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Thor’sLinks: Nature Washes out ALCS, Arte Scrubs Up For New Skipper

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Game 4 of the ALCS was pushed back to tonight, giving MLB an off day to load up on Joe Maddon news.

MLB: Archive Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

Not content to screw up the MLB schedules of early spring, Mother Nature intervened to screw with the MLB schedule of fall playoffs. As expected, the ALCS Game 4 set for last night was pushed back to tonight. The only news to come out of this change is that it helps Houston restore their starting rotation to normal rest cycles. The Yankees must be real happy to learn that. Someday we may get to watch the Nationals play again.

The three playoff stories left to pick over are the one that reminds us what douchebags Yankee fans can be...........and the other one is what a rainout, and now having potentially 4 games on 4 straight days, will do to the Yankee bullpen...........And this one where the Yankees have uncovered the secret to all of the Houston Astros success. It wasn’t tanking. It’s whistling.............

Oh, OK. Here are a few more.

Not too many months ago the rep on Gary Sanchez of the Yankees was swell bat, weak glove. So far in the playoffs Sanchez is batting .095 overall. Yankee fans and press are clamoring. Therefore, new rep! Sanchez used to have a weak glove, but now his glove work and game calling are brilliant, so why would anybody think about benching him against these monster Houston pitchers?...........

Just the very idea that the other side might be stealing signs or picking up on tipping pitches should be enough to get into the heads of players. And in a sport where there is such a fine line between failure all the time and failure merely most of the time, that can be enough. So, yeah, A.J. Hinch is right to just keep fueling the fire. Hell, I would get my teammates to start holding up flash cards from the dugout just to mock the paranoia across the field.............

I need to focus here. It’s hard for me to get this straight. A 73-year old one-time Justice of the Peace is attending a playoff game in Houston between the Yankees and Astros. This one-time Justice of the Peace is a fan of the Houston Astros. And during the game the Yankees did something that was positive for the Yankees side, and a Yankee fan who happened to be sitting in front of this one-time Justice of the Peace chooses that moment to cheer. So our 73-year old one-time Justice of the Peace reaches out and smacks the fan upside the back of the head, hard enough to warrant being arrested for assault?? I am so confused. Nobody gets arrested like this in Chicago or New York or LA. Not for a head slap. Not for things degrees worse. Not until there is an all-out brawl. So is Texas just very tight on the rule of law? Apparently not according to this particular one-time Justice of the Peace..........

So, without any more real playoff results to digest, let’s move on to the MLB news that was waiting for just such an opening.......


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF

It’s official. We are now out on Buck Showalter.

Is this what 1974 would have looked like, had there been an Internet? Work with me here:

With [a] World Series win...[The New Big Name Manager was] at the peak of his career...when the Angels struggled under (Previous One-Term Manager], team owner [insert name here]...received permission to negotiate with [Big Name Manager]...The change in management, though, did not alter the fortunes of the Angels, as they finished in last place, 22 games behind the [AL West Division Leader], who would win their third straight World Championship...

Overall, [Big Name Manager’s] Anaheim tenure turned out to be a miserable one. He did not have nearly as much talent as he’d had to work with in [his roster two teams ago] and [his roster with his most recent prior team], and the Angels did not respond to [Big Name Manager’s] managing style. They finished last in the AL West again...They were 18 games below .500.”`

Does that not fit the current circumstances? In my youth we had “Tricky” Dick Williams.....Today’s youth has “Moon” Joe Maddon.....George Santayana would be inspired.

One thing is for certain. The 2019 Angels finished 24 games out of the playoffs. Maddon ain’t fixing that.

This thing almost got programmed into place back in 1996. But then - and yeah, you have to read the article to figure out how this all ties together - Sparky Anderson spilt some soup and a Disney overlord committed an HR violation and we ended up with Terry Collins.............

I LOVE this progression: National person Jon Heyman at 6:35AM: “Joe Maddon and #LAAngels are close to a deal to make him their next manager.”....Local person Maria Torres at 7:11AM: “Nah uh...”.....National person Bob Nightengale at 7:58AM: “Done.”...........Local person Maria Torres at 8:03AM: “Oh, yeah. Done.”..........

Maybe we now get moar sliders?...........

“Moon” Joe is pretty high on David Fletcher. Does this mean that Tommy La Stella now goes back onto that Maddon bench he warmed so often when in Chicago?...........

But THIS is the kind of statement that should send shudders throughout the math department in Anaheim.

Let me save you the clickage. Gene Mauch takes us all the way back to 1982. Nerds lose.

Something to think about. The last time Joe Maddon was an MLB manager of a franchise embroiled in player scandal and controversy he did not handle it well. The Skaggs scandal is going to be an issue he will be dealing with starting with the very first press conference. Will he do better?..............

($$) - Something else to think about. Some things apparently never change. “Oh, and another thing: The Angels have serious chain-of-command issues. Maddon, 65, received a three-year, $12 million contract, according to the published reports. The team’s general manager, Billy Eppler, is only under contract through next season. From every indication, owner Arte Moreno drove the hiring of Maddon, and by doing so, undercut his GM......One rival executive believes Maddon will be as empowered with the Angels as Mike Scioscia was during his 10-year contract...”..........

ANGELS - THE UNHAPPY STUFF

Craig Calcaterra is a day behind, but the data still exists as information he can use to keep tying the 2019 Skaggs scandal to the 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates scandal. This is a thing he has, because of his gripe about “parading Pittsburgh players in front of the national media”. So this will be one corner of the media that shall remain a tick on the Halo hide............


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

The Padres want to grow up and be the Rangers. Their managerial search has focused down on the targets of Ron Washington and Jayce Tingler. I am kind of surprised that the Angels interviewed the Padres coach Johnny Washington but the Padres themselves have not. The Angels find him worthy of consideration, after all. Is this where I get to be cynical again and and think that the Padres already have done their minority interviewing due diligence?...........

The Phillies are looking hard at ex-Nationals manager Dusty Baker to manage ex-Nationals superstar Bryce Harper in their 2020 attempt to tear down the Nationals............

The Giants are looking harder at Mike Matheny.............


BASEBALL

When MLB rolls out an unjuiced baseball for a playoff season, a team with enormous pitching talent can only be happier to have MLB providing their already-dominant pitching with some additional home run protection. It’s sure working for the Nationals............And it’s curious that Jeff Passan thinks that all this talk about an unjuiced post-season baseball is “tinfoil hat” stuff. Passan needs to get educated. He should start by reading the last two weeks of HaloLinks..........

This happens with every team that makes it deep into the playoffs - into the World Series or right on the doorstep. Bandwagon fans show up every year, even for teams that might be commonplace. For the Nationals, though, this is an entirely new phenomenon.............And I would suspect that the majority of Bryce Harper harpies who are harping on twitter are just this sort of bandwagoner...........

Oh, gak. Here we go. Letting dominant starting pitchers pitch the dominant number of innings is a vindication of “old school”..........And because an entire roster of dominant pitchers has rolled into the playoffs, carrying one of the oldest overall rosters with it, well, that’s proof that Old Guyz Rule. (The average age of all Nats players who have at least 1 hit throughout the entire post-season combined is only 29.6.)...........But, yes, Old Guy Howie Kendrick IS a good story. Unusual, but a good story nonetheless...........So this would be a good time for new math majors to refuse to let go of intentional walks in high leverage situations..............

The best news of the Nationals run to the 2019 World Series would be their elimination of the Dodgers. The second best news is that this now means that the Mariners are the only remaining MLB team to never play in a World Series..........

Are you reading this, Kansas City Royals?? The Nationals spent money and invested in player payroll and are in the World Series! You need to do that ASAP, you cheap bastards. Then you can be like the Dodgers...wait...no...........that’s not right...........

I sincerely doubt that any MLB Front Office has ever under-rated Anthony Rendon. The idea that we outsiders may have stopped under-rating him has zero impact on the dollars that Rendon is going to be getting paid............

Remember, RoboUmps are nothing more than a mechanical application of subjective human determinations. And there will be disagreements...........Keep this in mind if you go to the Instagram post and swipe to see the pitch track data, showing the pitch location to be a strike. You are not seeing corroborating data. You are seeing the data that was used to call the strike in the first place............

I am getting very old. I recall when USA Today first hit newstands............MLB bumping college football? Hmmm. Who would have thought?............


STUFF

The world needs a lot more Sean Doolittle...........This is one Yankee fan who always dreamed of growing up to be Jeffrey Maier..........Oh look! MLB Auctions got their web page fixed to sell of the crap that fans didn’t want in the first place. That probably explains why everything remains at the opening bid minimum........Maybe they are saving up all their money for Babe Ruth’s 500th home run bat.............DC social media maven doing a troll job worth a snicker.............Grant Brisbee with a thought that makes you go, hmmmmmm............