Great Moments in comparative media: the Orioles sign Garrett Atkins

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CTB readers knew this already, because Aaron wrote all about it on Friday. Orioles fans at large knew it because Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun originally broke the story the day before. This piece, in the Baltimore Sun, however, just popped up in my RSS feed, reporting that the physical has been passed and the deal is now done.

It’s the last one that has me appreciative of how the business of the hot stove league has changed in just the past few years. When I was at the Winter Meetings, I could tell which writers there were more blog-oriented and which were more hard copy-oriented by the way they talked about deals.  Hard copy guys would ask aloud “does anyone know if the Smith
deal is done yet?” Bloggers would say “well, yeah, that happened yesterday.”  The response would be “but is it official?” with the implication being that it’s not a story until it is.  The answer would be either yes or no, but the silent thought was “dude, we all blogged it yesterday, so it’s done. If he fails the physical or something, that’s a new story.”

I’m not suggesting that one approach is better or anything. Indeed, from the perspective of accuracy, it’s without question that the people waiting for the official announcements of deals do a better job.  Someone in this short attention span world has to be comprehensive, right?

But after blogging for three years, it’s pretty apparent that there’s a huge audience out there — probably the vast majority of the total audience — who wants to know stuff right now. Yesterday, even. For that audience, the story has run its course once it’s been blogged or tweeted by enough people without the report being directly contradicted by a team source. The official announcements come hours or sometimes days later. The physicals and paperwork as much as a week later. Maybe more (anyone heard where Nick Johnson’s press conference is?). By that time, the audience has moved on to the next six deals.

So I see today’s Garret Atkins report and scratch my head. Not about why it’s out there — it’s an essential part of the Official Record, as it were, and I’m glad the Baltimore Sun is keeping it.  No, I scratch my head because I’m not sure where it fits into the lightning quick news cycle that has developed in the baseball offseason.  If I post about it, I’m posting what most of you think is old news. If I don’t, I’m not posting the full story.  I’m not yet sure what to do with these things, actually.

Sorry for the meta navel gazing here, but it’s been a slow day since the Vazquez trade went down — remember that? It was hours ago — and I just felt like speculatin’ about a hypothesis.

Anyway, Garret Atkins is an Oriole.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).