If you’re a baseball fan and (1) have a spare $130, and (2) are either single or have a relationship that will bear your watching 40 hours of baseball a week, there’s no better investment than MLB Network. But if you’re going to channel-surf through 15 games a night, you better have a plan. You could just go to any game that’s late and close, or you could zero in on trying to see the most exciting players. In case that appeals to you, here are the most exciting players to watch at each position.
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
I almost didn’t pick Posey because I really don’t want to validate a fan base that’s quickly ascending to a level of Conspicuous Internet Smugness that we’d normally expect from Phillies and Red Sox fans. There’s been a lot of talk about Moneyball being a crock because all Billy Beane did was luck into three stud starting pitchers. Brian Sabean did pretty much the same thing, except while Beane made a bunch of nifty little moves to fill out a winning team, Sabean complemented Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Mad Bum with a team assembled through a crusade of aggressive silliness (getting fleeced for Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence, overpaying Pence, overpaying Aaron Rowand, overpaying Aubrey Huff, and so on) that you’d expect from a post–Cold War Eastern Bloc government struggling to get a feel for capitalism.
The baseball season is a long and lonely road. To preserve his sanity, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter keeps a diary. These are excerpts from The Captain's private journal.
Wednesday, July 18: vs. Toronto Blue Jays
There's nothing better and more satisfying than a sweep. It felt amazing to take all three versus Toronto, even if tonight's game was called early for rain. You never like a rain-shortened win, they feel a little bit like cheating, but it was coming down so hard we couldn't even play that game where the veteran guys ball up some hundred-dollar bills and toss them out onto the tarp and make the rookies slide out there to scramble for them during the delay. Always big laughs, especially when they figure out they're just one-dollar bills, and they're all soaking wet for no reason. They learn a good lesson: Don't be so greedy — you should be flopping around on the tarp like an undignified, drunk seal for the love of the rain-delay game, not for money. Maybe they had parents who put cash prizes at the end of their Slip ’N Slides when they were kids. That would explain a lot.
Here’s your Thursday baseball news long toss to get you warmed up for the weekend.
It’s been a season to forget for the Chicago Cubs. Well, it’s been a season to take out in the yard, bury in the ground, and solemnly read Ecclesiastes 3:1 over, all while an absent-minded Starlin Castro stares off into the yard next door. But for whatever problems the Cubs have had on the field, they appear to still be an attractive destination for some of the biggest names and brightest minds in front-office management. Ever since firing Jim Hendry, marquee names such as Brian Cashman, Pat Gillick, Theo Epstein, and Andrew Friedman have been mentioned as possible replacements. And now there's speculation that Bay Area walks fetishist Billy Beane might be in the mix, as well. Reports suggest that Beane’s future in Oakland is directly tied to whether the A’s get a new park in San Jose.