UPDATE: Charlie Manuel suspended for a game

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UPDATE: I think I got that wrong. USA Today is reporting that Manuel was suspended for a run-in with C.B. Bucknor, not the Bob Davidson thing.  I had the dates wrong and made a bad assumption. Apologies.

12:03 PM: One step forward, two steps back.  While Bob Davidson was suspended for his run-in with Charlie Manuel, Manuel got a game suspension too:

Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has received a one-game suspension stemming from the on-field incident in the top of the eighth inning of Philadelphia’s Tuesday, May 15th game against the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Weak. Yes, Manuel barked something from the dugout, but that happens all the damn time. At most you see a manager ejected for it (that was a Bobby Cox special on hot days when he didn’t want to leave the shade).  But everything after whatever Manuel said was instigated by Davidson.

One wonders if the umpires union or whoever made a big fuss about things and said “if you’re going to suspend Davidson, you gotta suspend Manuel too!”  Whatever the case, though, this was not an instance that, in my mind anyway, called for equal punishment.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”