Besides the mythical exploits of Randy Arozarena, one of the lasting images from last year’s World Series was Kevin Cash’s early removal of Blake Snell despite Snell dominating on the mound with a pitch count only in the 70s.

The trend continues this year as ace Jacob DeGrom was pulled in the Mets’ first game of the season against the Phillies after 6 innings of dominance:

“To the Phillies’ delight, Mets manager Luis Rojas removed deGrom after six innings and 77 pitches. Rojas said he wanted to be cautious because deGrom had not pitched in 10 days, a result…

We are one week into the 2021 MLB season, and one of the top storylines has been the growing legend of Akil Baddoo of the Detroit Tigers, who was claimed in December from the the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. Check out Baddoo’s unheralded transaction log of his career so far:

In episode 1677 of the podcast Effectively Wild, Ben Lindbergh brought up the Japanese nickname for Shohei Ohtani:

“Ohtani in Japan is…referred to as nito-ryu, the two-sword, samurai fighting style, the term for a two-way player there….It’s an advanced fighting style.”

This podcast emerged after Ohtani’s electrifying performance on Sunday night both pitching and hitting, in which he displayed superhuman skills with a scary ending (alas, it appears Ohtani eluded serious injury from Jose Abreu’s slide, avoiding a potentially tragic fall akin to Icarus). …

Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox. Opening Day 2021.

“Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.” — Jane Hirshfield

Ever since the pandemic started, it has become increasingly difficult to pay attention in an undivided way. We have Twitter doomscrolling, constant social media notifications and updates, phones on us at all times waiting to be checked. The art of single-focused concentration has become more and more elusive. Yet, we often seek ways to increase our mindfulness, focus, and productivity devoid of the distractions of technology.

Zen Buddhism teaches us to focus on the present moment. …

It all started so promising, so astonishing, in Sunday’s primetime game of the Angels vs the White Sox. Shohei Ohtani at last was hitting and pitching in the same MLB game, a fulfillment of his tantalizing potential unlike any other player in the game. He was the first starting pitcher to bat second in a game since the early 1900s.

Ohtani’s 450-feet home run in the first inning was majestic, a symbolic exclamation point of his intention to dazzle and dominate unlike any modern player:

He followed that up with incredible stuff on the mound, easily throwing 100+ mile…

Is there a better day of the year than Opening Day? It’s got to be right near the top, if not the very best day if you are a baseball fan. Christmas is awesome, maybe you’re a Halloween lover, the Super Bowl is a spectacle, those first days of March Madness are pretty epic, and 4th of July is that summer celebration. However, I think I would take Opening Day at the top.

Especially this year.

Last year was filled with so much uncertainty about the unknown caused by the pandemic. COVID abruptly put an end to any springtime hopes…

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

If you want to write about baseball for The Dugout, please send me a message at or @mfsunderland4 on Twitter, and I will add you as a writer.

Anything baseball-related is welcome. Here are some ideas for stories that would be a good fit for The Dugout:

  • Baseball and philosophy: We will write articles that read baseball symbolically and metaphorically and connect to the deeper lessons and themes of the game that extends beyond the diamond into our daily lives.
  • Baseball and fantasy: Taking a more pragmatic approach, The Dugout will also delve into the world of fantasy baseball: game theory, strategy, and player advice.
  • Baseball and storytelling: Stories make up the heart of the game, and we will include stories on intriguing players, events, and occurrences that make up this (hopefully)162-game marathon and beyond.
  • Baseball and statistics: Numbers, graphs, charts, and analysis.

Photo by Rachel Xiao from Pexels

In college, a group of my friends and I came up with the concept of The Dugout right around springtime. Basically, the idea was us sitting around watching and discussing baseball, but it was so much more than that. It was more of a symbolic idea, a beacon of light from a long, snow-ridden winter.

Baseball is a symbol of spring, rejuvenation, and eternal hope. It is a game with a rhythm outside the confines of a clock or set quarters or minutes. In a world becoming increasingly technology-dependent and technology-addicted, baseball can be a pastoral retreat that combines both…

The NBA trade deadline is next week on Thursday, March 25th, so expect a lot of players to move into new roles and get additional playing time. In the meanwhile, here are 5 exciting players to watch the down the stretch run of the NBA regular season, whether your interest is fantasy-related or just as an NBA fan.

Robert Williams, C, Boston Celtics

The Time Lord is probably rostered in your fantasy league, as he is 61% rostered on Yahoo, but it might not be a bad idea to check. In the past two weeks, he is averaging close to a double-double per game with…

This post will explore some teaching ideas with Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novels Boxers and Saints, similar to a previous teaching guide I wrote for Sherman Alexie’s YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Author Context

To start teaching this graphic novel, I would tap into background information on the author, Gene Luen Yang, and see if students have read or heard of his other works. Yang’s most popular works include American Born Chinese and Avatar: The Last Airbender, so students may already have a familiarity or interest in Yang and his work. He also wrote two highly-regarded graphic…

Michael Sunderland

Oakland, CA. Teaching, learning, sports, and storytelling.

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