Gregg Doyel won't let facts get in the way of a good rant


CBS’s Gregg Doyel has never been one for subtlety, but in his latest column — in which he rips the MLBPA for having the audacity to defend one of its members — he shows his contempt for facts, reason and perspective as well:

The MLB players union has gone too far. Finally,
inarguably, the union has gone too far, and this money-seeking,
drug-allowing, behavior-excusing juggernaut must be stopped.

And it must be stopped by the New York Mets.

…Only, the rumors out of New York are that the players union would
fight the Mets should the team try to void K-Rod’s contract. To which I
say: Fight the union, Mets. Major advances in labor strife often revolve
around one person. Baseball has Curt Flood, the father of free agency.
He’s a hero to players.

K-Rod could be an antihero to the rest of us, those of us who are
tired of paying up to $500 for tickets, parking and concessions at a
single baseball game because the team’s payroll is $94 million and the
cleanup hitter earns $18 million and the fourth outfielder makes $6
million and all of those chumps look like they’ve used steroids, and
some of them no doubt have, and the union has been the hammer the
players have swung to make all of that happen.

Enough is enough.

The union must go down. Not all unions, just this one. This union,
this MLB players union that has run amok for too long, must go down.
Who’s K-Rod? He’s nobody, really. Just the captain of the ship.

I realize people don’t much care for unions, but Doyel’s screed is totally out to lunch. He blames the union for the Mets’ initial agreement to limit K-Rod’s suspension for two games, as if the team had no choice in the matter as to how to proceed with him.  He says that due process is a concept that “while it has its place” doesn’t apply to K-Rod because, well, I don’t know why.  He repeats the flat wrong canard that player salaries are to blame for high ticket prices.  He’s just eighteen shades of wrong here separate and apart from his opinion, to which he’s obviously entitled.

I love me some rabble rousing, but this is dumb “players are too rich and the union is evil!” rabble rousing.  I understand that such appeals draw in eyeballs and get a lot of “you go girls!” from the masses, but I’d like to believe that at some point all clicks aren’t created equal and ignorant, emotional appeals such as Doyel’s won’t continue to be rewarded.

But maybe like Doyel, my desire to believe something won’t make it actually come to pass.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.