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MondoLinks: An AstroNational World Series

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Jose Altuve homers Houston into the Final Series of the Non-Homer playoffs, to cap off the homer season.

League Championship Series - St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

In a fitting end to the ALCS, we watched Jose Altuve launch a 2-run walk-off home run and land the ‘stros in the 2019 World Series against the Nats. The sequence of events could not have gone better.

Going into the top of the 9th inning Saturday night the Astros had a 3 games to 2 lead over the Yankees, and a 4-2 lead in Game 6. Three outs away from the World Series.

Houston manager AJ Hinch went to his bullpen ace, Domestic Violence abuser Roberto Osuna. 18 pitches into his outing DJ LeMahieu denied The Abuser his glory. And just as gratifying, it elevated the hopes of MF Yankee fans all across the nation one last time. In homes and bars all over the State of New York, goombas jumped and shouted and cursed those gods of baseball that had been daring to thwart their destiny, high fiving one another and slopping their beer all over mom’s shag rug. With huge grins and chests puffed back out, their reset their rally caps and sat back into the deep overstuffed cushions of the 80’s velour sofa.

And then we get to go to the bottom of the ninth and we get to watch the fates stomp that inflated, gassy, balloon of hope all over again. Yankee manager runs out to the mound his own Domestic Violence abuser Aroldis Chapman. Chapman gets Martin Maldonado to strike out, and then Josh Reddick to pop out. And then Chapman lost command of his fastball. After a first-pitch strike to George Springer, Chapman ran off 4 consecutive balls. 2 sliders, then 2 fastballs. Jose Altuve steps up to bat. Two more fastballs miss the zone before he gets a slider over for a strike. So slider it shall be again, and Altuve knew it.

The Yankees entire season ended like this. In fact, their entire decade ended this way. The first decade in 100 years that they have missed out on any World Series appearance.

Now we are down to two, the Astros and the Nationals. To set the tome of Links properly, know that I am pulling for Howie Kendrick to win a ring by hitting at least one walk-off off of Roberto Osuna. Four would be ideal, but I will accept one.

Here we go. Let the countdown to Free Agency begin. The forecast is heavily slanted for an Astros sweep. But I think that the Expos playoff rotation is every bit as strong as the Astros, maybe more if Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander keep showing flaws. And the Nationals have been scoring just as much as the Astros without getting the bullpen games. No, the Nationals DO have a chance...........


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF (mostly)

In 2007 the Angels General Manager was Tony Reagins, and the Scouting Director was Eddie Bane. Those two had a fair shot at Jose Altuve, multiple shots, actually, and they passed...........

Angels’ star prospect Jo Adell crushes Astros’ star prospect Forrest Whitley............

Joe Maddon has a way of connecting with his players............


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

The most current Tracker............David Ross and Joe Espada seem to be favorites for the Cubs............

Joe Espada flew up to Chicago between the ALCS and WS just to do a second interview, because he is such a strong candidate............

Ken Rosenthal does a huge dump of manager rumor updates, starting with Joe Girardi and the Mets..............

Girardi is competing with Tim Bogar, Carlos Beltrán and Eduardo Pérez............

Eduardo Perez is looking solid as a managerial candidate.............

In a reverse move, ex-Reds manager Bryan Price is being looked at to take over the role of Red Sox pitching coach............


BASEBALL

Not brilliant. Not brilliant at all. MLB is looking to distill MiLB down by eliminating 42 teams. We already have word that this does not include the Seattle Mariners. They also want to re-organize the levels and re-align the leagues so that it all better suits their needs. Now, if you haven’t been following these Links as close as I am forced to, you might not recall that one recent analysis looked into the Houston Astros and an analytical trend towards downsizing their farm, even leading towards a notion that they don’t need a Minor League system at all, and they can do all they need to do within a private camp system. This concept appears to be getting legs throughout MLB as Front Office analytics types start to consider following the Houston lead. This could, of course, be devastating to 42 communities since this probably won’t be something that MLB would do over a long period......But we can be a lot more honest than MLB here. MLB wants to pimp this plan out as a a benefit to players, since they can take the payroll of those contracted players and share it among the survivors, thus raising MiLB pay. Oh, aren’t they such good guys! We can call bullshit on all that pretty easily. First, MiLB pay is practically zero so that amount of dollars to be redistributed would be practically zero times 30 times 42. Second, anybody who falls for the horseshit notion that MLB will willingly move 100% of the money saved over to anybody other than themselves is a fricking jackass who can vote themselves off The Island of National Discourse. Third, MLB can pay afford to pay all the guys on all the teams we currently have a living wage at about the same cost as one bobblehead night.....The real shitty thing about this is how it 100% defies the plans of Rob Manfred to grow the sport among future generations. Just last week I linked to an article at ($$) The Athletic which shows that fans who attend their first baseball game, MLB or MiLB before the age of 5 are going to attend almost 60% more MLB games in person throughout their life, and that attending MiLB games early may be the #1 factor in cultivating future baseball fans...........

($$) - MiLB isn’t planning on taking this threat laying down. But their first plan of action should negotiations with MLB fail is to go to Congress. “We would hope to negotiate a reasonable settlement with MLB. Short of that we have multiple options. Appealing to Congress, state, county and local elected officials is certainly one of them.” Ha ha! How cute. This would be the same Congress that was leveraged to protect the interests of MLB against paying MiLB player salaries in the first place.............

This shrinking of MiLB is but a part of an overall master plan being put forth by MLB. Baseball America reviews the pros and cons of moving the June draft, possibly out to July, and the impact that would have on college players/coaches/teams and high school prospects. Yes, such a change would have a huge impact. But within that article we are introduced to a couple more proposed changes....”slash 15-20 rounds off the draft”....”limit MLB teams to 150 players under minor league contracts (among their U.S.-based affiliates)”......This last point is to be cursed. It means that MLB teams would be colluding to prevent any of their members to go all Branch Rickey on the asses of the other owners and committing to a very large farm system within which they can hoard and develop larger numbers of prospects in order to find more MLB-level gems..............

The CBA re-negotiations should end up being a real mess. MLBPA union head TOny Clark has done such a shitty job or protecting the financial interests of the players that past couple of cycles that the owners now hold all the cards. This means that the players have nothing to concede in order to get back something as obvious as a mandatory spend of 53% of all MLB gross revenues. A strike smells inevitable. Put me down as saying that the blame will not be with the owners, but with Clark’s ineptitude over the last decade............

The Yankees have been eliminated, and the mourning is full throttle. ($$) - ‘Some of us may never get over it’.....Aaron Judge says 2019 season was a ‘failure’. And we have a new national nightmare that must be overcome. Do the Yankees Have Any Chance to Get Back Into the ALCS?.....Where do the Yankees go from here? Big decisions that New York must address this offseason.....But they can solve things by buying Gerrit Cole.....Which is a theme: Yankees need ace like Gerrit Cole as they pivot toward 2020.....After latest postseason ouster, it’s time for the Yankees to pay up and get Gerrit Cole.....The Yankees need to become bold this offseason to catch their new rivals (the Astros having replaced the Red Sox), which means they need to go all in on Gerrit Cole...........The Yankees Were Ahead of Schedule. Now They’re Full of “What Ifs?” Which means that “their top target should, and likely will, be Houston’s Gerrit Cole, whom the Yankees have coveted for more than a decade.”............Seriously. The media went full bore on trying to salvage the hope of the Yankees as soon as we get back to Spring. After all, they were better than the Astros but just made a few mistakes that the media would never have been stupid enough to make...........And the hype has already begun. Because DJ LeMahieu Is The New Derek Jeter............

Meanwhile, the same media is now working to rehabilitate the reputation of the Astros, going into an audit of how they built their powerhouse without using the word “tank” one single time..........Certainly not allow Aroldis Chapman to keep pitching to Jose Altuve. As if EVERYBODY knew what was going to happen next!............

Damn. 20-year veteran MLB umpire Eric Cooper dies suddenly at the age of 52. By all accounts I am tripping over, Cooper was a pretty good ump and also a great guy who loved baseball. And it always scares me to hear of people close to may age or younger who die for reasons that are body-related and not some tragic accident.............

TheMaven, purchasers of the bones of SportsIllustrated and just having gutted half the staff, may not be strong enough to survive much longer itself............


STUFF

If I am following this right, it’s Max Stassi retweeting Baseball LIfestyle noting how Lance McCullers. Jr., the Houston pitcher who has missed the entire 2019 season due to injury and is now pretty good at watching like us fans, feeling for an Astros fan who was abused by Yankee fans during the ALCS, as McCullers is trying to get him a World Series seat.............Aaron Boone makes history, again............The MLB Players Weekend auction continues to underwhelm...........If you cannot find it in your heart to root for Howie, you just have to root for a good dog.............Isn’t there some kind of trade war ongoing between the US and China?.............Milwaukee Brewers coming out with new uniforms?.............