We’re here. We’ve made it. Opening Day is right around the…

We’re here. We’ve made it. Opening Day is right around the corner. The best day of the year – the one when spring really begins – and we celebrate by barely moving and stuffing ourselves with all sorts of ridiculous foods like hot dogs and hamburgers and popcorn and chips and (my personal favorite) cheesesteaks. 

Opening Day is great, but it could be better. How? Start at breakfast and go for every hour. I broke down my genius plan here. Check it out and then nominate me for a Nobel prize

Here’s a few more things I’ve written recently: 

During summer break from college in 2006, a friend and I spent a summer following the always road team, Road Warriors. It was an amazing summer, becoming a diehard fan of a team that never had a home stadium or many fans to call their own. Last year, the Atlantic League brought the Road Warriors back to help fill the schedule. What is it like to actually play on that team? I talked to the team’s catcher, Isaac Wenrich (you may know him from his role in Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller’s book about the Sonoma Stompers), about it. Read that here

Finally, the Baseball Hall of Fame is bringing their nearly 200,000 baseball cards out of storage with a brand new interactive exhibit called Shoebox Treasures later this spring. I talked to the curator about what’s planned

And here are a few others posts from around the baseball world that are worth reading: 

My friend and fellow Cut4-er Eric Chesterton interviewed dozens of players about how they find roommates during Spring Training. Turns out, it’s just as awkward for them as it is for non-baseball people. 

I hate Fortnite. I tried to play it, thought it was ugly and I was way too bad to keep up. Carlos Santana also hates Fortnite. Enough that he smashed the Phillies’ TV

It’s the 100th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal. While you may know parts of the story, you likely believe a lot of the myths. Jacob Pomrenke and a team of amazing SABR members bust some of those myths

We’re here. We’ve made it. Opening Day is right around the…

We’re here. We’ve made it. Opening Day is right around the corner. The best day of the year – the one when spring really begins – and we celebrate by barely moving and stuffing ourselves with all sorts of ridiculous foods like hot dogs and hamburgers and popcorn and chips and (my personal favorite) cheesesteaks. 

Opening Day is great, but it could be better. How? Start at breakfast and go for every hour. I broke down my genius plan here. Check it out and then nominate me for a Nobel prize

Here’s a few more things I’ve written recently: 

During summer break from college in 2006, a friend and I spent a summer following the always road team, Road Warriors. It was an amazing summer, becoming a diehard fan of a team that never had a home stadium or many fans to call their own. Last year, the Atlantic League brought the Road Warriors back to help fill the schedule. What is it like to actually play on that team? I talked to the team’s catcher, Isaac Wenrich (you may know him from his role in Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller’s book about the Sonoma Stompers), about it. Read that here

Finally, the Baseball Hall of Fame is bringing their nearly 200,000 baseball cards out of storage with a brand new interactive exhibit called Shoebox Treasures later this spring. I talked to the curator about what’s planned

And here are a few others posts from around the baseball world that are worth reading: 

My friend and fellow Cut4-er Eric Chesterton interviewed dozens of players about how they find roommates during Spring Training. Turns out, it’s just as awkward for them as it is for non-baseball people. 

I hate Fortnite. I tried to play it, thought it was ugly and I was way too bad to keep up. Carlos Santana also hates Fortnite. Enough that he smashed the Phillies’ TV

It’s the 100th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal. While you may know parts of the story, you likely believe a lot of the myths. Jacob Pomrenke and a team of amazing SABR members bust some of those myths

When the A’s and Mariners open the season in Japan this week…

When the A’s and Mariners open the season in Japan this week (and we force ourselves to rise and watch at 5:30 in the morning – a necessary sacrifice for regular season baseball), there will be two people on hand you may not have expected: Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey Jr. 

They’ll be there to take part in ceremonial first pitches, standing in the box while Kazuhiro Sasaki pitches to Kenji Johjima and Keiichi Yabu tosses to Akinori Iwamura. Which is great: These players are stars and the more I see of them the happier I am. 

But what I want: Let them play. I mean, Griffey is only four years older than Ichiro. Sure, maybe he can’t play the field anymore and his legs, which already betrayed him too many times to count during his career, so why not introduce softball rules. (I’m sure Henderson can still do everything. I wouldn’t be shocked if he wasn’t playing in some indy league and we all just didn’t know it). 

Just let Griffey swing and then someone else runs the bases for him. I don’t want to extend it to other players. But every team, for a handful of dates a year, should be given the opportunity to let their all-time legends show off again. Who says no? I talked a little about this on the most recent Cut4Cast while Dakota Gardner broke down his recent Spring Training trips. Check it out here

Rule changes were a pretty big thing lately. The independent Atlantic League – one of my absolute favorites leagues as I grew up with the now-defunct Bridgeport Bluefish as my real hometown team – will be the test kitchen for MLB’s weirdest rule changes. I took a look at the pros and cons of those decisions

Major League Baseball also announced their own rule changes for the next two years. If you’re on Twitter, you probably saw baseball fans lose their minds. My take: These rules are great. If anything, I want more changes. 

Now then, to move away from rule madness, I looked at the best and weirdest Photo Day photos this year. Who doesn’t want to see players looking weird?

Finally, Mike Bates and Bill Parker were kind enough to let me on their podcast to get excited by Kent Tekulve’s birthday. Listen to that here

And here are a few pieces I didn’t write but you need to check out: 

Ben Lindbergh got his hands on a whole boatload of the Reds’ scouting reports from the late ‘90s to the mid-’00s. He was able to learn a whole lot about them. Start diving in here

Adam McCalvy got the inside scoop on Yasmani Grandal’s tattoos. Players love their tattoos, so you can learn a lot about a player by the ink they chose. 

When the A’s and Mariners open the season in Japan this week…

When the A’s and Mariners open the season in Japan this week (and we force ourselves to rise and watch at 5:30 in the morning – a necessary sacrifice for regular season baseball), there will be two people on hand you may not have expected: Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey Jr. 

They’ll be there to take part in ceremonial first pitches, standing in the box while Kazuhiro Sasaki pitches to Kenji Johjima and Keiichi Yabu tosses to Akinori Iwamura. Which is great: These players are stars and the more I see of them the happier I am. 

But what I want: Let them play. I mean, Griffey is only four years older than Ichiro. Sure, maybe he can’t play the field anymore and his legs, which already betrayed him too many times to count during his career, so why not introduce softball rules. (I’m sure Henderson can still do everything. I wouldn’t be shocked if he wasn’t playing in some indy league and we all just didn’t know it). 

Just let Griffey swing and then someone else runs the bases for him. I don’t want to extend it to other players. But every team, for a handful of dates a year, should be given the opportunity to let their all-time legends show off again. Who says no? I talked a little about this on the most recent Cut4Cast while Dakota Gardner broke down his recent Spring Training trips. Check it out here

Rule changes were a pretty big thing lately. The independent Atlantic League – one of my absolute favorites leagues as I grew up with the now-defunct Bridgeport Bluefish as my real hometown team – will be the test kitchen for MLB’s weirdest rule changes. I took a look at the pros and cons of those decisions

Major League Baseball also announced their own rule changes for the next two years. If you’re on Twitter, you probably saw baseball fans lose their minds. My take: These rules are great. If anything, I want more changes. 

Now then, to move away from rule madness, I looked at the best and weirdest Photo Day photos this year. Who doesn’t want to see players looking weird?

Finally, Mike Bates and Bill Parker were kind enough to let me on their podcast to get excited by Kent Tekulve’s birthday. Listen to that here

And here are a few pieces I didn’t write but you need to check out: 

Ben Lindbergh got his hands on a whole boatload of the Reds’ scouting reports from the late ‘90s to the mid-’00s. He was able to learn a whole lot about them. Start diving in here

Adam McCalvy got the inside scoop on Yasmani Grandal’s tattoos. Players love their tattoos, so you can learn a lot about a player by the ink they chose. 

He signed – finally. The long national nightmare is over….

He signed – finally. The long national nightmare is over. That’s right: Clay Bucholz signed with the Blue Jays. 

OK, I’m joking (even if Bucholz was great last year, with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts with Arizona, so probably should have signed long ago). Obviously, I’m talking about Bryce Harper. The right-fielder is staying in the NL East by joining the Phillies and is, so far, saying all the right things – if you ignore that he said he is bringing a championship to Washington D.C. (Unless, of course, that means he’s a double-agent? Perhaps this is something we should study this year.) 

There’s really nothing left to say that hasn’t been said before. Harper is great now and the Phillies have to be considered an NL East powerhouse for the next few years. Sure, the contract could one day be an albatross, but flags fly forever, don’t they? Of course, ask Ryan Howard if the World Series and NL Pennant he helped the team won saved him from criticism when he got injured and his contract was often used as a reason to criticize him. 

And that’s really the issue: If you can celebrate the signing today – and you should – can you ever criticize it? Personally, I don’t think you should. But maybe I’m just an old softie who doesn’t have the resolve to like something one day and hate it the next. 

Anyway, here are a few things I wrote this week: 

The CPBL, the Chinese Professional Baseball League, is a growing league that is helping grow the game around the world. For many CPBL fans, they also love the Majors. That means lots of great nicknames, largely drawn from phonetic similarities from big league players and Mandarin words. With help from Rob Liu of CPBLStats.com, here are some of the best Mandarin nicknames for MLB players

Aaron Hicks was nearly a major prospect bust. This week he signed a 7-year contract. What happened? 

I’m not often right about things, so I’m going to bring back an article I wrote months ago: The Twins are going to win the AL Central. Since I wrote this, the Twins have signed Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz and, oh yeah, Byron Buxton is looking GREAT this spring. 

And here are a few things I didn’t write, but which you should read: 

MLB.com’s Bryan Horowitz uncovered four very cool stories about Michael Jordan’s baseball-playing career that you probably haven’t heard before. 

The Dodgers aren’t eating dairy anymore ($). More cheese for me, I guess. 

The pitch clock might not be coming this year. But Sheryl Ring’s look at the possible “icing” of the pitcher is still worth your time

OK, let’s get back to watching baseball and hope that Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel sign next week. 

He signed – finally. The long national nightmare is over….

He signed – finally. The long national nightmare is over. That’s right: Clay Bucholz signed with the Blue Jays. 

OK, I’m joking (even if Bucholz was great last year, with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts with Arizona, so probably should have signed long ago). Obviously, I’m talking about Bryce Harper. The right-fielder is staying in the NL East by joining the Phillies and is, so far, saying all the right things – if you ignore that he said he is bringing a championship to Washington D.C. (Unless, of course, that means he’s a double-agent? Perhaps this is something we should study this year.) 

There’s really nothing left to say that hasn’t been said before. Harper is great now and the Phillies have to be considered an NL East powerhouse for the next few years. Sure, the contract could one day be an albatross, but flags fly forever, don’t they? Of course, ask Ryan Howard if the World Series and NL Pennant he helped the team won saved him from criticism when he got injured and his contract was often used as a reason to criticize him. 

And that’s really the issue: If you can celebrate the signing today – and you should – can you ever criticize it? Personally, I don’t think you should. But maybe I’m just an old softie who doesn’t have the resolve to like something one day and hate it the next. 

Anyway, here are a few things I wrote this week: 

The CPBL, the Chinese Professional Baseball League, is a growing league that is helping grow the game around the world. For many CPBL fans, they also love the Majors. That means lots of great nicknames, largely drawn from phonetic similarities from big league players and Mandarin words. With help from Rob Liu of CPBLStats.com, here are some of the best Mandarin nicknames for MLB players

Aaron Hicks was nearly a major prospect bust. This week he signed a 7-year contract. What happened? 

I’m not often right about things, so I’m going to bring back an article I wrote months ago: The Twins are going to win the AL Central. Since I wrote this, the Twins have signed Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz and, oh yeah, Byron Buxton is looking GREAT this spring. 

And here are a few things I didn’t write, but which you should read: 

MLB.com’s Bryan Horowitz uncovered four very cool stories about Michael Jordan’s baseball-playing career that you probably haven’t heard before. 

The Dodgers aren’t eating dairy anymore ($). More cheese for me, I guess. 

The pitch clock might not be coming this year. But Sheryl Ring’s look at the possible “icing” of the pitcher is still worth your time

OK, let’s get back to watching baseball and hope that Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel sign next week. 

I know it seems blasphemous, but this is my favorite part of the…

I know it seems blasphemous, but this is my favorite part of the baseball season. The regular season is divine, I mark Opening Day as a holiday that must be honored, and October baseball is basically magic, but Spring Training is my favorite. 

I love the casual feel of the games, the couple thousand of pleasantly clapping diehards and snowbirds in the stands, the roughly 200 person rosters that fill out the rosters. The scores don’t matter and no one cares, they’re just here to see baseball. And that just means it’s baseball at its most pure. 

If there is an afterlife, I would imagine it’s endless Spring Training baseball. 

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve written recently: 

What if we renamed every team today? I teamed up with Tom Forget, who is an amazing graphic designer, to reimagine every single baseball team’s name and logo. After all, most teams like the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, etc. didn’t give themselves a name, but got one attached to them. You may like some, hate others, and maybe think I’m a monster for even doing this. But it’s fun! 

Could Manny Machado become the greatest Padre of all-time? Listen, I know the answer is Tony Gwynn. It will always be Tony Gwynn. This post presupposes, what if it wasn’t? 

Baseball’s coffee drinking, board game playing oddball is coming home for one more year. Hunter Pence is returning to his childhood home of Arlington to try and earn a place on the Rangers roster. I got a chance to talk to him on the phone and we discussed homecomings, coffee, and board games. Hunter Pence is as cool as he seems. 

Here are a few things I didn’t write, but which you should definitely read: 

The launch angle revolution has helped a lot of batters. One it hasn’t: Jason Kipnis

Having to make small talk stresses me out, so standing at first base doesn’t seem like a lot of fun. Baseball players don’t feel that way

My site mate Chris Landers got to hang out with Blake Snell on the day that he won the AL Cy Young Award. His article is a pretty good way to get to know a player that I honestly knew very little about beforehand.