I love Craig Calcaterra. Love him. He's a voice of coherence and reason in a wilderness that too often features reactionary screaming ignorance. So it isn't often I disagree with him, but yesterday was one of those rare days. Mr. Calcaterra wrote this post about the failure that has been Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. In it he condemned the idea that building a stadium in downtown Phoenix would help revitalize the area. It's true that the revitalization hasn't happened, but location isn't really the issue there. Cities are complex organisms so it should come as no surprise that there are many reasons the revitalization of Phoenix's downtown hasn't happened (which, by the way, doesn't mean it won't happen). But, a vitally important reason is the general development pattern. Phoenix isn't a city so much as it's a massive suburb of itself, sprawling from horizon to horizon. That may change one day, but it isn't the kind of thing that happens over night and it isn't the kind of thing that a ball park, no matter how big, important, or expensive, is going to reverse by itself.
Also, in that same post Craig destroys Field of Dreams. 'sup with that?
In Red Sox news, we've learned the prize received for handing Theo Epstein over to the Cubs will require elbow surgery. It's not Tommy John surgery, Chris Carpenter just needs a bone spur in his elbow removed, but it's going to put him on the shelf for a few months and anytime a pitcher needs arm surgery, well, it isn't a good thing even if it isn't the worst case scenario. The Sox are mum on whether they knew of this condition when they accepted Carpenter from Chicago (my guess: they did) but if they didn't we may be treated to... [wait for it] more compensation talks!!
OTM's own Cee Angi made her debut at Baseball Prospectus as part of their Platoon Advantage partnership and, if I may, hit a home run. Her story is about Kenny Williams, a drowned Teddy Ruxspin, and the White Sox farm system. And it's free! Top that! You can't!
Friend of OTM (and voice of reason himself) Chad Finn has a cool piece up about how this current iteration of the Red Sox reminds him of the 2002 Sox. That's an oft forgotten and under-rated team, one that came in the wake of the hateful 2001 disaster of a team and the 2003 team which was sooooo close to finally fulfilling the dream and served as a precursor to the magnificent 2004 season. Somewhere in all that 2002 gets lost, so that's my excuse as to why I only got 6 out of 9 right on Mr. Finn's quiz.
Over at EPSN Boston, Mike Andrews of Sox Prospects writes about the outfielders in the Red Sox minor league system. Read it and if nothing else you'll learn that both Bryce Brentz and Ryan Kalish are the same age. That information probably existed somewhere in two separate corners of my brain, but the roadway between them was dirt and floods frequently with impenetrable high school memories and almost constant thoughts of good pizza.
The Captain's Blog, a Yankee site, posted a very interesting piece on David Ortiz and his strikeout rate. Ortiz cut his strikeouts way back last season from where they had been trending in previous years and this speaks well for his ability to produce this year. Based on the sample in the study TCB put together, the cut in Ks was unprecedented in baseball history. However I question whether the sample is as large as maybe it should be (I made that comment on the blog post also). In any case, if Ortiz did literally get better as a hitter last season it would obviously bode well for his production going forward.
Over at Fan Graphs, David Laurilla interviewed Red Sox prospect Henry Owens. Owens is just out of high school and turned down the University of Miami to sign with the Sox after being drafted last summer. He's one of a number of guys who it will be exciting to follow as they rise through the Sox system.
The fine folks at Sox Prospects have put together their 2012 pre-season All Stars from the entire Sox minor league system. Hard to quarrel with any of their picks.
You may have heard the news that a group led by NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson has bought the LA Dodgers from the massive train-wreck that is Frank McCourt (be glad every night that that shyster didn't buy the Red Sox) for a record price of roughly $2 billion. At Fan Graphs, David Cameron isn't sure whether that's a good deal or not, but two things are for sure: it should lead to a better team on the field, and Dodger fans are going to end up with the tab in the end one way or the other. If you're interested in the deal at all, the must-read article is by Maury Brown at Baseball Prospectus (free).
Finally, Red at Surviving Grady has a very nice piece up about his love of Fenway Park. I'm with ya, Red, one hundred percent.