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Thor’sLinks: Yanks Strangle Chokeland

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Yankees immediately terminate A’s hopes for relevancy.

Wild Card Game - Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Down goes one of the great tiki bars in the country. Struck down by the tiki-less pasty-faced goombas of the Bronx. The Yanks laid waste to the upstart A’ss 7-2 in a rather mediocre and anti-climactic WC elimination game. Go home, Green. And take your wasteland of empty stadium seats with you. Did you notice that the A’s only had 1 starter on their roster last night? Edwin Jackson. And that’s what happens when you get ravaged by pitching injuries and need to lead with bullpenning. Imagine how worse it could have been, having to struggle with that way back in June and rendering your whole season irrelevant, not just your last 9 innings of playoff baseball.

The NLDS starts today. Notice, by the way, no Cardinals or Cubs. We have much fresher meat. That’s because it’s a drought-tolerant playoff season for the National League. The Rockies and Brewers have never won a WS. The Dodgers have not won since 1988. The Braves have not won since 1995. That a cumulative 125 seasons before this own without a ring. (Disclosure: in the AL, Oakland has been 28 years before this one, the Yankees 8, The Red Sox 4 and the Astros 0.) One of them is going to get the chance to finally make it rain.

Ok. Here we go with my picks. Remember, I am an Angels fan. And an Angels fan ONLY. If I could arrange it so that all 10 of these playoff teams lose, I would. Shy of that, I am taking the tiki attack. Milwaukee has a semi-renowned tiki bar in Foundation. But it’s Milwaukee. Anything with a coconut would qualify as tiki there. As much as I resent Adrift’s stupid business hours, it IS on the national radar. I have to support my tribe. I choose Colorado...........In the other series, Atlanta leads with Trader Vic’s. That’s tragic. Now, don’t get me wrong, Trader Vic’s is iconic, but the nation is honestly down to the Emeryville masterpiece. Trader Vic’s in Atlanta, like Trader Vic’s most everywhere else, is a mere shell of the legend. And when you hide behind a shell, it’s weak sauce. And The S.O.S. Tiki Bar is weak sauce. Sauce, sure, but weak. However, LA has Tiki Ti. This IS one of the few legit in existence. Not a copy. Not a knock-off. Not a wannabe. And it has bartending roots directly back to the authentic master Ray Buhen, one of Don the Beachcomber’s original Master Mixologists. I don’t like the Dodgers. I don’t care about the Braves. But I have to show mad respect for Tiki Ti. Dodgers over Braves for me. Ooga Booga!!

Move on along, because we have Now-We-Suffer-The-Pinstripes-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

Mike is busy showing respect. First for Mookie Betts and the Red Sox...then for the Ducks............

A Little Bit Of Angels News

How about this? Who has Joe Espana...in the LAA managerial bingo game? (Hint: It’s Big Large Chris, who jumped on the story because all the cool kids took all the best choices available.)............

Here is your roundup of where Billy Eppler sits with all his personnel problems. We don’t have much to worry about on the Qualifying Offer front. But the Rule 5 Draft looms large............


Everywhere In Baseball

Addison Russell got canned for 40 games, and is not going to appeal. How’s that for expedient justice?............

The Qualifying Offer has been set for this winter. $17.9 million. A lot of the problems that players and agents and the MSM whine about each winter could all be solved if more players just stopped assuming that they deserved Mike Trout money and took the Offer. More players taking it would result in fewer teams offering it, and a natural balance would kick in. But players and agents defaulting for lottery tickets warps the system...........

Mookie Betts is tuned to be a WAR machine. Give him his credit due..........

Round and round the managerial carousel goes.....Buck Showalter is out at Baltimore.....Joe Maddon is hanging on in Chicago.......but barely.....(Maybe next time he will signal in for Terrance Gore to TAKE A PITCH!).......Eppler was about to ask to interview him.....The Reds are interviewing Joe Girardi and Brad Asmus.....Try to catch up here..........

The Orioles are cutting ties with their GM, Dan Duquette, as well. This makes, what, three GM openings? Mets + Giants + Orioles? There are 5 managerial vacancies (Orioles, Angels, Twins, Rangers and Blue Jays). This means we have 10% of the GM slots open and 15% of the managerial slots. And the season just ended only a coupe of days ago..........

Ok, somebody help me out here. I honestly don’t get this. The Braves are in the middle of a labor grievance filing over the fact that they refused to sign their 2018 first round pick Carter Stewart. In this case the MLBPA is stepping in withe the claim that the Braves failed to offer a minimum % of slot, and Carter should be declared a free agent. This has happened before. But that doesn’t mean I ever understood it. Had the Braves signed Carter they would have sent him the the Minor Leagues, where he would have been paid wages of servitude and the MLBPA could not care less. That’s because as a MiLB player he is not in MLB, and not qualified to be an MLBPA member. Carter didn’t even get that far. Right now, his path is to re-enter the draft in 2019 and try to get ignored by MLBPA all over again. Instead, we have MLBPA fighting for him. How?..........

It’s the playoffs, ARod. Do better..........

Last winter’s Big Splash deals cost MLB a lot of money. But, in my opinion, that was only because the players expect to demand a lot of money every winter, not because it was deserved. That they (and their agents) demanded it, but by and large didn’t deserve it, caused all kinds of disconcernation. Well, now we have the runway to look back and see who was right. Mostly, it was us. That class was underwhelming..........

Now we have to see if Ian Kinsler puts the Red Sox over the top. The Red Sox got him for a reason. That would hurt...........

I pointed this out a week or two ago, but a key to the Athletics being in the payoffs had to do with their getting the job done against the crappy teams throughout MLB..........They also got kinda lucky. Picking up a guy who was DFA’d and that guy turning into a playoff starter? Yikes...........They are also good, and it ain’t Moneyball secret sauce magic. Which means we have to worry next year, too..........

Albert Pujols made $27 million this year. You feel bad. But Chris Davis made $23 million this year, not that much difference, and had the worst season in history. Don’t feel so bad...........

I don’t know why we celebrate gross, abusive and sometimes threatening behavior. But out there in the right field bleachers of Yankee Stadium, we do...........

Once upon a time umpires were mostly invisible, and the exceptions were not obnoxious, but entertaining. In the past I have pimped the MLB umpire Emmet Ashford. That man was hilarious behind the plate, and the managers and players thought twice about getting in his grill because they knew that the fans in attendance were on Ashford’s side. Here, apparently, is the MiLB equivalent, Harry “Steamboat” Johnson. My favorite anecdote: “When fans heckled him from the top row in Youngstown one day, Steamboat called time, ascended up the bleachers in full gear, plopped down next to them and called balls and strikes from the stands.”..........

MLB Network Continues to grow online..........And ESPN’s StatCast version of the NL WC Broadcast apparently kicked the traditional broadcast to the curb...........


The Duffle Bag

Need a job? Want to work alongside Mike Trout in a couple of years? The Phillies are hiring an R&D person. (Just teasing about the Trout part!)............Our first playoff game at SunTrust Park, and here come the parking problems............Willson Contreras and his Cubs may have been booted from the post-season, but he went out enthusiastically..........I’m glad I am not the only one who noticed that the players are starting to look like NASCAR drivers......Jon Heyman, east coast writer, complaining about the inconvenience of east coast baseball..........