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ESPN sets its Sunday Night Baseball booth: Shulman, Hershiser and Valentine


This was suspected, but ESPN made it official today: Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine will be be the new Sunday Night Baseball announcing team.  They replace Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.  Hershiser was the third man last season.

I like Shulman. He’s a solid play by play guy and, most importantly for me, doesn’t act like the stuff happening on the field has never happened before in the history of baseball! Which was one of my only criticisms of Miller, by the way. He didn’t do it often, but sometimes Miller got a wee bit too excited.  I shan’t spend any more words on Joe Morgan because everyone knows what he was all about by now.  I don’t have a terrible problem with Valentine as a studio guy, but I’ve never liked a third guy in a baseball broadcast booth.  I just don’t think there’s enough ground to cover and it leads to chatty awkwardness. Or awkward chattiness. Sometimes both.

All of that said, it’s a good team, and for the first time in a long time, I won’t have to consider the broadcasters as a possible reason for me to tune in or not tune into the Sunday night game.

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.