We haven’t really covered this story, but the short version is this: The Cubs have trained in Arizona for 50 years, but their facilities are getting long in the tooth and they need new digs. Naples, Florida stepped up with a very attractive proposal to lure the Cubs to the Grapefruit League. It appeared as though the Cubs were going to jump, but at the last minute Mesa, Arizona made some concessions and the Cubs will stay in some fancy new facility to be named later.
This could simply be the way these things happen. If you believe what some people are saying, however, it could all be a big conspiracy theory in which Bud Selig strongly urged the Rickettseseses to take the Arizona deal — which is still a pipe dream by the way, because it needs voter approval which like less than a sure thing — and in turn will position the Brewers to take advantage of whatever the folks in Florida are offering when it comes time for them to find a new spring training home.
I love a good Bud-is-evil story as much as the next guy, but this one sounds like it has way too many moving parts to satisfy even my low conspiracy theory acceptance threshold. Still, there’s nothing more shady than a stadium deal, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the deals for spring training facilities are even more shady than they are for the big league parks. Fewer people watching, don’t you know.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.