No news is no news

Rumors fly fast and furious, and debunking them happens almost as quickly.

Baseball fans were briefly giddy after former Minnesota Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe tweeted that he heard a second round of spring training was set to begin June 10, with Opening Day following weeks later on July 1.

But that info was quickly debunked by reporters, with [MLB Network’s Jon] Heyman offering further clarity Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately for baseball-hungry fans, Heyman reported that July 1 might be an optimistic start date and not a very likely one.

“The alleged July 1 start date for an MLB season would be wonderful; they’d love to begin then (or close to then), but while there’s hope, things aren’t as certain as that. MLB is still hearing conflicting info from politicians and doctors, and health concerns remain the priority,” Heyman tweeted.

26 thoughts on “No news is no news

  1. I didn’t realize this.

    Tom was terrific against even the most inner-circle Hall of Famers. Ernie Banks hit .138 against Seaver. Johnny Bench hit .179. Gary Carter hit .188. So did Mike Schmidt, along with 35 strikeouts in 85 at-bats. Hank Aaron hit .220.

    Rick Monday? He hit .349 with a 1.247 OPS — by far the highest among all 172 big-leaguers who faced Seaver at least 30 times in their careers. Monday hit 11 home runs against Seaver. It was the most he hit against any pitcher. It was the most Seaver allowed to any hitter. Willie Stargell, Darrell Evans and Ron Cey were next, with eight. And Monday had fewer plate appearances (104) than all three of those guys.

    From 1972 to 1982, whether Seaver was a Met or a Red or Monday was a Cub or a Dodger, the battles were as one-sided as they come. Monday went 30 for 86 with five doubles, 17 RBI, 17 walks (two intentional) and 29 strikeouts. And those 11 homers.

    More at the link, if you subscribe to The Athletic (which has been offering various discounts to its normal rates all month, if anyone’s interested).

    • That’s outrageous. He’s only in the very very good category, but certainly deserved to appear on the ballot.

    • Leitch on SF: “I hope gno Gnatfans will be offended that this was probably the most difficult team to find someone on in all of baseball” (edited here for misspellings).

  2. This will be amusing. Houston Mitchell of the Times says:

    A couple of weeks ago, the fine folks at the San Francisco Chronicle approached us with an idea. How about we team up to produce a simulated best-of-seven baseball series pitting the best players raised in Northern California against the best players raised in Southern California.

    We reached out John Herson, who owns the APBA game company, one of the best baseball simulation games on the market, and he agreed to let us use his online game engine at to play the best-of-seven simulated series online.

    Why should you care? We want you to choose the rosters.

    The link to vote is at the bottom of the article.

    The SC players are amazing. Pitchers alone include Walter Johnson, Don Drysdale, Jim Palmer, Dan Quisenberry, Scott McGregor, Mike Scott, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Krukow and Larry Dierker (and more).

  3. MLB is choosing each team’s historically-best player at each position. Here are center fielders, with links to the posts for catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops and left fielders.

    The Dodgers’ best CF is Duke Snider. Three-dog Willie Davis is second, Matt Kemp is third, Pistol Pete Reiser is fourth and Brett Butler is fifth.

  4. From Jayson Jenks at The Athletic:

    “I don’t know what you’ve read or what you know. But it is a real story. It really happened.”

    – Steve Sax

    Steve Sax was exhausted.

    Along with his Dodger teammates and coaches, he had just crushed a meal at the Philadelphia-area restaurant owned by manager Tommy Lasorda’s brother. Now Sax, the team’s effervescent second baseman, was at the Franklin Plaza Hotel ready to crush some sleep. It was a Monday — an off day — before the Dodgers opened a three-game series against the Phillies in August 1985.

    Sax was so wiped after dinner he didn’t take off his clothes. He simply climbed into his king-sized bed, pulled the covers over him and passed out, blissfully unaware that he was not alone in the room.

    The mastermind behind the prank was Mark Cresse, the Dodgers’ bullpen coach. In his recollection of events, Lasorda had previously made an appearance at a Philadelphia church, and, as a thank you, someone affiliated with the church said he would cater a meal for the Dodgers the next time they were in Philly.

    This was not any catered meal, however, as Cresse and Co. learned when they walked into the restaurant. In the middle of the table, stretched on a plank of wood, was a whole roasted pig, complete with an apple in its mouth and green olives instead of eyes. Lasorda, apparently, carved the pig up right there at his brother’s restaurant, surrounded by his coaches and players.

    “It was delicious,” Cresse said.

    At the end of the night, the Dodgers had pretty well devoured the juicy pork. But Cresse and bullpen catcher Todd Maulding had an idea, so they went into the kitchen and asked the chef if he would do them a favor and cut off the pig’s head. Cresse and Maulding put the severed head in a garbage bag and snuck it onto the bus that carried the team back to the Franklin Plaza.

    Dodger outfielder Jay Johnstone, himself a notorious prankster, told the Los Angeles Times that Cresse and Maulding did not initially have a target picked out. But a brain trust of players, coaches and even batboys reached a quick consensus.

    “Everybody came up with the same suggestion,” Johnstone told the paper. “Steve Sax.”

    In many ways, Sax was an easy choice.

    He had this habit of bouncing into the air when he took his leads at first base, which drove his coaches nuts. One time, in San Diego, he returned to the dugout and was immediately set upon by Lasorda, who finished his three-minute lecture on base-running by asking, “Any questions?”

    Sax did have a question. “Is the Chicken going to be here today?”

    Another time he joked to a banquet audience, “At spring training we’re given a choice. We can either run around the field three times or run around Tommy Lasorda once.” Jim Murray, the famed columnist, wrote that interviewing the energetic Sax was like “spending an afternoon in a washing machine. Or a crashing plane.”

    But Sax was known at the time for more than his personality. He was also known for his yips — the inability to throw the ball from second to first despite being a world-class athlete.

    It got to the point that Sax admitted he sometimes hoped the ball wouldn’t be hit to him. Reporters asked and wrote about it all the time. Lasorda even talked about it in his book, The Artful Dodger, when he relayed a story about the time he asked Sax how many people in the United States could steal 50 bases in one year, which Sax had done.

    “Very few,” Sax said.

    Lasorda then asked, “How many people are there walking the streets of the United States who can throw the ball from second to first on the fly?” He did not wait for Sax to answer before shouting, “Millions! There are millions of them!”

    Anyway, Sax was selected as the recipient of the prank. The Dodgers traveling secretary, Bill DeLury, went to the front desk and obtained a key to Sax’s room. Cresse, Maulding and two batboys snuck up the fire staircase and entered Sax’s room, the plastic bag in tow. The bed was big and stuffed with pillows. Cresse and Maulding dumped the head near the pillow mound so Sax couldn’t easily see it. Then they slipped out the door.

    Sax returned to his room soon after and passed out.

    “Only Steve Sax,” Johnstone told the LA Times, “would not notice a pig in his bed.”

    Sometime between 4 and 6 a.m., Sax woke up. He was still in his clothes. Sun was starting to slip through the window in his room. He got out of bed and undressed, then settled in for more sleep before that night’s game.

    He reached across the bed for a pillow. He stopped. He felt something “hairy” and “greasy,” then ripped back the covers. There, staring him in the face, was the pig head from the dinner table, with the apple in its mouth and green olives for eyes.

    Attached to the pig’s ear was a handwritten note.

    “You had better start putting baseball first in your life,” it said. “And you better start playing better.”

    It was signed “The Godfather.”

    “That scared the shit out of me, man!” Sax said. “I thought it was real. I thought somebody was really after me.”

    Sax threw his clothes on, went to the front desk, explained his circumstances — “There’s a pig in my bed!” — and asked for a new room. The next day, he told his teammates about his discovery. It was only later that Sax learned the truth behind the plot, which still cracks him up to this day as he retells it on the phone.

    “Mark Cresse, on the insistence of our manager, Tom Lasorda, was the one that put the head in my bed,” he said.

    For the record, Sax got two hits the night after the prank and batted .316 the rest of the season.

  5. Baseball is a reassuring presence. In these moments, however, its absence is more reassuring.

  6. The best thing about this article is the title! No news is no news indeed,,,