Let’s be clear at the outset: contraction is not happening. Even in the articles that talk about people talking about contraction — like Joel Sherman’s from yesterday — it is stipulated that, no this is a non-starter. So what I’m saying is, don’t cite this post or the Sherman column I’m linking as “continuing contraction rumors” or whatever because it’s just talk. It’s like if I were to go on about how Carla Gugino and I could spend a long weekend in a cottage at Big Sur, sipping expensive wine and feeding each other the finest meats and cheeses while listening to Billie Holliday records. Great topic — totally fun topic! — but it doesn’t really mean anything. Well, to anyone besides me, to whom it means everything.
The point: Joel Sherman hears how the contraction thing — which totally isn’t happening — would go down if it were, you know, actually happening. Sherman calls it his Michael Corleone theory, in that it would be used by Bud Selig to settle all family business. Best I can tell is that The Athletics would be Carlo Rizzi and the Rays would be Moe Greene, with Lew Wolff and Stuart Sternberg moving in to take over the Dodgers and the Mets, respectively after Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon get whacked. Which I guess makes them Barzini and Tattaglia.
Anyway, Sherman talks about how that would all make sense, and also talks about why it won’t happen (same reasons I mentioned a couple of weeks ago).
I hate the idea of contraction, but I like the idea of Bud Selig settling scores like that. Makes him way more interesting. But I still don’t know who “Strachi” was and why Michael had him whacked by Clemenza in the elevator. Even if Clemenza looked cool firing that shotgun through the door.
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.