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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Cubs Fans Boo Chairman Tom Ricketts at Team Convention

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts heard his share of boos at the Cubs Convention on Friday while the team remains quiet in free agency.

Coming off a season in which the Cubs fell short of the playoffs, Chicago has yet to add significant pieces or sign its core players to extensions. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant has been on the trade market throughout the offseason, beloved former manager Joe Maddon is gone and the team is no longer the favorite in the NL Central. There’s uncertainty in Wrigleyville for the first time since the Cubs returned to prominence in 2015, and the Convention’s usually positive atmosphere has soured.

“I’m sorry we don’t have a prize free agent or something sexier to talk about right now,” Ricketts said in an ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fans, tom ricketts

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

To view the matter in utterly cynical terms, ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, craig biggio, jeff bagwell, jim crane, lance berkman

Astros stars letting others take blame for player-driven sign-stealing scheme

When A.J. Hinch took a baseball bat to at least one of those television monitors, as one source said he did, maybe this was the day he had in mind.

This was the day he stood alone.

He’d been in the end overrun by his players and members of his own coaching staff and who knows who else, along with his own ambitiousness. That is his to bear.

The Houston Astros went dark one day. Hinch was the man on the top step. He stuck to the shadows like the rest of them, celebrated its bounty like the rest of them, surrendered when the lights came up and was punished for it.

So, what do we make of this line of analysis?

 

QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:27 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, astros, dirty rotten cheaters, players

Setting sights on spring training, Jose Altuve confident embattled Astros will ‘be in World Series’

HOUSTON—A week filled with fines, suspensions, firings and impromptu news conferences as a result of their sign-stealing scandal ended awkwardly in Houston on Saturday, with the Astros meeting and greeting fans and media at their annual winter festival.

Two of the team’s biggest stars—Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman—took center stage: one for his unfazed confidence, the other for his terse tone and tenor.

Houston second baseman Jose Altuve said the Astros will be in the World Series again, while pushing back on the idea that the team’s cheating went beyond the sign-stealing detailed in MLB’s report earlier this week.

“Believe me, in the end of the year, everything will be fine,” he said. “We’re going to be in the World Series again. People ...

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QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:21 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, famous last words, jose altuve, predictions

The ‘alternative’ 2019 Gold Glove Award winners

Rawlings handed out its 2019 Gold Glove Awards back in November, but, with Statcast’s new infield defense metric released to the public, the temptation is too great not to take a fresh look at the best defender at each position.

With that in mind, we decided to identify the best defender at every position based on their 2019 Outs Above Average (OAA). Unlike with Gold Gloves, we are awarding only one “winner” per position as opposed to a winner for each league. (Note: The exceptions are pitchers and catcher, where we don’t have OAA. For catcher, we used a blend of Statcast’s catcher framing metrics to pick that spot. We did not select a pitcher.)

Infield OAA works in similar style to the outfield OAA you’re likely familiar with, ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, gold gloves, statcast

Saturday, January 18, 2020

MLB Rumors: Here’s where investigation into 2018 Red Sox stands

For those curious as for the state of round 2:

Boston Red Sox fans may have to reserve judgment for quite some time.

Major League Baseball may take “a while” to determine punishment for the Red Sox as it continues to investigate the 2018 team, The Athletic’s Peter Gammons reported Friday morning.

Gammons added the league hasn’t even interviewed former Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whom the club parted ways with Tuesday.

MLB is investigating the Red Sox for allegedly using a video replay room to illegally relay signs to hitters during the 2018 regular season.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:31 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, red sox, shame and scandal

Could baseball’s sign-stealing scandal lead to a manager’s job for Ozzie Guillen?

Will baseball’s sign-stealing scandal have a silver lining for a South Side legend?

Three teams whose managers were caught up in the scandal are suddenly without skippers just a month away from the start of spring training: the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. The Astros’ practice of stealing signs and relaying them to players on the field during their championship season in 2017 led to the firings of A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, creating three high-profile job openings.

January managerial searches aren’t common, for obvious reasons, and while any or all of the teams in the market for a new manager could go about it as a regular search — potentially sticking with baseball’s trend of young, inexperienced ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:26 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: managerial search, ozzie guillen

Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.

One of those lessons came from a legend.

Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.

“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”

Sometimes, the jokes write themselves…..

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: brian dawkins, fans, phillies

“Hire ’Tek!”: Red Sox fans make pitch for Varitek as manager

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have a list of characteristics they want in their next manager, but they haven’t yet landed on a name.

Their fans have one in mind.

Three days after the Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora for his involvement in a cheating scandal, supporters pleaded for Boston’s front office to hire former catcher and team captain Jason Varitek at a town hall event Friday during the team’s winter festival.

Members of the team’s leadership group were hit with “Hire ’Tek!” chants throughout the night, and principal owner John Henry was interrupted several times by fans voicing their support. Henry paused and nodded in acknowledgement, and new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom used the opportunity ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, jason varitek, managerial search, red sox

Rockies to honor Larry Walker by retiring his jersey number

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies will retire the jersey number of outfielder Larry Walker in a ceremony during the upcoming season.

The Rockies announced Friday they will honor Walker on April 19 when they play another one of Walker’s former teams, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Walker’s No. 33 will be displayed next to Todd Helton’s No. 17 in the right-field area inside Coors Field, alongside the initials “KSM” for the Rockies’ late president Keli McGregor.

“There is no bigger honor an organization can give a player than retiring his number,” Walker said. “I can’t tell you how taken aback I am by this gesture. I am both thrilled and honored and I look forward to seeing my number hanging next to the greatest Rockie of ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: larry walker, retired numbers

Analysis: Baseball has become a prisoner of technology

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology unleashed baseball’s Analytics Era, and now it’s holding the sport prisoner.

AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltrán are casualties, a triple play of hubris. At the cutting edge with the Houston Astros, now they have been cut. Their sign-stealing system exposed, all three managers were deposed within a whirlwind 72 hours this week that raised questions about the prevalence of the sport’s rule breakers.

What’s next in a game grappling with innovation and plagued by paranoia?

Video rooms and dugouts are now monitored by Major League Baseball, like proctors pacing an exam room to stifle students’ temptation to cheat. Bench and bullpen telephones are monitored, Big Brother in the commissioner’s ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, sign-stealing, technology

Missouri man charged with impersonating former MLB pitcher Omar Olivares

Many baseball fans may not be too familiar with former journeyman MLB pitcher Omar Olivares. However, that didn’t stop a Missouri man from using Olivares’ identity to sell fake memorabilia from the right-hander, who spent 12 big league seasons with eight different teams..

Police in Manchester, Missouri—a St. Louis suburb—arrested a man who had apparently been posing as Olivares for financial gain.

The specifics from the allaged scams have not yet been released. The real Olivares retired from baseball in 2001, and has been living in Pennsylvania, where he learned of the impersonation.

On the one hand, seems utterly random- on the other hand, makes more sense than trying to pass yourself off as someone who is much more visible….

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: omar olivares, scams

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray open to having dual NFL and MLB careers, but current contract forbids it

If you thought Kyler Murray had moved past baseball, you were mistaken. The first overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray was indeed forced to choose between the two sports after having excelled in both up to and throughout much of his collegiate career. A former outfielder for the University of Oklahoma, he served double duty in also being the team’s star quarterback.

Also a former infielder, Murray is the only player in the history of either sport to be selected to the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and the Under Armour All-America Football Game.

He was selected by the Oakland A’s in the 2018 MLB Draft and signed a $4.66 million contract with the club, but wasn’t slated to report to spring training until 2019. Following ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dual-sport athletes, kyler murray

MLB releases statement clearing Angels’ Mike Trout after HGH accusation

Major League Baseball and the union issued a joint statement on Friday afternoon saying that no player has ever received an exemption to use Human Growth Hormone, reacting to a rumor about Angels All-Star Mike Trout that seeped into social media a day earlier.

While not using Trout’s name, the statement was clearly a reaction to a Thursday Instagram post – that was deleted and then retracted – alleging that Trout had received MLB approval to use HGH because of a thyroid condition.

MLB grants about 100 Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) every year, allowing players to use otherwise banned substances for legitimate medical purposes. The vast majority of them are stimulants that are prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, mlb, mlbpa, rumors

David Glass, former owner of the Kansas City Royals, has died, team says

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—David Glass, the former owner of the Kansas City Royals died last week, the team confirmed Friday. He was 84 years old.

Glass purchased the Royals in 2000 for $96 million and owned the team for 20 seasons. Before buying the team, Glass was a former president and CEO of Wal-Mart from 1988 to 2000.

Under Glass’s care, the Royals reached the World Series for the first time in 2014, losing in seven riveting games to the San Francisco Giants. They bounced back the next year to win another American League pennant and beat the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series.

Last November, Glass sold the team to local businessman John Sherman and a team of other investors.

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: david glass, obituaries, rip, royals

Congress to take up MLB sign-stealing scandal? Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush hopes so

MLB’s sign-stealing scandal could be headed for Congress.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., on Friday sent a letter to senior members of the Committee on Energy & Commerce to request an oversight hearing into the cheating scandal that has enveloped MLB in recent days. The committee has oversight over major league sports, Rush’s letter states.

“I believe it is our ethical and moral imperative to investigate the Major League Baseball cheat scandal fully and to determine the extent to which this cancer has spread,” Rush writes. “I firmly believe that our investigation must also look at the actions taken by Major League Baseball, and the teams that comprise it, to reprimand the individuals who have been implicated.”

The letter goes on to say ...

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QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: congress, dirty rotten cheaters, sign-stealing

Friday, January 17, 2020

MLB Ineligible List Ends at Death for Banned Players

So there’s this minor kerfuffle about how maybe Joe Jackson can get into the hall now, because MLB has this new rule that you’re removed from the ineligible list when you die.  Except here’s the quote from ESPN’s source:

“From our perspective, the purpose of the ineligible list is a practical matter,” the source told ESPN. “It’s used to prevent someone from working in the game. When a person on the ineligible list passes away, he’s unable to work in the game. And so for all practical purposes, we don’t consider a review of the status of anyone who has passed away.”

Which sounds to me like it means that you don’t get removed.  Jackson is banned, and they stopped reviewing his case after he’s dead - which means that he stays banned. ...Read More...


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2020

Chattanooga News, January 17, 1920:

Baseball players in the American association will be permitted next season to argue in a “gentlemanly” manner with umpires when they believe close decisions have been given against them, but the use of profanity will be stamped out, the club owners decided at their adjourned meeting today.

President Hickey said players would be let off with warnings at their first offense, but if they persisted in using objectionable language, heavy fines would be assessed.

“We have decided all ‘rough’ work and profane talk must be stopped,” he said.

“Pardon me, sir, but it is my sincere belief that the most recent pitch crossed the plate below my knees. With all due respect, I would suggest that you have made a mistake ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2020 at 10:34 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Piazza: MLB mess ‘unintended consequence’ of game’s new era

To Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza, the sign-stealing scandal that’s enveloped Major League Baseball signals where the sport is these days.

“Unfortunately, it’s an unintended consequence of the digital age and all this information,” Piazza said.

Piazza was at the New York Mets’ spring training complex on Thursday for a street naming ceremony, two hours before the team let go new manager Carlos Beltrán.

Beltrán was the third manager to lose his job this week in the wake of the cheating scheme by the Astros. Houston manager AJ Hinch was suspended by MLB and then fired by the club.

That reminds me- has Murray Chass offered his thoughts on these matters yet?

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: mets being mets, mike piazza, shame and scandal, spring training

MLB, union: $3M to domestic violence, mental health programs

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ union announced a $3 million grant program Thursday to support organizations that advocate for positive mental health, relationship skills and survivors of domestic violence.

U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations can apply over the next two years for grants up to $50,000. MLB team charities and big league players can apply for up to $25,000 in a gift-matching component of the program.

Something is decidedly off when this is what’s passing for positive news.

 

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: domestic violence, mental health, mlb, mlbpa

Stolen away: Brooklyn pitcher recalls ’51 sign-stealing scam

NEW YORK (AP) — Stealing signals. Banging on a trash can. Beating the Dodgers in October.

Sounds very familiar to Carl Erskine.

“If they’re going to go back to 2017 with penalties for the Astros,” he said Wednesday, “then I want them to go all the way back to 1951 to help us.”

The old Brooklyn pitcher was laughing. Sort of.

As a historian, I couldn’t resist…..

 

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: brooklyn dodgers, carl erskine, dirty rotten cheaters, new york giants

Álex Romero suspended 20 games for attacking Gabriel Lino with bat

Last week, former major league outfielder Álex Romero attacked catcher Gabriel Lino with his bat during a Venezuelan winter league game. Things were already tense prior to the attack as the benches of both Caribes de Anzoátegui and Águilas del Zulia emptied, resulting in several ejections. In the eighth inning, pitcher Angel Nesbitt threw a fastball behind Romero, which prompted Romero to swing his bat several times at Lino before their teammates spilled out into the field.

A story that almost seems quaint after the events of the last few days…..

 

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: alex romero, venezuelan league

Where will MLB’s scandal-stricken teams turn for new managers?

From a handheld device, bouncing along radio waves, caroming off big metal towers dressed as trees, the text message arrived here Thursday morning: “We are truly a mess.”

It’d be a fair assumption the sentiment rode along with others just like it, tapped out of frustration in places such as Houston and New York and Boston, fluttering along the horizon and recalling a day — just Sunday, for one — in which their baseball franchises seemed sturdy enough. Maybe not in Houston. But the others.

Today, two months after the saga began and one month before the first fungo bat is swung, the Astros, Mets and Red Sox do not know who their field managers are, the Astros don’t even have a guy who usually chooses the manager, and the ...

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QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, managers, shame and scandal

Column: Jessica Mendoza just gave ESPN a new reason to dump her when she criticized the whistleblowe

Baseball has been rocked by a cheating scandal, and you know what ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza said “doesn’t sit well with” her and makes her “sad for the sport”?

That former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic about the team’s elaborate system for stealing opposing catchers’ signs and alerting batters when a breaking ball was on the way.

Talk about a Mendoza line no one in baseball should go near. That’s crazy.

The sport’s integrity was compromised, yet Thursday on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo,” Mendoza said what made her queasy was that Fiers discussed it on the record with reporters Ken Rosenthal (no relation) and Evan Drellich.

Some commentary on a sordid addition to an already-sordid story.

 

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:00 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: jessica mendoza, mike fiers, whistleblowers

Thursday, January 16, 2020

SF Giants hire first woman MLB coach Alyssa Nakken

The San Francisco Giants made baseball history Thursday, hiring the first woman to an MLB coaching staff.

Alyssa Nakken will help round out a 13-person staff as a “major league assistant coach” under first-year manager Gabe Kapler.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2020 at 08:43 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: giants


Sign stealing in baseball is nothing new. The punishment now being meted out is absurd.

No one had the foresight to expect problems before the video systems were installed in the locker rooms? If the violations are so serious that you need to hand out year-long suspensions, you’d better be investigating every team with a hint of suspicion. Otherwise people will think the severity of the punishments are more about face-saving for the Commissioner than justice.

This is an extreme overreaction. Baseball, more than any of the other major professional sports, has cheating baked into the core of its existence. Cheating is as integral to baseball as sunflower seeds and older men in children’s uniforms screaming at umpires. Baseball losing its mind to this degree is just asinine. Sign stealing, like basically all the cheating in the ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2020 at 03:04 PM | 109 comment(s)
  Beats: sign stealing

Carlos Beltran: Mets manager out after Astros’ cheating scandal

Another casualty. At this point, if MLB is really serious about really getting to the bottom of this problem and fairness, they need to investigate *EVERY* team. Let’s get another 20 managers and GM suspended.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2020 at 01:19 PM | 120 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos beltran, mets, sign stealing

Ryan Zimmerman trading his baseball glove for a much bigger glove today

“That was the most nervous I have ever been coming into something. I was terrified”

JL72 Posted: January 16, 2020 at 11:34 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: hockey, nationals, ryan zimmerman

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2020

Toledo News-Bee, January 16, 1920:

RUTH COSTS MORE THAN BREWERS

A baseball franchise in Milwaukee, a city larger than Cincinnati, should be pretty valuable.

But one big league star is worth more than the Milwaukee franchise and players, according to recent developments.

The Yankees paid over $100,000 for Babe Ruth. Clarence Rowland and his partners Monday sold the Milwaukee club of the American Association to a syndicate of Milwaukee men for $100,000.

I wonder what would cost more to buy in 2020: an average AAA team - say, Lehigh Valley or Reno - or Mike Trout.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:08 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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