Thanks to the Major League Baseball lockout, there are no true baseball stories to cover these days. At least, there are no objective nuts/bolts news stories breaking at the regular, be they free agent signings, trades, injuries, or the like.
That pause in usual baseball coverage doesn’t mean there is no baseball-adjacent reporting going on, however. The Athletic showed us that this morning, when C. Trent Rosecrans and Stephen Nesbitt put together a truly interesting article about a bit of the game of baseball that, I believe, gets pretty well overlooked on the regular:
They’re involved in literally every bit of the game, and despite the large variance in their constitution and the wild, wacky rituals and preferences of those batsmen who wield them, I’ve never truly been able to identify players with their bats. George Brett and his pine-tar aside, I suppose. From ash to maple to birch, though, there’s a material difference in them even before weight and grip and length get factored into the equation, and as Nesbitt and Rosecrans relayed, even that has become something hard to turn from variable to control these days due to an invasive asshole of a beetle.
Since it’s a seemingly overlooked nuance by most observers out there (me included), obviously it’s an aspect where Joey Votto is an expert. An expert with extreme preferences, so he’s featured heavily. I suggest you read it.
Speaking of Votto, here’s a quick set of facts about his 2021 season, and while they’re fantasy-centric, that’s just because he was that good at bonking the crap out of the ball with his ash bats (during the second half, in particular).
No talks between MLB and the MLBPA are currently scheduled to address the lockout and future Collective Bargaining Agreement, because why would there be? Why do deals when you can just let hundreds of billions of dollars just hang in the balance instead?
Assuming they get their collective noggins out of their collective rears and get the 2022 season underway, The Athletic’s Andy McCullough opines the Reds should get Hunter Greene involved early and often. That’s his New Year’s Resolution for the Reds, though he’s got thoughts on each of the rest of the MLB clubs in his column, too.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chimed in with some resolutions of his own for the NL Central.
MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo feels the Reds farm system has made one of the biggest jumps of any system in the game, which is cool. Considering they just graduated Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Jose Barrero, Vlad Gutierrez, and Tony Santillan, that’s some pretty high praise.