Bud Selig

Should MLB overturn the A’s-Indians home run call and replay last night’s game?

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The overwhelming weight of opinion among baseball commentators this morning is that Bud Selig should step in, overturn Angel Hernandez’s bad call of the Adam Rosales non-home-run and force the Indians and A’s to reply the remainder of that game from that point, with the game tied.

Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, among many others are arguing that in columns and on Twitter. Olney’s reasoning is the general thinking:

The commissioner can change this, immediately.

There is precedent, of course, and George Brett knows all about this. In 1983, he hit a go-ahead home run against the Yankees, and the umpires called him out because they ruled he had too much pine tar on his bat. Upon further review of the call, American League president Lee MacPhail reversed that decision — which was the right thing to do — from the point of Brett’s home run, with the Royals leading 5-4.

I get the appeal of that argument. But to think that Major League Baseball will use that as “precedent” is to ignore the fact that overruling the pine tar call and replaying the game created no precedent whatsoever. That game was replayed, yes. But since then there have been hundreds — probably thousands — of clearly botched calls in baseball, and I can’t think of any other games that have been replayed following a Commissioner’s overturn of the calls. There may have been a couple. I seriously doubt there have been more than three, if that.

Which isn’t to say that replaying the game wouldn’t be the right thing. It certainly would be the fair thing. It would not, however, represent the upholding of precedent, as that word is understood among people who make decisions about important matters. To the contrary, the pine tar game and any other replayed game are the outliers. The exceptions to the rules. They’re the 1983 slip opinion from a lower court in a far flung jurisdiction which, however instructive, is not at all binding.

More relavent precedent? Major League Baseball’s ignoring blown calls as if it were required to do so, citing the “human element” and making some reference to “a can of worms,” shrugging its shoulders and hoping to God that one game’s outcome will not impact a playoff race.  That’s like Supreme Court precedent for Bud Selig. And is exactly what will happen here, I wager.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.