We learned over the weekend that Major League Baseball is considering realignment. The initial report presented one scenario where the Astros could be moved to the American League. However, it appears they aren’t the only team under consideration.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Diamondbacks could be the team “most likely” to change leagues under realignment.
“We would do whatever’s best for baseball,” said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall, whose team would move to the American League West from the National League West under one of the plans being discussed by MLB and the players’ association. “Most would say us or the Astros would be best candidates (to shift leagues).”
Granted, the Astros have never won a World Series like the D-Backs have, but this would make some more sense from a traditionalist perspective. The franchise has been in the National League since they were introduced as the Colt .45’s in 1962. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have only been around since 1998.
Here are some more comments from Hall via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
“Naturally, we would look into it if asked about it. But I’m not sure we’d ever get to that point because I think other teams make more sense geographically than we do. For me personally I’m a National League guy. I like the pace of the game, the strategy of the game. That’s what I prefer. I would want to hear what our fans prefer, but I’m not sure we would ever get to that point.”
Buster Olney reported over the weekend that realignment only has a “50-50” chance of being passed, but union chief Michael Weiner confirmed earlier today that discussions are expected to continue.
Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.
Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:
Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.
He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.