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MondoLinks: Weekend recap as Angels drop 2 of 3 to Tigers

MondoLinks: A recap of baseball happenings over this past weekend...and...this week's One Big Idea: The Cuban Pipeline


What a crappy weekend. And it started so excellent. Friday was awesome, what with Albert Pujols hitting his 497th career home run, and Mike trout going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, a steal of third base, two runs scored, two runs batted in, and a walk. Pretty much chewing up the Tiger fans present and spitting them out. Saturday they got to face Max Scherzer and gave Max his first win of the season. In this one, Trout was equally amazing, but in the opposite direction. For the first time in his career, he struck out 4 times in one game. Which lead to us Sunday. Oh sure, another loss, but this one included a glorious display of tight, disciplined, Mike Scioscia baseball: three errors on one play, including a contribution by Trout, leading to one Ian Kinsler (dammit!) scoring a key, tying run. And it all started when Hank Conger tries to throw Kinsler out advancing to second, after Kinsler had been advanced automatically as a result of the Cabrera walk. So, of course, Conger throws a live baseball into center field. Comedy ensues.

By the way, Turks Teeth posted this screen cap from MLB Gameday showing how unfortunate Hector Santiago was in his first inning combat against Miguel Cabrera. See that here, and memorize it, please. Got it? No, really, go back and study it hard. It's a computer image of a computer recording so it should be finite, static, and totally specific. Now, some of you know how much I rail against the assumption of "computer strike zones", "robot umpires", and the silly bias that we viewers pick up over time watching that "information:. Why do I say this, well, now look at the actual PitchF/X data from Pay particular attention to pitches #1 and #6. Astute observers will realize that these two computer presentations of the same two events fail to match.

Too late for some, MLB is apparently going to rethink the whole "transfer play" debacle of 2014. Sucks to be one of those teams - Red Sox & Angels come to mind - that might have lost some important win opportunities due to this brief period of rule jiggering stupidity.

The Baseball Police were out in force over the weekend. First we had the Astros (!) going bonkers on Friday because Jed Lowrie had the cajones to attempt a bunt against the shift, with his team up 7-0 in the first inning. The Astros blew it all up. Like, what? Is it everybody on the A's' "duty" to donate one feeble at-bat after another unless the Astros get themselves back into the game/ Are we to assume that Houston is incapable of ever scoring 7 runs in a game, forever? Anyway, then we get to Sunday, and watch Carlos Gomez flip his bat thinking he had cleared the center field wall on a tall blast, only to have the ball end up about 1 foot short. He ends up on third base, where Gerrit Cole (the Pirate pitcher) meandered over to give Gomez a tongue-lashing for the showboating.

Real quick, to make you smile. Deadspin gives us all, Bartolo Colon at bat. An extra 10 points are to be granted to the camera operator due to the clever inclusion of the banner ad in the background.


Moreno-Carpino Shame Update

Jim Fregosi still not being honored with a memorial patch.


18 games lost. Only 144 games remaining to save face.



You probably heard or read about Yasiel Puig's harrowing journey from Cuba to Chavez Ravine. Jeff Passan puts a spin on the situation that at first glance appears (unsurprisingly for a Passan column) to be going off the rails. Basically, Passan is laying out a theory that MLB is complicit in human trafficking.

But then Passan has us focus once again on one particular piece of data:

" People involved in the situation insinuate — without explanation — that someone other than Puig and his agent decided which team won out. Says Fryer: 'There's a lot of things I don't want to get into; how we had to find the real decision-maker.' "

Wait a second, Passan notes. "...because Puig and his agent apparently weren't choosing where he would play. It takes no logician to surmise Puig's smugglers steered him toward the biggest payday, and when a $2 billion corporation like the Los Angeles Dodgers opens itself up to the possibility of doing business with a homicidal cartel, and it's sloughed off with a wink, it speaks to passive acceptance of something nobody in the sport should tolerate."

Now that's a reach there by Passan, without actual evidence in fact, but he has a point. One can easily follow a trail that, at a minimum. could indicate a possibility that the Dodgers were negotiating with criminals to win Puig over any other MLB bidder. And, since the Dodgers admit that they weren't working with the individual or his legal agent, they did know they were in territory that was, at best, irregular. From the MLBPA perspective, this should have been illegal.

In my opinion, this is a story that needs a hell of a lot of attention and research. We need to keep thinking about this one and we need to keep digging. If true, it is absolutely unconscionable that MLB is allowing itself to be a party to such abuse. If not true, it is ridiculous that MLB would stand by and allow itself to be painted into a corner of such suspicion.