How Philadelphia lost the Athletics

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Great, long story from Warren Corbett at The Hardball Times today about the waning days of the Philadelphia Athletics.

Connie Mack was in his 90s and his race was all but run. His kids were feuding. The team was hemorrhaging money and no one could figure out what to do. As the Macks tried to hold on to the team — or sell it, depending on which Mack you asked — the other American League owners all had their own agendas on what should happen to the A’s. Some wanted them to stay in Philly. Some wanted them to move to Kansas City. Some wanted them to move to Los Angeles before the National League moved west. Meanwhile Bill Veeck, who had just been drummed out of ownership in St. Louis, was literally hanging around outside the board room trying to get involved.

Just a fascinating look at how the Lords of Baseball dealt with one of the AL’s charter franchises in 1954. How they got to Kansas City and, eventually, Oakland. And how the machinations which are keeping the A’s out of San Jose — or anywhere else — today seem like child’s play compared to the plight of the Philadelphia Athletics.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.