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Cup o’ Joe, side o’ dough: MJ on the South Side?

Dismissed at the time as a joke, there was some real stuff in the basketball legend’s baseball career

Major League Baseball Archive Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Michael Jordan and baseball should have made sense together
Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

As ‘The Last Dance’ chronicles MJ’s foray into Major League Baseball–and with time and perspective on our side–we revisit the perceptions, the misconceptions and the cover story that shaped his time in the minors.

A phenomenal piece by Verducci, who digs deep into MJ’s playing time in Birmingham and constructs a plausible scenario whereby he makes it to the majors.

Players raise financial, health concerns over 'non-starter' MLB proposal
Vinnie Duber, NBC Sports Chicago

The proposal to bring baseball back and start the 2020 season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is just hours old. And already it's looking like there's a fight brewing between the owners and the players. NBC Sports Chicago's Adam Hoge was told Monday that the proposal is "doomed to fail."

This proposal from owners stinks to high heaven. NBC Sports covered the fallout and speculation going forward pretty well.

2020 OOTP sim: White Sox lose heartbreaker in extras, 1-0
Brett Ballantini, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

But to give you an idea of how odd this 2020 sim is — yeah, Dinelson Lamet is a Cy Young favorite and San Diego rules MLB with a 31-10 record — the White Sox are just 12th in the American League in walks with 120, but have the second-fewest strikeouts, at 319. Yep, nearly eight strikeouts per game is good for second in the league.

Apparently, at least in the SI (former SSS) OOTP sim, the Padres are what the White Sox dreamed of being in 2020. Dinelson Lamet!

Where Were They Then? Part One
John Gorlewski, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

The White Sox finished the 1958 season in good shape as far as we might think of a minor league "system," with a specialty in developing catchers and outfielders. The Sox had been drawing from the farm to fill starting and key bench positions for a few years, by then. In 1957, Jim Landis and Earl Battey passed their rookie eligibility. And in 1958 Bob Shaw, Barry Latman, a couple of durable arms through the 60's, would surpass the rookie minimums in the Sox bullpen.

As 1959 loomed, the White Sox had their share of young(er) fungible arms to shuffle in and out of the bullpen and rotation. Don Rudolph and Tom Flanigan were at Triple-A. They had a young group of catchers ready to spell Sherm Lollar behind the plate. Rookie bats were ready to start getting playing time in the outfield.

I think you might know this guy around these parts, but John has a full-week, five-part series that rewinds more than 60 years to a time when the White Sox farm system may well have been at its richest — then details how some of those riches slipped away.

Michael Jordan Taught Rogelio Nuñez English by Paying Him to Spell Correct Words Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report

Michael Jordan's former teammate with the Double-A Birmingham Barons, Rogelio Nuñez, said the Chicago Bulls legend helped him learn the English language by paying him to spell words correctly.

"He said, 'If you spell Mickey Mantle right now, I'll give you $1,000,'" Nuñez told Alec Lewis of The Athletic. "And guess what? I couldn't even start it. I didn't know how to spell."

Have you noticed how many New York writers (and fans) have come out dogging MJ since The Last Dance began? Pfft. A cute little story here, on Michael as English prof.

Ken Rosenthal has details of the owners' plan for baseball's return
South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

Ken Rosenthal has the details of the the owners' plan for a return to baseball: 78-82 games, mostly regional and intradivisional play

This is not original reporting, but a cool function of the SSHP page at Sports Illustrated, which takes some of the dynamism of the SSS commenting we see here and makes it a little more dynamic. I implore you to check it out.

Morning Music
All-female bands rarely seem to stay together long. For my money, one of the best was the Go-Gos. Among a number of very strong tracks, I love this one the best; the Kathy Valentine bassline just dances.