March 31, 2017
Famous Cereal Celebrities, Anonymous Roster Cuts, and Illegible Signatures
Mel Ott, King of the Bunt?
By: Mary Craig
Though I’ve never actually eaten Wheaties, I imagine they’re perfect for staving off the hunger of active kids until lunchtime. I’ve always been a fan of the athletes-on-Wheaties-boxes tradition. I own 2004 Red Sox, 2007 Red Sox, and 2008 Kevin Garnett boxes, all of which still contain Wheaties, and which I believe will get me through the impending apocalypse. I think Wheaties has done admirable things in promoting a diverse range of athletes in recent years. Until today, I had no ill will toward Wheaties, General Mills, or its subsidiaries.
And then I stumbled upon the above monstrosity.
That’s right. In 1937, Wheaties thought it would be a brilliant idea to make Mel Ott the face of bunting. That’s 1932, 1934, and 1936 home run leader Mel Ott. The man who reached base almost half the time. The perfect candidate to detail how bunting is “playing winning baseball.”
I’ve wracked my brain trying to rationalize this horror, and the way I see it, there are five possible explanations:
I don’t know about you, but I’m not prepared to give either Yost or a cereal box that much power, so I’m ruling out options 3-5. Of the remaining two, the second one seems most obviously correct.
(Feel free to send me gift baskets for saving you all from spending hours puzzling over this blight on humanity.)
Seven NRI Pitchers Who Were Cut From The Rays This Week
By: Matt Sussman
Some brief notes on actual pitchers who were in the Rays spring training and were ultimately cut in this, the final week of spring training please do not look them up elsewhere:
Nolan Strothmo: 6’2” Vanderbilt product, spent the offseason as a high-end taffy appraiser... Said the process really opened his eyes... Coaches liked his makeup but could not get past how wide his eyes were.
Zack Wakefield: Got into camp because he said his dad was Tim Wakefield, which it is, but not that one... Had a decent changeup all throughout spring, but ultimately faded down the stretch as he started throwing too many parsnips whittled as baseballs... Opposing hitters picked up on the scent.
Alex Mendoza: Sported a modest 7.2 K/9 throughout spring training… Kept referring to each opposing batter as “my roommate,” which was an effective distraction at first but after a while just became annoying.
Caleb Garamond: Actually made the team, but requested a release as he was just looking for a few weeks of “alone time” on the mound... Refused to shake anyone’s hand, and never changed out of his uniform... Left the stadium and walked westward, toward the sea.
Yanri Koleta: Groundball specialist signed from the independent leagues who somehow did not get a batter to hit into a single ground ball in 5 2/3 innings of work... Claimed it was because “you guys hold your baseballs upside down here in the big leagues.”
Olivier Dufour: Very uplifting story... The Quebecois sinkerballer was seeing his first time in a big league camp in seven years... He had spent the last six years waiting in a dentist’s office... He had also never heard of chewing gum, which would have been a major league first... 80% of dentists correlated these two facts... Ultimately couldn’t locate any of his pitches.
Rickie Weeks, Jr.: Was standing in the wrong line... Actually arrived in camp to apply for position as Team Crier, a vocation he invented... After the fact, too nice to speak up... Made the team as an infielder, to avoid embarrassment.
The Writing’s on the Ball
By: Stacey Gotsulias
My 28th birthday fell on a Monday. I was excited that morning: Birthdays in the office meant long, somewhat boozy lunches, small bouquets of flowers adorning your desk for an entire day, and assorted presents from co-workers. I was also still at the point in my life when birthdays were actually fun, and not yet a depressing reminder of my fleeting youth: a score, rather than a timer. I also was living in Staten Island, so my commute consisted of a bus ride, a ferry to Manhattan and then a subway to midtown. I had a long time to get excited thinking about what I was going to walk into at work.
Mary Craig is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @marymcraig