I hate off-days during the playoffs.
It’s mind-numbingly boring. It makes the mind wander. It makes
otherwise rational people, like Jesse Spector of the Daily News, write articles like this:
The Yankees will come home Saturday still leading the ALCS, 3-2, still one win away
from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2003, still
with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia lined up to pitch them there.
But let’s get this out of the way now, so it’s not a reactionary
thing if the Yankees lose their sixth and seventh consecutive games
with the American League pennant within their grasp: So this is not to say that the Yankees will lose this ALCS, but if they do, Joe Girardi should be fired.
It’s harsh, yes, and it’s not easy to fire a manager coming off a
103-win season, but the burden of a collapse in this series would fall
squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are
Woah, now. I’m all for
accountability, but this is pretty unfair. Nevermind the circumstances
of these hypothetical losses to come. What if Andy Pettitte and CC
Sabathia both lay an egg? That wouldn’t that be their responsibility?
Should Girardi pay for letting A.J. Burnett come out in the seventh in
Game 5 when he had every reason to believe that he was still fresh? His
decision wasn’t “indefensible,” as Spector claims. It was logical.
Consider the alternatives, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who have
been anything but a sure thing during the postseason.
Granted, Girardi has had his moments
of over-managing during this series. I won’t recap them all here, but I’ll never understand why he
pulled Alex Rodriguez for pinch-runner Freddy Guzman in the ninth
inning of Game 5. No explanation can suffice. However, these are small
potatoes compared to what Mike Scioscia got away with by pulling ace
John Lackey with two outs in the seventh of Game 5. Scioscia got lucky.
Of course, this will all be moot if
the Yankees take one of these next two games, which I fully expect, but
if they manage to blow this thing, his job status should be a “reactionary thing,” not a hypothetical.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.