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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Off to Houston

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Ok, Houston, we’ve had a problem here. Balls appear to be juiced. And it ain’t Minute Maid.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Oof!
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Yesterday the BaseballSphere was all aglow over the magical brilliance of Game 2. Even my work partner, who knows almost nothing about our sport, was amazed enough to say that contests like that might just get him started to learn to love the game. Pretty much every outlet was loaded with tales of glory and magnificence. I could fill this entire edition with nothing but links to them all.

We are drunk. We have giddily dipped the ladle into the punch bowl too many times and indulged in the delicious sweetness of all that drama. We are happy to forget that the punch was spiked. Spiked by MLB. We were in a notorious pitcher’s park with two of the best pitching staffs in Baseball, and we had a home run parade. We then laughed and danced all the way to the exits. It’s exactly why MLB allows juiced baseballs in the first place. It’s why MLB was happy to overlook PEDs a couple of decades ago. It’s unhealthy, and we are enablers. And only the victims are noticing........

As a Public Service Announcement, I wish to remind you that I am off to Salem, MA for the Halloween break (with a layover in Houston!). Enjoy what’s left of the World Series, and 2017 Live Baseball, and the Justin Upton decision all without me. I will resume my duties on November 7th. In my absence, you may look forward to the following lineup:

Monday & Tuesday: Jessica

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Carlos

Monday, November 6th: Rahul

Say hello to Day Twenty Five of Playoff-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

3 1/4 of the Gold Glove candidates announced are from the LAA squad. Andrelton Simmons, Martin Maldonado, Kole Clahoun and Justin Upton. Brace yourselves, the contemporary GG awards are only partially data-driven. If Simmons is not unanimous it will tell you just how subjective the awards remain. I would do a Maldonado, too. I hope Upton is not reading this because I want him to opt in, so let’s just blame it on not getting the lucky fortune to watch a full season of his talent..........

Very fun! Just in time for Halloween. our 24th round pick of the 2017 June Draft was Harrison Wenson, catching prospect (of course) out of Michigan U. Here is a really great interview with him, from family to coaching to analytics and how to pitch to Mike Trout, and beyond. And I mean, well beyond. He grew up interacting with ghosts in the basement of his house...........


October Baseball

Hmmm. Dueling data. Dave Roberts DID blow it in his pitching management of Game 2.......Dave Roberts did NOT blow it in his pitching management of Game 2..........But if you REALLY want to learn something about Roberts pulling Hill so early, after reading Dave Cameron’s defense of Roberts here, read through the comments. The comments have the brilliant and meaty analytical stuff..............

This is interesting. Cot’s shows the Houston Astros with an Opening Day payroll of $124MM, and the Dodgers with $241MM. Now, sure the Astros did take on some payroll by adding Verlander, but pro-rated that was chump change. So how do these guys come up with the Astros at $161MM and the Dodgers at $153MM?..........

Jon Lester woke up yesterday morning, and it was 1973 again. Back when studs were studs and baseball managers followed the unwritten rules of starting pitching. Or, at least, the unwritten rules as written by Jon Lester..........

I’ll bet Houston Manager A.J. Hinch had no problem going back to the hotel bar after Game 2..........

Ex-LA Dodger Steve Garvey has contracted Old Fart’s Disease. It’s sad, really. Who would have thought that, between the two of them, Alex Rodriguez would turn into the brilliant baseball analyst.........

Game 1 has the YouTube TV ad debacle behind home plate. Game 2 had a Masterpass ad issue, and FOX barfed all over Philadelphia viewers.........


Everywhere In Baseball

Joe Girardi was not retained. he is out as skipper of the Yankees. That is an amazing thing to write about a manager who just lost a tense series with the Astros. Oh wait, no it is not. (No pressure, Dave Roberts!) This is yet another sign of things that have now come. The manager is no longer in charge of as much in modern baseball. It’s long believed that the LAD Front Office even makes out the lineups. At a minimum, many of today’s Front Office types have less affection for hard-nosed managers. Just look at all the names being turned loose, and read between the lines of the Phillies direction..........

Another thing that is going to happen before I get back is the the Modern Baseball Committee for HoF voting is going to announce their ballot on November 4th. You and I will be hoping to see Bobby Grich’s name on that ballot. Jack Morris is about to surrender hope.......

In the dugout disruption ongoing throughout MLB, we might want to remember this week. When John Farrell was Manager of the Red Sox his Hitting Coach was once-a-Halo Chili Davis. During Davis’ run the Red Sox were among the best in Baseball at situational hitting. Over in Chicago, the Cubs were among the worst. The Cubs have dumped pretty much their entire coaching staff, including Assistant Hitting Coach Eric Hinske. So on the open market for hiring new coaches, at the same time were one guy associated with the top achievers - Davis - and one guy associated with the worst achievers - Hinske. Cubs manager Joe Maddon took Chili Davis, and we took Eric Hinske...........

Meanwhile, one of Baseball super-star assistant coaches made a move. Pitching Coach Mike Maddux went from the non Dusty Baker-less Nationals over to the historically pitching-strong Cardinals. In past years I would whine about missing out on yet another known pitching mentor. But I am pretty happy with Charles Nagy and am not missing anything on the market at all..........

Pretty great timing here. Jon Heyman with a story about crazy theories why Dusty Baker was fired as Nats’ Manager. In that article is this bit: “But something changed over the NL Championship Series, and the minds of ownership were changed. There are some other theories going around, but it seems pretty clear the overriding factor was that they lost by one run in the NLDS. Again, they lost.“ Ok, you get that? Nats executives watched Baker lose the final game of the smallest of margins and fail to advance. And on the same day we learn that, those same Nats execs get to learn this: MLB’s Joe Torre confirms that Nationals were hurt by a blown call in NLDS Game 5...........Actually, I doubt FO execs will read that whole article. They should, because there is another quote that paints baker in a bad light: “And again, the manager — Dusty [Baker] in this case — he could have gone, which we remind the managers. If you’ve got a question, a rule question — not a judgment question but a rule question — if you don’t like what the umpire’s telling you, ask him for a rules check. And they can do that. They can go to the replay center on the headset and check a rule.“ In other words, Baker should have asked the umpires not about their judgement, but about their choice of rules. That would have lead to a home office review, which should have corrected the call. But Baker failed to do so...........And, finally, my best quote comes at the end, when Torre admits: “But once you put replay in, everybody thinks you’re gonna get every single thing right.“ In other words, Torre is admitting that even Instant Replay is not something MLB knows how to get right Which is what I was warning y’all about well before they instituted it...........

More subscriber blood letting in Q3 due to cord-cutting. It’s going to become so common that it won’t be newsworthy soon. I should make some chart that tracks the descent towards zero, instead..........And ESPN, down in the roots of causing all of this, is trying to stave off short-term defeat by head cutting. You might notice that they are laying off their non-CEO and non-Board Member types...........


The Duffle Bag

Dan Shaughnessy remains one of our era’s most inglorious idiots. We should all be ashamed............Yasiel Puig gives Carlos Correa two thumbs up - and a tongue - for Correa’s bat flippage..........Cameron Maybin: “TacoHero!”..........