Mashup: Rob Neyer, Heading to Japan, Simon, Tampa Bay, Pettitte
January proved to be a banner month here at Blogging From The Bleachers as the site recorded its highest individual month yet in terms of traffic (by a significant margin). In addition, January’s traffic accounted for nearly two-thirds of my entire traffic total for 2010. I also was able to get our Facebook fan page setup (see the button on the left sidebar for the link) and after a month we’re up to 33 followers. Needless to say, 2011 has started out on the right foot here.
As the calendar turns to February and we’re getting buried here in the Northeast by yet another snow storm, let’s take a look at some of the latest going on across the baseball world.
- One of the biggest news items from yesterday was the unexpected departure of Rob Neyer from ESPN.com, where he has written for the past 15 years. Countless blogs and writers across the Internet had posts up thanking Rob for his work, inspiration, and honesty – and all were completely deserved. I even threw out my two cents on the matter. We all knew Rob would find a new home for his writing and he didn’t wait long before letting us know where that would be as his first post over at SB Nation was published this morning (and he’s already added two more since). There normally aren’t many SB Nation blogs that I read religiously but I presume that could change as I’ll certainly be checking their pages out (and potentially commenting, now that I’ve registered on the site as well) more frequently with Neyer on board. Best of luck to him!
- Neyer’s transition has continued to be big news today. At one point during the day he topped the list of the most searched topics on Google and even was a trending topic on Twitter for a few hours.
- Jon Bois took a brief look at the average payrolls by division based on projected 2011 figures. What is surprising about his findings is the fact that despite having the most teams projected to be above $100 Million (three), the AL Central still falls in the middle of the pack overall.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker has a new post up over at FanGraphs taking a look at some of the new names who’ll be playing over in Japan this coming season.
- Baltimore Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon has been denied bail and will remain behind bars in his native Dominican Republic. Simon, who’s 29, faces involuntary manslaughter chargers stemming from the death of a cousin on New Year’s Eve. Simon reportedly fired his gun in the air in celebration and a stray bullet fatally wounded his 25 year old cousin. He has claimed since the incident that it was merely an accident but it seems as though authorities are hoping to pursue the matter further. The Dominican Republic obviously has a different legal system than we do here in the United States and Simon reportedly could be held in jail for a minimum of one year before seeing a trial. It remains to be seen whether an appeal of the ruling will permit him to take part in Spring Training with the Orioles in a few weeks.
- Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez were officially introduced today by the Tampa Bay Rays. Damon teased his new (and former) teammate about their times together, including a time in Boston where Manny inexplicably cutoff one of Damon’s throws to the infield. Ramirez, meanwhile, stated he was willing to take less money than expected because he’s “already made his money and just wanted to compete again”. Today’s announcement came a little over a week after the sides agreed on a deal. My original thoughts on the deal can be found here.
- We still do not have official word one way or another on the future of Andy Pettitte but the general consensus still seems to point to his retirement, rather than a return for another season. It already seemed fairly certain that he would not be with the Yankees at the onset of the 2011 season but today word came out that he has an autograph session scheduled in New York for the same day as the team’s first workout in Florida. At this point, it seems pretty certain that the Yankees are prepared to move on without him (as they should be) considering their recent signings with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. Of course, neither signing would prevent Pettitte from returning if he so chose to do so but it seems as though key members of the organization are not expecting him to change his mind anytime soon.