Rosenthal righteously rips Selig over replay

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Here’s FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, getting it absolutely right on replay:

Baseball, due to its refusal to expand instant replay, is headed for
more controversy this postseason. And the sport’s powers-that-be, led by
commissioner Bud Selig, have no one but themselves to blame.

This is the 21st century. The technology is available to correct
calls, and correct them quickly. Yet baseball prefers to risk the
outcomes of games, subject its umpires to embarrassment and allow
critics to attack its credibility . . . I will not feel sorry for the sport when some blown call occurs in Game 3
of the World Series and the play is shown to death–not just on
all-sports networks but also all-news channels–turning off even casual
fans.

I like this mostly because it wasn’t prompted by anything that has happened recently. It’s just a nice reminder that, eventually, something bad is going to happen — something worse than the missed calls we’ve seen in the playoffs in recent years — and when it does baseball is going to get utterly slammed by folks who otherwise never notice it. And if you’re the Commissioner of Baseball, that’s something you should care about.

Best part, though: embedded in the article is a video of Tim McCarver, who disagrees about replay.  Rosenthal is the on-the-field reporter for FOX broadcasts. If we get the Armando Galarraga play, part deux, I would hope that FOX lets the two of them have it out over this rather than force Rosenthal to stay silent while McCarver talks about how hard it is to be an umpire and “bang bang plays” and all of that nonsense.

And just for the record — because these posts always lead to big replay argument comment threads and I end up having to argue against challenge flags and such — I favor an umpire up in the booth — not some video tech, but a bona fide umpire — with video monitors and a two-way radio who can call down to the crew chief and say “yo — call time out; you kicked the s— out of that call.”  In effect, making it work just like an on-field umpire confab in terms of speed and efficiency.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.