Link-O-Rama: Cox win 2,000th as Braves manager

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* Bobby Cox won his 2,000th game as Braves manager
last night, becoming just the fourth manager in baseball history to
reach 2,000 wins with one team. Connie Mack of the A’s, John McGraw of
the Giants, and Walter Alston of the Dodgers are the other three.

Cox has 2,355 wins overall, as he managed the Blue Jays from
1982-1985 and won Manager of the Year honors in his final season with
Toronto. He’s had a winning record in 20 of his 27 seasons as manager
and perhaps most impressively is the all-time leader in manager
ejections with 143.

* Your daily A-Rod and K-Hud update: According to the New York Post,
Alex Rodriguez and Kate Hudson attended Jose Molina’s bachelor party
Sunday night along with CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, and Carl Crawford.

* Speaking of Rivera, he’s officially been named judge of the Yankees’ kangaroo court after being presented with a robe and gavel yesterday.

* Released by the Mets during spring training, Freddy Garcia has signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox.
Garcia is friends with manager Ozzie Guillen and pitched for Chicago
from 2004-2006, winning the clinching game of the World Series in 2005.

* Longtime scout Mike Berger has been hired as the Diamondbacks’ new farm director after A.J. Hinch moved from that role to manager last month. Arizona picks back-to-back at 16th and 17th in tonight’s draft.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”