Your attention please:
There will be a lot of playoff games happening in the next few weeks. As usual, we here at HardballTalk will be covering them like Lester freakin’ Hayes. But in addition to our usual thing, we’re going to be live-blogging or live-chatting a great many of these bad boys. It starts in about two hours.
- D.J. will be doing a live chat of the Rays-Rangers game. The post with the chat should go live around 5pm and the rebop should begin a few minutes afterward. I mean, if you can’t heckle the National Anthem, what fun is there to be had?
- For tonight’s Tigers-Yankees fest, I’ll be doing a live blog (the refresh button is your friend). The post will go live a little after 8PM (first pitch is 8:37). I’ll probably do live chats for games later in the postseason, but we want to change it up a bit. People can get chat fatigue pretty easily. I’ll be reading all the comments as they come in on the live blog, though, so feel free to fire questions at me and stuff because I’ll be paying attention. Good ones might make the live blog too. Once the game wears on and I’ve had a couple of refreshments, even bad ones might make it in.
Let us all share the joy, pain, sunshine and rain, shall we?
The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.
The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”