Out of bounds: It was the morning before the opening day

And no creature moved anywhere in Wrigley Field because of the COVID logs.

OK, so it doesn’t rhyme.

So I saw Iowa Cubs broadcaster Alex Cohen and his girlfriend Tessa Chen find a house at House Hunters last night. I now know that Cohen likes “the basement” more than any broadcaster. Has anyone else watched? Do you think they made the right choice out of the three houses they looked at?

  • SB Nation has their season preview with a panel discussion on seven questions, including our own Sara Sanchez and Ashley MacLennan.
  • Neil Paine has a guide for the 2021 American League season. I expect the National League article will appear today.
  • Hannah Keyser has a preview of NL West by getting the five directors to talk about their own teams.
  • Dennis Lin has a detailed look at the Padres and their master plan to overthrow the Dodgers from the NL West throne. I knew the Dodgers had been at the top of NL West for a while, but do you know they have won eight straight titles? The Giants last won the division in 2012.
  • Anthony Castrovince counts the top ten MLB lineups, the top ten starting rotations and the top ten bullpens of the season.
  • Andy McCullough and Marc Carig ask industry experts who the best starters in the league are. (The Athletic sub. Req.) Man, even baseball managers don’t have five Kyle Hendricks the respect he deserves.
  • Sarah Langs has some career milestones that could be reached in 2021.
  • Mike Petriello arranges all 30 teams in seven “levels”.
  • Will Laws ranks all 30 teams based on how “observable” they will be this season.
  • RJ Anderson has three key off-the-field storylines for the 2021 season.
  • Will Leitch writes that MLB has a great chance of grabbing the nation’s attention in 2021, and better not to screw it up with a 2022 work stoppage.
  • Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville had MLB managers Theo Epstein (you may have heard of him) on their podcast, and Stark sums up what Epstein said about his love for baseball and what MLB needs to do to make the sport better. (The Athletic sub. Req.) Or I suppose you could just listen to the podcast when you have 85 minutes left.
  • MLB has also issued new COVID guidelines for minor league baseball to follow this season. Broadcasters cannot travel with the team. No batboys or batgirls. No sunflower seeds. Teams must charter three buses instead of two, and charter flights for Triple-A are highly recommended. The teams are also urged to put each player in a separate hotel room on the street. MLB doesn’t go out of the way to explain who will be paying for these additional expenses. So it’s a good bet that MLB doesn’t feel like it’s their responsibility.
  • The biggest off-the-field (non-COVID category) story right now is whether or not shortstop Francisco Lindor signs a long-term extension with the Mets. Owner Steve Cohen said, “I hope he decides to sign.” The two sides are reportedly $ 60 million apart, with Lindor seeking $ 385 over ten years and the Mets making their “final offer” at $ 325 over ten years.
  • Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said Lindor was worth $ 400 million.
  • Gabe Lacques has a preview of the “billion dollar shortstops” that could be in the free agent market next winter. It seems certain that the total dollar amounts of the contracts they will sign will exceed a billion if labor problems do not stand in the way.
  • The Mets also hired a law firm to conduct an organizational review of the “workplace culture”. . . with an emphasis on sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination. “(The Athletic subrequirement, although this is a summary without a paywall.) The investigation into former Mets manager and current Angels pitching trainer Mickey Callaway is also ongoing.
  • Michael Baumann argues that the top rivalry in 2021 will be the Twins and White Sox.
  • The Blue Jays will play in Florida at least until the end of May.
  • The Tigers bring Miguel Cabrera back to the first base. Good luck with it.
  • The Rangers have chosen infielder Rougned Odor for the mission. Jay Jaffe looks back on Odors career and what went wrong for him in Texas over the past few years. The Rangers still owe Odor $ 27 million for the next two seasons.
  • Howard Megdal argues that “versatile infielder” is a new “secret weapon” for baseball. That is, people without a regular job, but those who can be divided into all four infield positions.
  • The angels just made their bullpen new at the end of the spring training and only picked up four new helpers in the last week. Jake Mailhot explains that this is not an ideal situation, but that the angels had no other choice.
  • Mark Appel, former number one draft pick, is attempting a comeback with the Phillies.
  • Marlin manager Kim Ng is aware of the pressures she is under and insists that “failure is not an option for me”.
  • The Marlins announced that their ballpark will now be known as Loan Depot Park. You should write it with seemingly random capitalization as “LoanDepot Park,” but I won’t because neither the Marlins nor the Loan Depot will pay me to follow their silly capitalization scheme.
  • President Joe Biden won’t be knocking out first place on Nationals opening day. He’s hoping to knock out first place at Nationals Park later this season. Or maybe he just believes that no self-respecting Phillies fan would ever wear a Nats jersey and kick out first place.
  • Bob Nightengale speaks to former Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson about the tragic 2020 year of baseball. Ten Hall of Famers died in nine months, an all-time high.
  • And finally, Ben Lindbergh has an interesting piece about it. . . a drive from Castellanos into the deep left field and that will be a home run and that makes it a 4-0 ball game. . . how a botched apology from Thom Brennaman became baseball’s best internet meme. It was taking longer than you might have expected.

And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster, because it will be opening day!

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