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WeekEnd HaloLinks: We Found The Homers

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Astros hit the missing homers. Yankees make the missing errors.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at New York Yankees Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYOFFS

The Yankee aura dug it’s own grave last night. How much more of this ALCS shall we endure before it casts itself down within and the Astros can shovel the dirt back over so we can move forward with an exciting and entertaining World Series?

Certainly, the Yankees lost the game 8-3. For all practical purposes they have lost the series, and their season, now trailing 1 game to 3 and needing to sweep through at least Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole to survive....With three home runs the Astros took from them the home field power charm that Yankee Stadium used to grant the playoff pinstripes....With 4 infield errors the Yankees lost their discipline and the booted away the legacy of Jeter magic....While burning through their bullpen with the possibility of 4 games in 4 consecutive nights, they lost the final remnants of the career of CC Sabathia to injury after only 20 pitches. (That was all made more fun as MFY manager Aaron Boone was happy to keep burning more arms late in a game that was already lost.)....With mounting panic as entitlement slips through their fingers, the Yankee fans have lost the national coronation that they had been expecting all summer long and watched their dignity get taken with it. Not that they stuck around to experience any of that. Once you take all those fair-weather Yankee fans out of them, those seats look rather comfortable.

Damn what a glorious night. If it hadn’t been for the Astros benefiting, it would have been a perfect miracle...........

A Great Mystery of Life. Why is Giancarlo Stanton still on the MFY playoff roster? This is asked not once.....but twice. I am guessing both times by NY homer writers who are also life-long Yankee fans and neither of which ever liked the idea of Stanton in the first place..........

So the MLB cleared the Astros of wrongdoing in whistle-gate. Duh. The better question would be why would MLB even “investigate” dugout whistling as a mechanism to relay signals? If I am the dude in at MLB headquarters that the Yankees come running to in order to whine about Astros whistling, my very first response is to challenge the messenger to find the clause in the rule book that forbids whistling in the first place. No? It’s not there? Then GTFO..........And when MLB then DOES dig into this on behalf of the Yankees, and they analyze the tapes and determine that the Astros weren’t even whistling to begin with, I’m telling them that they just used their one and only challenge flag. Because challenge flags aren’t in the MLB rule book, either...........And, besides, so what?Think of it as an alternate definition of advanced scouting. The onus is on the opponent to hide its intent. If they’re not hiding it well enough, it’s just another example of sloppy baseball.”..........The Astros have settled so comfortably into the heads of the Yankees, they should be paying rent..........


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF (mostly)

Right on cue. Wednesday we have the official announcement that Joe Maddon will be 2020 manager. Wednesday + 1 we have the 2020 season ticket plans showcased on the LAA web site home page..........

J.C. Ramirez, who was signed only through 2019, is not going to be a 2020 arbitration calculation for you all. He apparently is not a fan of Salt Lake City, where he had been sent outright back on September 15th, and has elected Free Agency. Sigh, and it seems like only back in 2017 when it seemed like Ramirez was a rising star at the back end of our rotation.........

And, man of his word, Cubs fan makes good on his promise to get an LAA tattoo now that Joe Maddon has been hired...........

Here’s a poll. How do you think that Joe Maddon will does LAA manager?............

Mike Trout is a finalist among the MLBPA players as AL Player of the Year. Do not hold your breath..........

I would agree. Even with making a season out of it in spite of TJ recovery, Shohei Ohtani had a year that was not as impressive as he is probably capable............

Jo Adell and Hunter Pence, Jr. are the bestest of friends..........

Jo Adell himself is focused on making the MLB club ASAP, so expect something fun from him in Tempe in February..........

Go to the 32-minute mark. It’s painful, and this is a CWS fan-based podcast so they get to cackle over their good fortune, and it doesn’t change anything. But they admit that Eddings effed up the play call mechanics. They still fail, however, to observe that A.J. Pierzynski could also have been called out for leaving the batter’s box and walking across home plate towards the home dugout............

ANGELS - THE UNHAPPY STUFF

Just pondering a question in my own head. What are the odds that the Angels remove the Tyler Skaggs mural from the outfield wall before the 2020 home opener? I think there are 3 factors at play here. The first is to follow how public sentiment sways concerning Skaggs as it becomes more commonly understood that his demise was less than noble. The second is how the LAA brain trust taps in to any change in public perception and how much marketing credence they grant that perception versus the emotional uplift that was experienced in 2019 as the team celebrated a fallen teammate. And the third, of course, is how all this might get bowled over by the ongoing scandal reaching right into the LAA Front Office............

Just because we may have talked ourselves out on this subject does not mean that it is settled. In this SI review of What’s Next in Tyler Skaggs-Angels Legal Fallout?, SI legal analyst Michael McCann believes that (if many factors prove to be true) “this could be one of the biggest scandals in baseball in a long time”..........

Finally, something comes my way via a little birdie. It’s not my idea but it’s a worthy and intriguing thing to ponder in today’s evolving sports climate and I am glad to open the door and expound upon it.....It’s without dispute that Tyler Skaggs, an MLB player, was engaged in activity that was against MLB rules, but also illegal at the Federal level and at various jurisdictional levels as he traveled about. And it’s without dispute that an LAA Front Office employee was involved in supplying illegal drugs to Tyler Skaggs, an MLB player, also breaking MLB and civil laws. Now let’s add another news thing that is factual. MLB is actively engaging with, and promoting, legalized gambling all across the country. Sports betting already was a multi-billion dollar enterprise before (more than $750 billion before) and growing fiercely with State-sponsored bookmaking. In the meantime, local illegal bookies are not going away. That’s still at least another $100 billion a year......Yeah, let’s add all this together. We have a solid underground sports gambling industry with fortunes at stake. We have a legalized gambling industry that could already be 10 times that, also with vast fortunes at stake. We have MLB working to integrate sports betting into the viewer experience with broadcast and online partnerships, bringing the gambling industry right into the stadiums when all is said and done. And right there at ground zero are the MLB players, the very ones capable of direct influence on outcomes, who we know can be engaged in illegal activity already, an activity which puts them in contact with criminal agents and exposes them to any/all risks to their career that come from criminal associations. As my little birdie posed the killer question to me: “What if a bettor blackmailed a pill-popping player?” Let me take the question one step further: “What if a criminal bookmaking ring blackmailed a pill-popping player who was being kept in his addiction via a Front Office employee who was getting the pills from the criminal bookmaking ring?” In an MLB-sponsored industry where a trillion dollars are floating around, what’s $400 for a few oxy pills?.........Let’s be clear. The thinking here is NOT that any such thing was ongoing with Skaggs. No, the thinking is that Skaggs and Kay had such a door propped wide open, and it was our own front door. So that did not happen, but had it happened than damned yes, “this could [have been] one of the biggest scandals in baseball [history].” And that’s but one reason we shouldn’t expect this thing to get conveniently swept under the rug. Good call there, little birdie.


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

The Padres are now laser targeting Ron Washington for manager............

The Giants are adding Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro to their manager search..........

Theo Epstein is doubling-down on refactoring the analytics-minded Cubs coaching staff now that Joe Maddon has gone west. This includes creating new roles within the organization - directors of pitching and hitting...........(Jobs with the Cubs! One of the two openings will “...primarily focus on the analysis of motion-capture biomechanical data.”..........


BASEBALL

MLB quietly and sneakily announced a policy change in ownership rules, designed explicitly to allow for larger purchasing power (ie. more money) upon the sale of an MLB franchise............

($$) - We might see a labor stoppage as we approach the end of the current CBA. That should be a surprise to nobody. So with this possibility, what is the MLBPA doing pro-actively to protect the financial welfare of their members? I ask this because a much weaker players union, the NFLPA, is in a similar boat and they have engaged Goldman Sachs to step in and advise the players on money management..........

These SBN guys spend 14 minutes drilling into the entire phenomenon of getting HBP, without once going to a batting cage and allowing themselves to get drilled in person so that they can report on what it feel like. I expect a far more immersive experience out of the mothership. Take one (or two) for the team, guys!..........

($$) - John Smoltz is not again well. He wants you to believe that he is “...the most progressive old guy you’ll ever meet for a guy who played 15 years ago”, but the headline says it best: Q & A: John Smoltz on sign stealing, criticism and whether he would prefer that you vacate his lawn..........

Whew. The first major carrier battle dealing with Sinclair is over. Settle in, though, because Sinclair battles will be the longest running backstory of the rest of your entertainment life..........


STUFF

To help you out here, Bryce HARPER used to be #34 on the Nationals. Trea TURNER is currently #7. (h/t UniWatch)...........Baseball broadcast graphics compared. (also h/t UniWatch)..........The best thing about a growing playoff bandwagon among a World Series fan base is when some person brings to market a celebratory brew............Fernando Rodney has the chance to snag a unique touch-em-all..........