The World Baseball Classic is in full swing, and the early action has already been captivating in more than just a ‘there hasn’t been big-time baseball to watch in a few months’ sort of way. Late last evening, Australia battled back late to top Korea, and we’ve already had the chance to see Shohei Ohtani do his double-duty magic to power Japan past China.
There’s much more action today, tomorrow, and nearly every day in the near future, with coverage spread amongst FS1, FS2, and whatever the heck Tubi is. For more on the WBC - including schedules and where to watch - check out the clearinghouse page from MLB dot com.
Speaking of MLB.com, Mark Sheldon caught up with TJ Friedl about a 2022 season spent traversing the unspoilt wild of northwestern Kentucky, with particular focus on the I-71 trail he blazed in both directions between Cincinnati and Louisville. Friedl seemed to find a groove towards the end of last season, doing much of his dirty work against LHP of all things, and seems in a very, very good position this spring to seize a regular job on the Reds for 2023 (and beyond). It’s enough to make me re-heat my own hype piece on Friedl, who I think is poised for a mini breakout campaign this year.
** Paging Nick Senzel **
Over at The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans gave his second edition of Opening Day roster projections, with several surprising names included that I don’t have currently on my fictional spreadsheet that’s actually just an imaginary burlap sack in the dark corner of my brain. What Trent’s projection does not have, I’ll spoil, is one Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
Trent and The Athletic’s Levi Weaver also collaborated on a piece about tall catchers, something the Reds hope to sport more often than not in Tyler Stephenson this season.
Listen to, like, and subscribe to Walks Will Haunt, the re-branded version of the good ol’ Red Reporter Podcast. We’ve got some new in store for it as the season inches ever closer, including a new partnership with a new network of friendly pods that hopefully should provide some quality audio content around these, and other parts during the season. BK and I shook off the rust to get a couple of episodes under our belt over the last couple of weeks, and you can expect an episode (or two) each week as the regular season gets rolling. There’s even rumor of a weekly Farmers Only podcast in the works...
Aaron Judge reportedly turned down an offer from the San Diego Padres that exceeded $400 million, though I’m admittedly having a hard time reconstructing the timeline of when that gargantuan contract was offered by the Padres relative to the other gargantuan contracts offered by the Padres. What a world, to spend money on a baseball team!
On a perhaps related note, LA Times scribe Bill Shaikin relayed via Twitter a glimpse into how much money the New York Yankees raked in last year, and it’s the kind of thing that makes you say huh, there really is a big pile of money in owning baseball teams.
The Yankees’ ticket revenue last year - and that doesn’t count a single dollar from YES, ESPN, Fox, T-shirts, caps, hot dogs and steak sandwiches - was $345 million: https://t.co/j1cFPfeK4K— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 9, 2023
To tie a bow on this, back to some pertinent World Baseball Classic news: Mike Piazza’s mustache is back, and the world is better because of it.
Team Italy are all growing out mustaches and even made Piazza shave his goatee to do it. He said he’s bringing it back early 1990s Piazza-style pic.twitter.com/DNNNOYpl6W— Matt Monagan (@MattMonagan) March 9, 2023
Happy Thursday, folks. Enjoy every sandwich.