I just finished burning through the first two seasons of Donald Glover’s show “Atlanta” on FX, and I think it’s absolutely excellent. Highly recommended.
Here’s some news from around baseball.
- Recently, a Supreme Court decision paved the way for sports gambling legalization throughout the country, and Major League Baseball has already aligned themselves with MGM as the league’s official gambling partner. I do believe MGM and MLB could probably do some creative, fun things for gamblers and the sport – for example, MGM will reportedly have some sort of access to advanced stats like exit velocity of HRs, speed around the bases, and route efficiency – and I hope it all goes quite smoothly. It is good for the league to be making money and this represents a potentially lucrative new revenue stream. And it could be fun. I’ve got nothing against gambling.
- I will furrow my brow at this comment, though:
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says slower pace of play of baseball is an advantage in gambling as “it gives an opportunity to be creative with respect to the types of wagers” that could be made in between plays.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 27, 2018
- Is that … entirely serious? After a half-decade of trying to convince us pace-of-play would be the death of baseball, the Commissioner is saying publicly that it’s an advantage? Money can make people say a lot of things, I suppose. And remind me, does Vegas usually make a lot of money?
- Here’s my broader point: even if slow pace-of-play *is* good for gambling and gamblers, that doesn’t mean it’ll stop being a long-term problem for the sport. Even as gambling rights expand, not everyone is going to be throwing their money at lady luck. And, if we’re being honest, the people that are willing to bet on baseball are probably existing fans anyway. Improving pace-of-play was about increasing the reach and expanding the base of fans for the future. So abandoning it for some extra cash right now is sufficiently short-sighted that I’m just gonna assume that comment was a bit of lip service tied to the new deal.
- Earlier this year, the league voted to extend Rob Manfred as commissioner and now the MLB Players Association has done the same with their leader, Tony Clark, setting up a rematch in the next round of CBA negotiations in 2021.
- From Brett: Wow. Well, hopefully for the players he will seek much more input – including from agents and player-affiliated lawyers – in this round of negotiations. That was reportedly a big gripe last time, and obviously the CBA looked ugly for the players from day one.
- The Pirates made a surprising trade for Chris Archer half-way through the 2018 season and things didn’t go too well for him in Pittsburgh (4.30 ERA over 10 starts), and they’re not getting better. According to Adam Berry, Archer underwent surgery to repair a hernia yesterday and although it went well, could prevent him from starting the 2019 season on time. The Pirates seem optimistic that he could be on schedule, but it is a concern.
- Yo – the A’s new stadium drawings look AWESOME:
The #Athletics are set to unveil a “bigger than baseball” mega-ballpark deal that includes a “jewel box” waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal. The plan would also turn the Coliseum site into a #tech and housing hub.@MatierAndRoss have the full story: https://t.co/FSm3ek3ey6 pic.twitter.com/OcbdgUhXUl
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 28, 2018
- Click on this next tweet and check out the thread for more images of inside and around the stadium. If this is anything close to reality, I’ll be impressed. It feels like a step-forward in stadium creation:
The ballpark at Howard Terminal returns the baseball experience to the roots of the sport, while reimagining the ballpark anew. A “ballpark within a park,” the intimate stadium is nestled carefully into its urban surroundings. https://t.co/vLuiX01aT0#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/ZjTXknlU1A
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) November 28, 2018
- The Atlanta Braves finished the 2018 season with a final record of 90-72, six games behind the Brewers, five games behind the Cubs, two games behind the Dodgers, and one game behind the Rockies. Then, they lost in the NLDS, winning one game. Then they signed an aging, former star coming off some major injuries and VOILA … they’re the best team in the league?
— MLB (@MLB) November 27, 2018
- EVEN IF this offseason was wrapping up as of today, I wouldn’t call the Braves the favorites, but let’s wait to see where, you know, basically all of the other free agents sign first, eh?
- Cut4 shares some previously lost footage of Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig taking part in a barnstorming tour.
- Jeff Passan discusses what the league’s donations to Cindy Hyde-Smith reveal about baseball and suggests ways the league can remedy an obvious error.
- Curtis Granderson has been named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year – part of the Players Association’s Players Choice Awards – for the third time in his career. Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout were the runners up. Granderson has long been considered an excellent teammate and person, so I’m not surprised to hear this. There were other awards given, including Christian Yelich as the NL’s Outstanding Player, but who cares about that garbage, right?
- At NBC Sports, Bill Baer shares and dissects some comments from Joe Buck, who wasn’t convinced the 2018 World Series was particularly compelling (he’s right) despite a theoretically marquee matchup between Boston and L.A. Of course, Buck blames a lot on advanced analytics while Baer doesn’t quite think that’s the problem. In fact, Baer thinks that the constant negativity coming out of Buck and broadcaster John Smoltz’s mouth is part of the problem. Instead of building the sport up when it’s being nationally broadcast, they’re tearing it down and complaining about how it’s different than it used to be.