Reveille 4/8/13

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:

  • Ben Lindbergh and Jon Shepherd of Baseball Prospectus remind us why we shouldn’t seek too much meaning in spring-training statistics — in this case, the hope of projecting which position players are due for breakout years at the plate.  

  • A few days ago, Right Field took note of Michael Morse’s hot start. U.S.S. Mariner’s Jeff Sullivan advises Seattle fans on why they should embrace the 31-year-old left fielder in his second stint with the club, even though he is signed only through the end of the season:

And one shouldn’t overlook the fact that Morse is apparently absolutely thrilled to be in Seattle. This is a guy who the Mariners dealt away for a backup, a guy who only found success somewhere else, and this is a guy who got traded back to Seattle from a title contender. The Nationals are probably the best team in baseball; the Mariners are probably not. Morse easily could’ve reacted the way that Cliff Lee initially reacted. But Morse didn’t just go along with things — he told everyone he could get a hold of that he was beyond ecstatic with things. Unless Morse is a hell of a convincing liar, he wants to be a Mariner, and again, we get another parallel with Felix. One of the things that sets Felix apart in our hearts is his loyalty to the city and the organization. A lot of players seem like they’d be happy anywhere, just so long as they’re playing, and free agency typically bears this out. It renders as somewhat silly the idea that we should support a specific team in a specific place, since the players don’t really care. A guy like Felix, or Morse, indicates that there’s something special about this team, and it’s satisfying when loyalty feels like it’s a two-way street. Put another way: who the hell would want to be a Mariner? Michael Morse does, and that’s an unusual characteristic.

  • With chatter growing louder over the possibility that the National League will adopt the designated hitter in the next few years, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, no fan of the DH, wonders why the NBA hasn’t gotten with the program and adopted a designated free-throw shooter.

  • In an interview with Howie Rose, Amazin’ Avenue’s Chris McShane asks the Mets radio broadcaster about the use of the designated hitter. Rose doesn’t try to hide his disgust:

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. The only thing I like about it is that it makes for a cleaner scorecard, it’s an easier scorecard for a broadcaster to keep. But I’m not interested in the DH from a clerical standpoint, I’m interested in its ramifications from a strategic and a purity-of-the-game standpoint. And I hate it, and I despise it, and I never liked it, and I like it even less now, if that makes any sense.

  • Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs informs readers that the cost of going to the ballpark has remained roughly the same from 2012 to this season, although there are noteworthy exceptions. Many fans of the Nationals, Tigers, Giants, Angels, and Rangers are seeing price hikes.

  • Sabermetrics has spread to the Astros’ radio booth, and, according to Steve Eder of the New York Times, it did not happen by accident:

When the Astros interviewed [Steve] Sparks, a journeyman knuckleball pitcher, and [Robert] Ford, a Bronx native who previously called minor league games, the topic of advanced statistics came up repeatedly. The Astros, who have eagerly embraced analytics, wanted to know if the broadcasters could grasp the data being used, in part, to build the team.

“We need them to tell the story of how we are making decisions and putting the organization together,” said George Postolos, the Astros’ president and chief executive, who added that the team would not want a broadcaster who was uncomfortable explaining the front office’s strategy.

  • To the millions of Twins fans reading Reveille: Be sure to read Aaron Gleeman’s post on his personal blog discussing Minnesota’s chances in the AL Central this year.

  • Remember the Alamodome!” screams the Hardball Times headline for Frank Jackson’s piece explaining, among other things, why San Antonio, the country’s seventh most populous city, does not host a triple-A franchise, let alone a big-league team.

  • Back when he was a Northwestern University law student, current White Sox owner Jery Reinsdorf put into a motion a fairly ambitious scheme to level the playing field in the annual student-faculty softball game.

  • First baseman Chris Davis had a monster first week of the season, but Will Middlebrooks (above) has had the game of the year for any position player. Yesterday, the 24-year-old third baseman belted three home runs, a double, and a long fly ball that died on the warning track in a Red Sox rout of R. A. Dickey and the Blue Jays.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

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