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HumpLinks: Could be worse. Could be raining.

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El Nino keeps threatening. But if the storm clouds keep passing us by, at least we have MLB news to rain on our baseball news.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Most of what I dug up last night was bummer news. Except for the MLB blackout link and a fan event, it was a lot of negativity. I don't want to end my night on that note, so I'll just throw in one positive thing to think about even though there is nothing newsworthy there. Here goes: Andrew Heaney!!! Watch this trigger something today about Howie Kendrick....

But cool. I can add that to my 24-hour Mike Trout-a-Thon and hand over the duties to you to read the Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Wind in their Sales: As Josh linked yesterday, Tim Mead explained to the LA Times that season ticket sales are coming along just fine, thankyouverymuch. I think we can all relax. A huge amount of these sales so far are corporations (who don't give two shits about the product on the field as long as they can write off the tickets they use to influence customers), the extremely wealthy (who were too busy making all their money to learn very much about baseball, but they do love the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the likes of you and me), the wealthy enough who care most about retaining their rights to the best seats, and the prospectors (who know that their investments will be resold to dozens and dozens of fans of other teams who, by definition, don't care at all about what the Angels do or not do in the offseason). And, of course, we will always have those few thousand Facebook fans for whom everything is awesome. So, no, any fan frustration is not gonna result in too much impact on season ticket package sales to this point. The tell will come in July/August, when actual attendance numbers start to add up (or down, I suppose) and sales of season-ending mini-packages start to get tracked............

Movin' On: February 11th is this year's Angels Moving Day to be held in the parking lot out past left field.............

Quirky: I am truly depressed to bear witness to a winter of great opportunity lost where, instead, the signing of an Al Albuquerque becomes such a big splash............

Dodging History: The Dodgers signed Joe Blanton. To pitch. Get a grip on your chair, though: it's for 1 full year for 4 million American dollars, no less. But before you laugh, it might be worth noting that Blanton had himself a damned fine 2015 with Kansas City and Pittsburgh as a reliever...........

Foreshadowing?: A small bit of news yesterday came out of the Milwaukee camp, where the talented catcher Jonathan Lucroy hinted that he would rather be traded than continue to play for a team that was now tracking towards chamionship-caliber competitiveness. I link to this story only because it reveals something about hte competitive heart of a championship-caliber player. We have one of those, ourselves. For some people, the drive to win is more powerful than what somebody else might be thinking about papering over their past mistakes to protect a few dollar bills in their wallet...........

Yu Never Know: In a great juxtaposition of headlines, we get to see media at work. Fox Sports opens with "Report: MLB investigating Yu Darvish regarding brother's alleged gambling ring". The backstory here is Darvish's brother, who IS being investigated for running a significant gambling ring in Japan. If you read the details, Fox quotes MLB as saying only that, yes, they are investigating according to normal protocols. But they are never quoted as saying exactly what they are investigating. So Larry Brown Sports gives us something a little more rational with their headline "Yu Darvish not being investigated in brother’s gambling scandal". So what the hell is it? Well, LBS gets their info from The Dallas-Fort Worth Telegram, who went to MLB sources and got the information that MLB is only looking at Yu's brother Sho, and not at anything having to do with Yu himself. Thanks, Fox Sports...........

Clubbin' Cubs: Cubs officials are asking city officials to shut down traffic on streets adjacent to the stadium - for security reasons. This is because MLB has made a recommedation for teams to keep the first 100 foot areas clear around stadiums - for security reasons. One might suggest to the MLB that the thing that creates the most congestion within 100 feet of the stadiums would be MLB forcing all attendees to go through metal detection and bag inspection - for security reasons. In the case of the Cubs, though, you will note that the franchise only wants to close off the steets to traffic created by private citizens and not city buses. Why? Because it's far easier to pick on private individuals than it is to pick on city government. And, heck, when has anyone ever heard of anybody using a bus to create any security issues?? Don't be cynical, though, and go thinking that this might have anything to do with the Cubs seeing any benefit from chasing away any competitive businesses in their neighborhood. That would be, well, yeah, cynical...........

To DH, or not DH: I'm thinking that this is just something to be talking about in the current MLB activity vacuum. One guy talks about the DH coming to the National League, so everybody starts talking about it as if it is imminent (as do their cousins). I'm gonna stop linking to these things until I read that NL GM's are being asked to meet on the issue............

Another Way to Boost Offense: So, if you have a National League team and cannot wait for the Designated Hitter, you can do as the Marlins are doing and just move the fences in and wonder if anybody will care............

Baseball Biz: Something is afoot, but we do not yet know the details. Right on the verge of the trial commencing, attorneys representing a group of fans and other attorneys representing Major League Baseball both announced that they have reached a mutually acceptable settlement concerning the MLB blackout rules. The MLB was in deep doo-doo here, as the judge overseeing the case had long ago ruled they could not hide behind their Congressional anti-trust exemption. This means that what you know and hate about MLB blackout rules is getting shitcanned. the theory is that MLB will follow the recent settlement-induced NHL changes, allowing for at least single-team packages (we already have heard about single game sales). Stay tuned............

Fun: Here, let's conclude with a random bit of fun.............

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