Is there a TBS/MLB conspiracy to downplay bad calls?

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Some people get accused of being conspiracy theorists. I tend to get accused of erring too far in the other direction and not giving enough credence to conspiracy theories. Because sometimes they are true, after all.  My defense: I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy and the simpler the explanation is usually the better explanation in my experience.

However, over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man has a conspiracy theory that I’m not inclined to dismiss as quickly as I usually dismiss such things. He notes that there weren’t as many replays of close plays in last night’s Rangers-Rays game as you might expect, and then comes out and says why this might be:

To The Common Man, it suggests that perhaps TBS was asked not to make a
big deal out of potentially missed calls. This would seem to jive with
an earlier play in the San Francisco-Atlanta series, where Buster Posey
was clearly out at 2B, but announcers refused to acknowledge it, in
spite of the video evidence to the contrary (and Posey saying after the
game “it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay).

If this is the
case, it seems likely that the commissioner’s office has made conscious
decision not just to ignore the loud cries for expanded instant replay,
but to tacitly suppress them by denying these voices additional evidence
with which to make their case.

I thought the Posey thing was totally bizarre, and was made even more bizarre when Mat Winer, the studio host, said he thought Posey was safe and was basically laughed off the stage by David Wells, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley.  Winer would be beholden to a TBS/MLB mandate in ways that Eck, Ripken and Boomer really wouldn’t be.

I’m not saying that TCM is right about this because, like I said, Occam’s Razor is a powerful weapon. It may just be the case that the production crew was thinking about other things or the pitchers were working too quickly — Cliff Lee was at any rate — to shoehorn in as many replays as you usually see.

But it is . . . curious, is it not?

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: