Jason Linden of Redleg Nation makes the case that the Reds should cut Ryan Ludwick right now. While he points out that "Ludwick is the only starter producing at below replacement level (-0.1 fWAR currently)," I can't really agree with his assertion that, of the Reds many issues so far this year, "Ludwick is the biggest one." While a discussion of what actually is the Reds' biggest issue this year is far too depressing to contemplate on a beautiful May Saturday, if that's your thing, have at it in the comments.
SB Nation's Mike Bates has an article about one of my favorite non-Reds, Joe Mauer, and why a vocal minority of Twins fans seems determined to blame him for that team's failures despite his solid production (his current injury notwithstanding). The article is striking in that nearly every complaint Bates reports Twins fans having about Mauer is remarkably similar to the complaints coming from certain quarters about our own Joey Votto, a fact Bates alludes to in the article. The money quote: "On the other hand, something's much more wrong with fans who wear blinders and misguidedly insist that one of the best baseball players of this generation is hurting his team....Something is wrong with the fans who can't appreciate the beauty of an opposite field double or the value of a high on-base percentage..." Preach on, brother.
Cliff Corcoran of SI takes a look at the six 2013 playoff teams who currently have losing records in 2014, and asks whether they can turn their seasons around to once again play beyond game 162. The Reds of course make the list, along with their division mate Pittsburgh Pirates. For what it's worth, Corcoran says that "Cincinnati might have the best chance of righting its ship." So that's something.
Economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz analyzed how baseball teams attract die hard fans, and found a correlation between adult fandom and the age of that fan when their team wins a championship. As he puts it, "The odds of being captured as a perma-fan peak with those aged 8 to 12 at the time of the championship." I can only speak to the anecdotal evidence of my own life, but as someone who turned 12 the summer of 1990, I think he may be on to something here.
The New York Times has drawn back the curtain on the selection process for the next MLB Commissioner, and things are already getting contentious. Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf believes that Allan H. "Bud" Selig is trying to force through his own hand-picked successor, Rob Manfred, despite the wishes of current owners. The Times article talks of closed-door meetings, secret committees and palace intrigue worthy of Game of Thrones. Like they say, when you play the game of commissioners, you win or you...well, you don't die, you just don't get to be commissioner, I guess. I mean, let's not go nuts here.
Deadspin has another take on that Times article, and places the whole situation in a historical context.
Finally, Sol White was one of the great players of early Negro League baseball, and was also one of the first baseball historians. Much of what historians know about the early days of the Negro Leagues is thanks to White's work. He played for a large number of teams starting in the mid 1880's, and was involved with the Negro Leagues as either a player, manager or coach through 1926. In 1907 he published Sol White's Official Base Ball Guide, the only first person account of Negro League baseball in the 19th century, and indeed the only reliable documentation of black baseball during that period. White passed away in 1955, meaning he did live to see baseball's color line shattered. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see his own induction in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which occurred in 2006. And at long last, as of May 10 of this year, his grave has a headstone.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, an organization I just found out about that's run by an anesthesiologist named Dr. Jeremy Krock, supported by SABR and dedicated to the goal of properly marking the final resting places of Negro League veterans who otherwise would continue to lie in unmarked graves, arranged for White to receive the headstone. As Major League Baseball's official historian John Thorn points out, with the placement of White's marker, it can now at last be said that "no member of the Baseball Hall of Fame lies in an unmarked grave." On his blog, Thorn provides a transcription of the moving declaration he gave at the ceremony earlier this month as well as a brief biography of Sol White. Please read it.