-Taylor Ballinger, Matt Korte, Jeff Gangloff

Good morning, Nation. We’re back with our weekly installment of “This Week in Baseball”, where Taylor, Matt, and Jeff will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below.

Alex Rodriguez’s Quest is Going, Going … Unobserved

By: Billy Witz, New York Times

Alex Rodriguez is inching ever closer to tying and passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, but the most fascinating part of his chase is how the Yankees are doing everything they can to downplay its significance. The Yankees are notorious for creating hype around players and milestones (am I the only one that got tired of hearing about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera?). But not with A-Rod. I absolutely love this story. A-Rod playing well and not causing problems. The Yankees squirming and trying to avoid paying Rodriguez’s bonus. I hope he breaks Mays’s mark in Yankee Stadium, forcing a very public showdown between the franchise and A-Rod. You can’t just act like 660 and 661 don’t matter, can you? Leave it to the Yankees to turn Alex Rodriguez into a sympathetic figure. (Ballinger)

Who Will Be The Next Mr. 3,000?

By: Will Leitch, Sports on Earth

Ah, 3,000. That magical number that guarantees baseball immortality. In this piece, Will Leitch looks at the 10 big leaguers with over 2,000 hits and estimates their likelihood of passing 3,000. Did you know Alex Rodriguez is fewer than 50 hits from number 3,000? Another showdown between A-Rod and the Yankees? Sign me up! (Ballinger)

The NL Doesn’t Want the DH

By: Richard Justice, Sports on Earth

Last month. the writers at Redleg Nation tackled this topic here. Richard Justice spoke with several baseball officials, and the general consensus: the NL doesn’t want to adopt the DH because they don’t think their fans want it. I tend to agree with this assertion. People, in general, don’t like change and are often irrationally biased toward their teams, leagues, cities, etc. However – and I don’t really care one way or the other – I don’t think that adopting the DH would drive away NL fans, and I think the increased offense could draw new, younger fans to the game. More runs + faster games? Sounds like part of the cure for what ails baseball (old fans, slow games, losing broad appeal, etc., etc.). (Ballinger)

Rob Manfred Wants Barry Bonds to be ‘Engaged with the Game’

By: Jesse Spector, Sporting News

Commissioner Manfred wants “quality” former players to be engaged with baseball…in an effort to keep fans engaged with the game.  Great idea!  Commissioner Manfred includes Barry Bonds in that category of “quality” players he wants engaged with current fans. Hmm.  Frankly I don’t really care if Barry Bonds is engaged with current players, fans or anyone else following the game; at this point, now that his 2011 obstruction charge has been overturned he has obviously done nothing wrong (I’ll pause to let that set in).  Like I said, whether players like Bonds stay engaged with the game is really nothing to me, but what I am interested in is the newly minted Commissioners stance on former players who have been exiled from the game and his willingness to open the doors to them. While the article highlights Manfred’s desire to praise current players like Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw and others…will his open mind to players like Bonds be a stepping stone to lift the lifetime ban on Charlie Hustle?  We now know Rose will be involved with the ASG festivities this year…but what’s next? (Korte)

MLB Sets Attendance Record in First Two Weeks of 2015 Season

By: Mike Oz, Yahoo Sports

Listen to any national sports talk radio show and when they turn their attention to baseball, most of the comments sound something like this; “baseball is dying.” “baseball is too slow.” “nobody goes to baseball games anymore.”  To all of the critics and those working on the tombstone of our national pastime, why don’t you take a look at the attendance numbers after the first two weeks of the 2015 season.  The article highlights how MLB set new attendance records for the first two weeks of this season, drawing over 3 million fans for the first time!  Sure, MLB has instituted some new pace of play rules that I believe have helped to make the game better and certainly quicker…but those rules certainly don’t impact attendance that dramatically over the first two weeks of the season.  With all of the scrutiny and negative attention that has been thrown as baseball, it is a reassuring feeling to see the game flourishing like it is…hopefully these attendance trends continue as we head into the summer.  (Korte)

The Story of Seattle-Based Ebbets Field Flannels

By Jonathan Sawyer, Highsnobiety

Ever hear of the Havana Sugar Kings? How about the Brockton Shoemakers? Ebbets Field Flannels is a Seattle based company whose mission is to bring these vintage, niche baseball teams back to life. By studying old photographs and memorabilia, Ebbets Field Flannels uses a painstaking human process to make sure their products are built with the same craftsmanship and quality that resembles how these original products were made over 70 years ago. (Gangloff)

Every Major League Baseball Stadium, Ranked by its Food and Drink

By: Matt Lynch, Sean Cooley and Liz Childers

Stadiums and baseball teams are pushing the envelope these days by serving up unique, quality, and regional food and drink options that would appease even the biggest foodie. Thrillist visited each stadium, sampled their food and drink offerings, and ranked them 1 through 30. See how the Reds culinary creations stack up with the rest of major league baseball. Is the Skyline cheese coney enough to put them over the top?  (Gangloff)