This came out before last night’s instant-history game, but it’s not like the 2014 playoffs just got exciting last night. They’ve been a thrill ride. Often an experience in head-smacking insanity — “why is he doing THAT NOW?” — but never, ever boring. Indeed, so far this may be the most exciting postseason in several years.
He uses his column to say that the matchups are all ho-hum, an assessment which is filtered entirely through TV ratings and, it would appear, the absence of east coast teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Why on Earth would anyone want to watch these playoffs, he seems to say, given that large corporations aren’t profiting off of them as much as they may otherwise do?
I get that he’s a business writer first (his actual baseball opinions are probably left untouched, because oh my God are they terrible), but this is simply ridiculous. Ratings do matter to the companies which broadcast games and to the bottom line of the leagues. But to assert, in the middle of a crazy-good playoff season that this is all “boring” because that extremely small segment of the universe may be displeased is not just missing the forest for the trees, it’s saying “hey, let’s just not go to the country anyway. Trees are overrated. Let’s go walk around downtown.”
The Tigers were dealt a big blow last spring when their starting shortstop, Jose Iglesias, went down with fractures in both of his shins. But according to GM Dave Dombrowski, he should be OK come February:
Iglesias is ramping up his baseball activity, president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said during the team’s end-of-the-season news conference Tuesday.
“The doctors tell me he’ll be fine,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going to be ready for spring training, he’s going to be ready to go, and he’s over all of his (injuries).”
Dombrowski is cautious in his assessment, however, likely remembering that last winter the thought was that Iglesias merely had shin splits and that he’d be fine with a few days off.
Either way, Iglesias going down led the Tigers to make constant adjustments at short, from Alex Gonzalez to Andrew Romine to Eugenio Suarez. Getting Iglesias back for 2015 would be like adding a top free agent for free.
The other day, as the NLCS was getting ready to resume in San Francisco, the Post’s Kevin Kernan tweeted a couple of pics from the AT&T Park press box with the clear intent of taunting pampered Yankees fans back home:
Fans riveted no one in luxury restaurant watching on TV pic.twitter.com/RwwU1kbp9a
— Kevin Kernan (@WheresKernan) October 14, 2014
No what else is great about AT&T Park — No Moat pic.twitter.com/7PWHQm0mJz
— Kevin Kernan (@WheresKernan) October 14, 2014
The idea, obviously, is that unlike those swells at new Yankee Stadium, AT&T Park was all about baseball fans exposed to the weather, there for the experience and the nuts and bolts of the game.
Well, not all of them. Mike Oz of Big League Stew gives us a tour of AT&T Park’s Gotham Club, and I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a more glitzy and fancy ballpark experience:
It’s hidden in plain sight, but behind that door is a VIP experience unlike any other in MLB. It’s a sort of baseball country club for diehard San Francisco Giants fans who shell out a nice chunk of change for a members-only pre- and post-game hangout space. There’s nothing else like this in MLB, Gotham Club reps say . . . They call this The Game Room, it’s part of The Gotham Club experience, with a two-lane bowling alley, a pool table, vintage arcade games, a bar, black-and-white baseball photos on the wall and music from 60 years ago. The bowling alley, in true baseball fashion, counts mph on each roll.
Mike has a lot of pictures and video of the place. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited into some club level joints around the league, but nothing compares to what they have going on in San Francisco.
Which doesn’t make them any different than a lot of places, even if they do their fancy experience up a little fancier. Most ballparks have this sort of thing happening now. Yankee Stadium is no worse, really. The idea of high roller sections and places for the unwashed masses is increasingly common in baseball parks and, for that matter, society as a whole. Your mileage may vary as to whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.
Some option news from the Batlimore Orioles. The Sun reports that the Orioles will exercise the options of reliever Darren O’Day ($4.25 million) and Wei-Yin Chen ($4.75 million) but will decline the option of Nick Hundley ($5 million).
Hundley is no surprise, as the O’s expect to get Matt Weiters back next season and will have Caleb Joseph in the fold. O’Day is a tad expensive for a reliever, but he is one of the best setup guys in baseball so it makes total sense that they want him back. Chen is an utter no-brainer, as his option is less than half of what other, comparable starters routinely get.