How the invention of smartphones changed baseball’s clubhouse camaraderie – Chicago Tribune
A former major-leaguer who spent the bulk of his career in the 1990s recently was invited back by his old team to participate in a marketing event.
As part of the weekend’s activities, he and some of his former teammates got to visit their old clubhouse a couple of hours before a game. It was nice to see the place, he admitted later, but he couldn’t get one thing out of his head.
“Are they always like that?” he asked.
“Like what?” I replied.
“Just sitting at their lockers looking at their phones?”
“Then I’m glad I played before iPhones. I liked talking to my teammates.”
It has been 10 years since the release of the first iPhone, an invention that has changed baseball in more ways than I can count.
I still vividly can recall Cubs outfielder Daryle Ward walking into the clubhouse before a game in 2007, opening up the box with his new iPhone and having everyone — players and media alike — gather around to look at it.
Now every player and media member in the clubhouse has a smartphone, not to mention the front office executives, the clubhouse workers and the fans.
It has added to the enjoyment of the sport by allowing us to obtain stats or news instantly, and obviously helped players craft their image on social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram.
But it also has changed clubhouses from a place where players congregated before games and interacted with each other and the media, to an often empty room with a few guys sitting alone at their lockers staring into their phones.
Of course, with few players available, much of the media is also guilty of standing around at times and staring into their phones, waiting for something to happen to tweet about.
What would baseball be like without the invention of the iPhone?
Excuse me while I ask Siri.
Here comes the Judge: It’s no surprise that rookie sensation Aaron Judge, who comes to the South Side on Monday when the Yankees and White Sox begin a four-game series, has been asked to participate in the Home Run Derby.
Though he hadn’t accepted yet, Judge seems likely to say yes, and with the All-Star game in Miami, he and defending Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton figure to be the favorites.
White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who won in 2015 in Cincinnati and lost to Stanton in the final round last year in San Diego, said he probably wouldn’t go if invited because of “the weird year I’ve had, the injuries and the sickness.”
“I think I’d rather take the four days and recoup and get the body right,” he said. “But you never know what can happen.”
Hanging around: The Angels were 12-11 in their first 23 games without Mike Trout, who is out for a few more weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Despite injuries, the Angels’ bullpen was fourth in the American League, keeping their wild-card hopes alive.
Former Cubs reliever Blake Parker has excelled, posting a 2.16 ERA, with 49 strikeouts and nine walks in 33 1/3 innings entering the weekend. Parker has bounced around since the Cubs let him go after 2015, but seems to have found a home after being claimed off waivers last winter.
Accommodating: Matt Adams’ 11 home runs were tied for the second-most in Braves’ franchise history for a player’s first 30 games, so first baseman Freddie Freeman said he will move to third base when he returns from the disabled list to accommodate Adams.
Freeman played third in high school, but hasn’t been at the position since 2007 in rookie ball.
Aaron Judge: Yankees slugger on pace to hit 57 home runs, which would shatter Mark McGwire‘s rookie record of 49 in 1987.
Karl Ravech: Dependable, knowledgeable and low-key ESPN broadcaster replaces Chris Berman on Home Run Derby telecast.
Joe West: Veteran umpire reaches 5,000-game mark, criticizes TV commercial allotment for longer game times.
Kyle Schwarber: Cubs’ left fielder demoted to Triple-A Iowa with .171 average, lowest among qualifying hitters in majors.
Francisco Rodriguez: “K-Rod” entered weekend leading majors with six blown saves for Tigers, along with a horrific 7.82 ERA.
Yankees’ single-season home run list:
61 Roger Maris 1961
60 Babe Ruth 1927
59 Babe Ruth 1921
54 Babe Ruth 1920, 1928
54 Mickey Mantle 1961
54 Alex Rodriguez 2007
Of the 13 managers with 1,896 or more victories, only Gene Mauch (1,902) is not a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker both figure to reach that mark. Entering the weekend, Bochy was 15th all-time (1,816), while Baker was right behind him at 16th (1,809).