ESPN is just fine with a three-hour Home Run Derby. After all, it gets to televise the proceedings. But the All-Star Game itself? Well, that’s FOX’s baby and that makes it fair game for the worldwide leader.
Jerry Crasnick’s piece on all of the stars skipping the game is currently leading the big features box on ESPN.com, with Crasnick spewing lines like the following: “big names bailing by the hour for Bahamas vacations, family cookouts or orthopedic consultations.” This comes two days after Buster Olney proposed the solution that players should decide in spring training whether to opt off the All-Star ballot.
It’s a shame, because Crasnick is better than this. There were three healthy players across both leagues who had the chance to go to the All-Star Game and pulled out: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Aramis Ramirez. Rivera missed time last week with a strained triceps, and while he was back pitching over the weekend, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to save his bullets. Ramirez would have been a last-minute injury replacement, but he had already made plans for the break and decided to follow through on them.
So, really, as usual, this all boils down to Jeter.
And doesn’t Jeter deserve a free pass just this once? This is the first time in 12 All-Star selections that he’s skipped the game. Between all of the postseason appearances, the All-Star appearances and off-the-field obligations, Jeter has had less time off between the months of February and October than any player in baseball these last 15 years. Let him have his little break.
Midsummer Mirage? All-Stars deserted this year’s Classic in droves? All-Star Game feeling snubbed? All-Star Game getting the cold shoulder? Players backing out of Midsummer Classic threatens showcase event for baseball?
It’s all just propaganda because ESPN would rather you watch it than FOX tonight.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.