Bud Selig

MLB is gonna tell us what it has on A-Rod at some point, right?


Is Major League Baseball going to show us what it has on Alex Rodriguez?  I feel like it has to at some point, don’t you?

Maybe not if they settle. If A-Rod and is legal team agree to take some harsh discipline and part of that is an agreement that MLB keep what it has on him confidential, I’m OK with that. Because at least at that point the person most directly affected by MLB’s act — A-Rod himself — has implicitly agreed that the evidence against him is strong and roughly justifies the penalty he receives.  But what if he fights? And what if that fight lasts a long, long time? Won’t Major League Baseball have to tell us what A-Rod did exactly?

I say that because, while we have heard report after report about just how badly A-Rod behaved, we don’t have anything but the most broad explanations of it. He allegedly used PEDs. He allegedly lied about it. He allegedly obstructed the investigation. There are disputes about how he did so, ranging from him simply talking to Tony Bosch and/or Porter Fischer about buying evidence, possibly at their initiation, possibly his, to him actively trying to destroy it and intimidate witnesses.

There’s a lot of ground covered in those allegations. If the worst is borne out it may very well justify A-Rod being banned for life. But a more charitable interpretation of those allegations covers things other Biogenesis-related players have done. Ryan Braun took PEDs and lied. Melky Cabrera took PEDs and attempted to obstruct. It’s not easy to say based on what we know that what they did was 1/3 as bad (if, say, A-Rod gets 150 games) or a fraction as bad (if A-Rod is banned for life).

Is Major League Baseball obligated to tell us anything? No. They’re a private enterprise. And of course, there is supposed to be a general cloak of confidentiality around all drug discipline.  But that has long gone out the window thanks to leaks from people close to the process.  And, more importantly, because of the unorthodox nature of this entire process.  If things were operating as the Joint Drug Agreement specifies, fine, we can accept silence. But there is large deviation from that now and we’re not sure why.

And ultimately, there is a credibility issue in play. Buck Showalter today observed that MLB’s discipline of Rodriguez is going to create a windfall for the Yankees’ business interests and possibly its competitive ones. He is most certainly right. Others — including many HBT readers — have gone a step further, saying that this is all starting to look like a very convenient way of getting the league’s marquee franchise out from under one of its largest ever financial mistakes: signing A-Rod to a ridiculous contract in the first place.

As I said earlier today, I’m not inclined to engage in conspiracy theories and I feel like any benefit to the Yankees is incidental and welcome, not intended. But not everyone is going to think that way. Some will think this is rigged. More calm and reasonable people may not buy that, but may very well think Major League Baseball is acting arbitrarily with respect to Rodriguez and may wonder why he is being treated so harshly when Ryan Braun, who was portrayed as just as villainous until two weeks ago, got off so lightly. Maybe that is justified. But I feel like we should not have to take that on Major League Baseball’s word alone.

Perhaps MLB intends to present its evidence to the public at some point anyway and my concern is unfounded. Perhaps it is merely, and understandably, waiting for this process to play out first.  That would make sense.  But I do think, at some point, people should know why the game’s highest paid and highest profile player is getting either a defacto or an actual lifetime ban when no one else involved in roughly similar activities is getting anything close.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.