Bud Selig creates a committee to find the origins of baseball

30 Comments

I haven’t seen the press release yet, but Gordon Edes reports that Bud Selig has announced the formation of a committee that will study the origins of the game of baseball.  On the committee: Baseball historian John Thorn, noted plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin, and sepia tycoon Ken Burns.

I don’t want to make rash predictions, but my guess is that with this crowd running things it will be determined that baseball was invented by Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams some time in the mid-1960s. And the text of the report will be lifted in its entirety from A Time to Remember by Rose Kennedy.

Ah well, probably doesn’t matter anyway. This is a Bud Selig-created committee.  The same Bud Selig who last year was either so ignorant or so unwilling to ruffle feathers that he said that he believed Abner Doubleday invented the game, and everyone knows that’s a bunch of malarkey.  And given his track record with committees, we won’t have any results out of this thing until sometime in the spring of 2025.

Personally speaking I’m opposed to the search for the origins of baseball.  I believe in baseball Creationism. The game is too orderly to have simply evolved. A man can throw a ball that curves?  You can’t explain that!

UPDATE: Oh, one more thing: before Bud Selig unleashes his committee, perhaps he’d be well-served to watch the movie — that was produced by MLB.com itself about the origins of baseball.  I watched at the SABR convention back in 2008.  It was pretty good! Sort of defeats the purpose of the committee too!

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
10 Comments

The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.