Here are several go-to links to make the Inauguration a bit more bearable:
- Rest in Peace, Stan the Man, 92 (.331/.417/.559, 139.4 fWAR ). Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reflected, “Musial and St. Louis were more of a perfect match than Budweiser and the Clydesdales.” Miller’s colleague Dayn Perry noted:
Does he get short shrift because he wasn’t as combative as Ted Williams, as afflicted as Mickey Mantle, as graceful as Willie Mays or as resonant as Joe DiMaggio? Probably so. But that’s surely a reflection of what draws us to a story, to a life. In other words, if Musial has been overlooked, it’s our fault, not his. Because what he authored over a 22-year career in the majors can be ignored only if you’re hellbent on doing so. . . .
Despite his power and despite that corkscrew swing, Musial never struck out more than 46 times in a season.
It goes without saying that Musial routinely walked more than he struck out. What’s even more noteworthy is that Musial tallied more doubles than strikeouts in each of the first nine seasons of his career. Let that one breathe for a moment.
- Rest in Peace, Duke of Earl, 82. Amazingly, the Orioles skipper from 1968 to 1982 and from 1985 to 1986 was only 56 when he retired from the game for good. Joe Posnanski of Sports on Earth remembers how Weaver never hesitated to heap scorn at the conventional wisdom. Here was one example:
Probably his most famous against-the-world risk was making Cal Ripken a shortstop. He was Cal Ripken Jr. then, and he was 6-foot-4, and if there’s one thing everybody knew about baseball it was that 6-foot-4 men did not play shortstop. Ripken had played third mostly in the minors, and he looked like a third baseman, and when he began the 1982 season he was a third baseman. Nobody but nobody seemed to think he had the dexterity or quickness to play short.
Weaver decided on July 1, 1982 that he was a shortstop. There were some serious doubters — though the doubts were interrupted, as they often were in the Earl’s career, by a seven-game Weaver’s suspension — but he didn’t care. He never cared. He saw Ripken as a shortstop. So Ripken played shortstop. You might know — he played there a lot time.
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark has a summary of the game’s rules changes for 2013, including the ability of interpreters to accompany managers and coaches to the mound.
- Team USA’s World Baseball Classic roster has been unveiled. Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated Hit and Run is not particularly impressed.
- Jonah Keri of Grantland looks at last week’s three-way trade involving the A’s, Mariners, and Nationals and MLB regulars John Jaso and Michael Morse and does not offer many kind words for Seattle’s fifth-year general manager, Jack Zduriencik:
From Seattle’s perspective, this reads as the latest reaction to a huge dearth of power from the traditional power spots last year, as well as overvaluing power skills compared to on-base skills. You also get a whiff of urgency from M’s GM Jack Zduriencik, who’s entering his fifth year as Mariners GM with little to show for it and may well be under heavy pressure to produce results this year in an AL West division that features three very strong rivals.
- Writing in SB Nation, Marc Normadin explains why Mike Napoli last week signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Red Sox more than six weeks after agreeing to a $39 million, three-year contract.
- Sorry, ladies: According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, David Wright, the recent beneficiary of a handsome, eight-year contract extension, is off the market.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!