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By Landon Evanson
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March 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm ET
Dealin’ with Drabek: A B&C interview with Doug Drabek

Drabek towelDoug Drabek is perhaps the best Pirates pitcher since the 1979 We are Family Bucs. The ‘stached-up right-hander won the 1990 National League Cy Young award, led Pittsburgh to three consecutive division titles and won early sixty percent of his decisions (92-62) over 1,362.2 innings with a 1.148 WHIP over his six years in the Steel City.

On Monday morning, the 1994 All-Star spoke with Bugs & Cranks to talk about the agony of Game 7 of the ’92 NLCS, this year’s Pirates, his duties as pitching coach with the Hillsboro Hops, MLB’s ideas about speeding up the game and which of his former teams he feels will go furthest in 2015.

To you, the loyal and learned B&C reader, ...

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By Duke Jackson
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March 3, 2015 at 6:22 am ET
Texts From Spring Training

Unless you play for Paul Molitor, cell phones will always have a prominent place in Major League clubhouses. Spring Training facilities are no exception: despite the hectic schedule of stretching and playing grab-ass, players still find themselves with plenty of down time to catch-up with one another via text. And what do they discuss (besides chicks)? Well, I think you might be surprised. Here at Bugs and Cranks, we’ve partnered with the NSA to collect some of this spring’s most enlightening conversations. Below is a sampling of a few of our favorites (all messages are sic’d)....

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By Patrick Smith
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March 1, 2015 at 10:17 am ET
Yankees Unable to Find Actual Happy Fans
FullSizeRender

Not an actual hat.

Though spring training games haven’t yet begun, it’s never too early to start making fun of the Yankees.

The sports page in today’s New York Times features a half-page advertisement for Yankees season tickets. Not, like, partial plans or anything. The full 81-game schedule. The kind of season-ticket package folks like ones in this photo can afford. Except the photo is phony.

The picture in the ad features a Photoshop atrocity: Yankees caps clumsily imposed onto a stock photo.

Did they not have actual photos of people having fun at a Yankees game? It was easier to pluck this image of six the full adpeople definitely not at a baseball game, drop it onto a photo of Yankee Stadium, ...

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By Wayne Laufert
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February 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm ET
Time Off 2: Attention Must Be Paid
Back in the box, Hoss.

Back in the box, Hoss.

A clock?

They’re putting in a clock?!

Yes. Two clocks, actually. Well, they’re being called timers. One will go in the outfield, the other behind home plate. That’s what MLB revealed Friday when it announced that it will address pace-of-play issues this season by, among other things, digitally counting down during commercial breaks and at-bats.

If nothing else, the falling numbers might draw the attention of some fans toward at least the periphery of the ballfield for a few seconds and away from whatever electronic devices are positioned a few inches from their noses.

Eventually, the timers will entice fans even further into the game. It’s brilliant to place the devices where everyone can see them rather ...

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By Patrick Smith
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February 23, 2015 at 6:34 am ET
Dear Gregg, Watch Out. Love, Cal.
From left, Orioles Chris Hoiles, Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken and Ben McDonald

From left, Orioles Chris Hoiles, Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken and Ben McDonald

Distinguished Bugs alum Mark Townsend wrote at length today about an interview in which bro-tastic ex-“baseball player” Gregg Zaun outed Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson and plenty of other oldschool Orioles for some pretty relentless rookie hazing.

There are plenty of highlights, but the one where Cal “throws [Zaun] to the ground and he tears my suit off” kind of stuck out.

Only here’s the rub: Zaun’s not complaining that Cal and Friends pounded his ribs, taped him to a table, poured a bucket of ice down his pants and actually ripped his clothing off his body. He’s lamenting that it doesn’t happen anymore.

As for Cal, ...

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By Scott Fendley
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February 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm ET
General Disarray Attacks the AL West

Of any division currently extant in Major League Baseball, the AL West is the hardest one to forecast.general disarray

It’s not that the teams are in general disarray; the are not. It’s that, well, you can argue that any of the five teams in it can win the division, or finish last, or fall somewhere in between. There’s not any order to this – there’s not a team that is horrible, no team that is head and shoulders ahead of anyone. Just a muddle of fair-to-middlin’ in the AL West.

Don’t believe me?

The LA Angels had the best record in baseball, but no one really thought they were the best TEAM in baseball. They have the best player in baseball, ...

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By Landon Evanson
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February 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm ET
Back(hand) to you, Al

Michaels 87So Al Michaels goes on Pro Football Talk and says that the crowd noise under the Teflon Confines had to have been enhanced during the 1987 World Series because “This is a baseball game. Nobody is screaming like this when the fifth inning starts.”

It was called Thunderdome for a reason. When it came to that ’87 team, after more than two decades of being less than good, we got caught up in winning, and in particular that we as fans had something to do with it. I mean, did you see that club’s road record? How do you spell putrescent? Have another sip and take a ride, sir.

Along with the roof and turf, we fans understood that the noise was ...

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By Landon Evanson
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February 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm ET
Delgado, Stairs head incredible Canadian Hall class

CBHOFThe Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2015 from St. Marys, Ontario on Wednesday morning, and it may be the most prolific in its thirty-four year history.

Carlos Delgado, Matt Stairs and Corey Koskie were all elected as players, with legendary Expos manager Felipe Alou and the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott rounding out a fantastic group which will be inducted on June 13.

Alou was stuck in traffic and having cell reception issues from the Dominican, while Koskie (rocking a Winnipeg Jets jersey) razzed Stairs for donning a Montreal Canadiens sweater for the conference call. Fun was had.

With that in mind, my B&C colleague Scott Fendley may hold a “special” place in his heart for current Mariners ...

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By Keith Good
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February 2, 2015 at 4:02 pm ET
Number of Mariners SuperFans Skyrockets Overnight

The Newest Mariners SuperFans

Tom Jennings slouched into work an hour late on Monday, February 2, 2015, clad in a vintage Ichiro Suzuki jersey.

“The Japanese Hit Machine is back baby, am I right?”

A software analyst at Kirkland, WA-based IntegriSmart Database Solutions, Jennings instantly received the highest of fives from co-worker Chris Heineman.

“Hell yeah Mariners!” Heineman, heavy-eyed with red streaks splotching his face, pumped a fist. “Totally going to win the World Cup this year!”

“The Mariners are the heart and soul of Seattle, you know?” Jennings, who asked we avoid his first name (at least for today), proudly displays a Ken Griffey, Jr. bobblehead in his cubicle. “I mean, I know there are other local teams, we have ...

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By Patrick Smith
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January 26, 2015 at 5:30 am ET
Negatory on That: Duquette stays put

Toronto-dan-LogoWord from Toronto is that the Jays are ending their weird pursuit of Orioles GM Dan Duquette. Toronto couldn’t stomach the steep package of prospects Baltimore wanted in exchange for its top baseball guy.

TORONTO: Dear Baltimore, we want to make your GM our CEO.

BALTIMORE: Sure. And we’ll take the Buffalo Bisons, Tim Horton’s, Lake Ontario, Neil Young and the CN Tower.

Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Dividi wrote Sunday that negotiations between the teams have ended and the Jays don’t want to part with the Orioles’ demands of Jeff Hoffman, Max Pentecost and Mitch Nay and more, according to Dividi.

Why shouldn’t the O’s gut Toronto’s farm system in exchange for the exec who led the team out of the ...

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