Man, the Theo Epstein news, paired with the NBA Draft, kinda really let the Bears off the hook for getting even more shredded this week than they should have.
• I don’t anticipate that Rob Manfred is going anywhere any time soon, as he seems very well-regarded by the 30 MLB owners, and they are his boss. But if the Commissioner role should open up in the near-term and he hasn’t already taken on a new club, I really do hope Theo Epstein gets some consideration. He just, to me, has the right attitude about the sport any time I hear him talk about it. He was asked about it by Danny Parkins on The Score, my various emphases added:
“I’m interested in baseball thriving,” Epstein said on the Danny Parkins Show on Wednesday afternoon, a day after he announced he would resign from the Cubs, effective Friday. “I love the game to its core, and it’s a huge part of who I am. I’m not myself when I’m not around the game …. I don’t think I’m qualified at all to be the commissioner, certainly not at this point and not anytime soon, if ever. And we have a great commissioner in Rob Manfred. But one of the great things about being the head of a baseball operation is you get a dialogue with some extent to the commissioner and to a large extent with his lieutenants. And you know, there are some serious issues facing the game over the next couple of years, not the least of which is just the way, the quality of the game on the field has deteriorated to some extent with the evolution of the game over the last couple decades. We need to reverse some of those trends to make the game more entertaining and more aesthetically pleasing, get the ball in play, get more action involved in the game.
“It’s hard for people who are with teams to sometimes address those issues, because you can’t take your competitive lens off. You can’t say, ‘Hey, I think this rule change would be great for the game even though it’s bad for the Cubs in the short term.’ So I see that as a huge advantage now that I’m not going to be with a team for a period of time. So maybe I can find a way to still be part of that conversation. It doesn’t have to be with any formal title or anything, but I look forward to picking up the phone and calling over to the great people at Major League Baseball and just maybe contributing an idea here or there and being part of that dialogue. Because I think it is the greatest game in the world, but we have to be mindful that it’s entertainment.
“There’s no doubt that the strikeout rate keeps climbing up to 25% and heading toward 30% or something and trends continue, that just changes the nature of what it’s like to watch a baseball game. We want action. We want the essence of the game to stay the same – more balls in play, more action, more triples, more doubles, more great defensive plays, more time bringing the fans out of their seats in excitement and less time waiting around for something to happen.”
• Sometimes, there is a disconnect between what I think is best for the long-term health of the sport, and what I think I want as a hardcore baseball fan. And, as Epstein points out, there is also sometimes a disconnect between what individual teams want to do to try to maximize their chances at winning, and what is best for the long-term health of the sport. The hardest of hardcore baseball fans might not like rules changes. And the gamingest of gamer front office members might not like rules changes. But neither of those are, alone, reasons not to consider rules changes that make the sport more compelling entertainment for more people.
• Aw, the Bryants:
• Yo, don’t miss out on the deal, folks. Some of the best Cubs-related art out there, and from a guy who was THERE (I just ordered mine):
World Series prints are going fast!! Don’t miss the limited time 20% off deal 🤑
Order today and get it by Christmas!https://t.co/o1vDtP2WfO
— Matt Szczur (@superSZCZ4) November 17, 2020
• Obviously anyone can say anything on Twitter – even leaders who are otherwise theoretically accountable for their statements – but new Mets owner Steve Cohen is going to keep making new fans:
Spend it on players , bullpen cart can wait
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) November 19, 2020
• That, of course, is a reference to the Robinson Cano suspension for a second positive PED test, which means he loses his entire $24 million salary for 2021. The Mets were ALREADY expected to be the biggest of spenders this offseason with the new rich owner in tow, but now? Put them in the market for literally every possible thing.
• As for Cano, this very harsh read from Ken Rosenthal is spot on:
On Canó: https://t.co/jc5AtUl3Lj
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 19, 2020
• I’m just posting two more tweets, ostensibly about Cano, and I’m leaving it there:
Getting busted for PEDs and then doing it again is like telling the world that the only way to add 300 RPMs to your fastball is to use illegal grip substances, and then soon thereafter adding 300 RPMs to your fastball.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 18, 2020
🤔🤔 how long’s that been going on? Wonder what our game would look like on a level playing field. I wonder how many superstars never became superstars because they respected the game and its rules. At least @mlb has penalties in place and enforces this rule, unlike many others.
— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) November 19, 2020
• The Brewers are partnering with an Australian Baseball League team to have their players participate this year – pretty smart idea if you want to max out your ability to get your farmhands into game action:
The Brisbane Bandits are pleased to announce a new MLB partnership with the @Brewers.
Bandits Director of Baseball Operations and Brewers 8 year veteran Big League catcher David Nilsson AM broke the news of the partnership today.
— Brisbane Bandits (@BrisbaneBandits) November 19, 2020
• Air fryers, portable photo printers, LOL dolls, and much more are your early Black Friday deals at Amazon today. #ad
• You’re supposed to dig up, John Oscar Dicksus:
When you’re good at changing your name so people stop making jokes pic.twitter.com/SHqx0kJaXW
— Pacey Witter (@nomchompsky) November 19, 2020
• Interesting trajectory of his career, by the way, with his prime lost to WWII:
• The NBA Draft last night got me thinking two stray, not at all novel, thoughts: (1) it remains very annoying to me that MLB draft picks are not all freely tradable, and (2) it’s wild that a 19-year-old kid gets drafted and immediately shoved into the NBA, like, yup, you’re an NBA’er now (whereas a 19-year-old who gets drafted in baseball is like, hey, if you’re amazing and progress really quickly, maybe we’ll see you in three years).
• If you missed anything on the Bulls two draft picks last night, plus their top-ranked undrafted signing, make sure you dig into our Bulls coverage here, and please give us a like on Facebook: