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ESPN New York is going to sell the Yankees whether the Yankees want it or not


Quote from Yankees officials regarding of the sale of a stake in YES Network to News Corp in one ESPN New York column:

“This has nothing to do with selling the team,” the official said. “Under no circumstances will the team be sold.”

Said column all but dismisses the quote and speculates about the Yankees being sold. Then here’s a passage from another ESPN New York column, after quoting that flat denial that the Yankees are for sale:

There are people in the sports industry who think it is more of a matter of when, not if, the Steinbrenners will sell the Yankees … By bringing salaries below $189M by ’14, they also will be able to make the team more appealing to a potential buyer … As of now, there is no “For Sale” sign at 161st Street and River Ave., but there are signs. Stay tuned, this story is not going away.

Of course it’s not going to go away if the people who write these columns ignore the very statements denying their basis in reality.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

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I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.