A new group is buying up minor league baseball teams at a feverish pace. What’s the end game?

The Athletic

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. — The artificial turf at Heritage Financial Park is new. So is the right-field wall that opens wide enough for an 18-wheeler to haul concert equipment onto the field. The party deck is sponsored by a brewery that’s 10 miles away, giant windows have been installed around the corporate event space overlooking … Read more

MLB insiders “pretty worried” by rise in arm injuries to top young starting pitchers

Matt Blake texted Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber a conciliatory message over the weekend. As a member of the Cleveland player-development system in the 2010s, Blake aided Bieber’s rise from college walk-on to unanimous American League Cy Young Award winner in 2020. For a time, Bieber represented the modern model for the manufacturing of a … Read more

Inside the ‘very predatory’ world of illegal betting that lured Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter

In the story Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter Ippei Mizuhara initially told to ESPN, the two men logged into Ohtani’s bank account together on eight or nine occasions in 2023 and wired increments of $500,000 to Mathew Bowyer, an alleged illegal bookmaker under federal investigation. In the story Ohtani told the public days after Mizuhara recanted his initial … Read more

MLB offseason grades 2.0 : Which teams passed — and which teams failed

The Athletic

The Athletic’s MLB offseason grades 1.0. By Tim Britton, Grant Brisbee and Aaron Gleeman According to a report by an economics professor at Yale University, roughly 80 percent of all grades handed out to undergraduate students last year were As. Too bad for major-league executives, then, that they don’t attend Yale (at least not anymore, in several cases). … Read more

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers keep mum in aftermath of interpreter theft accusation

SEOUL — For years, it was nearly impossible to see Shohei Ohtani anywhere without his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, just a few steps away. On Thursday, following Mizuhara’s abrupt firing over his involvement with illegal gambling, it was almost impossible to see Ohtani at all. Ohtani didn’t enter the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse during the … Read more

Year of the splitter? Once a dark art, the pitch is primed to take over baseball

By Zack Meisel, Cody Stavenhagen and Stephen J. Nesbitt GOODYEAR, Ariz. — A decade ago, on a dusty baseball diamond in Puerto Rico, a veteran pitcher shared with Fernando Cruz the secrets of throwing a splitter, a pitch treated like a black-market product, a dark art best learned in the shadows and deployed at one’s … Read more

As the Dodgers enter their Shohei Ohtani Era, failure is not an option

The Athletic

PHOENIX — Flags only fly forever if you raise them. At Dodgertown, the ancestral home of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., a mural celebrating six World Series winners greeted visitors. No such signage exists at Camelback Ranch. The team has won the National League West 11 times since shifting its spring training … Read more

Nepotism in sports broadcasting: ‘A tremendous advantage,’ but ‘what do you do with it?’

When Jac Collinsworth, at just 27 years old, debuted on the prestigious job as NBC’s play-by-play voice for Notre Dame football in September 2022, he succeeded one of the most decorated announcers in sports, Mike Tirico. To receive such a position suggested he was a sportscasting prodigy, but from his first game — when Marshall … Read more

The Angels adjust to life after Shohei Ohtani: ‘Like being kicked out of the band’

The Athletic

TEMPE, Ariz. — Every morning for the past six years, no matter how early Angels players and staff got to Tempe Diablo Stadium, they saw a throng of Japanese media standing on the Tempe Butte mountain overlooking the team’s spring training complex. This wasn’t a recreational sunrise hike. Every camera was zoomed in, waiting for … Read more