Baseball divisions are probably not going anywhere

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Jeff Passan — who, unless I’m wrong, coined the phrase “unalignment” to describe the elimination of divisions several years ago — reports that while the concept of unalignment has been discussed, it’s not terribly likely. His sources tell him that the reason is simple: too crazy!  Well, they didn’t say “crazy,” — the phrase “drastic change” was used — but the idea is pretty unconventional and a bit of shock to the conservative world of baseball.

His source tells him, however, the the notion of an NL team moving to the AL to balance things out 15-15 is likely, however.

I’m not yet totally invested in any realignment/unalignment plan I’ve seen — I can see pros and cons of most scenarios — but I am kind of bummed that the stated reason for not pursuing unalignment further is simply that it’s radical.  Radical isn’t exactly baseball’s forte, sure, but radical doesn’t mean bad.  The fact is that no matter what you tweak, you’re going to have inefficiencies in the scheduling or the competitive balance or the finances or whatever. The point should be — while the subject is on the table — to find the scenario that limits the inefficiencies, not the one that simply limits the amount of overall change.

Though, yes, I’ll grant that at some point change itself could be considered an inefficiency if it alienates fans.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.