Some teams are going to go at the Astros, but it won’t be the Nationals

The endless inferno that is the Astros cheating scandal continues to burn with the fire of a thousand suns. In the past few days, most everyone has continued to pile on Houston, the Astros players, Commissioner Manfred, and the sport itself.

The games, meanwhile, rapidly approach: the first spring training games begin Friday, primarily against college teams. On Saturday, though, is when most teams get into real action against other MLB teams, with the headliner no doubt being the World Series rematch between Spring Training facility roomies Washington and Houston. It may well be the most anticipated first-game-of-spring in a decade or more, as the baseball world watches intently to see if it will be the first time that one of the 29 other teams take their vengeance upon the sinful sign-stealing ‘Stros.

It is possible, but I think most people are going to come away disappointed. Why? Here’s why:

  1. The Nationals, having defeated the Astros last October, have in some ways already gotten the best kind of revenge. If the Astros had won the World Series, it is quite likely that retaliation would be forthcoming… but of all the teams in the league, Washington probably has the least amount of beef.
  2. The Nationals will be contenders this year. Given the talk by the league that they are going to crack down on intentional HBP this season, it’s likely that the suspensions for pitchers will be longer than in the past. While it is certainly possible that some minor leaguer may go head-hunting looking to make a name for himself in front of his fellow ballplayers, we aren’t going to see Strasburg or Scherzer start their regular season on a suspension.
  3. Given that this is spring training we’re talking about, it is entirely possible that the people we’d expect to get beaned for the scandal won’t even be in the game long enough for it to happen, so unless if the first pitcher from the Nationals goes after Altuve, Bregman or the like, the opportunity will be gone fast.

So, in other words: baseball vigilante justice is coming… but I don’t think it will come on Saturday.

The Commissioner’s Trophy is stupid and should be replaced

There’s a lot of talk about how tone-deaf Commissioner Rob Manfred’s response to the Astros cheating scandal has been. Perhaps the apex of it was when, yesterday, he referred to the Commissioner’s Trophy AKA the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”

Imagine if Roger Goodell referred to the Lombardi Trophy as a “piece of metal,” or Gary Bettman called the Stanley Cup a “piece of metal.” Completely and totally tone-deaf way to treat what is your sport’s ultimate objective. Justin Turner rightfully pointed out how horrible a comment it was by saying that the thing devaluing the trophy right now that it has “commissioner” in the name.

However, the fact that Manfred would even dare to call the trophy a mere piece of metal speaks to something I said all the way back in 2012: the Commissioner’s Trophy is the worst of all major sports trophies.

It doesn’t have the history of the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t have iconic images of great stars weeping as they hold it. It isn’t portable and easily hoistable. It’s just… kind of there. It’s handed out because they need to have something to present.

So perhaps we should use Manfred’s horrible comments as an opportunity to get rid of the goddamn thing once and for all. Maybe bring back the Temple Cup, or reforge the Dauvray Cup, or come up with a brand new design.

And then maybe, once MLB has a better trophy, it’s own commissioner won’t just think of it as mere metal.

Continuum Classic: Jen Mac Ramos’ “Baseball Bonds”

As some of you active on Twitter may know, friend-of-the-Continuum Jen Mac Ramos’ family was involved in a horrific car accident this past weekend. A drunk driver struck their car, killing Jen’s husband Josh and leaving Jen with severe injuries. A GoFundMe site has been set up to help pay for Jen’s medical expenses and recovery, and anyone looking to donate is encouraged to head there as soon as possible.

I would not be able to claim that I know Jen, although I have often liked Jen’s Tweets and read Jen’s work, but In some way we can see a piece of Jen by reading the piece they contributed to the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon. Entitled “Baseball Bonds,” it was one of my favorite pieces of that inaugural (and ultimately only, as my real job forced me to cut back) Blogathon. You can find it with only minimal edits (removing things about the Blogathon and updating Jen’s bio to note this was written in 2016) after the jump:


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BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE PREVIEW

Aside

Well, due to some things getting in the way, I won’t have a Bizarre Baseball Culture up by tomorrow. Instead, it’ll be later in the week.

However, I am willing to give you a preview: It is a comic about Spider-Man and Ghost Rider (both conveniently in Toronto) helping a Blue Jays fan who has been hit by a drunk driver.

I’m hoping it’ll be up by the end of the week.

The Tamtreal ExRays are a ruse

You may have seen by now reports by Jeff Passan that the Tampa Bay Rays have received permission to “explore” the possibility of splitting time between the Tampa area and Montreal. The report says that should the plan come to fruition and get the necessary permissions, the team would play some games in Tampa in a new stadium, and some in Montreal in a new stadium.

It’s not gonna happen. There are so many things wrong with this plan that it almost certainly has been made and an agreement to “explore it” has been approved as part of a greater ploy to try and speed up a final resolution on the future of the Rays in Tampa, encourage the future of baseball in Montreal, or both.

I mean, whatever reason could there be for this plan? There are, as I said, so many things wrong this plan:

  • It supposes that St. Petersburg would let it happen, which they won’t.
  • It supposes that somehow they’ll be able to have two cities build new stadiums for a team they’ll only have half of the season.
  • It supposes that this team that is split between two cities in different countries will somehow get any sort of large amount of fan support.
  • It supposes that the Player’s Union will agree to have players on the ExRays to have to maintain in-season residences in two different cities in two different countries, staying away from their families and/or moving them mid-season, while dealing with different laws, languages and tax codes. Spoiler alert: They won’t.
  • It supposes that TV deals, sponsorship deals, and other business considerations would be able to be worked out.

And the list goes on…

So why are they doing this? Well, it seems simple: this plan is meant to either A) finally get someone in the Tampa area to build a new stadium or B) grease the skids for a move to Montreal.

Will it work? Time will tell.

The greatest names of the upcoming 2019 MLB draft

The following are actual names of prospects who may be drafted in the 2019 MLB draft, which begins Monday. Some of them were chosen because they sound cool, others because they sound funny, others because they just look fun to say.

So without any further ado, the best names in MLB Draft Tracker for 2019:

  • Josh Jung
  • Brett Baty
  • Quinn Priester
  • Gunnar Henderson
  • Cameron Cannon
  • John Rave
  • Hudson Head
  • Jaxx Groshans
  • Matthew Barefoot
  • Justin Fall
  • Quinn Cotton
  • Andy Archer
  • Bryce Ball
  • Dallas Beaver
  • Bear Bellomy
  • Cuba Bess
  • Hunter Bigge
  • Blake Buckle
  • Cade Cabbiness
  • Jax Cash
  • Steele Chambers
  • Cutter Clawson
  • Jack Dashwood
  • Gunner Halter
  • Maverick Handley
  • Jett Jackson
  • Dutch Landis
  • Skyler Loverink
  • Cole McDonald
  • Takoda Metoxen
  • Cam Opp
  • Al Pesto
  • Nico Popa
  • Major Posey
  • DJ Poteet
  • Paxton Rigby
  • Kipp Rollings
  • Rudy Rott
  • Jason Ruffcorn
  • Danny Sinatro
  • Ryan Sleeper
  • Bruce Steel
  • Trevor Tinder
  • Parker Towns
  • Benny Wanger
  • Hunter Wolfe
  • Zane Zurbrugg

Best of luck to all the awesomely-named prospects during the draft!