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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Far From the Maddon Crowd

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Arte embraces Joe as Bathsheba embraced Gabriel

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Los Angeles Angels Introduce Joe Maddon - News Conference Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

Good point. Look at these Nationals. Maybe “long rest between playoff series is really bad” needs to die the same death as “Home Run Derby Second Half Sickness”...........

When considering the good guys among the Nationals, even though Kurt Suzuki is getting props, I would wish to point out that it’s getting pretty hard to find stories that recognize the terrific work he is doing behind the plate...........

Oh lordy. My deteriorating brain failed to make this connection and I am thankful that somebody else did. It’s glorious. Once upon a time in the not too distant past the Nats and Astros were deadlocked until Kurt Suzuki (yeah, same guy) stepped up to the plate and Astros magic happened. And here we are again. Synchronicity at it’s finest...........

I missed this the other night. After failing for a second time to commence a 4-game sweep that Astros players locked themselves away from the world that they might perform some secret ritual of male bonding, the kind of ritual that enables getting hits with runners in scoring position..........Me? I cannot wash away the reality that the Astros finally offered up their first IBB of the entire season and gave a 20-year old Juan Soto a pass to load the bases, so that they could get to old man Howie Kendrick, and then see that entire moment blow back beginning with an Alex Bregman boot for base hit............

Well, gee, MLB took away the juiced baseballs for the playoffs, and the teams that rode the juiced balls into the playoffs got eliminated by the teams that had great pitching. That equals redemption for the juiced ball season? According to the mothership, yes.............

($$) - I hope you subscribe to The Athletic. This take down of the most annoying 2019 MLB Playoff TV ads contains more than a few solid gems. It’s the only paywall article I link to all weekend but it’s worth the click. If you don’t subscribe, I will give one snippet for free. Maybe it will change a mind or two: “Now think about the progression of Roman’s supposed origin story...(1) Son has an undiagnosed heart condition, which leads to erectile dysfunction...(2) Son says, “Dad? I have erectile dysfunction,” just like all of us would...(3) Dad, who happens to be a doctor, says, “You know, that’s not normal for someone your age. This might be the sign of a more serious problem.”...(4) Son creates company that makes it less likely that people will see a doctor for this same problem...I don’t think I’m missing anything here. Our guy went straight from “this could have killed me if I didn’t talk to a doctor” to “how can I make sure other people don’t see doctors?”..........


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF (mostly)

Congratulations, you got yourself a new MLB manager. All the right things are being said. All the things we expected of Joe Maddon came out on Day One. Zero surprises here. The news is that it’s now behind us. Now you can hang all your speculation on Moon Joe’s take concerning Billy Eppler: “Billy is really great to work with already. He’s wide open. He’s already thrown at me some things he’s envisioning. I’m waiting to hear about all that and if some of that stuff comes to fruition, I’ll be very happy. So we’ll wait and see.”..........

Gold Gloves are stupid, unless an LA Angels is up for winning a Gold Glove, or wins a Gold Glove. Then they are remarkable achievements of recognition for defensive skill unequaled throughout the League. This year they are the latter (so far). Andrelton Simmons, Mike Trout , Kole Calhoun and David Fletcher(!) are all nominees. Poor Fletch, though, going up against Josh Donaldson and Alex Bregman (remember that World Series fumbles don’t count) and being considered not as second baseman, but as I’m-here-because-Zack-Cozart-was-a-mistake-baseman...........

The Sporting News announced their 2019 All-Star team, and Mike Trout fills out the outfield along with George Springer and Mookie Betts. (You know I love me some Marcus Semien, Semein was named TSN All-Star SS ahead of Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor. In the actual MLB All-Star voting, Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor were runner-ups, too, but they backed up Jorge Polanco of the Twins. TSN says “Polanco, who?”.).........

The Players Choice Award winners were also announced. Mike Trout was awarded Player of the Year for all of MLB, and American League Most Valuable Player..............

Good news! Arte is promising to raise payroll this year!.....Last year it was $160,270,385. So this year it will be AT LEAST $160,270,386...........(Just putting this out there, the AAV on that $160MM was closer to $145MM, and the 2020 tax threshold is $208 million. So don’t be blaming any tax threshold on Arte’s choices.)...........

We are losing our AA manager David Newhan. Probably because he doesn’t want to forced to move to Alabama. Or wear a Trash Panda across his chest for money..........


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

Joe Girardi to the Phillies............

The Padres are hiring something named Jayce Tingler as their new manager. This looks like the shadow of Scott Servais.........

David Ross as the new Cubs manager is official...........


BASEBALL

Now that the Astros have failed to sweep their way to a World Series title and the franchise is left trying to make sense of what is happening, it just seems like a perfectly logical time to seek an alternate universe explanation. And their search has landed them to a point of consideration that maybe employing an A-number-one asshat high up in the Front Office to shine yet more light on the already shady work of riding a domestic abuser deep into the playoffs might not be the best idea. So the Astros (or maybe that should read “the Astros at the considerably strong suggestion of Rob Manfred”) are looking into why they employ that that Brandon Taubman schmuck in the first place?...........And that introspection didn’t take too long. It never does when there is 100% agreement from everybody around you that you are the one in the wrong. The Astros canned Taubman last night, and they even admitted that they were wrong about defending Taubman. There, best team in baseball mojo re-instated. Right? Well, not so fast..........(So I wonder what happens to a guy like Taubman now? I’d guess that his pro sports career is done and that he is poison for any senior management job anywhere for at least several months.)............

Oh, and that crazy violent MLB umpire has decided that maybe he wants to keep his job.............

Had you read this earlier in the day yesterday you would have had Sheryl Ring (Esquire, mind you) go into a list of productive actions MLB could take to show a stronger reaction towards their employees and the subject of domestic violence, both pro-active and reactive. But you didn’t. You can only read it now. At least now you can learn that the MLB Front Office has folks who read SBN. Kinda cool. Oh, and they claim to already so some things. Things which don’t appear to be working out so well.........

Sheryl’s very long and well-cited piece goes heavily into rehabilitation. Not everybody is happy with that approach. Some people see plans which involve a tad more scorching of the soil. This plan is one of those. I would point out, though, that the thought of losing multiple draft picks might sound bad now, but it would become extremely harsh if the number of rounds in the June draft are reduced in order to shave back MiLB expenses..........

Do not think for one minute that the Chicago Cubs are alone in their fight to protect there service time manipulation of Kris Bryant. Nope, the MLB is right there representing ALL owners and the ability to trade one more day of waiting for a kid in exchange for one more year of owning that kid. And just to make it perfectly clear that the Cubs (like all franchises) lie through their grinning teeth that a guy like Bryant really really needed that one extra day in the minors to be all he can be and that it was NOT about money and control, if the Cubs/MLB lose the grievance filed by Bryant and lose that control and now are on the hook for that extra money, earlier, well the Cubs will think about trading Bryant right away..........

Bill James departs from the Red Sox. He confesses that he pretty much disconnected a couple of years ago and wasn’t much involved anymore, “not earning [his] paycheck” as he put it. The article notes, though, that James has probably seen the sub-industry to which he gave birth now pass him by and leave him in the dust (The Cleveland Indians are seeking a freaking Data Scientist, for heaven’s sake). I live in a technology-driven business and I can testify to how true that can be. From my perspective, reading the Internet as I do, my take is that James has morphed into a cranky old man and needs to take a step back. It will probably be good for him.............

CC Sabathia got re-injured during the ALCS, and probably saved Billy Eppler from himself in the process..........

Nope. Jake Arrieta will NOT opt out of his contract and become a Free Agent. It has nothing to do with having his shittiest season since 2013 and having no chance to score $20 million for next year. Nope. It’s probably because he is so excited to have Joe Girardi as his new skipper...........

Brian Cashman is one touchy dude. Either that or he would suck to be playing at your poker table. He had a chance to have Justin Verlander, and he had a chance to have Gerrit Cole, and he had a chance to have Patrick Corbin. In each ctr ase some other team got their man, either by giving up more prospects or paying more money than Cashman was willing to go. So when the actual final sale price came back to Cashman and he said “I’ll pass”, that does not get be interpreted by some insane baseball media as “passing” on those guys. I am neither insane, nor the baseball media, so I get to call it as it is Cashman. It’s not a sin, man. You had your reasons. But yes, you passed...........

Yeegads. Mark Trumbo is “a veteran player on a young team.” I am running out of generations of baseball players to outlive..........

Aaron Hicks will have TJ surgery after all. Now the Yankees can give Edwin Encarnacion his $5 million buyout and save $15 million, opening up their DH slot, and insert into that their $10.7 million Aaron Hicks to be their TJ-recovering DH, kind of a Shohei Ohtani lite. (just kidding. But it could happen.).........

Give it up for a man who puts his money down. Mattress Mack, no bullshit about him, has put up some serious dough on his Astros. So much that he is now a celebrity. Or, according to the article estimate, enough money to feed 87,509 Syrian refugee children living in Jordan for an entire year. (Using data from The World Food Programme)...........


STUFF

(h/t UniWatch) Houston dude discover the art of mosaic tile. The bad news is that he still thinks he needs to shop for his tiles in the toy store.............Pete Alonso is a very good sport..........