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THIS DOCTOR MAKES A PHONE CALL

By Murray Chass

July 2, 2015

Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, who fixes elbows as easily as we screw in light bulbs, is not often available to talk about his elbow ligament transplants – a.k.a. Tommy John surgery – so when I learned he would be on a conference call to promote a golf tournament with John Smoltz and Greg Maddux I eagerly accepted the invitation to join it.

The golf tournament is the 54-hole American Century Championship July 17-19 in Lake Tahoe, featuring more than 80 sports and entertainment stars. Smoltz is among the likely winners. End of promotion and now to Dr. Andrews.

I asked him the first question: Despite all of the pitching precautions teams take today – pitch counts, innings limits, six-man rotations – pitchers are still getting hurt, their elbows in particular requiring season-losing surgery.

According to unofficial data from the commissioner’s office …

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IT’S THE JUNE CALL-UP SEASON

By Murray Chass

June 28, 2015

Kris Bryant and Addison Russell were the talk of the first couple of weeks of the season because the Chicago Cubs kept them in the minor leagues longer than necessary to deprive them of a complete year of service time and insure their presence on the Cubs’ roster for an extra year.

Now the focus is on the Houston Astros, 100-game losers each of the past three seasons but the class of the American League West this season.

The Astros seem to be loaded with good young players, and although their $71 million payroll is the majors’ second smallest, salary arbitration makes payrolls grow by leaps and bounds so the longer the Astros can hold off that growth the happier owner Jim Crane will be.

With that in mind, the Astros waited until June 8 to promote …

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CARDS’ HACKING RECALLS BOWDEN’S ALLEGED HIJACKING

By Murray Chass

June 25, 2015

A retired baseball executive called the other day eager to tell me a comment someone had made to him.

“They blamed deflate-gate on the ball boy,” he said, chuckling before he got to the punch line. “Well, now that the Cardinals have said their computer hacking wasn’t done by the high-ranking officials, they can blame it on the batboy.”

That was supposed to be a joke, but chances are good that in this youth-driven technological age the St. Louis batboy would be more likely to be able to hack into the Houston Astros’ computer system than Bill DeWitt Jr., the team’s principal owner and chief executive officer.

The Cardinals’ alleged hack attack is no laughing matter, certainly not when the FBI is involved. Although the investigation seems to be in extra innings – it reportedly is a year old – if there’s something to be found the FBI will find it.

The last time Major League Baseball suspected computer crime …

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