The 2011 playoff qualifiers represent payrolls of all sizes

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Blogging is basically about reacting to stuff, but sometimes it helps to get ahead of the narrative a bit.  Just to help you prepare, here are the potential state-of-the-game storylines we can expect to see in the coming weeks:

  • If the Yankees face the Phillies in the World Series baseball is broken because the big payroll teams are just buying championships; and
  • If some combination of the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Rays or Rangers make the World Series, the low TV ratings such matchups will create will be proof that baseball is truly dead;

I’m not sure what we do if the Cardinals or Tigers figure in somehow. Maybe something about passionate fans who live in cities outsiders like to denigrate. People eat that crap up.

Anyway, all of this is just an excuse to link Maury Brown’s post from yesterday in which he detailed the payroll situation of the eight playoff teams. Short version: the payroll ranks of the qualifiers: 1 (Yankees); 2 (Philly); 10 (Tigers); 11 (Cards); 13 (Rangers); 17 (Brewers); 25 (Dbacks); 29 (Devil Rays).

So, two rich kids, four middle-of-the-packers and two sisters of the poor.  Viva balance and parity. Just don’t expect anyone to give baseball too much credit for that because it doesn’t fit the usual narratives.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.