From the Brewers’ official PR Twitter account:
it will honor MLB Commissioner & former owner Bud Selig with statue
at Miller Park’s Home Plate Plaza, unveil set for 8/24.
OK, first off, let’s put an end to the snark-fest that has already started. You and I can could mock this if it was a statue dedicated to Bud Selig the Commissioner of Baseball. We could say things like this should be the pose in which the statue should be cast. We can say that no Commissioner who presided over the cancellation of a World Series should be honored. But that would be wrong. Why? Because Bud Selig was an owner first, this statue is to honor him as an owner and in that capacity he probably deserves it.
Selig was a minority owner of the Milwaukee Braves, who for a while there were beloved in Milwaukee. When the majority owners started casting about to find a place to move the team, Selig worked in vain to keep them in town. As soon as that effort failed, he formed a group to try and get Milwaukee another team. He managed to get the Pilots. And before you accuse Selig of being a team-stealer, remember that (a) the Pilots were going bankrupt there anyway; and (b) if the Pilots didn’t cease to be, “Ball Four” would be way less fun.
The Brewers were successful when he was an active owner. They played in a World Series. The city fell in love with them, and though that love has ebbed and flowed depending on the record, I’d wager that fan loyalty is greater in Milwaukee than it is in the majority of major league cities. This is a gut feeling but it’s backed up by anecdotal evidence. For example, Jonah Keri just tweeted something interesting:
Went to Brewers game in 90s, Bud emerged from box during 7th inning stretch. EVERYONE started chanting BUD! BUD! Seriously.
Bud may be a cold fish. Bud may not be as great a commissioner as his supporters in the game and the media make him out to be. But he’s Milwaukee’s cold fish commissioner, and there are people there who love the guy. And even if they don’t, they love the team he brought them and helped build into a winner.
Is that not statue-worthy? I kind of think it is.
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 MLB.com’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.
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 FanGraphs.com 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.