Another Very Big Day for MLB, Fans of Players Not Teams, Drugs in Baseball, and Other Cubs Bullets –

Today’s earworm is ‘A Horse With No Name,’ especially the naaa naaa na-na-na-na part, because it was absolutely designed in a lab to get stuck in your head.
•   Although today is very important for the CBA negotiations, it doesn’t feel like it carries the same weight as Saturday did. I think we knew that if the owners’ offer that day wasn’t a SUBSTANTIAL move, then Spring Training was gonna be busted up and Opening Day was 85% in peril. It wasn’t a substantial move, so we’re already in that zone now. Today’s offer from the players, then, just needs to move the ball a little bit on a variety of issues in order to keep the back-and-forth going. On the one hand, I want the players to make some big moves because I want a deal to get done; on the other hand, I feel like MLB’s process throughout this lockout has been unreasonable. I guess all that combines to make me feel much more “let’s just see what happens” today than I felt on Saturday, which was, “PLEASE GOD MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL MOVE ALREADY.”
•   The hardest part is the luxury tax situation, where the owners have barely moved the thresholds at all, *AND* have sought to dramatically increase the penalties for crossing those thresholds. It’s just not acceptable, so it’s hard for me to see how the players can be the ones to bridge that gap. If you want a summation of where the sides stand in the CBA negotiations on key issues, Tim Dierkes has a fantastic one at MLBTR – just a clear run down of each key issue, what’s been offered, what the disparity is, and what’s been agreed to.
•   I’ll have to dig in on this a bit because, while it feels anecdotally true, it just seems so striking:
Here's a look at how fan affinity for MLB players has eclipsed their teams. Some really interesting stuff in this data and the interviews about how younger fans are shifting to following players more than teams.
— Kristi Dosh (@SportsBizMiss) February 17, 2022

•   Some are treating this story as a source of salacious drama, but it’s just made me too sad to do that:
NEWS: MLB source says Matt Harvey faces at least a 60-day suspension for distributing drugs. Assuming he can sign with a team, that is. Harvey admitted in court Tuesday that he gave opioids to Tyler Skaggs. He could appeal any suspension.
— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) February 16, 2022

•   Matt Harvey testified at length this week, together with other players, about the drug use he saw and participated in while with the Angels before Tyler Skaggs died. I think it would’ve been naive to think that MLB (and MiLB) would be immune from the opioid epidemic of the past decade, but it’s still hard to hear players confirm these issues. You know that it’s probably as prevalent as anywhere else, and the quote that made me the saddest was this one from Harvey when he was asked if he ever considered telling Skaggs to be more careful: “Looking back, I wish I had,” Harvey said. “In baseball, you do everything you can to stay on the field. At the time, I felt as a teammate I was just helping him get through whatever he needed to get through.”
It has seemed inevitable that opioid use in baseball extended beyond Tyler Skaggs. With four more players saying today that they used the drugs with the Angels, it’s raised further questions about the prevalence of opioids inside the game.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) February 16, 2022

•   I’m sure it seems like this is coming up a lot lately, but (1) Spring Training is about to start for minor leaguers while there are CBA negotiations going on, so yeah, obviously; and (2) it’s really important stuff if you care about baseball and humans:
Not being able to afford a doctor’s co-pay. Begging for charity. Working 3 jobs & couch surfing. Choosing between feeding your family & going to your team’s camp.
20 current & former minor leaguers open up on brutal offseasons & a system against them:
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 15, 2022

•   Randy Johnson was ridiculous:
Randy Johnson, 97mph Fastball & 86mph Slider, Individual Pitches + Overlay with Tails.
Isolated the FB, mechanics aren't overlaid
Good luck.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 16, 2022

•   Bluetooth speakers, storage containers, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad
•   This has Javy written all over it (sigh):
What baseball player do you have going with this same pimp job?
(came after the equivalent to a walk-off homer)
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) February 17, 2022

•   DeMar DeRozan is so beyond ridiculous right now:
DeMar has 35 again.
Seventh game in a row.
Truly truly unreal.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 17, 2022

DeMar scored 38. That rounds up to 40. Use code DeMar20 for 20% off everything. Sale ends Thursday at 11:59pm. Go Bulls.
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) February 17, 2022

•   And the Bulls are adding some depth from the buyout market:
Center Tristan Thompson Reportedly Plans to Sign with the Chicago Bulls … After He’s Waived by the Pacers
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 17, 2022

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.
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