Bud Selig

Bud Selig has no problem with Jeter’s absence, says radical realignment not imminent, says other stuff

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Every year Bud Selig gives a big press conference on All-Star day. This year’s version just went down and, as usual, it was a rapid fire series of comments which pretty much set the official word of Major League Baseball on a ton of different topics. Highlights:

  • The complaints of some notwithstanding, Selig has no problem with Derek Jeter being away from the All-Star Game. Says he would have made the same choice in Jeter’s place and that there has been no player over the past 15 years he respects more than Jeter. If baseball blogs had the same standards of partisan political blogs I’d do a headline saying “Selig questions Jeter’s absence,” but since we’re better than that I think I’ll let it lie.
  • Selig said baseball would look at the rule which prohibits pitchers who threw on the Sunday before the All-Star Game to play in the game. Many have questioned this, inasmuch as Tuesday is often a bullpen session day for Sunday starters, so why not let them throw 20-25 pitches in the All-Star Game? Cole Hamels was complaining about this yesterday. Seems like some option should be involved for teams and pitchers.
  • Selig was asked about radical or massive realignment as many talked about a few weeks ago. He said there was nothing imminent on that, and generally downplayed it all, so I would guess it isn’t happening.
  • He said that the David Einhorn buy-in to the Mets is basically approved pending he and the Wilpons finishing the paperwork. Said it was a good deal for the Mets. Not sure what else he’d say.
  • Said that he had all kinds of things he’d like to say about the Frank McCourt litigation, but that he couldn’t. God, I know how that feels.
  • All but said that the 2013 All-Star Game will be in Citi Field, which is what everyone has basically known for a long time. I don’t get why baseball takes so long to formally announce this kind of thing.
  • He’s surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays’ low attendance this season and understands the concerns of Rays’ ownership. I would guess that if the Rays could figure out a way to move, Selig would support it.
  • At the same time, he totally dodged a question about the Oakland Athletics’ situation and the 28-month-long committee meeting that is holding up their future.
  • Selig “likes” tying home field advantage in the World Series to the All-Star Game. He probably also likes Miracle Whip on corned beef sandwiches.
  • When asked why they couldn’t just use the best record in the regular season to determine home field advantage for the World Series, Selig said “You can’t wait till end of the year.”  Which I guess means that the current system is totally rigged, because you don’t know which park will host the first game of the World Series until the LCSs are over now as it is. Troubling, or incoherent? You be the judge!
  • Selig said that he’s definitely retiring after the 2012 season like he has promised. I will believe it when I see it.
  • He said that there would be some sort of instant replay expansion, albeit limited. Likely on fair/foul calls.
  • He said that he likes the idea of using the DH in NL parks and letting pitchers bat in AL parks during interleague play. Really. Reverse rules. I’m not sure whose idea that is, but it’s … odd.

He said other stuff. Nothing radical of course because he’s Bud Selig, and that cuts both good and bad at varying times. But hey, at least it’s what we’re used to.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.