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On Manfred’s reign

  • 18 May
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    ProblemNew,16commentsOn Manfred’s reign, the mystery of three catchers,
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    Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsRob Manfred has been commissioner for four years, but
    it somehow feels like a lot longer. Maybe it’s because the pace of his play has
    seemed so slow. Let’s find a way to speed that up, shall we? Let’s first give
    him an IV of espresso so that he’s full of energy. If that isn’t enough, we’ll
    make him inhale helium so that his voice is high and possibly faster. That’s
    fun!If that isn’t enough, we’ll upload Rob Manfred’s consciousness onto a
    supercomputer, so that his tenure as commissioner can be processed at speed that
    are hard to comprehend. That will fix everything. Sure, this will require us to,
    in pedantic legal terms, “kill” him, but that’s the price you pay for pace of
    play.“Charlie, there’s no real good reason to give Rob Manfred a bunch of
    stimulants, chemicals, and then kill him and upload his brain on a computer,
    that’s not really fixing any of his problems!”You say that, and you’re probably
    right. However, I can think of no better tribute to the man whose tenure as
    commissioner has been trying to find solutions to things that aren’t really
    problems. Games are too long?
    Well Rickey
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    , nobody who watches baseball actually cares about that
    and generally baseball games are on average shorter than pretty much any
    football game and- HOW BOUT SOME MOUND VISIT LIMITS, KIDS? The real problems
    facing Major League Baseball, dwindling in-person attendance, the cost of going
    to a game skyrocketing, Byzantine TV blackout rules, a large percentage of the
    league deciding not to be competitive any given season, free agency coming to a
    screeching halt, etc. don’t seem to be on the radar of the commissioner’s
    office, probably cause they, personally, can still make money under any rock
    they can find it with all of this going on. Future consequence be damned. You
    like being able to watch highlights of games? Remember how that used to be
    really easy on MLB’s website? Try doing that now. Also: you like being able to
    go to any outlet and see highlights of minor league games? You think easy access
    to that would help build an online fan base? Have you noticed that free
    distribution of highlights in video or gif form is what the NBA allows and
    they’re doing fairly well now? Too bad.But hey, games might be three minutes
    faster on average. Let’s throw a party. With balloons. Hey, hand me that helium
    tank, Rob’s here.I don’t really watch D-Backs games with the sound on anymore,
    or I’ll listen on the radio. The booth, especially Brenly, saying weird,
    cringe-worthy stuff is a big part of it. And again it happened last night. Adam
    Jones is right. Why is it so necessary for the Diamondbacks to carry three
    catchers? Seems like two isthe ideal number. You can still manage time and rest
    pretty well with two of them. In 2017 the Diamondbacks handled this pretty well
    with Chris Iannetta and Jeff Mathis and made the playoffs. In 2018 the
    Diamondbacks decided to carry three catchers all year and didn’t make the
    playoffs. Ipso facto ergo etc. It’s odd too because the Diamondbacks traded for
    the person who was the presumptive catcher of the future. Carson Kelly. Remember
    him? Seems like a good kid. You might not quite remember him because he only has
    19 plate appearances this season, split into a pretty an uneven third with Alex
    Avila (21) and John Ryan Murphy (16). He hit a walkoff hit last Saturday? Wears
    number 18? Ringing any bells?What’s funny is that there was a lot of chatter
    after the trade that this would be good for Kelly. He’s a highly-regarded
    catcher prospect, but had the misfortune of being stuck behind Yadier
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    , an institution in St. Louis. So, if he’s on the
    Diamondbacks, he can probably get a lot more playing time and develop. Seems
    logical. Except, carrying three catchers seems to counteract all that. If the
    Diamondbacks are competitive for a playoff spot, it seems like carrying two guys
    would maximize both of them while giving enough rest and would give Kelly a lot
    of reps to see what he’s made of. If they aren’t competitive, they can carry two
    and give Kelly a majority of the reps and give him as much a chance to succeed
    individually now and in the future. When Avila went on the IL it seemed like a
    good opportunity to just keep Kelly and JRM around in the short-term, and then
    maybe call up a guy who could play corner outfield, the team is desperately
    short on them but, alas, welcome to the party Caleb Joseph. Have a seat! Don’t
    drink what I put in Rob Manfred’s punch! A look at what’s happening around the
    majors today:DAY OF DECISIONCorey Knebel plans to choose a course of action on
    his ailing right elbow, potentially sidelining a key part of Milwaukee’s vaunted
    bullpen for the season.The 27-year-old has a partially torn ulnar collateral
    ligament. He could have Tommy John surgery and return at some point next year,
    or try to rehab the injury.“I’ve got all the cards on the table, and it’s just,
    ‘Which one?'” Knebel said Thursday.Knebel had 16 saves and a 3.58 ERA last
    season, plus a sparkling 0.90 ERA in nine playoff appearances. He was an
    All-Star in 2017 with 39 saves and a 1.78 ERA.REMEMBER ME?Charlie Morton, who
    won Game 7 of the 2017 World Series for Houston shortly after winning Game 7 of
    the AL Championship Series, faces his former team. Morton went 15-3 with a 3.13
    ERA for the Astros last season, then became a free agent and signed a two-year
    deal with Tampa Bay. He will oppose Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA last year) at
    Tropicana Field.“There’s an element of emotion attributed to this start that
    wouldn’t be there if I was pitching against a team that I didn’t know on a
    personal level,” the new Rays right-hander said. “Whether or not it’s a
    challenge or a
    benefit Rollie
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    , I don’t know.”LA LONGBALLSThe Dodgers set a major league
    record by hitting eight home runs on opening day against Arizona, and try to
    keep up the power surge vs. Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray.Joc Pederson and
    Enrique Hernandez each connected twice at Dodger Stadium as the team tied the
    franchise mark for homers in any game. Ray looked sharp in spring training,
    striking out 32 in 16 1/3 innings.MARATHON MANNathan Eovaldi throws his first
    pitch that counts since a Herculean effort for Boston in the World Series. Last
    October, he made relief appearances in the first two games against the Dodgers
    and then, after one day of rest, worked into his seventh inning and threw 97
    pitches in Game 3, giving up a winning home run in the 18th. Eovaldi, who’d had
    two Tommy John surgeries, was saluted by the Red Sox for saving the bullpen and
    putting them in position to wrap up the title.Eovaldi was rewarded with a $68
    million, four-year deal. He’ll start at Seattle against Yusei Kikuchi, who
    pitched well last week in becoming the first Japanese-born player to make his
    big league debut in his homeland.HALO, THEREMatt Harvey makes his AL debut when
    he starts for the Angels against the A’s at the Coliseum. Harvey, the former
    Mets ace who helped reboot his career last summer in Cincinnati, signed an $11
    million, one-year deal with Los Angeles in December.Harvey will face Athletics
    slugger Khris Davis, who led the majors with 48 home runs last year. Davis
    homered on opening day last week in Japan and connected again Thursday in a win
    over the Angels.