Thursday Throneberries

Today's links are going to take a deep breath and count to 600 before passing judgment on Alex Rodriguez's Hall of Fame prospects ...

  • OK, so the next season of "The Simpsons" is going to feature the voices of Jon Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Laurie and Ricky Gervais. Yawn. There was news yesterday about truly monumental casting, though: sports writer Bill James. (With luck I'll see Bill at the SABR Convention this weekend. I'll ask him about this, but can't guarantee that he'll do more than be humble.)

  • Yesterday I visited Birmingham's Rickwood Field, and was planning a little travelogue piece about the experience. Then I found Jim Caple's piece from a few years ago, and threw up my hands. I will mention this, because Jim didn't (exactly): If you possibly can, get to Rickwood Field. Take your gloves and a baseball. As near as I could tell, you're perfectly welcome to take the field and have a catch. And there's a pretty good chance it'll be your best catch-having, ever.*

    * Oh, and I should also mention that Rickwood Field turns 100 this season, and that they still play professional baseball there every summer (for one night), and that my friend Allen Barra's written a wonderful book about Rickwood.

  • Hey, Dan Johnson's back up! And he got a big hit last night! Good for him. Johnson's career Triple-A line is fantastic, and the only reason to think he can't help the Rays is his unimpressive stint as a Yokohama Bay Star in 2008. Well, that and his .247/.343/.419 line in the majors. But with the first-place Rays looking for a bit of production from their DH slot, they could do a lot worse than giving Johnson a shot. He probably isn't the new David Ortiz, but then again he doesn't have to be.

  • Doing the sort of thing he does best, Mike McClary relives Ralph Houk's tenure as Tigers manager.

  • If the Padres pull this thing off, now-departed general manager Kevin Towers is going to get some credit, and he deserves it. But what about current GM Jed Hoyer? Geoff Young takes a look at Hoyer's trading style.

  • Tango furthers the process of figuring out what's a great-fielding pitcher worth, and if you think this question is purely academic you haven't thought about it very hard (yet).