Major League Baseball has no idea what it's doing with the A's


It’s been sixteen months since Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to study the Athletics’ stadium situation. Despite the fact that a focused task force could probably thoroughly analyze the situation and publish a glossy report on the matter in the space of a week with time left over for a happy hour on Friday, there is still no report from Bud’s experts. And no hint of when one will come out.

This has irked San Jose mayor Chuck Reed, who has wanted to put a stadium proposal on the fall ballot. Major League Baseball has told him not to, however, probably for fear that it will destroy the delicate alchemy in which Bud’s committee is engaged. Break their vacuum tubes and slide rules and whatnot.

Last week Reed said “screw it,” and announced that this fall’s ballot will have the stadium measure. Yesterday Major League Baseball’s Bob DuPuy told Reed that baseball would pay for the campaign.  To sum up:

  • Bud Selig’s college roommate/A’s owner Lew Wolf has repeatedly slammed Oakland and has said he wants to go to San Jose; and
  • San Jose’s mayor wants the A’s; and
  • Major League Baseball is going to fund the campaign for the ballot measure that will make moving the A’s to San Jose possible; but
  • Major League Baseball won’t simply say that the A’s are going to San Jose.

I imagine the reason for that last part is that baseball is afraid of the Giants’ territorial claim, but everything else they’re doing is consistent with baseball’s interest in disregarding it. Which they should do, because carving up the nation in arbitrary territories is stupid, anti-competitive and, in the long run, bad for business.  We know it would be outrageously difficult for a third team to relocate to New York now, but if it had happened 20 years ago as the stadium and RSN boom was getting underway, they’d be swimming in it now.

Grow a pair, Bud. Call the Giants on their bluff. If it gets ugly, it gets ugly, but the most you have to lose is an archaic system that is going to prevent your successor from helping baseball propel itself into the 21st century.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.