Congress is not going to get involved in the McGwire business

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I only mention this because, just like the will-Bonds-be-the-next-to-apologize thing, tons of people are asking me if I think Congress will get back into the steroids thing in light of Mark McGwire’s admission.

No and no.

The first no is based on the legalities involved. The only reason they’d have to haul McGwire back or to have him investigated or what have you is for perjury. Anyone who spent any time looking back at the tapes of McGwire’s 2005 testimony, however, quickly realizes that there’s no basis for even the suggestion of perjury. He didn’t say anything. If there was any hope at all that he’d be legally scrutinized over his statements, that hope was dashed when the House committee refused to follow up or compel him to either testify or take the Fifth Amendment.   You can view this one of two ways: (1) Congress abdicating its duty to find the facts it purported to be trying to find that day; or (2) Congress tacitly acknowledging that the purpose of that hearing was grandstanding and nothing more. Either way, the ship has sailed.

The second no comes from the statements of the two men in charge of that hearing, Committee chair Tom Davis and ranking Democrat Henry Waxman.  First Davis:

”He looked ridiculous to most of the public, but he didn’t have many
good options. We put him in a pretty tight spot. He was candid and
honest in our interrogation of him.”

Some interrogation. I’ve seen Larry King get tougher on a Gabor sister.  Here’s Waxman:

“Mark McGwire is doing the right thing by telling the truth about his
steroid use. His statement sends an important message to kids about the
importance of avoiding steroids.”

Congress should never have gotten involved in this in the first place. They did anyway, but at least now, at long last, they realize that it’s time to stay out of it.

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.

Pirates’ Nick Leyva selected as senior advisor of baseball ops

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Coach Nick Leyva #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 17, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.

Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:

The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.

In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.

This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.

Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.

Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:

We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.