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Monday, October 26, 2020

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 | 7 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 | 7 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 | 6 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 | 2 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 | 2 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 | 8 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 | 22 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 | 22 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

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 | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff bagwell

Red Sox have reportedly interviewed Will Venable for manager opening

While we’ve known since before the season even ended that the Red Sox would start this offseason looking for a new manager, we haven’t really heard much on that front to this point. That’s not terribly surprising since they tend to keep these searches close to the vest as it is, and it’s even easier to do that when any initial interviews are almost certainly taking place remotely on Zoom (or whatever video platform). That said, when there’s the whole Alex Cora elephant in the room, the silence on the search front can speak volumes, fairly or not.

The silence did change slightly on Thursday, though, as we got (to my knowledge anyway) the first report of an actual interview from Jon Heyman. He reported that the team interviewed ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 01:18 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

The Shift May Have Cost the Braves a Pennant. Will It Cost Someone a World Series?

The rationale for the shift is pretty intuitive: Both left-handed and right-handed hitters tend to pull about three-quarters of their ground balls, so it seems smart to position more fielders where the ball is likely to go. Shifts against lefties have been proved to prevent hits on the whole, so it’s not surprising that teams have more than doubled down on that strategy in recent seasons. Nor is it surprising that teams would seek to extend the strategy to right-handed hitters, having experienced such success against hitters who swing from the other side. But here’s something that is surprising, especially considering how often right-handed hitters have been shifted this postseason: In the aggregate, shifts against righties evidently ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 12:38 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: shifts

Young Dodgers pitchers set up to fail in ‘out-getter’ role in Game 2

Gonsolin and May spent the summer going deep into games, not combining to cover less than a third of a game. The Dodgers are running a 15-man pitching staff, with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler as the only “starters.” There is no “closer.”

They consider Gonsolin and May as two of their best arms, and they want to use them in a variety of roles, often unfamiliar ones.

“It’s a big ask, to be quite frank,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“These guys are in uncharted territory. Credit to them, they’re not making excuses. They expect themselves to make pitches. It’s different, certainly. But we still need those guys to get important outs going forward for us to win this thing.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 12:29 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Ranking five best MLB general manager/manager openings

1. White Sox manager
This is a roster, even more so than that of the Mets, that is ready to win, since Chicago just went to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. There are oodles of young and prime-age talent, highlighted by Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert. Plus, the financial splash last offseason to retain Jose Abreu and sign Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel signaled that owner Jerry Reinsdorf hungers for another title.

But early indicators are he also yearns for Tony La Russa, who managed the White Sox from 1979-86. Reinsdorf has said letting La Russa go is one of his most regrettable decisions. Will he feel the same way about bringing back someone who, yes, is a Hall of Famer, but also ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 11:34 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, phillies, red sox, tigers, white sox

Sources on what it could take to land Trevor Bauer—and where he’ll end up

“He’s always had great stuff,” said one scout, “but he’s become much more consistent with his command of all of his pitches. He doesn’t make many mistakes, and the cutter has given him a weapon that has made him tougher on left-handed hitters. He knows how to pitch too. He’s not Gerrit Cole, but he’s a legit No. 1.”

Cole, of course, was the prize of last year’s free-agent market, signed by the Yankees to a record-breaking contract of nine years, $324 million.

Will Bauer, who turns 30 in January, come close to that type of money? The people I spoke to think it’s more likely he’ll wind up with something closer to the seven-year, $245 million deal that Stephen Strasburg signed to remain with the Nationals last ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 11:32 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: trevor bauer

Washington Nationals re-sign Josh Harrison to one-year contract

The Washington Nationals have re-signed utility player Josh Harrison to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

Harrison spent the 2020 season with the Nationals after signing with them in July, less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies. The 33-year-old hit .278 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 33 games for Washington.

He is a two-time All-Star and right-handed hitter who has started games at second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots during his 10 years in the majors.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 10:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: josh harrison

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-22-2020

Chattanooga News, October 22, 1920:

Judge Kenesaw M. Landis, of the United States district court [in Chicago], will be offered the chairmanship of the national baseball commission at a salary of $25,000 per year, it was admitted [in Chicago] today by Alfred Austrian, attorney for both the Chicago American and Chicago National league clubs.

Austrian declared that the offer had not been made to Judge Landis, but other reports said the position had been tendered and accepted. This later rumor, however, could not be confirmed.

“I will not deny,” Austrian said, “that an offer is contemplated. Judge Landis has been mentioned frequently as an ideal man for the place.”

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the mayor of Baltimore says if the ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 10:29 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Should a Neutral-Site World Series Become Baseball’s New Normal?

Even so, the first five games of the 2019 World Series helped Fox to the most-watched week for any network since the Super Bowl eight months earlier. Networks still crave postseason baseball, especially the World Series, and M.L.B. has no plans to alter it by moving future games to a neutral site.

In Boras’s opinion, though, M.L.B. should think bigger. But is it really worth sacrificing home crowds for a neutral-site spectacle, just to revive interest nationally in a sport that now thrives more locally?

“Not nationally, internationally,” Boras said. “You have the ability to attract people to our national pastime worldwide, because they know where it’s going to be, and they can plan.”

Boras emphasized the word pageantry, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 10:13 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: world series

Hulu drops Sinclair’s Fox regional sports networks

The programming change at Hulu + Live TV follows YouTube TV’s announcement that it was dropping Fox regional sports networks after earlier this year negotiating an extension for the channels.

Earlier in the year, Google’s live streaming TV service extended its carriage agreement with the Fox RSNs through the end of the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons, but stopped carrying the networks as of Oct. 1.

“This was a difficult decision made after months of negotiations. We hope we can bring FOX RSNs back in the future. We thank you for your membership as we work to make YouTube TV the best streaming experience. You will receive an email today if you are impacted by this change,” the company tweeted.

“We value our ongoing relationship with ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: streaming

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-21-2020

Whenever Tubby Spencer pops up in the news, you know it’s going to be good.

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, October 21, 1920:

W.H. McCarthy, president of the Pacific Coast Baseball League, announced today he had received a letter from Edward Spencer, former catcher for the Salt Lake club, that Babe Borton, suspended Vernon player, had offered him a $1,700 bribe.

Borton emphatically denies Tubby’s accusation and insists that he only offered Spencer $500 to throw a game.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 21, 2020 at 10:45 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

How Mookie Betts changed the super-sabermetric World Series into the super-fun Series

Betts’ greatest coup remained. There is an art to baserunning—to rounding bases properly, to leading off a base, to understanding scenarios as they unfold. The secondary lead—a few extra hops and a step toward the next base as the pitch is delivered—is something Betts does as well as anyone. When Max Muncy chopped a one-hopper that Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz fielded and wheeled home, his throw was slightly up the line, in decent shape to get a mortal running. Instead, it was Betts.

He heaved his body toward home—batting glove sticking out of his right rear pocket, sliding glove on his left hand, gold chain flopping around like it hadn’t a care in the world. Catcher Mike Zunino swept the tag. Too late. The Dodgers led 3-1. That lead ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2020 at 09:16 AM | 138 comment(s)
  Beats: mookie betts

Manfred likes larger playoff, runner in extras

“I like the idea of, and I’m choosing my words carefully here, an expanded playoff format,” Manfred said. “I don’t think we would do 16 like we did this year. I think we do have to be cognizant of making sure that we preserve the importance of our regular season. But I think something beyond the 10 that we were at would be a good change.”

With the added runner rule, the longest of 68 games of 10 innings or longer were a pair of 13-inning contests, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I think the players like it,” Manfred said. “I think it’s really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they’re out there too long or in positions they’re not used to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2020 at 08:52 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Padres’ Luis Campusano charged with felony marijuana possession in Georgia

Padres catcher Luis Campusano was arrested Saturday in Georgia and charged with felony marijuana possession

According to the police report, 79 grams of marijuana was discovered in Campusano’s car when he was pulled over shortly after 5 a.m. in Grovetown, Ga., near his hometown of Augusta.

Georgia law states possession of more than one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana is a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. (In California, possession of 79 grams would be considered a misdemeanor and be punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2020 at 03:02 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: luis campusano

Hisashi Iwakuma To Retire

The Yomiuri Giants announced yesterday that veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will retire at the conclusion of the current Nippon Professional Baseball season.  Shoulder problems have kept Iwakuma off the mound in 2020, but he will hang up his glove after a combined 17 seasons of action in NPB and Major League Baseball.

Iwakuma is best known to North American fans for his six-year run with the Mariners from 2012-17.  The righty posted a 3.42 ERA, 3.86 K/BB rate, 47.6% grounder rate, and 7.3 K/9 over 883 2/3 innings at the big league level, starting 136 of 150 games.  Highlights of Iwakuma’s Seattle tenure included an outstanding 2013 season that saw him finish third in AL Cy Young Award voting, and a no-hitter against the Orioles on ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2020 at 02:00 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: hisashi iwakuma

Dodgers-Braves Game 7 Hits Best LCS Overnight Rating Since 2017

It was a great Sunday night for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-3 to secure their ticket to their third World Series in four years. On top of that, the Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Fox delivered another milestone with the best LCS overnight rating since 2017.

Game 7 delivered a 6.9/14 rating across Fox and FS1, which marks the best rating for an LCS game on any network since Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS (7.1/13), when the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees. Last nights Dodgers-Braves showdown also received a major 41% boost over Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS (4.9/9), which saw the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2020 at 01:52 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: television

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