Bud Selig

Bud Selig on the Oakland Coliseum: “it’s a pit”


Bud Selig was on John Feinstein’s radio show. Unlike yesterday, today Feinstein left the opinion-offering to others. Good move! Selig was asked about a lot of things. Two of note. First the A’s stadium situation. Here’s what he said about the Colisuem

“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”

When? Well, there’s a lawsuit and that committee’s agenda is about as barren as the Mojave, but he’ll solve it, by gum.  I wish I thought the San Jose lawsuit had a better chance of succeeding and thus the antitrust exemption scuttled, but I’m highly skeptical. When it gets dismissed it’ll be back in Selig’s court and I suppose we’ll be waiting around forever again.

The second topic: a generic softball about Hank Aaron being the true home run king. It’s a topic I hate because it’s just designed for people to offer their judgment about PEDs. Which is fine as far as it goes, but it’s not so fine when their opinion of such matters causes them to pretend that certain things never happened. Note: MLB still recognizes Barry Bonds as the home run champ. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to say that Bonds was better than Aaron in your view if you don’t want to. But you can’t wish away the actual records as matters of fact.

That said, I like Selig’s answer:

“Henry Aaron and I, as you know, have been extremely close friends for 58 years now; it’s hard to believe,” Selig said. “I believe he’s the greatest player of my generation. I saw him – I wish everybody could have seen him in the ’50s when he was young and not trying to pull everything. He was unbelievable to watch. Unbelievable. He’s a man of class, a man of dignity. He’s represented our sport beautifully, and his carer is legendary. I’m not going to say any more on that. You can figure out from my answer, I’m sure.”

Say what you want about Selig — and there’s a lot to say — but I like when he talks about this stuff because when he does it he sounds like a baseball fan. And he is a baseball fan. No matter what he’s done or not done, you can tell he loves the game. That, even if he’s the commissioner and views these things differently than I do, I could at least sit and have a baseball debate with him about it rather than have him be some joyless Bowie Kuhn type.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.