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Thursday, October 29, 2020

These 6 teams now need a title most

Oakland A’s
Now that it is rumored that longtime head of baseball operations Billy Beane could be leaving the franchise, it would be a cruel irony if the A’s finally had their postseason breakthrough with him gone. For all the “Moneyball” love, the A’s had a 2-11 postseason record in the Beane era, ending with an American League Division Series loss to the rival Astros this year. The A’s have always felt like the team that was always this close to having That Special Year. But they never quite made it. If they ever bust through, here’s hoping they give him a ring anyway.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 29, 2020 at 11:41 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, brewers, indians, mets, twins

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cardinals decline option for keystone infielder Wong, allowing him to join Molina, Wainwright as free agents

In what can be read as the first hint of reduced spending and the unknowns of the 2021 baseball season, the Cardinals have elected to decline the option for second baseman Kolten Wong, a Gold Glove Award-winner and a keystone presence of the team for the previous seven seasons.

The Cardinals confirmed the decision Wednesday, the deadline for exercising a $12.5-million option.

There is a $1 million buyout.

Wong immediately becomes a free agent.

“We have both agreed to keep the door open,” John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said of a reunion with Wong as the market moves.

Mozeliak said Tommy Edman is, as of now, the starting second baseman.

In previous years, picking up Wong’s option would have been a layup.

...Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 06:41 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: kolten wong

MLB offseason begins: 147 players become free agents

A total of 147 players have become free agents, led by pitchers Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, Liam Hendriks and Masahiro Tanaka, José Quintana, outfielders George Springer and Marcell Ozuna; infielders DJ LeMahieu and Andrelton Simmons and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Additional players will be added pending decisions on team, player and mutual options during the next few days.

The price of qualifying offers rose by $1.1 million to a record $18.9 million. Players are eligible for the offer if they were on the roster for the season and never received a qualifying offer before.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 05:35 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents

Inside the political donation history of wealthy sports owners

American professional sports owners have contributed nearly $47 million in federal elections since 2015, according to research by ESPN in partnership with FiveThirtyEight, including $10 million to Republican causes and $1.9 million to Democratic causes so far in the 2020 election cycle.

That strong Republican lean is consistent with owners’ spending in the 2018 and 2016 federal elections as well. A deep search in the Federal Election Commission database of campaign finances for principal owners, controlling owners, co-owners and commissioners from the NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA, MLB and NASCAR reveals that this deep-pocketed group has sent $34.2 million (72.9%) to Republican campaigns or super PACs purely supporting Republican causes, compared ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 01:14 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-28-2020

Norwich Bulletin, October 28, 1920:

The Chicago American League club, in a statement issued tonight through its secretary, Harry Grabiner, denied that Harry Redmond or anyone else had given the club positive evidence prior to the grant jury baseball investigation that Chicago players had “thrown” games to Cincinnati in the 1919 world’s series.
...
“Redmond never gave anyone connected with this club any evidence upon which the club could act,” said the statement…“He had only rumors, only hearsay stories. He could not name or furnish anything which could be called evidence.”

I’m trying to think about what would happen in 2020 if someone went to, say, the Rays’ front office this offseason with a story that a third of their team was in on a ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:41 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Rob Manfred booed while presenting World Series trophy to Dodgers; fans confused by speech

MLB’s commissioner paused as he was greeted with jeers amid a postgame ceremony honoring the Dodgers for their first World Series win since 1988. It was clear he recognized the negative response.

The boos continued throughout Manfred’s winding speech, which confused many fans watching from home for its slow, inconsistent cadence. He explained afterward his slurring of words came from technical difficulties.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 09:23 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Are analytics to blame for Rays’ Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell too early from Game 6 of 2020 World Series?

But in the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers were about to get their third look at Snell, something that Cash wanted to avoid. Per MLB.com:

“The only motive was that the lineup the Dodgers feature is as potent as any team in the league. I felt Blake had done his job and then some. Mookie [Betts] coming around the third time through, I value that. I totally respect and understand the questions that come with [the decision]. Blake gave us every opportunity to win. He was outstanding. These are not easy decisions. ... I felt it was best after the guy got on base—Barnes hit the single—I didn’t want Mookie or [Corey] Seager seeing Blake a third time through. As much as people think that sometimes, there’s no set plan. This ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 08:53 AM | 99 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell

Justin Turner of Los Angeles Dodgers pulled from World Series after positive COVID-19 test

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and was pulled from the team’s Game 6 World Series-clinching win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas.

Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed the positive test after the game, telling Fox: “It’s a bittersweet night for us.”

Turner was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before coming out of the game in the eighth ainning. The team did not give a reason for his exit when he left.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 12:22 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, justin turner

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Champs! The best Dodgers team ever ends L.A.‘s 32-year title drought | ESPN

On Tuesday night, in a neutral stadium 1,400 miles away, at the conclusion of a bizarre season played amid a global health crisis, these Dodgers finally made their mark. Their 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series won them their first championship since Gibson famously hobbled to the batter’s box in 1988, a fitting coronation for a dominant franchise.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:50 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, world series

Cardinals should extend Molina, but ask him to waive his Instagram account

Molina doesn’t just lead the Cardinals in heart and hard work.

He’s becoming the all-time leader in one of those newfangled modern stats: headaches caused per Instagram post.

If the Cardinals ever are going to address the trend, now would be the time. The social media storms Molina creates tend to pass, at least for him. But there could come a time when something is posted that can’t be deleted….

Molina’s latest Instagram flap was his worst one yet. He boiled over after he was not named a Gold Glove finalist. There’s nothing wrong with critiquing the process. This season, because of the pandemic-shortened schedule and the clustering of divisions to decrease travel, players and coaches were not allowed to vote like they ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:58 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: yadier molina

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-27-2020

Washington Times, October 27, 1920:

Joe Gedeon, second baseman with the St. Louis Browns, is through with baseball, following his testifying before the grand jury [in Chicago]. He admitted that he had been tipped off that the 1919 world’s series was to be fixed and that he had given his information to two St. Louis gamblers coming with them to bet on the series.

“I’m through with baseball now,” says Gedeon. “I’d never be able to stand the gaff around the circuit after this blowoff. I’m going to quit…I wasn’t the only major league player who cashed in on the ‘fixed’ series.”

“You can’t ban me. I quit.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 27, 2020 at 10:20 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Monday, October 26, 2020

NBA Post-Bubble offseason thread

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA but we should have enough posters to fill out a mock draft regardless.

Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: October 26, 2020 at 07:08 PM | 169 comment(s)
  Beats: mock draft, nba, off-topic

Why Baseball Fans Stopped Rushing the Field

Channeling their inner Frank Rizzo—whose strong-arm mayoral reign of intimidation ended only months earlier—Philadelphia City Hall’s pooh-bahs decided there would not be a repeat of the bedlam that occurred in New York and elsewhere should the Phils prevail over the Royals in Game 6. So they positioned a platoon of mounted policemen, along with their K-9 corps, in the bowels of Veterans Stadium that evening. During the seventh inning, with the Phils winning 4–0, the K-9s were unleashed onto the field to a chorus of boos. “I thought I was in Venezuela when I saw the dogs,” Royals second baseman Frank White told a reporter after the game. “That’s the only place I’ve ever seen that.” At one point, umpire Bill Kunkel ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 06:22 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

MLB debt totals $8.3 billion as Manfred mulls options for next season

Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have amassed an unprecedented $8.3 billion of debt from their various lenders and will post $2.8 billion to $3 billion in operational losses this year, Commissioner Rob Manfred told Sportico Monday in an exclusive interview.

The debt was accrued so the clubs could fund their businesses during this COVID-affected season without fans in the stands and negligible ballpark revenue.

“We are going to be at historic high levels of debt,” Manfred said. “And it’s going to be difficult for the industry to weather another year where we don’t have fans in the ballpark and have other limitations on how much we can’t play and how we can play.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:52 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Spokesperson: Mayor Bill de Blasio still ‘evaluating’ Mets sale to Steve Cohen

The office of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets is not yet a done deal.

“At this point the Mayor and his office are evaluating,” de Blasio spokesperson Bill Neidhardt told SNY on Friday afternoon.

If this evaluation stretches into next week, it could delay the vote among MLB owners on whether to approve Cohen as the Mets’ new owner. The Mets are hoping for the vote to occur next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. But they need de Blasio to move forward first.

As first reported by USA Today, de Blasio has the right to block the sale to “any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.’’

The company that Cohen ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 12:36 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

‘Home, home, home!’ How Dodgers foiled Manuel Margot’s stealing home gamble

The Rays did not give Margot a sign to steal. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash did not support the play as a high-stakes element of surprise.

“Not so much the element of surprise,” Cash said. “We encourage making intelligent baseball decisions, and if Manny felt he had the opportunity to score ... then we should support it.”

Cash parried the suggestion that, in a perfect world, Renfroe would have taken off from first base, giving Margot a better chance to steal.

“No,” Cash said. “In a perfect world, he’s safe.”

The last man to steal home in the World Series? The Angels’ Brad Fullmer in the first inning of Game 2 of the 2002 World Series as part of a double steal.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 11:11 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rays

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-26-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, October 26, 1920:

President Ban Johnson, of the American League, and his five “loyal” club owners will meet in Cleveland this week. They will agree to meet with the National League owners and the Comiskey-Ruppert-Frazee faction of the American League when the joint meeting is held [in Chicago] November 8.

The dark clouds have rolled by and indications point to a full house when the gathering assembles [in Chicago] to reorganize the controlling body of the national game.

There had been some speculation that the five other AL owners and Ban Johnson were going to walk away from the American League and start a new league. They were angry about the reorganization plan that eventually wound up with Judge ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 10:13 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Athletics’ Liam Hendriks, Brewers’ Devin Williams named 2020’s top relievers

Major League Baseball has announced the winners of the Reliever of the Year awards on Saturday ahead of Game 4 of the World Series. The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year is Liam Hendriks of the Athletics while the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year is Devin Williams of the Brewers.

Hendriks was the runner-up in 2019 to Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees and there’s an argument he should’ve won the honor a season ago. No matter, the 2020 award is Hendriks’. He saved 14 games in 15 chances with a 1.78 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 37 strikeouts against two unintentional walks in 25 1/3 innings, helping the A’s to the AL West title.

“Honored is an understatement,” said Hendriks. “It’s humbling to win an award that ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 09:12 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: devin williams, liam hendriks

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Clayton Kershaw repairs his playoff legacy with Game 5 win

The acceptance phase is the hardest, and that’s where Kershaw, he of the worst October reputation this side of the house that gives out Mounds on Halloween, lives today. He isn’t what he once was, and he doesn’t need to be because what he is impelled the Dodgers to a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. The win left the Dodgers one victory shy of their first championship since 1988 and Kershaw oh so close to getting sized for the ring that has eluded none of his pitching peers.

Here’s what Kershaw is: good enough, which is, when one is surrounded by the talent the Dodgers possess, good enough. He is capable of excellence, and he is prone to failure, and he is usually closer to the former than the latter. He is not a Dr. Jekyll ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2020 at 12:57 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rays, world series

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Exclusive: Ex-Astros exec Mike Elias eyed for potential MLB pension fraud in his new role as Orioles GM

The Orioles pension scandal centers on Elias’ decision to give Holt benefits for which he was likely ineligible. Under the joint agreement between the MLB owners and the Players Association, only four coaches can be designated by the clubs for the pension plan, as well as the licensing money. Earlier this year, it was learned that Elias had designated Holt as one of the Orioles coaches to be placed on the plan, even though Holt is not listed as a coach for the Orioles, wasn’t with the team all year and was not even given a uniform number. He reportedly spent much of his time working in their minor league complex in Bowie, Md.

When contacted by the Daily News, Steve Rodgers, a special assistant in the Players Association actively ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:01 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mike elias, orioles

Baseball fans’ biggest problem with Rob Manfred? He doesn’t appear to be one of them

Now he is pushing to expand the postseason on a permanent basis. How many teams, Rob? Sixteen? Twenty-four? Everyone except the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox? (Manfred claims he grew up a New York Yankees fan.)

He also is considering continuing the ridiculous runner on second base rule in extra innings. Is this Little League? If a game isn’t over after 12 innings, should each team pick a batter for a Home Run Derby? That would be fun, right? It wouldn’t be baseball, but who cares?

At least there won’t be seven-inning doubleheader games — but that has more to do with owners wanting to charge separate admissions when weather forces two games in a day.

Manfred doesn’t have the fortitude to insist on a pitch clock and other ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:45 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Friday, October 23, 2020

A Conversation With Tom House, the “Father of Modern Pitching Mechanics”

David Laurila: Let’s start with pitch counts. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said during an NLCS media session that he was “blown away” to learn that Max Fried had never thrown more than 109 pitches in a game, adding that a career-high should be closer to 140. He also suggested that once Fried got into his rhythm he might have been able to throw 200 pitches. What are your thoughts on that?

Tom House: “From research, there are three things that keep a pitcher’s arm healthy: workloads, number of pitches, [and] his functional strength and mechanical efficiency. The research goes all the way back to Paul Richards, who was the general manager of the Orioles. Richards was the first guy, when he had ‘the baby birds,’ the four ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 01:09 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: tom house

Ben Reiter called the Astros’ title, but says he couldn’t have seen the signs of cheating in advance

DN: In your second episode of “The Edge,” you spoke to one of those fired baseball lifers, Dave Trembley, who shared that he was frustrated that you never reached out to him because he could have offered a more grounded perspective on the Astros culture. Why didn’t you?

BR: By my count, I spoke to 46 members of the organization, past and present. Trembley was just not on my list. I couldn’t talk to everybody. Baseball’s an insular world and it’s extremely hard to get people speaking critically about their opponents on the record. There weren’t many people at the time, pre, sign-stealing scandal, willing to say anything specific about a rival. In retrospect, I wish I had spoken with Tremblay, which is why I included him in ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 12:10 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-23-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, October 23, 1920:

Indictments against 13 persons believed to have been implicated in the “throwing” of games in the 1919 world’s series by Chicago American League players were returned [yesterday] by a special Cook county grand jury which had been investigating the baseball scandal for more than a month.
...
Chase and Burns, former major league players, and Abe Attell, once the featherweight boxing champion of the world, have been accused by witness of being three of a clique which “framed” the world series and arranged to bribe White Sox players for sums said to range from $2,000 to $10,000 to try to lose games in the contests for the world’s baseball championship.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, a ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 10:29 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Jewish World Series

The LA Dodgers-Tampa Bay Rays World Series, currently underway, presents Jewish baseball fans with a unique treat: the potential to present the first ever Jew vs. Jew pitcher-batter matchup in World Series history. Relief pitcher Ryan Sherriff, one of the Rays’ last-minute roster additions, is Jewish and, in the opposite dugout, Dodgers fourth outfielder Joc Pederson is also a member of the tribe.

Of course, it’s impossible to prove that this would be a first, but it looks that way. According to Jewish baseball historian and author Robert Wechsler, the 1915 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies was the first World Series in which a Jewish pitcher, Erskine Mayer, appeared. In his 12 World Series innings, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 09:54 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: judaism

Alex Rodriguez says he would have increased Mets’ payroll to $225 million if he’d purchased team

“The Mets were a team I grew up watching,” Rodriguez said. “I thought that the Mets did — and do — have an opportunity to be one of the great franchises around the world, with an incredible fan base, and we were really excited to take payroll from like $150 [million] to $225 [million] and bring a championship back to the city of New York.

“I wasn’t looking to acquire a team, [but] when the Mets became available, we became interested. Jennifer thought this would be great as well. I enjoyed the experience, so never say never.”

Cohen, of course, needs approval from 23 of the 30 MLB teams, and as Martino has noted throughout the process, that approval is ultimately expected. Rodriguez has said previously that he would match Cohen’s ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 09:39 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Social distancing limited Covid-19 spread for Major League Baseball teams

To try to limit outbreaks this year, MLB took precautions, including holding games without fans, and banning high-fives, fist bumps and spitting among players. The enhanced team health and safety protocols reduced the time opposite team members would interact with each other and their interaction was mostly outdoors.

“Though one outbreak might not be representative of all scenarios faced by MLB, by mid October 2020, only 91 of 169,143 samples (0.05%) from 21 different teams returned positive test results,” the research team wrote. “No other Covid-19 outbreaks have spread to opposing MLB team members.”

Social distancing, playing games outside, mask measures, and other MLB health and safety protocols seemed to work, although the measures ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 09:36 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Thursday, October 22, 2020

How Wrigley Field got lights, night games in 1988 | MLB.com

What few know is that, had the Cubs managed to make that history in 1985, not 2016, the long-anticipated final out still would have been recorded on the road, no matter which game they clinched the title. The Cubs could have been the “home” team in this ’85 scenario and, regardless, been playing in a ballpark other than Wrigley.

... This letter [by Cubs GM Dallas Green] to Cubs season-ticket holders—dated July 19, 1985—goes on to explain the financial limitations of Wrigley, the national television contract that allowed the networks to insist on night World Series games and the warning the Cubs had received from the new Commissioner, Peter Ueberroth, that MLB was prepared to take the drastic action in ‘85 (moving the Cubs’ home ...

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Snowboy Posted: October 22, 2020 at 06:32 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: history, television, world series

2020 Gold Glove finalists unveiled

The winners will be named on Tuesday, Nov. 3, on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 03:30 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: gold glove

Jeff Bagwell Talks About Being an Alcoholic For the First Time

A copy of Bagwell’s Hall of Fame plaque — and other baseball mementos — can be seen over Bagwell’s shoulder. But this day is about anything but baseball for one of the greatest Astros of all time. Instead, it’s about sharing his descent into a personal hell and his continuing recovery from it. (Bagwell says he has not had a drink since 10/17/2017.)

“At times you lose hope,” Bagwell says. “I think you don’t value your life anymore. I remember looking in the mirror in the morning, at 7’o’clock in the morning, and saying. ‘What are you doing, man? You’re killing yourself.’ And still could not stop.

“Because for me to get through the day, I had to have drinks.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 01:39 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff bagwell

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