Discover more from Here's the Pitch: the IBWAA Newsletter
Saturday, August 20
ALSO: KEEPING KIDS IN ATLANTA HELPS FUTURE OF BRAVES
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Did you know…
Fernando Tatís, Jr. will forfeit $1,510,989 of his $5 million salary this year, covering the final 55 days and 48 games and lose another $1.39 million of his $7 million salary for the first 32 games of next season, with the number to be determined by how many games he misses . . .
Padres were 63-15 when the Tatís news hit them like a hammer. Holding down the last of the NL’s three wild-card spots, the Padres trail the Braves and Phillies second, with the Brewers a slim one game behind.
The Miami Marlins miss All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm, out since June . . .
When Alex Avila became a free agent after the 2015 season, dad Al let him leave the Detroit Tigers for the division rival Chicago White Sox before reacquiring him and later trading him the Chicago Cubs for prospects . . .
The biggest White Sox problem is the utter failure of Yasmani Grandal, a highly-paid but highly-unproductive backstop hitting .204 with three homers at last look . . .
The Rockies have called up 31-year-old Wynton Bernard and started him in center field against the Diamondbacks last weekend. It’s his first shot in the majors.
‘Classic Baseball’ Tells The Mightiest Tales About The Game We Love
John Rosengren’s book Classic Baseball, Timeless Tales Immortal
Moments is just that.
Stories told by Rosengren, whether passed on from his father, through his own
research and extensive work as awriter and author and as he said in the introduction, he comes at “the game from many angles: a fan, an umpire, a player, a coach, and a
member of the Society for American Baseball Research.”
His list of baseball’s great players is impressive, as he has met and interviewed the likes of Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, and Dave Winfield.
His telling of stories and research reflects his upbringing in Minneapolis and his tale about attending a fantasy camp where he met his hero Rod Carew and the
awkwardness as well as ultimate reward he got from meeting one of his heroes.
The story of Rosengren attending a fantasy camp with past MinnesotaTwins players, many of them heroes from the 1987 and 1991 World Championship teams, is one of the lighter tales in this collection and certainly one of the better feel-good stories.
And there are many of those feel-good stories as well as some of the more interesting and terrifying ones included in Chapter 6, entitled “In Jackie’s Memory.”
The one that struck a chord with me tells of a barnstorming baseball team of African Americans that took on the Ku Klux Klan team from Lodge No.6 in Wichita, Kansas in 1925.
According to Rosengren, the all-black Wichita Monrovians, a barnstorming team, played a game against the KKK nine of Lodge No. 6.
Now the power and reach of the KKK at that time in America was terrifying and all hidden under white hoods and robes but the Morovians won the game, 10-8.
It would be 22 more years before Jackie Robinson made his major-league debut, with Jim Crow laws enforced until 1965.
Such laws had mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in the former Confederate States of America and in some others, beginning in the 1870s.
The first black manager wouldn’t be hired until the 1970s, when former player Frank Robinson was chosen by the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland general manager PhilSeghi announced that he had hired Robinson to manage the Indians for the 1975 season. The Indians had a 79–80 record and an 81–78 record in 1976.
But Cleveland started the 1977 season 26–31 and fired Robinson on June 19.
The story about how they play baseball in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin, shows that different interpretations of baseball often take on a serious life of their own.
Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin is the world’s capital of snowshoe baseball. Yes, you read
that right: baseball in snowshoes in the summer.
Sawdust is spread across the infield, gravel across the outfield, and away they go.
Sure, I am simplifying here but you get the drift. I did actually Google this to
see what I could find and found a lot. Boy, did that version of baseball look interesting.
Major League Baseball’s website had a story on snowshoe baseball and I have included a link here:
I’ve focused on one section of the book but with the amount of information John has shared and the sheer quality and meticulous research that has gone into it, it’s hard to really pin down one favorite story since I learned so much reading the book.
The world of baseball knowledge, stories and interesting facts is so vast that one cannot simply learn everything. Classic Baseball goes a long way, though, to helping you along that road.
Ben Abel has been an avid sports fan since the 1980s. He has contributed to Sports Betting Dime and the IBWAA newsletter and has written about hockey, baseball, and football as well as other sports. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Contact him on Twitter @lebanebor or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Braves Bestow Big Bucks On Young Studs, Build Bright Future
By Dan Schlossberg
Add Michael Harris II to the list of budding Atlanta superstars with long-term contracts.
The youngest man in the majors at 21, Harris inked a deal this week that could be worth $102 million over 10 years — assuming club options are added.
Harris had played only 71 games when the Braves signed him, giving the team a fifth stud to go with Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Matt Olson. Riley has a 10-year deal, with the others all signed for seven or more seasons — plus option years.
Why not sign Harris? An Atlanta native, he’s proven to be a five-tools player since his May 28 promotion from Double-A. The owner of a rocket arm, he was a perfect 13-for-13 in stolen bases in addition to hitting close to .300, providing left-handed power, and saving at least six runs with his spectacular defense.
He’s Atlanta’s best center-fielder since Andruw Jones. And that’s saying a lot.
The front-runner for National League Rookie of the Year — just ahead of teammate Spencer Strider — Harris would be the first Brave to win the honor since Acuna in 2018. He’s likely land a Gold Glove too.
Alex Anthopoulos still has some formidable negotiating tasks. Shortstop Dansby Swanson, the only Braves infielder without a long-term deal, needs one. Like Harris, he’s an Atlanta native. He’s also a pending free agent unless the Braves prevent it by signing him.
Pitchers Max Fried and Kyle Wright, the team’s top two starters, and A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek, two lefty relievers, also could be in line for extensions — though the team is more cautious in doling out long-term pacts to pitchers because they are more susceptible to injuries.
It’s worth noting that the Braves have a bright future because of their early-signing policy. Their biggest rivals, the New York Mets, are not only the oldest team in the league but also a club beset with multiple potential free agents, starting with Brandon Nimmo. Even Jacob de Grom can opt of his contract early, as he has pledged to do.
It’s going to be an interesting off-season.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ covers the game for forbes.com, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Sports Collectors Digest, and more. E.mail him at email@example.com.
“He can take a game over offensively, defensively, on the bases. When he’s healthy and hitting on all cylinders, it’s awesome to have him up there leading off and coming up so much.”
— Braves manager Brian Snitker on Ronald Acuna, Jr.
The NY Post projects the 2023 Mets payroll would approach $345 million to keep current team intact, with Jacob deGrom wanting more than Max Scherzer’s $43.3 million per annum . . .
Luis Castillo, a trade deadline arrival, beat the Yankees twice in his first week with Seattle . . .
The New York Post player of the week a week ago was little-known catcher-outfielder M.C. Melendez of the Kansas City Royals . . .
Hitting-starved Milwaukee failed in efforts to land lefty-hitting slugger Joc Pederson from the San Francisco Giants . . .
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani, a 2024 free agent, could become the first $50 million player if de Grom doesn’t beat him to the punch . . .
The Yankees and Mets both wanted Raisel Iglesias, who went to the Braves, but were unwilling to pay the $50 million left on his contract.
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HERE’S THE PITCH is published daily except Sundays and holidays. Brian Harl [firstname.lastname@example.org] handles Monday and Tuesday editions, Elizabeth Muratore [email@example.com] does Wednesday and Thursday, and Dan Schlossberg [firstname.lastname@example.org] edits the weekend editions on Friday and Saturday. Readers are encouraged to contribute comments, articles, and letters to the editor. HTP reserves the right to edit for brevity, clarity, and good taste.