MOST IMPORTANTLY: Opening Day invokes strong emotions in Votto. Joey wrote a little op-ed to the Reds official website about how much he loves Opening Day here. I wanted to run through a wall after reading it. And the video attached is pretty great too (watch the whole thing to see Joey sarcastically flex at the end of it).
ALSO IMPORTANT: Eno Sarris interviewed Joey Votto about his approach. They mostly talk about how Votto wants to be on Mauer's level of selectivity on pitches inside the zone, about how Joey wants to basically only swing at what he can put a hurt into. Votto has some other great quotes about his ISO, how little he believes in lineup protection, and what he thinks Hamilton on base will mean for his pitch selection. It's all pretty great stuff.
The Reds.com Bulletin is full of great news. Cueto feels great (and gives his first English-language interview). Mesoraco is feeling better and optimistic about returning in time (though Price mentions senatorally that Barnhart would be the guy -- and not Corky -- if Mesoraco needs to be DLed). Latos is improving to the point where Simon may not have to be used as a starter after all (and Price mentioned that Tito Marshall and Francis are still in the running for that fifth spot). There will also be a new 85 foot-long bar with 23 local taps, a Taste of Belgium, and improved wifi at the ballpark this year. No word on improved sushi options, though.
Ramon Santiago has made the Reds. CTR technically scooped Fay, but Fay noted that a 40-man move is necessary. My guess is that if Santiago has made it, that means that the Reds will give Bernadina the last spot as 5th outfielder. We'll see.
Neftali Soto caught three innings yesterday. "I wasn't surprised by it, but it was certainly good to see," is Price's line, and that sounds about right. The memories of Kears and Heisey trying to play 3b are fresh in my head, so the concept of someone improving their versatility is nice. It'd be neat to see Soto have a month of .280/.340/.440 ball until Hannahan comes back.
Dusty Baker, Gentleman Farmer: "Baseball is not my purpose in life," he says, "it's an avenue to my purpose in life." He sounds good and like he's enjoying growing beets and brussels sprouts for Darren Baker. His daughter's even gonna get married at the family farm. Awesome little heartwarming story; anyone want to go to Baker's Dusty Wine Room in Treasure Island this summer?
Toronto will be opening their year with two games in Montreal's Stade Olympique. Which is pretty cool, especially since it means we will be able to watch baseball tomorrow. Allons geai bleu!
I still hate the Giants. But I love the Giants' commercials. Especially the telenovela with Ramos and Posey.
ESPN is using Nate Silver to bad use! Andrew Grant over at True Blue LA has a great little write-up on how ESPN has so far used the "brand" of 538 to peddle false narratives. Grant notes that saying you can predict a prospect's WAR or say that Gretzky "had it easy" is bad math, but grading teams on racial purity?
Suggesting that the Dodgers would be better off if they managed to trade Ryu and Jansen for their white guy equivalents would look horribly racist 25 years ago, let alone today. However, because "it's based on real math" there will be some people out there that take this seriously and argue the Dodgers should deal Ryu for Mike Minor.
So trying to figure out clubhouse chemistry by tallying up who's from which country? Nah. There are assholes in every country. Literally and figuratively. You can think of six people from your high school you still want to punch. Now picture yourself working with them for seven months, traveling with them, sharing airplanes and buses with them.
In case you think I'm overstating things, you can see the clips from ESPN The Mag yourselves at DJ Gallo's Twitter, including the Central (the Reds don't have any isolated players! But who will celebrate Canada Day with Joey?).
There's lots of easy jokes about grading intangibles on a tangible scale. There's lots to be said about "chemistry" is just winning. This is the easy response dismissing ESPN.
The further response is...who is ESPN to say that people of different races can't play well together? Isn't that the exact pre-Jackie argument?
If ESPN went so far as to look at if the team was made up of a bunch of guys who came up through the system together, then I could see where they were coming from. But instead, they're just saying that Californians sit over here and that Dominicans sit over there.
It's really awful, basically. And ESPN thinks that they can get away with it because they defend it with ~statistics~. This really goes in line with the idea that blacks can't play quarterback, Hispanics are not intelligent, and LGBTQ folks can't hack it in the military. It's part of the long history of rich white men telling people who are not rich, not white, and not men that they aren't really welcome unless they play by the rules.
In case I lost you a bit with that last paragraph, realize that since the Great Eight was famously three latinos, three black dudes, and two white dudes, ESPN would say that they couldn't compete. They shouldn't be able to hack it against racially pure teams. Which is bullshit, of course. The Reds weren't made up of blacks and whites, they were made up of four stars and a bunch of turds.
It's not just bad science or stupidity, it's pernicious stupidity that hides behind an assertion of its own brilliance. Interpreting data to create ad-selling storylines is a phenomenal bullshitification of journalistic inquiry. It's also, it looks like, the future.