Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Braves plan to interview Ron Washington, Bud Black for their managerial “opening”

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It was reported today that the Atlanta Braves plan to interview former major league managers Bud Black and Ron Washington for their managerial opening.

Or, should I say, “opening.” There is technically one, as Brian Snitker was named the interim manager after taking over for the fired Fredi Gonzalez back in May. But he went a long way toward making himself a strong candidate after finishing strong, going a 50-50 over their final 100 games, and showing a marked improvement in all facets of the game. They were 9-28 when Snitker took over. Team president John Hart and general manager John Coppolella both said today that Snitker is in the running to keep his job. Indeed, Snitker was at the media session today when they said it. If he wasn’t being seriously considered, he wouldn’t be there.

That said, Black and Washington are two strong candidates and are worth checking in on. Each have had great success at the helm of the Padres and Rangers, respectively, with Black being credited for doing far more with what he was given than many thought he should’ve done and Washington, obviously, winning two pennants with the Rangers. Each would be good choices for the Braves who have, for almost 30 years, have more or less had the same managerial philosophy by virtue of Bobby Cox’ long tenure followed by two men in Gonzalez and Snitker who came to prominence under Cox’s wing.

Still, I predict that Snitker will get the job on a permanent basis following the interviews. His success this year was undeniable and he deserves a chance to take this team to spring training and into a full season. I suspect that his leash may be a bit shorter than a lot of managers’ leashes might be and that, eventually, when the Braves are closer to playoff contention, they will make a move for a manager with more high-level experience. Based on Snitker’s comments today, if and when that were to happen, he would happily return to another role in the organization.

In the meantime, there is no downside to giving Snitker the job based on the good job he has done.

Wild Card, Division Series start times and networks announced

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Major League Baseball today announced the start times for Division Series games through Sunday, anyway.

TBS will exclusively televise all American League Postseason games. FS1 and MLB Network will exclusively televise all National League Division Series action. Yes, there are late start times. People live in different time zones and not everyone is going to be happy. You may complain all you’d like in the comments or on social media, but it’s not gonna change anything.

Anyway, here you go:

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Bud Selig leads the Hall of Fame Eras Committee ballot

Associated Press
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First off, know that there is no longer a “Veterans Committee” for the Hall of Fame. It is now called the “Eras Committees.” As before, the Eras Committees considers retired players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, along with managers, umpires and executives. The Eras are broken into three different categories and are each considered every three years.

This year the “Today’s Era” Eras Committee, covering 1988-present, will vote on candidates for the Hall of Fame. And this year’s ballot is stacked:

  • Bud Selig;
  • George Steinbrenner;
  • Harold Baines;
  • Albert Belle;
  • Will Clark;
  • Orel Hershiser;
  • Mark McGwire;
  • Davey Johnson;
  • Lou Piniella; and
  • John Schuerholz

Selig will likely get in easily because (a) he is baseball’s best commissioner of all time; (b) commissioners who have not literally broken the law, lasted in office only five minutes or weren’t removed by an angry coup tend to get in regardless; and (c) nearly every influential person in the game today owes one to Selig for one thing or another, including, quite likely, their position on the Eras Committee. So there’s that. I assume he’s unanimous. Despite the fact that he’s got some serious personal responsibility for the PED era, his leadership led to the cancellation of a World Series and was at least part of a group of people who broke the law.

I’ve argued in the past for George Steinbrenner being in the Hall of Fame. He was a major historical figure in baseball, even if you didn’t like him. He certainly set the tone for the free agency era which emerged in the mid-70s. Whether that gets him support, I have no idea.

I’ve argued in favor of McGwire and Schuerholz in the past. I think the former won’t make it due to the PED stuff and the latter will, if not now, then eventually. He’s probably the most successful baseball executive in the past 50 years. I’ve argued in favor of Belle in the past, but I can’t remember where I came down on him. I think I leaned yes, despite the short career. I’m sure the Eras Committee will say no to him and all of the other players on it. They don’t elect a lot of folks.

We’ll certainly have more coverage of this in December when the Eras Committee meets at the Winter Meetings to consider their candidacy.