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Thor’sLinks: Bay’s Rays Beat A’s by the Bay

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Tampa Bay played 2019 MLB Baseball on the Oakland A’s, homering Oakland into history.

Wild Card Round - Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


PLAYOFFS

Things got crazy last night in The Toilet Of Oakland-Alameda. It was the first home playoff game since 2013 and the run up to the game was intense.....As of 11AM yesterday there were over 53,000 tickets sold......But by 2PM they were all gone......It was the A’s and Rays, so it was a perfect time for a simul-nerd-cast.

Another one-and-done, winner-take-all, playoff play-in game, which the players and managers seem to love by the way, makes for all kinds of surprises. For those of us with unsuccessful teams who are forced to watch from the sidelines, this is the kind of thing that restores the excitement of the game. We get fun shit like Juan Soto. And last night we got surprises.

TheRinger gave us a pretty good example of surprises with their Three Keys to the A’s-Rays AL Wild-Card Showdown. “Of course, [Oakland clobbering more regular season home runs than did Tampa Bay] might not manifest in a single game...in analyzing the likely Wednesday lineups, Oakland would seem to have a significant home run advantage...The lineups suggest that Oakland would be favored to win this key statistical category, and thus the game.” Tampa Bay 5 runs - all scored from the 4 total home runs they hit - Oakland 1 run on a sac fly and 0 home runs. Just sit back and watch and experience what actually happens and enjoy it.

After losing by at least 4 runs, the A’s did something they did only twice the entire month of September, and only twice in August, and only twice in all of July. That’s just 6 times across their last 76 games. So of course it happens last night. And Marcus Semien and Mark Canha, who were key to powering the Oakland run to the playoffs, went 1 for 8 with 4 strikeouts. Thus, within hours, the Brewers and A’s are done. 186 combined regular season victories just doesn’t buy as much post-season as it used to.

Oh, hey, before we move on from last night, because now we have those ever-creative Tampa Bay Rays in a longer series, did you happen to catch the 5 outfielder shift that the Rays put on in the 3rd inning?

But, yeah, now we move on to the LDS. The Twins, man, they have a curse..............

And over in the National League, Daniel Hudson is a guy that our staff had right in their hands and could not figure out how to make right (we released him March 22). Hudson is now a key part of the Nationals bullpen that we will be seeing in the NLDS with the Dodgers (can you say ERA+ of 322 after facing 97 batters?). The Nats coaching staff seemed to know something our staff failed to know. Hudson can’t figure that out..............

This is why Houston manager A.J. Hinch is a genius. He has picked a playoff rotation of Verlander, Cole, then Greinke. Man, who else could have possibly come up with that?...........


ANGELS

Tony Bleningo of Forbes wants his fellow BBWAA members to know that they are fools to not vote Mike Trout as AL MVP. Brave man, that Bleningo. The ballots were due earlier this week. Lobbying season is over. But, hey, it’s still fun reading for Halo fans............

Jo Adell is still burning up the AFL............

The Angels have some important decisions this winter that go beyond a manager and some pitching. Does Billy Eppler choose to retain Trevor Cahill? Or tender Justin Bour, or Nick Tropeano, or Luis Garcia?.....Here let me make those decisions for you............

Here is something you people are not talking about, and need to be. There are lots of rumors telling us that Joe Maddon is our destiny and some of you have already started to reorient your brains on the presumption that Maddon is running things when we get to Tempe. I have also read you mention other names, for example Joe Girardi. Girardi DOES want to manage again, so for those in his favor that would be promising. But let’s use Girardi to make the point. The reason that a guy like Maddon is a possibility is because a team like the Cubs are no longer going to be employing Maddon. This means that the Cubs need a new manager, too. Chicagoans, for one community, is lining up to woo Girardi. Yes, there are other teams that want a new manager right now and most of those teams are actually better options than LAA..........The San Francisco Giants are a better option than the Angels............

($$) - And now there is only one hot seat within the entire LAA franchise, and that seat does not belong to Arte Moreno. It belongs to Billy Eppler, and it might be the hottest hot seat of the 2020 MLB season.............


BASEBALL

You know what team is one that would appear to be more attractive than the Angels? The Padres. And wouldn’t it be just our luck that the Padres hire Skipper Brad and three years from now we are watching Brad In Brown on October FOX prime time television.........

Recall how the Red Sox management was conceding that retaining Mookie Betts and JD Martinez would be pretty difficult. That’s because the Red Sox already have a huge payroll and a guy like Betts is going to get paid. Well, that mention must not have gone over well among the season ticket holders there in Boston. Time to spin the forecast back. Maybe there is a way to hold on to both of those guys after all............(And, forget it. We wouldn’t be in the Mookie Market, anyway.)..........

When the rich get richer and the poor volunteer to get poorer, it becomes easier and easier to predict that the poor will not make the playoffs............And look at this review. In the grand scheme of things only the Twins, A’s and Braves caused any kind of pre-season prediction confusion............

Pedro Martinez gives us some pretty fresh insight into what happens between the players on the field leading up to, and within, their dust ups. I really appreciate his remembering getting pummeled in the ribs under the pile where he, a little guy, can’t even breath under the weight................

Lets talk money matters. Toronto Blue Jays CEO is pretty baldfaced about his belief that paying those elite world-class baseball players elite world-class fair-market compensation for their elite world-class services. I rarely agree with Bill Baer of NBC Sports anymore, but this take down of Shapiro is, if anything, restrained......Kevin Kiermaier is pretty thrilled when his success as a player on the field tends to torpedo the season of an owner of an opposing team who is willing to pay players a lot of money to be baseball players on the field.............The Astros are feeling the pinch. They don’t want to go over the luxury cap but if they win the World Series it might create momentum to spend more and try to hang on to Gerrit Cole. So if you want a shot at getting Cole, you are now rooting for the Dodgers...........

Make a note of this. Without juicing baseballs, or altering the IBB, or tinkering with extra-inning rules, etc., pure baseball all by itself remains a proven compelling fan draw..............

Oh, but wait a minute. In this absurdly insightful analysis, we see that MLB doesn’t have an attendance problem after all. “...we now have the missing link between team owners not caring too much about attendance and simultaneously caring so much that they’re offering all kinds of new ticket deals: It’s not a contradiction at all. Of course teams want to sell as many tickets as possible, but only if it doesn’t cut into their existing high-priced sales...... Keep on gouging rich fans, while getting less well-heeled or more casual fans to pay whatever they’re willing for a lesser version of the same product...... Baseball’s attendance problem isn’t so much a problem as the logical outcome of a marketing strategy.”...............

That latest DISH sports carriage dispute? Shit gets real when you take Thursday Night NFL football off the airwaves...............


STUFF

Because people who are paid to cover sports for us and generate content to help us understand sport, cannot be bothered to actually stay awake and watch sports..................

Rest In Peace, Bill Bidwell. I know it’s another sport, but the list of major sports owners in this country is so small and their influence so large, it is always worth noting when one is lost.............