The Rangers have avoided arbitration with DH Mitch Moreland, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $2.95 million, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Moreland can earn an additional $25,000 in performance incentives, Wilson notes.

Moreland, 29, was eligible for arbitration for the second of three years. Moreland mustered a meager .644 OPS in 184 plate appearances. He took over at first base after Prince Fielder was injured, but suffered a season-ending injury of his own in early June. Moreland underwent surgery for os trigonum syndrome and ligament reconstruction towards the end of the month.

Media criticism alert. Those of you who like to wade into these threads and complain about meta-media talk, consider yourselves warned. And, subsequently, consider yourself to be making an admission of either illiteracy or stupidity if you, nonetheless, offer your usual complaints about such posts. Anyway:

Bryan Curtis of Grantland has a fun story/bit of invective up about the way in which postgame press conferences and media scrums have been taken over by reporters asking players and coaches to “talk about” this or that. They don’t ask proper questions, mind you, it’s just “talk about the shot you took at the buzzer” and “talk about the fourth quarter touchdown” and “talk about that game-winning double.”

Curtis argues that it’s inane and obsequious and puts the reporter in a subservient position to the athlete to the point where he or she often doesn’t bother to ask an actually good question and athletes are never inspired to offer any actually good answers.

A more significant point — which Curtis makes but which I think is bigger than he suggests — is that the postgame interview has become, for the most part, an exercise in blank-filling, not information gathering. And that’s the case whether questions are in “talk about” form or any other form.

Reporters have their game story, and they need someone to say some magic words which support their thesis or argument about what was important in the game. “Talk about why your will-to-win and grit made the difference here,” etc. We know this is so because it is a fact that, for the most part, the reporters are writing their game stories as the game ends and well before the clubhouse opens up for interviews. The deadlines are brutal. No WAY are most reporters going to go in, get quotes, think about what they mean and then and only then start their game story.

Likewise, TV and radio people just need a soundbite — any sound will do — to fit in that clip for the broadcast later. It’s just another in a great many sports media developments which represent tails wagging dogs and the purpose of which is more to justify the media’s presence someplace than it is to actually enlighten anyone.

Fact is, we as fans don’t need nearly the amount of enlightening sports media types assume. We can see any play of significance several times. If we’re lucky enough to have a half-decent announcing team on our broadcast, we can get an expert’s take on it. We know the sport we’re watching pretty well. For baseball, I think there are a couple of interesting things we can’t know just by watching, and questions about these things — be they in “talk about” form or in the form of actual “who, what, when, where, why, how” form — are welcome. They are:

  • Why did the manager make the pitching change when he did and why did he go with that pitcher (or, alternatively, why didn’t he make a change);
  • Whether the hitter was expecting the pitch he got when he hit the home run, whether he was guessing or what have you; and
  • If it wasn’t clear from the broadcast, how the pitcher set up the batter in the way he did before that critical strikeout/groundout/whatever.

That’s basically it. Save your “how did it feel to . . . ” questions and their ilk for another time. Preferably a time when the player isn’t still coming down from the game and after he’s had some time to reflect on things and actually give an intelligent answer rather than fill Johnny Sportswriter’s column inches in time for deadline.

Taking high-resolution photos of your neighbors is usually frowned upon, but not when the neighbor in question is the Andromeda galaxy and the camera is the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has shared the sharpest large composite image ever taken of the sprawling mass of stars, space dust, and more, a vast 1.5 billion pixels that together cover a 61,000 light year long section of the galaxy. It’s a shot that gets more and more involving even as you zoom in closer, but NASA is hoping that it will do more than just amaze people.

Instead, the hope is that they’ll provoke more research based on the surfeit of high-resolution photographs that Hubble is producing. This particular Andromeda photo is actually the result of combining a total of more than sixteen hours of exposures and multiple resulting frames into one single shot.

It’s also the first time that astronomers will be able to make out individual stars over a significant section of an external spiral galaxy, the Hubble team points out.

While the result may be pretty attractive to look at, it took a little work to get to that point. Several of Hubble’s filters were used to sample across broad wavelength ranges, and then different hues were assigned to different monochromatic images associated with individual filters.

Andromeda may be a relatively close neighbor in astronomical terms, but it’s still more than two million light years away from us. The Hubble team compares its picture to “photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand.”

That makes actually enjoying it on-screen a pretty tricky prospect, though this video does at least give some context of quite how much detail there is involved.

Dwayne Allen, a tight end for the Colts, would like to put DeflateGate to rest. After all, he was closer to the Patriots’ 45-7 thrashing of Indianapolis than any of us were.

 

Haha. If the Patriots’ had used soap, people would still find a way to vilify Belichick.

Meanwhile, this parody video may have escaped your attention.

Let this be the end of it. Please?

Abes coach Jon Kitna celebrates as the defense stopped O’Dea High School in November. The Abes held on to defeat O’Dea in a 35-30 thriller at Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma.

When Jon Kitna was hired as the head coach at Lincoln High School three years ago, he said he wanted to make the team relevant within the state in five years and nationally within 10.

That was cut short Wednesday. He informed the team in a morning meeting that he has accepted a position at Waxahachie High School, a Class 5A school south of Dallas. His last day at Lincoln is Friday.

Read on »

How does this sound? Just relax!

In their latest video, musical duo Pomplamoose performs a mashup of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and two Herbie Hancock songs: “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon.” Fans of Pomplamoose can support the band on Patreon.

Yu Darvish was shut down prematurely in 2014 due to inflammation in his pitching elbow, but he’s had a fairly normal offseason and should be 100 percent heading into the opening of the 2015 campaign.

Darvish was cleared to begin a throwing program in December and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram reports that the right-hander has now progressed to sessions of long-toss in Arlington, Texas. There hasn’t even been a hint of a setback.

Darvish was limited to 144 1/3 innings last year but registered a stellar 3.06 ERA and 11.3 K/9. The 28-year-old boasts a 3.27 ERA (127 ERA+) and 11.2 K/9 in 545 1/3 career major league frames.

He should be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter on April 6 against the Athletics.