Iannetta on the money
Ex-big league catcher offers constructive criticism
Good morning, all! Hope you had a great weekend.
My paths crossed briefly with former MLB catcher Chris Iannetta in 2019. He was on a rehab assignment for the Colorado Rockies at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home to the Rockies’ AA affiliate the Hartford Yard Goats. Iannetta tried to extend his career in 2020 with the New York Yankees, but refused a minor league assignment on Aug. 1, choosing to retire from the game.
In an extensive interview (paywall) with Boston Globe columnist Peter Abraham, Iannetta offered some constructive criticism about the game he loves and as far as I’m concerned, he nailed it. He said the game has been reduced to home runs and strike outs. He noted how the era of specialized pitchers has ruined the thrill of watching a starting pitcher hurl deep into a game. (Next week I will be publishing on my The Baseball Beat podcast an interview I did with Bob Feller, who once pitched 36 complete games in a season.) And he repeatedly stated the sport is losing fans, attempting to appeal to a younger demographic by condensing the game into 30 second highlights on social media. He told Abraham:
“It can be a beautiful game out there on the field, but it’s becoming sterile. There are diminishing returns when all you see are home runs, strikeouts and walks. The product that’s on the field is losing fans more than MLB realizes.”
MLB needs to heed the words of Iannetta. Speed up the game and add the elements that made it fun to view. The college whiz kids, who never picked up a baseball in their lives, are ruining the game with their spread sheets, exit velocities and spin rates. In a game that boasts not being governed by a clock, the clock is ticking on its relevance in the sports landscape.
Gammons on the money too
Peter Gammons is a Hall of Fame baseball writer, and his recent column in The Athletic (paywall) is on the money too. He speculates on baseball’s 2021 season, which more than likely, will be truncated as Covid-19 lingers. Although a generally upbeat piece, Gammons laments about the nature of the game’s relationship with the media. He fears the media will no longer be permitted access to clubhouses post-Covid and that limited Zoom interviews with players will be the norm. He also speculates broadcasters and writers will only be allowed to cover the game via remote location. His concluding paragraph begins:
“Baseball will never be the same.”
His column is a must read.
Winter meetings underway
Did you know the annual baseball winter meetings are underway. They were scheduled as an in person confab in Dallas for Dec. 7-10. But like everything else, it seems, the meetings are being held online. In fact, the meetings have already started and will be held over the next two weeks.
For many, the baseball winter meetings not only broke up the long, cold winter, but brought sizzle to the Hot Stove League. I attended the 2004 meetings in Anaheim, CA and it was quite the event. Carl Pavano was the much-sought-after free agent pitcher that season and everywhere his agent Scott Boras went, the media was sure to follow.
At the meetings you could rub elbows with manager Terry Francona - beaming after leading the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years. Lou Piniella, then manager of Tampa Bay, was there for the asking. Sit in the hotel lobby, the main hub where the meetings were being held, and it was a field day just observing those who walked in on the gathering. One second, Tom Lasorda would be making an entrance, the next second in would walk actor Mark Harmon. It was the place to be seen, the place to go if you were in baseball. Now it is all online, leading one to wonder if MLB’s financially-challenged blueprint will adopt the online model as another way to save money.
Pearl Harbor remembrance day
Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It was a day that changed the world. Below is how the NFL game between the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers was interrupted with the announcement of the attack.
Yes, Dec. 7, 1941 was the day our world changed forever. Never forget.
That is it for today’s newsletter. As always, thank you for your support and spread the word about our three-times-per-week get together. The more subscribers the better.