Getty Images

USA Today ranks the 100 most powerful people in baseball

26 Comments

USA Today has complied a list of who, based on their assessment, are the 100 most powerful people in baseball. Unlike a lot of lists like these, it’s well-reasoned and not played for laughs. Each entry has a good thumbnail of what role the person in question plays in baseball and why they appear where they do on the list. It’s hard to argue with too much of it, actually.

You will not be surprised that Rob Manfred is at the top of the list. You may be surprised that Sean Forman, the founder and owner of Baseball-Reference.com makes the list at #49. I guess I’m a bit surprised but I’m happy for him. That’s the best site on the Internet. David Appleman, head honcho of FanGraphs is at 62. Viva stat geeks.

The top player: Bryce Harper, at number 11, whose marketability and impending free agency give him a more prominent position than some better players. Derek Jeter isn’t even in baseball at the moment and he makes number 22 on the list. Same with David Ortiz at 32. Shohei Otani comes in at 47 and he’s on the NPB disabled list. Most of the active MLB’ers on the list are in the second 50.

There are a ton of executives, from the league, from clubs, and from media companies, obviously. The top pure-media guy, however, is Ken Rosenthal at number 51. The next time you get too caught up worrying about what this or that baseball writer or talking head says, remember, they’re not as powerful as a couple of dudes who run stats websites and several retired guys.

The thing I find most notable about the list: Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, is only at number seven. He’s behind his counterpart in Manfred, Dan Halem, MLB’s top labor negotiator, Tony Petitti, the man in charge of pace-of-play initiatives, Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, agent Scott Boras and Bob Bowman, the man who runs MLBAM.

Put differently: there are six people who are directly involved with decisions regarding the rules and conditions under which players work and who manage and benefit from income streams which players are most responsible for creating that, in at least USA Today’s judgment, are more powerful than the union rep. That’s . . . not ideal. And it’s telling.

Aaron Judge’s record strikeout streak ends at 37 games

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the first time in a month and a half, Aaron Judge went an entire game without striking out, ending his record streak at 37 games. Judge had an RBI single and three walks in Tuesday night’s 13-4 victory over the Tigers.

Judge went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and zero strikeouts in a 9-4 loss to the Brewers on July 7. Between July 8 and August 20, Judge would strike out in all 37 games, breaking the record previously held by Adam Dunn, who struck out in the first 32 games of the 2012 season. If one counted streaks extending into multiple seasons, Dunn held the record at 36 games as he struck out in his final four games in 2011 as well.

After Tuesday’s performance, Judge is now hitting .284/.417/.594 with 37 home runs, 81 RBI, and 93 runs scored in 525 plate appearances on the season. He’s had a particularly rough second half, as he entered Tuesday with a .684 OPS since the All-Star break, a far cry from his 1.139 OPS before the break.

Video: Adrian Gonzalez doubles for his 2,000th career hit

Dave Reginek/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was able to get a ground ball past Pirates first baseman Josh Bell for a double leading off the top of the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s game. He would come around to score later in the inning on a Corey Seager single, breaking a 1-1 tie.

The double gave Gonzalez 2,000 hits for his career. He is the 282nd player in baseball history and the 11th active player to reach 2,000 career hits. Gonzalez also has 300 home runs, making him one of 94 players with at least 300 dingers and 2,000 hits.

Gonzalez, who was recently activated from the disabled list, entered Tuesday’s action hitting .247/.295/.330 with one home run and 25 RBI in 201 plate appearances on the season.