1) In case you missed it, the Indians kicked off their spring training schedule with a wild game against the hated Reds (are the Reds hated???), ending in an 11-10 win for the Tribe. Jordan Bastian filed a number of other reports yesterday, all of which can be found here. Included there is Francona declaring Michael Bourn will be in the leadoff spot ("that's kind of an easy one"), but the rest of the lineup is yet to be decided. The Indians have also announced their official slogan for the 2013 season: "This is a Tribe town." Shapiro says it "captures perfectly the passion we feel for our fans and the community we serve."
2) For years MLB has kept a lid on most video from the 80s and 90s, but in the last couple weeks they've released a lot more. You can now go to their archives and search for all kinds of clips. Want to see Albert Belle hit a walk-off grand slam off Lee Smith? Kenny Lofton score from second on a passed ball in the '95 ALCS? Sandy Alomar's home run off Mariano Rivera in the '97 ALDS?
3) At our papa blog, Baseball Nation, Rob Neyer took a look at the top pitching prospects of recent years. It's written in the context of Baltimore's Dylan Bundy (the consensus top pitching prospect for 2013), but it's applicable for Trevor Bauer too (since it examines the top ten pitching prospects for each season). 22 different pitchers ranked in the top 15 overall prospects from Baseball America at some point between 2006 and 2009 (Bauer is #14 this year). 13 of those 22 have had at least one season with at least 3 WAR (Baseball-Reference version), a list that includes Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and David Price.
4) For my money, Joe Posnanski is as good as it gets. He keeps a great blog, with great writing on a number of topics, but most often baseball. Professionally he's moved around in recent years, going from the Kansas City Star to Sports Illustrated, then to the newly formed Sports on Earth. Most recently he's moved to NBC Sports, and his first article for them went up yesterday. It's a look at Alex Rodriguez, the prospect, and Alex Rodriguez, the most hated man in baseball, two seemingly very different people.
5) Craig Robinson is an artist/graphic designer, who's also a big, big baseball fan (despite being born in the UK). You may or may not be familiar with Flip Flop Fly Ball his blog, on which there are numerous interesting infographics, drawings, and writings. I LOVE his newest project, Lego representations of ballplayers from the last thirty years or so, including Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Fernando Valenzuela. The Andre Dawson is my personal favorite. My favorite thing from this week.
6) Wednesday marked the anniversary of the original broadcast of "Homer at the Bat," the classic "Simpsons" episode in which Darryl Strawberry and other early-90s stars join the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. At Ground Ball With Eyes (where I write when I'm not writing about the Indians), I researched those players' actual 1992 numbers and looked at what kind of team they would have made for the 1992 MLB season. I wrote it as a narrative of that hypothetical season, with a number of references to that and other episodes (Ryan did a Fanshot for it Thursday). It was an absolute blast to write, one of my favorite things I've ever written. If you're a Simpsons fan, I think you'll enjoy it.
That leads me to this week's pop culture list:
Top 6 "Simpsons" characters:
6) Lenny and Carl
5) Nelson Muntz
4) Homer Simpson
3) Lionel Hutz
2) Charles Montgomery Burns
1) Milhouse Van Houten
I don't know what to tell you about my love for Milhouse, but it knows no bounds. There are so many great characters, limiting myself to just six was tough (which is why I cheated and included seven!). What a show.