MLB Notebook: Pitchers and catchers begin to report, Red Sox get a Netflix special, and more

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck - USA Today
Brett Holden
2 months ago
Can you feel the spring in the air?
Pitchers and catchers begin reporting on Friday as the busiest team of the offseason kicks off their Spring Training. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to welcome the opening of Spring as the freshly re-tooled pitching staff make their first impressions with their new club. 
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and James Paxton headline the new pitching crew for the Dodgers as L.A. has brought in 17 new arms into the organization. Plus, while he won’t pitch in 2024, Shohei Ohtani has also arrived at Camelback Ranch. And what would a Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training be without Clayton Kershaw? Kershaw re-signed with the Dodgers after having major surgery on his shoulder in November to fix the glenohumeral ligaments and a capsule in his throwing shoulder. 
Dodgers pitchers and catchers report almost a week before the rest of the league, as 28 of the other 29 teams will open their camps either next Wednesday, February 14, or Thursday, February 15. The San Diego Padres will be the next team to open their pitchers and catchers camp on Sunday.
The same goes for the first full-squad workouts as the Dodgers will have their first workout before a third of the league even have their first pitchers and catchers day. The Dodgers will have their first full-squad workout on February 14th, before the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, and the Cleveland Guardians will even throw their first bullpen. 
The two teams starting their camps early will also be the two teams kicking off the MLB season in Seoul, South Korea on March 20th. The Padres and the Dodgers will play the Opening Day series in South Korea a week before the rest of the league, thanks to the travel they will need to endure and the Spring Training time they will miss en route to Seoul. 
The Los Angeles Dodgers last Spring Training game in North America will be on March 13th against the Seattle Mariners, as the Dodgers will head to South Korea and play against the Korean National Team and one of the three KBO clubs in Seoul, the Miwoom Heroes
The 13th is also the last game for the Padres before heading across the pond as they play the Athletics. The Padres will also play the Korean National Team plus the LG Twins, the second of the three KBO teams based in Seoul. 

Boston Red Sox selected for Netflix Documentary

The Boston Red Sox are the next team to join the sports streaming series party as Netflix announces they will follow around the BoSox in 2024 all season. The Red Sox will be the first MLB team to be featured in an all-access Netflix series, but this has become a trend around sports. 
Netflix has dived headfirst into original sports series as the success of Formula 1’s Drive to Survive has carved out the demographic for real-time sports documentaries. Drive to Survive is currently on its sixth season of the show as season six is scheduled to be released on February 23rd. The show has allowed so much access to sports top athletes. Drive to Survive has skyrocketed the popularity of fan-favourites like Daniel Riccardo, Charles LeClerc, Lando Norris, and Carlos Sainz while also showcasing the top minds in the sport like Gunther Steiner, Christian Horner, and Mattia Binotto. 
Shows like Drive to Survive and this new Red Sox series allow for more context to be added to some of the game’s most exciting, memorable, or dramatic moments. Drive to Survive showed the background, reactions, first responders, and in-car access to Romain Grosjean’s terrifying crash in Bahrain in 2020. The accident engulfed Grosjean’s car in flames, and after 28 seconds, Grosjean escaped the fire, suffering burns to both of his hands and legs and some broken ribs.
The series has created numerous off-shoots of a similar show formula. 
Full Swing made its debut on Netflix in 2023 as it follows some of Golf’s brightest and best players including Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, and Brooks Koepka. The show was rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.0 on IMDb and accumulated 53.1 million hours of viewing in its first four months. Season two is set for release on March 8th.
On top of Racing and Golf, Netflix has also dipped into the Tennis pool. Break Point did not receive as shimmering reviews as Full Swing, as IMDb gave it a 7.3, and Rotten Tomatoes committed 81% for the show. But the show has given fans more exposure and access to their favourite players and has created new fan favourites. Nick Kyrgios is a social media darling while also being known to upset tennis purists, and he showed up in six episodes in the first season. Carlos Alcaraz, the current world No. 2 in Tennis appeared in three episodes. Access like this to the world’s top athletes is something that has been so foreign for so long. 
But Netflix isn’t the only streaming site to really buy into the sports documentary market. Amazon has run a sports documentary series since 2016 with their All or Nothing docuseries. All or Nothing initially focused on the NFL, covering teams including the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The series then shifted to soccer, covering the Tottenham Hotspur while Jose Mourinho took over the club, Manchester City when they won the Premier League in 2018, Arsenal as they navigated the Premier League as the youngest team in England, Juventus during their turbulent 2020-21 season, and the Brazilian National Team after being crowned Copa América Champs in 2019. The docuseries would also spend seasons with the New Zealand All Blacks, Michigan Wolverines, and the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Red Sox joining the Netflix circle will really expose a pretty interesting team. Guys like Rafael Devers and Triston Casas would be unreal to watch on the show. If I don’t get a shot of Casas sunbathing in the Fenway outfield grass, I will flip. 

Quick notes:

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins arbitration case with the Blue Jays. Vladdy’s $19.9 million deal beats out former teammate Teoscar Hernandez for the most amount of money awarded in an arbitration case in MLB history. 
  • Corey Kluber retires after 13 years. Two-time Cy Young Award winner calls it a career after nine seasons with the Guardians before bouncing around to Texas, New York, Tampa, and most recently, Boston. 
  • Adolis Garcias signs a two-year deal with the Rangers, avoiding arbitration. The ALCS MVP will make $14 million over the two-year contract but could get up to $20.25 million depending on several salary escalators.
  • Astros sign Jose Altuve to a massive extension. The $125 million deal will keep Altuve with the ‘Stros through to the 2029 season.
  • Former Mets GM Billy Eppler is suspended until the end of the 2024 season. Eppler’s suspension comes following accusations of a “phantom IL,” where Eppler would fabricate injuries to keep players out of the lineup.


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