Out at the Oregon coast this weekend, I missed most of the series with the Royals. Did you know there are still towns in the United States that have no cell phone reception? I'm here to tell you it's true. And yet no matter where you go in this country, even the most remote outposts of civilization, baseball is ever present. An evening jaunt to the local olde-timey ice cream parlor provided my Saturday score update, happily passed along by a gentleman in a Royals cap and George Brett jersey. In effort to cushion the blow, he threw in a scouting report on the mocha chip as well.
There has been much talk about the newly created General Manager vacancy in the Cubs front office. Most of it centers around the bigger names who might be available, your Andrew Friedmans, your Pat Gillicks, your [insert literally any name in the entire world here]. Brian Cashman is a popular name in the rumor mill, though Jay Jaffe has poked a few holes in that theory over at Pinstriped Bible. So is, believe it or not, Theo Epstein, who is specifically mentioned in this Ken Rosenthal video as a possibility, though he says the Red Sox would be unlikely to let him interview if he is under contract. Epstein's contract runs through... well, actually we're not sure. Cot's doesn't have it and if they don't then it's unlikely the information exists in the public domain. Epstein signed an extension in 2009 so it is possible his contract could be expiring at the end of the year. Were it up to me I'd look into the biggest name who just came available: Muammar Gaddafi.
If Epstein isn't available then you can expect to hear the name of his deputy, Ben Cherington, mentioned. MLB Trade Rumors interviewed Cherington recently, getting to open up about his love of gophers, his strange attraction to candied fruit, and the only time he's ever fallen off a sky scrapper. OK, he doesn't come out and say that stuff specifically, it's more of an unspoken sort of thing.
Guess who out-performs his BABIP better than any active pitcher in baseball? No, not Spider Man. Come on, seriously. Hint: his name rhymes with Tin Bakeschmield.
Marc Hulet of Fan Graphs has a story on the Red Sox promoting Ryan Lavarnway. Like just about every other scout/prospect maven/hound, Hulet doesn't see Lavarnway sticking behind the plate permanently. Which is a shame, because if true, it means Lavarnway probably isn't long for the team. Of course there are scenarios where the Sox could use him at other positions but those involve either serious long term injuries or big name players leaving for duller colored pastures. The more likely scenario seems that Lavarnway finds himself back at AAA next season continuing to hone his catching skills until the big league club needs a bat, he's traded, or he proves himself behind the plate. But to his credit, Lavarnway isn't letting his catching skills atrophy while up in the bigs. Nope, according to Tim Britton at the Providence Journal, he's using the instructors available and working to improve.
Darryl Johnston over at Fire Brand of the AL brings the Salty love and so, like paying the toll for the guy behind you at the tollbooth, I am thus obligated to pass it along to you, dear reader. I only ask one thing of you: pay me back. With cash. Seriously. Screw Kevin Spacey, I want some money.
Remember when Jose Canseco tried to catch a fly ball at the outfield wall with his skull? Yeah, that was funny. In some sort of wrong-headed (sorry) homage to Canseco this minor league outfielder actually uses his head to fake out the runners on base. The ensuing triple play was a lucky accident, but if there was some way to perfect it, the potential exists to surpass the inside the park homer in total coolness.