We had a nice week off to close the 2011 calendar year, and now it’s time to gear up for the 2012 Pacific Coast League season.
Spring training starts in six weeks, with Mariners pitchers and catchers reporting to Peoria, Arizona on February 11. That’s just 39 days from today.
The big story in baseball remains the same: where will Prince Fielder sign? The latest rumors have the Washington Nationals as a big player in the market. I’m confidant that the Mariners will make – or perhaps already have made – a strong offer. All we can do is wait and see.
I’m a bit surprised the Fielder situation has dragged out this long. The teams in the running are going to need an answer soon, in order to move forward with their additional off-season plans. Look for a resolution soon.
Last week wasn’t entirely quiet. I compiled a bunch of links for you, starting with some unfortunate news for the PCL:
- The politicians in Escondido, California are saying that their ballpark proposal is dead. The Tucson Padres were hoping to move there for 2013. Now owner Jeff Moorad is looking to sell the team – and according to this story, three unnamed cities have already approached him.
- If you have some time to kill, here is a highly entertaining feature from SB Nation on 25 great and terrible sports announcing moments of 2011. I enjoyed the write-up, but especially the introduction – because the author gets it. When you talk non-stop for 2.5 hours, you can’t help but say something ridiculously stupid at some point. I do it every night!
- I swear I didn’t make this up: former Mariners and Rainiers infielder Luis Ugueto stole home in the 12th inning to put his Venezuelan team in the playoffs.
- I put up my list of favorite baseball books two weeks ago, and it was all older books. For a more current list, here is Baseball America’s Top Ten Baseball Books of 2011. I’ve only read one of these so far, but have two others on my to-read list.
- Fellow literary nerds, enter here: it’s William Faulkner‘s Hall Of Fame ballot. (Just read it for the Edgar Martinez entry alone).
- Super-smart Rob Neyer weighs in on the Hall of Fame debate, as it pertains to the steroids era.
- In the PCL, here’s an interesting story out of Tucson for you prospect watchers: the Padres recent trades should result in an absolutely loaded roster for Tucson. They make their first visit to Cheney over Memorial Day weekend.
- We have a new RG: the Nashville Sounds hired Jeff Hem to be their play-by-play announcer. He had been working at Class-A Kane County, which is one of the biggest minor league franchises in terms of attendance and market size. Congratulations, Jeff – and don’t worry, we won’t haze you too badly.*
- The Las Vegas 51s are bringing back manager Marty “Don’t Call Him Daren” Brown, but they have a new pitching coach in Bob Stanley.**
- Former Tacoma Giants star and Tacoma Hall of Famer Ron Herbel gets his usual ranking on this list of Worst Hitting Pitchers in Baseball History.
- Former Mariners and Rainiers infielder Jack Wilson likes kicking balls – perhaps more than hitting them. Check out this killer 30-second video of Jack on vacation, kicking a football into a moving jet ski.
- IMPORTANT: kick off 2012 by learning your 19th century Baltimore Orioles nickname.
Check back later this week – I’ll be updating frequently again.
* Yeah, right.
** Last year, Vegas finished 3rd in the PCL in wild pitches.