Hi friends. There's not much going on today, but there sure was a lot of original content, wasn't there! To make sure that you're not going to be totally stuffed with the original, wonderful, words of my colleagues, I have an evening Reposter with a lot of stuff that you may have opinions on.
The Ghost Racetrack of Goodyear, Arizona. Before there was the Cactus League, there was Harness Track Horse Racing in the Reds' Spring Training home. As you can imagine, horse racing didn't sell in the Arizona heat in the 1960s before cars had air conditioning and there was anything besides a Cormac McCarthy fever dream in the Phoenix suburbs. David Roth takes us on a quick tour of the past and future apocalypse of the American Southwest.
Hitters Who Were Better in the Majors than the Minors. Joey Votto is one of the rare talents to have a higher MLB OPS than MiLB OPS. Most of the group are people who were just called up quickly and didn't hit their physical prime until they were in the majors. Still, it's an interesting list, and probably a strange skillset that Brisbee is analyzing.
The Slandering of Oday Aboushi. Dave Zirin is one of those guys I can't read all the time, it's just tough to read, day-in and day-out, a very angry man. But here he has a great point to be angry. Recent NFL draft pick and large human being Oday Aboushi was targeted by the typical loons and nutjobs for being of Palestinian heritage last week. One of the loons-cum-nutjobs was an MLB employee and "New Media Coordinator" who compared Mr. Aboushi to Aaron Hernandez and calling Aboushi's employer, the Jets, a "disgrace of an organization." Ironically enough, said MLB employee seems to have disgraced his organization, MLB, instead. Baseball has seemed to cut ties with their gross-ass former-employee because, LOL, "new media coordinators" don't have good job security I guess. Just another reminder that the world is full of awful people and sports - even baseball - swim in the same current as the rest of society. And that Lisa Braun and Jamie Ramsey are pretty dang cool.
On a warmer not, C. "Over" Trent Rosencrans has a great story on Chad Jones. It's good to see some solid reporting on our boys in Red, and C. Trent did a great job. Also involved is a slideshow, with pictures of what's left of Chad Jones' left leg. Don't read before dinner!
Grant Brisbee imagines an "inside the park home run derby". His (and my) favorite idea is two teams of two, but the whole idea of "making baseball fun" is a great one, isn't it? ISN'T IT?
Fangraphs' Marc Hulet gives his top 50 prospects right now. The new Blaze(r?) Robert Stephenson comes in at #9 and the fourth-ranked pitching prospect. He seems like a real special guy right now. Billy Hamilton is lurking at the bottom of the list.
Does anyone here follow @BIGSPORTSWRITER? Apparently he's a real, um, big sports writer, and he had a long twitter rant that was caught on the wonderful website 40 Towns. Despairing over the death of sportswriting is kind of getting boring at this point, but he has some points that I think are worth emphasizing. He meditates on the role of the sportswriter: to be both the eyes/ears of a fan and also to add something to the fan experience. He doesn't like the current feel of tearing athletes down, and he thinks people who get into journalism to get famous are also helping to ruin journalism. I'm with him on those back two points, and anyone who thinks that their number of Twitter followers is a display of their worth is domby domb domb.
There is one line in particular that's very relevant for us: "I think that fans need to take a look at how they root for - and especially against - their favorite or least favorite athletes." AC Slider already wrote wonderfully about how negative Cincinnati media is, and you don't need me reminding you that. We can really be something wonderful, and I don't think we need either the Deadspin page clicks model or the P-Doc Disappointed White Man model in order to do it. Red Reporter's got its own special things, and there's lots of things I would like to do better, but I think we got a good thing going on here. Hopefully you do, too.
Turkey is the fourth-largest consumer of baseball bats in the world. I did not see that one coming. Link's in Turkish, but the basic reason is: large air force bases in Turkey and the dudes who sell the bats to all the little league teams in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf reside in Turkey. Interesting, huh?