A few weeks ago, the city of Montréal decided to honour recently deceased Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter. Rather than slap his name on the side of a building or construct a bronzed statue of his likeness somewhere in the city, they decided to open it up to the public. Why not let the people who watched him on a daily basis decide what to do in his name?
So far, the usual type of ideas have been rolling in: Rename a street “Gary Carter Blvd.” or some such thing, rename a metro station, paint a mural honouring Carter and the Expos at Trudeau Airport. All decent ideas in their own right, but none of them especially original.
Dave Kaufman, host of The Kaufman Show on TSN 990 in Montréal (which airs Monday nights at 11pm and can also be found here, or on iTunes), has thrown an idea into the fray in a column for the Montréal Gazette and I have to be honest, it’s a great idea.
Kaufman proposes that the city elicit donations from the corporate community to build or refurbish eight (in honour of Carter’s #8, of course) baseball diamonds in low-income areas across L’île de Montréal. Kaufman argues:
“This is not a cheap proposal, but the ambition of the project captures the essence of Gary Carter. He thought big, dreamed big, and helped make Montreal the toast of the major leagues.
Many of the city’s baseball diamonds are either in serious disrepair or have been transformed into soccer fields. How can this generation expect the next generation to have the same passion for baseball if they don’t grow up playing it?
Before people can dream of having professional baseball back in Montreal, we need to rekindle and develop their passion for the game. That begins at the grassroots level.”
Over the last little while, Dave and I have become friends and he’s made me realize just how important baseball is to people in Montréal; he’s even made me realize how important it was to me and really to all Canadian baseball fans. It may be a long, long time before professional baseball is back in the city, if ever, but Dave’s proposal will go a long way to rekindling the dormant interest in the game and that’s something Gary Carter assuredly would have wanted.
And the rest:
Spring Training can be a boring time of the year for baseball fans. Yes, baseball is back and is being played by professionals and that’s awesome, but in terms of peripheral news, it’s pretty boring. But one thing that does come up a lot (probably far too much) is injury news. So let’s run some of that down:
Uber-prospect Mike Trout has been battling some sort of flu-like bug since coming to training camp. He’s been participating in workouts, but he has felt weak and has no appetite which has caused him to lose ten pounds [Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register]. The 20-year-old outfielder has yet to participate in any games this spring. He is likely to start the year in AAA-Salt Lake and this illness is certainly not helping the team’s brass change their minds. The Angels’ outfield is allegedly set with Peter Bourjos in center, Torii Hunter in right and Vernon Wells in left, although it’s pretty obvious that they would be better off with Trout in the lineup over Wells.
Bryce Harper will miss a few days with a calf injury. Nobody freak out though, okay. #InjuryProne [Adam Kilgore, Twitter].
On the ‘great news in injuries’ front, Rockies righthander Juan Nicasio threw three innings yesterday for Colorado against the Oakland A’s. It was the first time Nicasio had thrown in a professional game of any kind since breaking his neck eight months ago after being struck in the head by a line drive. Nicasio is expected to compete for a job in the rotation [Patrick Saunders, On the Rox/Denver Post].
Giants catcher Buster Posey caught two innings, marking the first time he’s been behind the plate in game action since breaking his ankle in a collision at home plate last May [John Schlegel, MLB.com]. I have it on good authority that when Dustin Parkes heard this news he peed a little.
Yankees reliever and confirmed strikeout ninja David Robertson tripped on a stair taking out his recycling and mangled his foot. The worst was feared but further testing revealed it to be merely bruised and Robertson is expected to be out of his walking boot by tomorrow and should be able to pitch with mild discomfort sometime next week [Bryan Hoch, MLB.com].
And today in ‘most ridiculous injury ever,’ Rays lefthander David Price tweaked his neck while aggressively towelling off [Yardbarker]. Joe Maddon handled the situation with his usual awesomeness:
“David might need better technque when it comes to toweling himself down,” he said. “He’s been doing it for 20-some years now but apparently doesn’t have it down yet.”
In non-injury-related news, Manny Ramirez sat down with Ken Rosenthal and talked about his ill-advised retirement from baseball last year. He also mentioned that he nearly signed with the Blue Jays, but that they had second thoughts. As a unabashed Manny fan, this saddens me, but I don’t know how much better he would’ve made the team so maybe that’s for the best [Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com]. Stoeten also comments on the situation over at DJF.
Longtime Major League umpire Harry Wendelstedt has died at the age of 73 [The Score/Associated Press]. Wendelstedt was an umpire from 1966-1998 and was diagnosed with a brain tumour several years ago. His son Hunter Wendelstedt is currently an MLB umpire.
Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein runs down the Phillies minor league system for the final instalment of his Top 11 prospect lists [Baseball Prospectus, $]. I recommend checking each and every one of them out.
Sticking with BP, Max Marchi takes a look at which catchers and managers have helped their teams the most in terms of handling the pitching staff [Max Marchi, Baseball Prospectus]. The one thing that sticks out the most: Mike Piazza was one of the best ever at handling pitchers according to Marchi’s research. This is both surprising and pleasing.
FanGraphs’ prospect expert Marc Hulet runs down his minor league organizational rankings in which he ranks the Blue Jays second to only the Padres [Marc Hulet, FanGraphs].
The Los Angeles Dodgers have apparently signed NFL defensive back Jarrad Page to a minor league deal as an outfielder [Ken Gurnick, Twitter]. Page was drafted by MLB teams three times, including in the seventh round by the Angels in 2006. He played 11 games last season between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings.