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The Sky Is Falling Newsbeat

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Baseball’s Fight to Reclaim Its Soul

The enormous fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal has pushed baseball into a moment of crisis. The root cause of the scandal is embedded in the nine-page report by commissioner Rob Manfred: technocrats gaining power in how the game is played.

Amid all the outrage and the reviews of press conferences and interviews as if they were performance art, union chief Tony Clark issued the most important words in a statement last week that should have received more attention:

“How the parties handle the next several weeks will significantly affect what our game looks like for the next several decades. The opportunity is now to forge a new path forward.”

Manfred has vowed to reduce the live video available in and around clubhouses. It’s a start toward winning back trust. “That’s a joint obligation,” Manfred said. “It’s something we have to do and something the players have to us help us do.”

*It suddenly dawns on QLE that he’s heard this argument before- and that he’s figured out who Larvell Blanks’ biggest fan really is…..*

 

QLE Posted: March 01, 2020 at 12:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: soul, technocracy, the sky is falling, verducci

Monday, February 03, 2020

Despite all of the new rules changes, baseball’s real issues will go unsolved

The Super Bowl is today. Yes, you’re still reading our baseball site. Don’t worry. What I mean by pointing out that the Super Bowl is today is that once the final pass is thrown and the last knee is taken, we’ll be in the nascent hours of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers are just around the corner. Baseball will be upon us, and with it will come all of the complications that baseball seems to revel in.

What are those complications, though? That depends on who you ask.

Let’s ask Rob Manfred. As the league’s commissioner, Manfred has been good at keeping busy. When he’s not getting into blistering PR wars with Minor League Baseball, Manfred enjoys futzing around with the game’s rules and begrudgingly telling the owners he works for to stop acting out. A three batter minimum here, a little allowing Jim Crane to look like the good guy there. When he’s feeling particularly frisky, he might even set up a recurring series of games in London at a venue that makes Coors Field look like a pitcher’s paradise. It’s hard work but someone’s got to do it. And hey, baseball just enjoyed record revenues! By what the owners judge to be the most important metric of all, the bottom line, he’s doing his job.

What Manfred doesn’t seem particularly interested in is the actual main issue plaguing the sport. The institution of baseball doesn’t seem to be all that interested in the game of baseball. The league and the owners care much more about short-term profit than they do about the health of the game. That may feel like a harsh claim, but there are increasingly fewer reasons to feel otherwise.

A consideration of leadership, or a lack thereof…..

 

QLE Posted: February 03, 2020 at 12:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: manfred is thinking about it, rule changes, the sky is falling

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Will the Red Sox use Alex Cora’s dismissal as a pretext for a teardown?

When Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch were fired yesterday, someone asked me what it all means for the Astros. My gut reaction was “not that much, at least in the short term.” Losing your manager and GM is not great and the loss of the draft picks will be a big blow down the line, but in the short term the team is still stocked, with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke going 1-2 in the rotation, Alex Bregman, José Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer in the lineup and a farm system still pretty loaded with talent. They may not win 107 games again, and the rise of the Astros may be over, but they’re not likely to fall too far too fast.

The situation with the Red Sox strikes me a bit differently, though. And with Alex Cora getting fired this evening, I’m wondering if, perhaps, we may see some major changes for Boston, and if we see them quickly.

As Bill noted earlier, the Red Sox are at least trying to shrink payroll. They’ve equivocated on that at various times this offseason, first saying that they wanted to get below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold and that doing so while keeping both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez would be difficult. They backtracked on that more recently, saying that winning, not getting under that threshold, was the priority. Still, it’s hard to separate the stated goals from the P.R. considerations. One gets the strong feeling that, yes, the Sox’ front office would love to cut payroll below $208 million if they can, but that doing it without trading Mookie Betts would be close to impossible. And, of course, trading Betts would be a huge blow to fan morale, would likely lead to a big backlash, and might sink the Sox, competitively speaking.

But . . . maybe Alex Cora getting tossed aside changes that calculus? Maybe the team’s top brass — including new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, who has no connection whatsoever to that which happened in Boston before this winter and who has more leeway right now to build the team the way he wants to than he will ever have going forward — sees this crisis as an opportunity? Maybe they decide to cast Cora’s dismissal and whatever other penalties Major League Baseball visits upon them when the investigation is over as the straw that broke this iteration of the Red Sox’ back and decide to tear it up and start over?

 

 

QLE Posted: January 15, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: chaim bloom, dollah dollah bills, y'all, mookie betts, red sox, the sky is falling

Saturday, December 21, 2019

What Defined MLB in the 2010s?

As the decade comes to a close, we’re left with plenty of MLB storylines to unpack over the last 10 years. In a loaded, perhaps impossible exercise, we asked our baseball staff to outline what defined the 2010s to them. Here’s to the 2020s.

So, how would all of you answer this question?

 

QLE Posted: December 21, 2019 at 01:01 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: 2010s, analytics, home runs, reviews, statcast, tanking, the sky is falling

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Why MLB’s New Pitching Restrictions Are Bad for the Game

The worst, most unnecessary baseball rule foisted upon managers and true fans of the game has not been implemented yet. There is still time and hope.

MLB announced almost a year ago a plan that all pitchers must face a minimum of three batters per appearance or pitch to the end of the half inning. The MLB Players Association agreed not to challenge the rule as part of negotiations involving roster size and scheduling.

On its website MLB explained the rule is “an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game.”

To go all 19th century on you, that is pure poppycock. The rule will do great harm to the organic strategy of the game and do nothing perceptible to time of game.

Mind you, at this point many of us are inclined to hold any argument Tom Verducci makes as suspect, so….

 

QLE Posted: December 04, 2019 at 03:55 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, rule changes, the sky is falling

 

 

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