Craig Calcaterra

Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom to start Game 1 of the World Series


Buster Olney reports that Jacob deGrom will get the start in Game 1 of the World Series for the New York Mets. It’s not deGrom’s turn, but five days off allows Terry Collins to arrange his rotation however he likes. Following deGrom will be Noah Syndergaard in Game 2, Matt Harvey in Game 3 and Steven Matz in Game 4.

Collins will no doubt address his reasons for this sometime soon. One possible reason, I suppose, is that deGrom and Syndergaard have higher strikeout rates and would be better suited to face the Blue Jays in Rogers Centre. Not that we’re dealing with dramatic or particularly significant differences or anything. But I guess you have to pick somehow.

MLB does not like celebrating teams spraying fans with champagne

Terry Collins champagne

Arash Markazi over at has an article up about champagne celebrations in baseball. How they started, the logistics involved and stuff like that.

We’ve seen articles like this before, but this one is more in-depth. And it also includes a bit of newsy stuff buried in the middle: Major League Baseball is getting a bit bent out shape about celebrating teams taking champagne out on the field and spraying fans.

This has happened a few times in recent years, most recently the other night when Terry Collins sprayed a bunch of Mets fans who were hanging around in Wrigley Field after Game 4. It seemed that fun was being had by all, but the league is not particularly happy. From Markazi’s story, after he quotes an MLB spokesman about the clear rules in place prohibiting teams from taking alcohol out of the clubhouse, under threat of the league taking “appropriate steps”:

The problem is, teams have been violating the rules, leaving the commissioner’s office to ponder those “appropriate steps.” Images of players drinking on the field and spraying fans with champagne have become commonplace this postseason, leading the league to contact the guilty parties and warn them that future incidents will result in discipline.

“Things have gone beyond where they’re supposed to,” said one league source. “You just have to turn on the TV and can see it.”

It’s a tough balance I suppose, but it’s a problem of the league’s own making.

Baseball is heavily sponsored by alcohol companies. The signs are everywhere, they serve it in comically oversized cups to fans, many of whom become inebriated by the time the third inning rolls around. What’s more, as the article makes clear, even these celebrations in particular are sponsored by alcohol, with set rules and product placement and everything else. I get the reason for the rule of not taking the celebration to the fans and appreciate that it should be a fairly easy line for players not to cross, but it’s something set in motion in large part by the league’s policies to begin with. If they want to stop it, they need to level some clear discipline beyond talking about “appropriate steps.”

One wonders, if they do that, whether the good folks sponsoring these things might be displeased. After all, they can’t claim that spraying booze at people is not “drinking responsibly.” They underwrite the very practice.

Playoff Reset: ALCS Game 6

David Price

Feelin’ pretty smart. Earlier this week I made some big investments over at the New York Word Exchange that are paying off pretty well right now. I dropped $100 on the word “commanding” just before NLCS Game 3 and ALCS Game 4, and that skyrocketed. Then, just as the Blue Jays were putting up those runs on Wednesday, I went big in “pivotal” and “crucial” in time for Game 6. I don’t get rich with this stuff, but I realize good enough returns to cover Christmas shopping and then put the rest in an IRA. Investing is about the future.

Now, on to crucial, pivotal Game 6:

The Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Kauffman Stadium
The Channel: FS1
The StartersDavid Price vs. Yordano Ventura
The Upshot: When I saw David Price warming up in the bullpen during Game 5 on Wednesday despite a big Blue Jays lead, I was put in mind of Price’s largely unnecessary relief appearance in the ALDS and wondered what in the heck he had done to tick off John Gibbons. Thankfully he didn’t come into the game and the Jays now have what they traded a nice couple of prospects for: one of the game’s best pitchers on the mound for them in a game they have to win. I don’t put too much stock in “statement games” and storylines and such — baseball is basically randomness set to organ music — but you have to figure that Price is motivated to go eight or nine innings and strike out a gabillion guys simply to show his manager that he’s not a $19.75M swingman. And motivation isn’t totally meaningless.

For Kansas City it’s Yordano Ventura, who faced Price in Game 2. There he left thinking he was going to take the loss only to watch his teammates rally big against Price in the seventh inning. That was pretty great, but it hid the fact that he was sorta “meh” in that game, allowing three runs and eight hits in five and a third. That may be good enough given how many runs both of these teams are scoring, but like I said, my superstitious, magical realism side tells me that Price is gonna come up big tonight and that Ventura needs to be sharp to match him.

Finally, a word about Game 6s. They don’t get the press and the glory of Game 7s, but they’ve always been more interesting to me. I think it’s more of a late-80s NBA thing in my case. I’m too lazy to go back and look, but it at least seemed to me that every series featured some team going up 3-2, losing Game 6 and then totally getting crushed in Game 7, as if they left their souls on the court the day before. I can’t be the only one who felt this way because fan talk seems to be in strong favor of the notion that the team which wins Game 6 has some huge psychological advantage for Game 7, etc. etc. I don’t guess the numbers bear that out, but that’s the vibe.

Which is to say that, despite the fact that the Royals could lose tonight and still go to the World Series with a win tomorrow, they probably should win tonight if they wish their season to continue. I’m already out on some sort of “statement game”-gut instinct limb here with David Price, so there must be powerful forces at work if I’m likewise putting stock in that “crucial and pivotal Game 6” rebop.

Quick, someone open up that first aid kit and apply a copy of “How We Know What Isn’t So” directly to my wounds.