Livan Hernandez admitted plunking Colby Rasmus on purpose. It's unclear how hard Garagiola will come down, but expect fines at the very least. (Washington Post)

POLE POSITION: “MLB wants to play in Europe and the Netherlands have conquered pole position," says MLB's director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Netherlands are on track to build a baseball stadium for 2014 to host baseball's first European games in Hoofddorp, a 30-minute drive from Amsterdam. Germany (Regensburg) and Italy (Rome) are also in contention. (Mister Baseball

"NOW PLAYING CENTER FIELD -- WAIT, WHAT?" Jason Bay took a turn in center field for the Mets on Tuesday, and it could be something you see again. Skipper Terry Collins says Bay could play center in a pinch as he will not allow Carlos Beltran to return to center at any point. (New York Times)

Josh Hamilton v.2: Everyone knows Josh Hamilton's story, but have you heard of Jeff Allison? The Marlins grabbed him with their first-round pick in 2003 after Hamilton was named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year. Two heroin overdoses and an Oxycontin addiction later, Allison seemed on the verge of leaving baseball -- and life. But he's been clean for over four years now and got his first taste of the majors Tuesday. (Miami Herald)

ROTATING LINEUP: Joe Maddon would love to have a set lineup for the Rays, but that's not going to happen. There's too much good information, he says, that comes from within the organization regarding production against certain pitchers and especially this year, Maddon plans to take advantage of it. (MLB.com)

TALKING CONTRACT: Adrian Gonzalez's agent, John Boggs, was in town on Tuesday to talk contract with the Red Sox. Both sides came away optimistic, and -- stop me if you haven't heard this before -- expect an extension to be consummated in April. (Boston Globe)

IZZY'S FINE: One of the more intriguing stories of spring training was Jason Isringhausen's return to the majors with the Mets. An injury appeared to have perhaps changed that, but Isringhausen says the injury won't knock him out for a while and he should still be ready for Opening Day. (New York Post)

STILL NO NO. 5: The Cubs still haven't made any decisions on who the No. 5 starter will be, so Carlos Silva gets another chance to turn his spring training around when he draws the start in Wednesday's spring-training game. (Chicago Tribune)

RIDE THE PONY: A classic restaurant that was the staple of baseball people in Scottsdale, Ariz. for a decade has reopened under new ownership and has drawn rave reviews for ... keeping things exactly the same, which is how patrons of the restaurant like it. (Washington Post)

ORGAN MUSIC: A nice little story on the White Sox's new organist, replacing one who retired after 40 years on the job. (Chicago Tribune)

REMEMBERING STEVE OLIN AND TIM CREWS: Tuesday was the 18th anniversary of the tragedy that took the lives of Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews. A look back... (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 10:42 am
 

Pepper: Barry Bonds' trial begins

Bonds

By Evan Brunell

BONDS ON TRIAL: Monday marks the first day of the long-awaited trial in which Barry Bonds is charged with lying to a grand jury about his usage of steroids.

Bonds, who has adamantly stated that he never used steroids -- at least knowingly -- has had several legal victories leading up to the trial and it is anyone's guess whether Bonds will be convicted. If he is found innocent, former commissioner Fay Vincent believes his chances of making the Hall go up, but any conviction is "the end of the discussion for at least 30 years."

The anecdotal evidence against Bonds is overwhelming, and even if he's found innocent, it will be difficult to find a person who truly believes Bonds did not knowingly use steroids. It's unclear how much impact this trial will have on Bonds' Hall of Fame hopes. There will be plenty of writers who vote for Bonds if he cleared all the legal hurdles, but there will be just as many who pursue their own brand of vigilante justice, and there are plenty of supporting arguments for each party.

While the government has been limited by Bonds' victories in pre-trial hearings, they do hold a positive steroid test in which Bonds tested positive for the clear and the cream. That will force the trial to devolve into a "he said-she said" argument, with the government prepared to call 52 witnesses -- but none among them will be Bonds' close friend and trainer Greg Anderson, who has already served over a year in prison for contempt of court and could serve more.

While the lurid trial figures to get plenty of ink in the coming weeks, don't forget that Roger Clemens lands on trial in July, and that has the promise to be an even more salacious affair. (San Francisco Chronicle)

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY?: While Japan struggles to deal with the devastation that the earthquake and tsunami wrought, there's a hot debate on whether the Japanese baseball league should begin play. Some look at how baseball was the salve for America's heartbreak after 9/11, some think the comparison is ridiculous. Either way, the Central League will open four days late and play only day games the first week to save power. The Pacific League will start up April 12. (New York Times)

STICKING WITH J.P.: Projected starting catcher J.P. Arencibia has had an awful start to spring training for the Jays, this after finishing last season 1 for his last 30. Even with the news that backup Jose Molina will catch Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek, that's still almost 100 games lined up for Arencibia, and the team is prepared to let the slugger play his way through any struggles. (Canoe.ca)

HUSTLIN': Mark Teixeira wasn't pleased with Ben Francisco Sunday, as the Phillies outfielder bumped into Teixeira on a groundball to first. "That's not a hustle play," Tex sniffed. "He could hurt me or hurt himself." Teixeira has a fair point, as most players will allow themselves to be tagged out on a play in front of them, but it's hard to blame Francisco for this one, who is battling for the starting right field job. (New York Post)

SAME OLD: The disabled list for Jake Peavy? What a surprise. After Peavy suffered a setback and admitted he has been pitching with rotator-cuff discomfort since March 4, manager Ozzie Guillen didn't mince words, saying Peavy is likely to start the season on the DL and will not make his next start Thursday. Peavy needed that start to stay on track to be the club's No. 5 starter on April 6, but Phil Humber will take his place instead. As for when Peavy can pitch again? He'll have to get past Ozzie first. (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

WANTED: BACKUP INFIELDER: The Padres are on the hunt for a backup infielder, but may wait until next week for prices to drop on available players. Robert Andino of the Orioles and Alberto Gonzalez of the Nationals have caught San Diego's attention, and each should be available for a reasonable cost. (MLB.com via Twitter)

MORE POWER TO SCOTT: Scott Boras has a host of players under contract with the Nationals, including their three faces of the franchise in Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. That will wield a lot of influence with the Nats, but contrary to popular perception, Boras may actually be able to exert a positive influence. (Washington Post)

WATCH YOUR MOUTH: Joe Maddon heard an Orioles fan yell something racist to Rays center fielder B.J. Upton, so Maddon had the fan removed from the game. (St. Petersburg Times) Upton and other coaches confirmed hearing the comment, but the O's fan has since created a Twitter account to defend himself, saying he did not make racist comments. (Twitter: @AssClownOsFan)

REED WANTS SPOT: Jeremy Reed has a bit of a reputation of having an over-inflated sense of self and the ego to match. However, in camp to fight for a backup outfield spot alongside Chris Dickerson and Brandon Boggs, Reed has done near everything right in the hopes it's enough to land on the 40-man roster and make the team. He has stiff competition in Dickerson, but manager Ron Roenicke is impressed with Reed's work ethic. (MLB.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 12:22 pm
 

Rangers owner Greenberg resigns

By Evan Brunell

GreenbergThe reign of Texas Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg was a short-lived one, as the Pittsburgh lawyer has resigned his position of CEO, the team announced in a news release.

"We greatly appreciate Chuck Greenberg's hard work, professionalism and unwavering commitment to the team, our fans and the Dallas-Fort Worth communities," Ray Davis and Bob Simpson said in the statement. The two are co-chairmen of the board of directors. "Chuck is a dynamic leader with superb strategic, operational and business development skills, and under his and Nolan Ryan's direction, we have accomplished a great deal in a short time."

Greenberg (photo, holding AL Championship trophy), along with team president Nolan Ryan defeated Mark Cuban and Jim Crane in a well-publicized auction for the rights to the Rangers on Aug. 3 after Tom Hicks lost the team due to money issues. Greenberg and Ryan then saw Texas make a run to the World Series before falling to the San Francisco Giants in six games. Ryan will take over as CEO with Greenberg's departure, marking a third face of the Rangers' ownership in a year.

"Chuck's departure will have no effect on the team's operation and we look forward to working with Nolan Ryan as this organization continues to grow and prosper," Davis and Simpson added. 

While no specific reason was cited for Greenberg's resignation, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports that speculation is centered on Greenberg's methods causing friction with fellow investor and team president Nolan Ryan along with MLB. Greenberg made headlines during the World Series when he commented on how awful he felt Yankee fans were during the ALCS. He would later draw the ire of Yankees president Randy Levine over the winter for seemingly innocuous comments on Texas' pursuit of Cliff Lee.

The Star-Telegram has more:

The problems date to late last season, shortly after Rangers Baseball Express was approved as owners Aug. 12. According to sources, members of the Atlanta organization weren’t pleased with how Greenberg shifted the Rangers’ High-A affiliate to Myrtle Beach, one of the minor-league clubs he owns that had long been associated with the Braves. Their discontent reached the Commissioner’s office at MLB headquarters in New York.

In December, about five weeks after the World Series, members of the baseball operations staff were taken aback by how involved Greenberg became in daily internal discussions during the winter meetings. A third trip to Arkansas on the final day of the meetings to see Cliff Lee wasn’t well-received universally.

More recently, Greenberg and team president Nolan Ryan were pitted against each other as an extension for general manager Jon Daniels was being pounded out. Greenberg had sold the suite at Rangers Ballpark that Daniels had used to host families of front-office personnel as well as conduct meetings. The suite was to be part of the Daniels extension, and it was sold despite objections from Ryan.

Chuck Greenberg

Also of note is that Greenberg is not the majority owner of the Rangers -- he simply led the group that eventually took control and served as CEO.

"I have great respect for the Texas Rangers franchise and am enormously proud of all we have accomplished together since August," Greenberg said. "Unfortunately, Nolan Ryan, the co-chairmen and I have somewhat different styles. While I am disappointed we did not work through our differences, I remain wholeheartedly committed to doing what's right for the franchise. Together we concluded it is best for all concerned for me to sell my interest back to Rangers Baseball Express and move on. I do so with a heavy heart, but with every confidence in the direction that the new management team is taking the Rangers and, with Nolan at the helm, I know this franchise will continue to thrive and reach even greater heights both on and off the field."

If there's one thing Bud Selig dislikes in owners, it's those who make waves, which Greenberg has been doing, clearly, since becoming the leader of Texas. He's proved popular with the fanbase but that's apparently not enough to satisfy his detractors. He's already been phased out, as he was not involved during meetings with ownership and advertising representatives this past weekend. Over the last few months, Ryan has been the one to emerge as the public face of the team.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 9, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 7:36 pm
 

What's on tap for ballparks in the future?

By Evan Brunell

Business Insider has a slideshow on what to expect from ballparks in the future. These days, teams are moving away from the "retro-modern" look of Camden Yards that has caused beautiful parks to spring up across the country such as in San Francisco. However, the Nationals bucked the trend and the Marlins are following suit with their own innovative designs. But it's not just designs that will change in the future, but things like free wifi, which kicks off the slideshow. Below, a full list of what is expected to come...

Free universal wifi access should become the standard at all ballparks, allowing fans to chat live during the game, keep in touch with friends and family and track scoreboards for other ongoing games, whether that's in the same sport or not. One concern is the strain that will be put on the servers. These days, it's not uncommon for cell phones to either stop working or run very slowly because of tens of thousands of people, most with cell phones, using them in the same location.

Fantasy stats on video boards is another innovation that's apparently on the way. Large, high-definition video screens are currently sweeping ballparks as the latest craze, with Fenway Park (Boston) and Minute Maid Park (Houston) the latest converts. But the information displayed on these screens are still fairly basic with player names and the traditional statistics. Some parks still don't show OBP -- imagine that! Business Insider feels fantasy will dominate the next innovation to display on these video boards and while true, a lot of us would be happy if they simply showed innovation in presenting information about the game itself.

TVs in the seats, or similar ideas, already exist for those in luxury boxes or in the coveted first row of some ballparks where the rich can follow the game on TV along with in person. Some parks offer TVs for the unwashed masses, as certain sections of the right-field grandstands allow for viewing a TV, albeit a very tiny and far-away one. But TVs could -- and should, really -- be expanded to other sections of the park. You'll probably never see one in the bleachers, but in box and loge seats is entirely possible and would offer fans another way to view the game and see replays.

Customized instant replay for fans are a natural extension of the previous innovation. The Pittsburgh Penguins already do this, offering season ticket holders the ability to watch replays from home games on cell phones. One negative is seeing replays that show a ruling was wrong. Jim Joyce's blown call of Armando Galarraga's game comes to mind. In fact, of any close play, baseball stadiums refrain from showing the replay. Football and basketball stadiums, at least the ones this writer has been to, have no such qualms of showing close plays. One wonders how well this would work in baseball. One positive that could stem from this is not getting on umpires for falsely thinking they messed up. Back in the 2004 ALCS, when Yankee fans were ready to revolt after umpires awarded Mark Bellhorn a home run after being ruled a double and accurately calling Alex Rodriguez out for slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hands, cell phones were credited as helping stem the tide as fans learned from those watching on television that the umpires were right on both counts.

TVs in the bathrooms. Seriously, why hasn't anyone done this yet?

Sports bars overlooking the field has already taken hold for the New Jersey Devils, and other teams apparently have followed suit, as Business Insider says. It makes sense: some people prefer the bar scene and it's got to be pretty cool to hang at a bar with a clear sight line of the field. Plus, teams get to mark up their drinks even more. Win-win!

Higher concession prices is next on the list, and we'll be avoiding this one.

More attractions. The Tigers' stadium has a Ferris Wheel, and many other stadiums are looking for other ways to provide entertainment. For example, the Rays have a tank with -- you guessed it -- rays. Contrary to popular belief, a fair number of people don't go to the games to pay 100 percent attention to the action on the field. They go to be entertained.

More luxury suites, closer to the action. We'll avoid this one too. Not like luxury-suite holders need even more cushiness at the park, right? The new stadium that houses the New York Giants and Jets have luxury suites five yards behind the home team's bench. That's a pretty nifty idea, but good luck finding the money in your bank account to pay for it.

More access to the players is one innovation that seems difficult to take hold, especially as teams these days are scaling back access, not adding to it. But a bar at Cowboys Stadium separates fans from players by either nothing at all or glass walls as they trek from the locker room to the field. Pretty good idea, but it's hard to imagine both players and owners willing to expose players like that. Players are looking for more privacy, not less.

Noooo! More domed roofs are coming? "Economically it makes no sense for teams to risk losing customers because of a little snow," Business Insider writes. "Domed roofs can now be retracted in minutes if the weather permits, so there's really no reason that every stadium doesn't have them. Plus, the enclosed spaces allow venues to hold more than just sporting events, giving owners another way to make money during the offseason."

Yes, retractable roofs make all sorts of sense and really should have been added to all the newer stadiums, but making the switch to completely domed makes zero sense, especially for baseball. This is one fad you can expect not to take hold, as the era of domed stadiums in baseball is over, and the Rays are desperately trying to get out of the final domed stadium in the game. As for retractable roofs, that costs hundreds of millions that some owners or the paying public simply won't be willing to absorb as part of the cost.

Transforming stadiums is a smart idea. It's already accepted that basketball and hockey can exist together, but football and baseball... not so much. But as technology improves, the ability to transform stadiums to host a wide spectrum of sports should take hold. Technology isn't quite there yet, but you're already seeing stadiums hold concerts and other events that are a transformation in and of itself. The next step is fairly logical; being able to move sections and alter the playing field. It would also allow professional sports teams to consolidate costs.

No more beer is the most outlandish thought. There's simply too much money invested in beer, and fans clearly want that option at games. With that much money at stake for the beer companies, sport, team and stadium, beer is going absolutely nowhere, even if its responsible for some of the worst incidents in stadium history. Beer bottles are largely banned, and some stadiums remove caps from the bottles so they cannot be thrown. Most, however, have simply switched to plastic cups. Don't expect an outright ban, though.

Holograms on the field instead of the players makes no sense. Why would one go to a game to watch a hologram, right? But... When Japan was trying to win a bid to host the Olympics, they had a plan to broadcast holographic images of games and events to distant stadiums. This especially seems like it would be popular for football, as the away team could host fans at its stadium, clean up on parking and concessions and broadcast holograms on the field. For baseball, it likely wouldn't be feasible for anything except the playoffs.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

More MLB coverage
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB
 
Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Comedian Daniel Tosh speaks on baseball

ToshBy Evan Brunell

Daniel Tosh had his stand-up comedy special, Happy Thoughts, on Comedy Central Sunday night. Tosh is a popular, up-and-coming comedian who spoke about baseball during his special.

"And sports needs steroids. It does. Are you kidding me? Baseball, certainly. Baseball's a strike away from being soccer. (Laughter.) And if you like soccer, welcome to America. You see, our country already has entertainment. So watching people chase a ball for four hours to end zero-zero is not enjoyable. Unless the bleachers collapse and half of Europe dies. (Laughter.)

"Baseball. Nobody wants to watch a pitching battle either. Let's hit the ball deep. Don't worry about your records either. For every superstar who does steroids, a billion Double-A boys have juiced up. so the playing field is plenty even. We'll put an asterisk next to Barry Bonds' name, sure. As soon as we put one next to Babe Ruth's name. Getting to break records before black people were allowed to play? (Laughter.)

"Excuse me, where is that asterisk? Why don't people talk about that? I'd love to know how many homers the Babe would have hit had CC [Sabathia] been throwing him 92-mile an hour sliders. Yeah. Maybe the fat boy would have put the cigar down and stopped pointing had Jose been able to swim 90 miles and throw a junk ball. (Laughter)

"Don't worry if you don't follow. 90 miles is the distance between Key West and Cuba. And Jose is a stereotypical name for a Latino ballplayer. and a junk ball's an impossible pitch to hit yard any place except the new Yankee Stadium, which is a joke. (Laughter)

"The point is that the record books might look different had the country not been founded by racists." Tosh goes on to explain the latter part of the sentence.

Earlier this week, Tosh did a "Web Redemption" on his TV show, Tosh.0, last Tuesdayof the viral video in which a boyfriend avoided a foul ball that hit his girlfriend. Catch up on the video here.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. Photo credit: Daemon's TV
More MLB coverage
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB, Yankees
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com