MLB Free Agent Signings…

I wonder if there are two guys named Jake and Elwood working in the front office of the NY Mets.  Just as Jake and Elwood Blues were determined to “get the band back together’, so too it seems the Mets are trying to recreate the Detroit Tigers pitching rotation from 2010 through 2014.  Last year, the Mets signed free agent Max Scherzer – a former Tiger – and this year they signed Justin Verlander – a former Tiger.  In their five-year overlap in Detroit, Scherzer and Verlander combined to post a record of 169-81.

Both Scherzer and Verlander are going to wind up in the Baseball Hall of Fame one of these days; I am not aware of any behavior(s) on the part of either player that would cause the BBWAA voters to spitefully keep either out of the Hall.  And yet, there is an element of risk associated with these guys at the top of a pitching rotation in 2023.

Max Scherzer will be 38 years old in July 2023.  He spent a couple of stints in the IL last year and his 145.1 innings pitched was the lowest total in his career save for his rookie season in 2008 and the COVID-abbreviated season in 2020.  Prior to the 2022 season Scherzer could reliably be counted on for 180 – 220 innings in a season.

Justin Verlander will be 40 years old just about the time when reports to Spring Training with the Mets.  He won the Cy Young Award last year at age 39 and also won that award in 2019 at age 36.  However, he only started 1 game in the 2020 “COVID season” and missed all of the 2021 season due to rehab from Tommy John surgery.

The Blues Brothers movie ends on a bittersweet note.  Jake and Elwood pay the tax bill to save an orphanage from foreclosure and simultaneously are arrested by law enforcement officers who have been pursuing them off and on for the entirety of the movie plot.  Here’s hoping that the Mets avoid any such bittersweet ending to their effort to “get the band back together”.

There was one other major MLB free agent signing announced yesterday; Trea Turner signed an 11-year deal with the Phillies for $300M.  Turner will turn 30 years old in mid-season 2023; his career batting average is .302 and his career OPS is .842.  In addition, he is a very good defensive shortstop and an accomplished base stealer.  Reports say that Turner and Bryce Harper are “besties” from their days as teammates on the Washington Nationals’ roster; so, perhaps this is another mini version of putting a band back together.

The Phillies made it to the World Series last season; adding Trea Turner to the lineup should improve the team.  Harper will miss at least half of the 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery – unusual for an outfielder to be sure – meaning there will be plenty of time for this reunited band to rehearse before taking the stage.

Let me stay with baseball for another moment here …  A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed optimism that the Tampa Bay Rays could get a new stadium that would make it a viable franchise in that locale.  At the time, I wondered why he was optimistic since several proposals/initiatives aimed at replacing Tropicana Field had come to naught.  Well, yesterday, I read a report that said there is now a plan on the table for the Rays to get a new domed stadium as part of a much larger development project east of where Tropicana Field is currently located in St. Petersburg, FL.  Here is what the development would entail:

  • A domed stadium for the Rays that would seat 30 – 35,000 folks.  Although it is domed, the roof would allow light to enter and there are sliding windows to let in air allowing for a grass field.
  • 1.4 million square feet of office space
  • 300,000 square feet of retail space
  • 700 hotel rooms
  • 5,700 units of apartments/condominiums
  • 600 senior residences
  • A 2500-seat “entertainment venue”.

I am not familiar with the geography of St. Petersburg, FL but the area where all of this could take place is called the “Historical Gas Plant District” and the timeline calls for the stadium to be ready for the 2028 MLB season.  Hopefully for the Rays, this proposal for development of the “Gas Plant District” does not turn out to be a lot of rhetorical gas…

In college football, the 41 bowl games are now set with regard to time, place and participants.  There is no way that I would try to “evaluate” those 41 games, nor will I watch even a quarter of them because far too many of them go beyond meaningless.  However, let me point out six of them here:

  1. New Mexico Bowl – – BYU vs SMU:  They should relabel this bowl game for this year to the “TLA Bowl” because both teams are known by Three Letter Acronyms.
  2. First Responder Bowl – – Memphis vs Utah St.:  Both teams are 6-6 which guarantees that one of these “bowl teams” will go home with a losing record for 2022.  Oh swell …
  3. Bahamas Bowl – – UAB vs Miami (OH):  Both teams are 6-6 which guarantees that one of these “bowl teams” will go home with a losing record for 2022.  Is there an echo in here …?
  4. Camellia Bowl – – Ga Southern vs Buffalo:  Another matchup of 6-6 teams meaning one will go home with a losing record for 2022…
  5. Quick Lane Bowl – – New Mexico St. vs Bowling Green:  Both teams are 6-6 …  You know where this is going…
  6. Lending Tree Bowl – – Rice vs So. Mississippi:  Rice is 5-7 and made it to a bowl game because they needed another team to fill out the field; So, Miss is 6-6.  So, if Rice wins BOTH teams will leave the game with losing records for 2022.  Are you excited about that?

Finally, in the past I have used parts of reviews by John Simon – – film and drama critic known as “The Vicar of Vitriol” – – as closing comments.  He is well known for savage commentary on actresses; let me present two of them today:

Lisa Minelli:  That turnippy nose overhanging a forward-gaping mouth and hastily retreating chin, that bulbous cranium with eyes as big (and as inexpressive) as saucers; those are the appurtenances of a clown – a funny clown, not even a sad one … Miss Minelli has only two things going for her: a father and a mother who got there in the first place, and tasteless reviewers and audiences who keep her there.”

And …

Shelly Duvall is the worst and homeliest thing to hit the movies since Lisa Minelli.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



8 thoughts on “MLB Free Agent Signings…”

  1. Wow! Talk about an erudite written devastation of a poor actress who had the misfortune to cross that man’s path. Woof!
    No. 6 on your list gave me a chuckle – it should be renamed the toilet bowl, because if Rice wins, … well you know and they both stink.
    And what little I know of Tampa Bay makes me wonder if the folks there could adequately support an MLB team no matter how many condos, entertainment venues, etc. one might build around the stadium, given their failure to support playoff and World Series quality teams in the past. Maybe my buddy Zach Eflin will be the draw.

    1. Wayne:

      John Simon has been known as “The Vicar of Vitriol”. If you prefer, you might think of him as “The Merchant of Venom”.

      I probably know less than you do about the Tampa/St. Pete area but folks who are Floridians have told me repeatedly that the “problems” facing the Rays are the stadium venue itself and a lingering revulsion for the original owner of the team. I have no idea if those factors are significant or not – – but at least this new proposal would “take care of” the inadequacy of the current venue. Who knows?

  2. Slogans.

    1973 Mets – “Ya gotta believe!”

    2023 Mets – “They can’t stop us. We’re on a mission from God”

    1. Ed Kelly:

      Welcome aboard…

      Some folks might say that for the 1969 Mets, Cleon Jones was on “a mission from God” …

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