Nevada's baseball season began yesterday as the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno became the first to release its over/under betting lines for MLB wins. Jonah Keri has written about over/unders for many years now, which is how I first became interested in them. Keri's initial reactions to this year's release includes the line for all 30 teams. The Indians are listed at 77.5 wins, which would seem to make them a solid "over" candidate, if you cotton to the PECOTA standings and ZiPS projections I wrote about earlier this week.
Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy has covered the Cincinnati Reds for over forty years. He is also legally blind, leaving him unable to drive. For years a close friend drove him to and from games, but that friend is unable to continue doing so. McCoy published an open letter in the Dayton Daily News last month, basically a want ad, asking if anyone would shuttle him back and forth from his home in Dayton to the ballpark in Cincinnati, so that he wouldn't have to retire. Earlier this week, McCoy found his new wheel man, a former Air Force man looking for a way to fill his days after losing his wife in 2011. I don't know McCoy's work, but it's a neat story.
At Fangraphs, Wendy Thurm looked at MLB-licensed merchandise that's marketed to female fans. It seems the Indians are NOT one of the two teams marketing a thong. Thurm seems torn between appreciating that there are so many offering specifically for women (who make up 45% of all baseball fans, according to the article) and annoyed that many of the items are somewhat objectifying in a way that men's options are not. Anyone with a take on this? Anyone here purchased items from the Indians' women's department?
T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN report that Ryan Braun's name appears on an additional document from Biogenesis, a list which Quinn and Fish's source say is a billing list for PED clients. It certainly isn't proof of any wrongdoing on Braun's part, but it doesn't totally jibe with his initial explanation for his name appearing on the previously released document. The report also says the U.S. Government has no plans to get involved with any investigation.
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports some sad news: Nick Swisher was absent from camp Friday and will gone for the next two or three days after his mother, Lillian, passed away after fighting leukemia. On a brighter note from Bastian is this picture of the Indians' new center fielder learning from the master, like Luke and Obi-Wan training during the trip to Alderaan. I think that makes Jason Giambi our Chewbacca.
In this weekend's not-baseball note, Die Hard 5 ("A Good Day to Die Hard," which is a terrible title) is now in theaters. When I first saw the trailer, I thought it looked bad, and it seems "bad" is putting it lightly. In my mind, the Die Hard franchise is one great movie, followed by a couple pretty good sequels, followed 15 years later by a bad movie, and now apparently by an even worse one. It's not a great series though. Here are the movie franchises nearest and dearest to me:
6) Batman (the Nolan trilogy) - Most other superhero movies are hard for me to watch anymore, because this series so greatly raised the bar.
5) Toy Story - I think these are collectively the best animated movies ever made.
4) The Godfather - There's a pretty even split between those who love Part I the most and those who prefer Part II. There's probably even someone out there who think Part III is the best, but that person should probably be shunned.
3) Indiana Jones - I'm ignoring the new one, which is my right as an American. "Raiders" is the best of the bunch, a just about perfect adventure.
2) Lord of the Rings - My parents read the books to me when I was seven or eight and then I read them to myself when I was twelve or so and again in high school. The movies far exceeded whatever expectations I had for an adaptation.
1) Star Wars - The originals. I can't even really assess them just as movies, because they were such a massive part of my childhood. I've never really let them go.
Other news can/will be added and discussed in the comments.