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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Feinstein: In the Astros scandal, Rob Manfred has taken a bad situation and made it worse (WaPo)

Some will argue that stripping the Astros of their title does little. But they’re wrong, it would have a great deal of meaning. Taking away the trophy means the team can’t display it in perpetuity and forces it to take down all banners that proclaim “World Champions.” Remove the Astros’ name from the record book, leaving a blank for the 2017 World Series winner, as there is for 1994, when the World Series was called off after the owners forced the players to strike by violating the rules of collective bargaining.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:45 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rob manfred

Oakland Athletics off the radio waves in the Bay Area, commit to A’s Cast stream

There will be no Oakland A’s games broadcast over the radio waves in the Bay Area in 2020.

Instead, all games will be broadcast on A’s Cast, streamed via TuneIn, the team announced Tuesday. The A’s and KTRB did not renew the one-year deal they struck last spring, just before the season began. The hastily arranged partnership came on the heels of an ugly split between the team and 95.7 The Game.

Now, the A’s are moving again. They will be the first professional sports team to have a local radio broadcast entirely on a streaming service. Though the method will change, the voices stay the same. Ken Korach will return for his 25th season and Vince Cotroneo for his 15th season.

This also means that the A’s will be the first team ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 02:48 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: radio

RADIO INSIGHT: TuneIn Becomes Oakland Athletics Flagship Broadcaster

“The Oakland Athletics are moving their game broadcasts to their “A’s Cast” 24/7 streaming channel on TuneIn.

The franchise becomes the first MLB franchise to move to a completely streaming audio platform after spending the 2019 season on Salem Media Conservative Talk “860 The Answer” KTRB San Francisco. The games will be available for free in most of Northern California and as part of TuneIn’s premium service elsewhere in the country. The franchise will also continue to operate an eleven station network based at Bonneville’s 1140 KHTK Sacramento.”

The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 01:34 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, broadcasts, radio

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-18-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 18, 1920:

Benjamin Kauff, star fielder of the New York Giants, was out on bail today after his arrest yesterday on a charge of grand larceny in connection with the alleged theft of an automobile.

Kauff, who until recently was engaged with his half brother in the automobile accessory business, is alleged to have sold a car last December 15, which had been stolen [in New York] a week before. Kauff maintained that he bought the car in question last October 27.

Kauff was acquitted of the criminal charges, but Commissioner Landis eventually banned him for life over this matter.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:44 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Angels owner Arte Moreno refuses to detail what happened with Dodgers trade – Orange County Register

Pressed on those, Moreno said: “I would rather not talk about that. That wasn’t going to happen and it’s not happening.”


About 15 minutes later, when Moreno was reminded that his customers would like more detail on why a reported deal that could have helped the team didn’t happen, he didn’t budge.

“I’m sure they would,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that people would like to know and they’re not going to know. It’s water under the bridge. We’ve moved on.”

Moreno did not seem at all upset with the questions or the fact that he’s recently been vilified by much of the fan base.

“One year I spent about 300 million bucks and someone wrote how cheap I was,” he said.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:07 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, arte moreno

Whitley’s new strategy: Less work, more weight

One of the scouting reports I’ve read talked about how Whitley had a big spike in velocity in his senior year after getting serious about conditioning and remaking his body. The scout also suggested has backslid on his work. I don’t how accurate the report was but, at the least, it’s worth keeping an eye on Whitley this spring.

“I think just the general thought process that went into that was just not coming into camp absurdly skinny like I had the past couple years,” he said. “I remember a couple years ago I came into camp at like 190, so I kind of wanted to lower the workload, eat a little bit more and focus on coming into camp at a little better weight.”

Two years ago, Whitley was working out six or seven times a week, sometimes ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:59 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, forrest whitley

Yankees’ Brett Gardner wants fan making bizarre sexual claims kept away from his family, MLB stadiums

In a strange and often incomprehensible lawsuit, which the Yankees have asked a Bronx civil court judge to dismiss, Devasahayam says the Yankees not only are preventing her from getting close to Gardner, but she also alleges they have hacked into her Twitter account to steal her intellectual property.

Detailed in the lawsuit are some of the ways she says Gardner has hinted at his interest in her:

In a video of Gardner in the dugout, Gardner “motions with his hip on the stairs as though he is having sexual intercourse with me.”
She says Gardner makes “a sad face” during home games when she does not attend. She adds that Gardner was once ejected from a game by an umpire who likely received “signals” from her social media that ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:36 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: brett gardner

Monday, February 17, 2020

Buckley: The few hits — and many misses — of Red Sox ownership’s day in front of the media – The Athletic

They should have stood home with their shovels.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Disciplining Astros not as easy for MLB as Altuve revealing a tattoo

If only there was a strong Commissioner and no MLBPA, the players complaining about no player discipline would get the justice they are craving.

Some of their union leadership need to educate its body a little better on union/contract protections.

Even more crucial would be the aforementioned lack of notice. Four labor lawyers with first-hand knowledge of the grievance process agreed: the lack of notice from the Astros to their players would have made any case pursued by the league practically DOA. Yes, grievance hearings do now and again end with surprising results, but the probability tilted significantly toward any potential suspension being overturned, the lawyers said.

Facing that reality, the league made a value judgment: It would ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mlbpa, sign stealing

How will the Red Sox market a Mookie-less team? - The Boston Globe

A lot of bullshit coming out of Fenway.

The demand for tickets is a lot softer than the following suggests. The secondary market was extremely soft last year. I got a lot of tickets far under the marked price. This fact wasn’t lost on a lot of my friends and the people I sat near at games who have season tickets. Ushers I talked to shared that a lot of season ticket holders weren’t too happy to be paying full price and then having people sit next to them at half the cost.

Outside of Betts and Price’s images being scrubbed from the Red Sox website’s ticketing ads, the details of a marketing plan are still fuzzy. One was in the works before the trade, given the reality of what happened in 2019 and over the offseason. Kennedy said ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:50 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

‘I’m all in on this stuff’: How the analytical Diamondbacks will put their spin on Madison Bumgarner – The Athletic

Bumgarner can’t pitch the same way forever and expect the same results. It’s a good thing he knows that.

“I’m eager to learn,” Bumgarner said. “That’s the only way you keep better. Once you stop trying to learn, that’s when you get stuck and everybody else seems to pass you by.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, madison bumgarner

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 17, 1920:

Babe Ruth, “life and limb,” is to be insured by the Yankees for $150,000, it has been announced by Col. T.L. Huston, part owner of the club. It is the first time an individual member of a New York club has been insured for any great amount.

The difference in New York’s approach to Ruth and Boston’s approach to Ruth couldn’t possibly be more extreme. Frazee saw the Babe as an inconvenience, Huston and Ruppert saw him as the most valuable commodity in the sport.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

How a rookie middle infielder could be the most interesting player in Giants camp

Mauricio Dubón has never played outfield in the minor leagues, but he could be the San Francisco Giants’ primary center fielder.
Dubón could be the Giants’ Opening Day shortstop or starting second baseman, but he might move around the diamond and play left field or first base, too.
Dubón can pinch-hit, pinch-run or enter as a defensive replacement at any number of positions, but the 25-year-old Honduras native has minor league options. Opening the season at Triple-A Sacramento remains a possibility.
The Giants don’t know where Dubón will play most often this year. They just believe Dubón should play a lot.
“I keep saying, I’m a baseball player so the more chances I have to get in the lineup, it’ll be good,” Dubón said. ...Read More...

Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

Why Giants brought in umpires for second round of bullpen sessions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—When Andrew Suarez kicked at the dirt on the bullpen mound Saturday and looked in at his catcher, most of what he saw was similar to every other bullpen session of his life. There was one key difference, though: An umpire in full uniform crouched behind the catcher.

Suarez fired a fastball, and the umpire emphatically pointed a finger to his left, signaling a strike.

“It was different, but I liked it,” Suarez said. “You get a good feel for the plate.”

The Giants have made a lot of subtle changes to drills under manager Gabe Kapler and a 13-person coaching staff. Pitchers fielded pop-ups Sunday, an extreme rarity in a sport where the default move for a pitcher is to get out of the way and let an infielder take over. ...

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QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen management, giants, umpires

SABR announces 2020 Henry Chadwick Award recipients

Cutting to the section of greatest interest here:

SABR is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game’s great researchers — historians, statisticians, annalists, and archivists — for their invaluable contributions to making baseball the game that links America’s present with its past.

....

Tom Tango (1968 - ) spent more than a decade as a widely respected baseball analyst before joining MLB Advanced Media in 2016 as their first Senior Database Architect of Stats. MLBAM had introduced Statcast to all 30 MLB stadiums in 2015 and had the problem of deciding what questions it wanted to ask, and how to ask them. Tango first became known in the baseball community with his work at ...

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QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, sabr, tom tango

Sunday Notes: Twins Prospect Royce Lewis Has a Cacophonous Swing and a Sky-High Ceiling

The swing is noisy and needs refining, but Lewis has the physical ability for superstardom.

That line, written by Eric Longenhagen, led Royce Lewis’s writeup in our 2020 Top 100 Prospects rankings, which were published earlier this week. Both halves of the sentence are intriguing. While the first is potentially a red flag, the second is indicative of a blue-chip up-and-comer with a sky-high ceiling. Selected first overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 draft out of a San Juan Capistrano high school, Lewis holds down the No. 13 slot on Longenhagen’s list.

Alex Hassan isn’t all that concerned with the 20-year-old shortstop’s swing. According to the Minnesota farm director, the underlying characteristics are what really matter. ...

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Pederson, Stripling back to work with Dodgers after no trade

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Joc Pederson was back in a familiar clubhouse. He had the same dressing stall and many of the same teammates.

Not much had changed, except for him.

He felt awkward — and with good reason.

Pederson put his Dodgers uniform back on at Camelback Ranch over the weekend for the start of spring training. Just a week earlier, it looked like he would be performing these February rituals across town in Tempe.

So, do you suppose the two of them will stick around for the whole season, and, if not, when do they leave and where do they go?

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:49 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: botched trades, dodgers, joc pederson, ross stripling

Jacob’s Ladder; Stallings’ persistence pays off for Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — The son’s stay in town has outlasted the father’s. The irony isn’t lost on Jacob Stallings.

It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be this way. Stallings was still a catching prospect — and not necessarily a young one — in the Pirates’ organization four years ago when his dad Kevin left a successful run as the men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt to take on the same job at the University of Pittsburgh.

The marriage between the elder Stallings and the Panthers lasted all of two nightmarish seasons. By the spring of 2018, Pitt moved on. It seemed the younger Stallings might meet the same fate. Pittsburgh designated for him assignment several times as he pogoed between the minors and the majors after ...

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QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, fathers and sons, jacob stallings, pittsburgh

Pitcher Chad Bettis, Yankees reach minor league deal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Free agent pitcher Chad Bettis signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on Sunday with an invitation an invitation to big league spring training.

The 30-year-old right-hander was 1-6 with one save and a 6.08 ERA in 39 games, including three starts, for Colorado last season. He went on the injured list Aug. 14 with a left hip impingement and didn’t pitch the rest of the year.

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: chad bettis, contracts

Brewers sign Suter to 2-year deal, avoiding arb

PHOENIX—Reliever Brent Suter and the Brewers agreed to terms on a two-year contract Sunday, about 24 hours before the sides were scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing.

Suter, the left-hander who starred for the Brewers last September in the wake of Tommy John surgery, had filed for a $1.25 million salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and the Brewers countered at $825,000. According to two sources, the two-year deal guarantees $2.5 million. Suter gets a $100,000 signing bonus and salaries of $900,000 in 2020 and $1.5 million in ‘21. The ‘21 salary would increase by $50,000 each for 80, 100, 120, 140 and 160 innings pitched this year.

“[A hearing] was always in the back of my mind,” Suter said. “I kept on ...

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QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brent suter, brewers

Rob Manfred offers little insight, shows contempt for reporters in press conference

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at a press conference, addressing the Astros cheating scandal and other topics on Sunday evening. It did not go well.

To start, the press conference was not broadcast officially on MLB’s own TV channel (it aired the 1988 movie Bull Durham instead), nor could any mention to it or link to the live stream be found anywhere on MLB.com. When the actual questions began, Manfred’s answers were circuitous or simply illogical given other comments he has made in the past. On more than one occasion, he showed contempt for reporters for doing their jobs — and, some might argue, doing his job — holding players and front office personnel accountable.

Last month, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal broke a ...

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QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 106 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, press conferences, rob manfred

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Joe Palumbo and his 4,000 calorie shake

Not your typical best shape of his life story. Do not try this at home.

(It’s a NZ paper—anybody making over US$100,000 is a “star.”)

Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2020 at 10:46 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: bartolo colon wannabe, joe palumbo, nutrition, rangers

Sternberg: Talk of selling share of Rays to Montreal group untrue

Eventually, if the radical plan to split seasons between Tampa Bay and Montreal starting in 2028 comes to fruition, principal owner Stuart Sternberg expects to sell a minority interest in the team to his partners in Montreal.

But Sternberg said Montreal group leader Stephen Bronfman was incorrect in saying those negotiations were underway and a sale could be completed in the next three-four months.

“It isn’t true,’’ Sternberg said Saturday at Rays camp. “Eventually, at a point, I would expect and believe they could and would become minority partners. ... I need some representation up there. But there’s nothing happening in months. No way.’’

Bronfman’s comments, saying the talks were in advanced stages, appeared in a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 16, 2020 at 10:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Baseball Tale: Slovakia to the majors, with a brief stop in Ireland

The tale begins in Slovakia, (homeland of Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, and thus familiar to this Hub native), travels west to Ireland for a brief time, then comes to rest in Alberta, Canada, culminating in a seventh-round selection, 216th pick overall, in the 2019 Major League Baseball amateur draft…

Adam’s English at the time was nearly nonexistent, making his coaches’ rudimentary instruction even less enlightening, but our unlikely phenom’s interest in baseball only intensified as he studied online videos of fellow pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander. (Our main aim as coaches was to get Adam to keep his fastball under control, out of concern for the safety of opposing batters.)

After a year or so in Ireland, which ...

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Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 16, 2020 at 10:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: international baseball, mariners, minors

Astros’ Dusty Baker begs MLB to protect players from cheating retaliation

“I’m depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I’m hearing about,” Baker told reporters Saturday. “And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I’m just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt.”

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dusty baker

Against the Astros and their reputation, suspicious Nationals felt they had to assume the worst

“The way that it really erodes integrity of the game is tough,” said Nationals closer Sean Doolittle when discussing what he wanted to see from the Astros in response. “And I don’t know because part of me wonders if you’re the kind of person that’s willing to do that, are you able to step back and see how that affects the integrity of the game? Can you see how it erodes public trust and fan confidence in the product that we have on the field?”

When the Astros advanced to the World Series against Washington, the Nationals began getting tips from around the league. General Manager Mike Rizzo noted Friday that Washington “got a lot of volunteer phone calls on how to beat them and how to play them.”

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals

This was the time for the Astros to own their cheating. Maybe they missed the sign.

On the other side of the park, Kurt Suzuki, a Washington Nationals catcher who gave complex signs in the World Series to foil the Astros’ thievery, wasn’t buying any of it.

“Do you think the Astros were still cheating in the ’19 World Series,” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, no question,” Suzuki said. “We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?”

What the Nats did was change their signs on every batter of the Series and sometimes within an at-bat when they sensed that a swing at a tough pitch was “so good” that the Astros’ cheating might have, momentarily, caught up with the Nats’ coding system. The Nats were never sure how well they were succeeding.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals

Cubs 3B Bryant: No hard feelings on losing grievance

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant realized all along his service-time grievance against the team would be tough to win, and he still believes how he handled himself might help players in the future.

The 28-year-old Bryant will be eligible for free agency in two years after arbitrator Mark Irvings ruled against the third baseman last month. If Bryant had been successful, he could have become a a free agent after the 2020 season.

Irvings’ decision was applauded by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I just saw this as a process that is eventually going to help the players in the next round of negotiating and I was going to be that guy to have the courage to do it,” Bryant said Saturday, speaking to reporters for 35 ...

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QLE Posted: February 16, 2020 at 01:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, grievances, kris bryant

Hit the road: Shohei Ohtani got driver license in offseason

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani doesn’t just drive the ball anymore.

The Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star says he got his California driver’s license in the offseason, putting the 25-year-old behind the wheel of a car for the first time.

“I’m enjoying it,” Ohtani said through his interpreter Saturday after rolling up to the Angels’ spring training complex in his Tesla. “I was able to pass it the first time, so not too much stress.”

Ohtani never got a license in his native Japan because the process is longer and more expensive, and he didn’t need to drive himself anywhere in Sapporo thanks to public transportation and his team. Since he joined the Angels in 2018 and moved to car-centric Southern California, he had ...

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QLE Posted: February 16, 2020 at 01:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: shohei ohtani

Holland returns to Royals, hopes to straighten out struggles

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Back in a familiar bullpen, Greg Holland is hoping to recapture the glory days.

Holland was part of the dominant Royals relief corps that led them to back-to-back World Series. He was a two-time All-Star selection and logged 145 of his career 205 saves with Kansas City.

That bullpen also included Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera, who also were closers.

“It’s a good feeling when you have a lead after six, that you’ve won the game. That was kind of the process,” Holland said. “That was a top bullpen from top to bottom for several years. That will be a lasting memory for me.”

Thomas Wolfe had some thoughts on this subject.

QLE Posted: February 16, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: glory days, greg holland, royals

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