Welcome to the first week of May. I don’t want to say I haven’t missed baseball yet, because that would be dumb. Of course I have missed baseball. But, this weekend was the first in my area where we had consecutive sunny, warm, mid-70s days. I mowed the lawn. I weed whacked. I stacked up what remains of the fence that, until the windstorm earlier in the week blew it down, stood between my property and my neighbors. I planted grass seed because I’m now a suburban homeowner and as soon as you close the sale on the purchase of a home with any kind of yard, a deep desire to improve your lawn blossoms in you, whether you believe it will or not. I drank a cold beer in the warm sun, and, probably more than any moment up to that point, truly missed not having a ballgame to either watch or listen to.
It looks like the Gods of baseball have heard my prayers. Kinda.
Real live baseball!
On Monday morning, ESPN announced a deal wherein they will broadcast six KBO (formerly the Korean Baseball Championship league) games a week. The Korean Baseball Organization, the highest level of professional baseball in South Korea, kicks off their season on May 5. ESPN will be bringing you one game daily Tuesday through Sunday and into the postseason. Games will be called remotely in English by ESPN commentators. These are subject to some pretty odd hours, ranging from 1:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. EST start times.
With the season starting on Tuesday, the only thing you really have left to figure out here is which one of the ten teams in the league you’re going to root for. If former major league talent per team is something you’re interested in, MLB Trade Rumors has you covered. In an entirely un-researched and arbitrary decision, I’m a Doosan Bears man.
Regardless of when, or if, Major League Baseball gets started this year, it’s looking increasingly like minor league baseball will truly suffer a lost season. That leaves many, like Tigers pitching coach Rick Anderson, to wonder what is to become of many of the top pitchers who should be currently competing for a chance to join the Tigers in Detroit at some point this summer. For the time being, Anderson seems just about as clueless as the rest of us.
“What’s going to happen after this, I don’t know. I don’t know if they’re playing a minor-league season or what the plan is. Nobody really knows. Should they go play winter ball? I don’t know. Should they go to the fall league? I don’t know now. You just don’t know.”
When the major league season does get underway, it will likely be with expanded rosters. With that kind of extra room we may see some young faces a little earlier than we may have otherwise expected. For now, Anderson is checking in with everyone, making sure they are staying loose but not working too hard, and waiting. Just like everybody else.
Down to two
As Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press points out for the umpeenth time, the first pick in this summer’s amateur draft, held by the Tigers, is going to be one of two people: Spencer Torkelson or Austin Martin. Based on the opinion of one prospect analyst, what it seems to be boiling down to for Detroit is what route they want to take. Will they go the pure power route with Torkelson, or will they go for a more well-rounded player in Martin? To get that answer, we will have to wait for the draft, but there is certainly plenty to like about both.
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News is all too familiar with the fickle nature of the bullpen arms the Tigers have had to work with in recent history. The current iteration of the ‘pen is deep with hard throwers, but there is little certainty around who we can expect to contribute. McCosky runs through the current stable of arms and breaks down what talent is on hand, from big league ready hurlers expected to contribute substantially this year (like Joe Jimenez and Buck Farmer) down to some of the lower depths of the minor league system.
A classic week
If you’re looking for any kind of baseball to watch to get you through the current drought, Fox Sports Detroit has you covered this week. Every night they will be airing a classic Tigers match-up. Monday night is Mark Fidrych’s complete game gem against the Yankees on Monday Night Baseball back in 1976, the middle of the week shows Justin Verlander’s no-hitter against the Brewers in 2007, and the week closes out with Matthew Boyd’s one-hitter against the White Sox in 2017. A full week of great baseball. That’s something we haven’t seen in a while.
[Ed.: And if you really want to be sad, you can re-live Armando Galarraga’s 28-out perfect game on Thursday.]
Around the horn
The sting of contraction is no minor matter. At 47 years of age, Manny Ramirez is contemplating a return to baseball in Taiwan. Odd but not out: how the dropped third strike rule is the strangest in baseball. A look back at the trade that brought Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays. The 10 strangest trades in MLB history.