Bill Baer

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16:  Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks at a press conference on youth initiatives hosted by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association at Citi Field on June 16, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Rob Manfred: “Excessive regulation could have a really dramatic impact” on minors

31 Comments

Recently, legislation proposed by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) called “Save America’s Pastime Act,” or H.R. 5580, would have amended language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 so that Major League Baseball could continue to pay minor league players a pittance.

After widespread public criticism, Bustos withdrew her support for the bill, but Major League Baseball doubled down. In a press release, MLB called minor league ball “not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship.”

That comment, too, received widespread criticism. On Tuesday, speaking to the media prior to the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park, commissioner Rob Manfred tripled down. Via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

Which, obviously, is hogwash. Major League Baseball was valued at nearly $9.5 billion according to Forbes last December. And just a few weeks ago, Major League Baseball sold a 33 percent share in Advanced Media to Disney, valued at around $1.1 billion. Manfred could lose a billion in the couch cushions and Major League Baseball wouldn’t skip a beat. It could certainly afford to pay its minor leaguers a living wage such that they wouldn’t have to cram more people into an apartment than there are bedrooms and bathrooms. It could pay them enough to ensure they’re eating vegetables instead of fast food.

Also implied in Manfred’s statement, and explicitly said in MLB’s statement, is that the small towns support the minor league franchises. That’s not the case. The major league teams are responsible for covering the costs of its minor league affiliates.

Giancarlo Stanton hits many dingers, wins Home Run Derby

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 11:  Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins competes during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at PETCO Park on July 11, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
18 Comments

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton came into Monday’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park as a number five seed due to a slightly underwhelming first half in which he hit only 20 home runs. The seeding was done based on first half home run totals. It might’ve been a little off.

In racking up prodigious home run totals each round, Stanton also hit many dingers very far. Early in the finals, ESPN put up this graphic, showing the longest homers of the Derby, which included all participants. I could only laugh after seeing it:

MLB.com’s Daren Willman did yeoman’s work providing Statcast data throughout the Derby. At the end of it, here’s a look at the damage Stanton did:

(The second column is the home run distance, the third column is the exit velocity.)

Stanton jacked 24 homers in the first round, which might’ve demoralized his first round bracket opponent Robinson Cano. The Mariners’ second baseman could only manage seven home runs, about three and a half times fewer home runs than Stanton hit.

Stanton opened up the second round having to overcome Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo, who rivaled Stanton in terms of his power display. It wasn’t too farfetched to think Trumbo could knock Stanton out, but it wasn’t to be. The Marlins’ slugger, who Christian Yelich said was not a mortal man, nailed 17 home runs. Trumbo was able to hit the video board — something which Stanton said he was targeting in a pregame interview — but he totaled only 14, sending Stanton to the finals.

On the other side of the bracket, White Sox third baseman and defending Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier knocked out Carlos Gonzalez in the first round 13-12, then took down Reds outfielder Adam Duvall 16-15 to advance to the finals against Stanton.

In the finals, Stanton hit first and though visibly exhausted, it didn’t show in the results. Stanton continued to hit long-distance homers, including one of his 497-foot shots. He wound up with 20 homers in his final round. Frazier was unable to match that, settling for 13 homers, dropping the 2016 Home Run Derby to Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is the first member of the Marlins to win a Derby, though perhaps the least surprising winner.

Home Run Derby live update thread

American League's Todd Frazier, of the Chicago White Sox, prepares to hit during batting practice prior to the MLB baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, Monday, July 11, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
2 Comments

In case you’re not able to catch the Home Run Derby live, or just like following along here, I’ll update you on the action at Petco Park throughout the night.

Round 1

8:21 PM EDT: Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager led things off, taking pitches from his dad. He took a line drive approach and started off a little slow. Towards the latter half of his four-minute window, he found his groove. With less than 30 seconds remaining on his timer, Seager hit a missile out to right field, landing 454 feet away from home plate. That earned him an extra 30 seconds, finishing with 12 homers after his first four minutes. Seager tacked on another three homers, finishing with 15. Quite a way to kick off the Home Run Derby.

8:27 PM EDT: Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo stepped to the plate next, taking pitches from Jett Ruiz, the Orioles’ bullpen catcher. His first homer went 449 feet, immediately clinching that bonus 30 second window. Trumbo took a time out — something Seager did not do — with 1:15 remaining and eight homers on the board. His first swing upon return was a monster home run on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, and wound up hitting eight dingers in a row. He got to 16 before his time ran out, so he didn’t even need the extra 30 seconds. Trumbo is on to the second round.

8:40 PM EDT: Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton took pitches from Marlins administrative coach Pat Shine. He got on the board immediately. His fourth homer cleared the batting eye in center field, going 475 feet. He took a time out with 1:59 remaining on the clock and 12 dingers on the board. Stanton came just short, on at least four occasions, of hitting the scoreboard in left field, which is more than 500 feet from home plate. Stanton finished with 22 home runs in four minutes. With his 30 bonus seconds, the slugger tacked on two more dingers. 24 homers total. Wow.

8:49 PM EDT: Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano stepped to the plate needing to hit 25 homers to move on to the second round. His dad Jose was lobbing in pitches. Needless to say, the pace didn’t quite match Stanton’s. Cano finished with seven homers. Stanton moves on, easily.

8:59 PM EDT: Hometown favorite Wil Myers stepped in, opening up his bracket match against Adam Duvall. Taking pitches from his brother Beau, Wil got started quickly, homering on each of his first two swings. Beau actually hit him with a pitch, but Wil neglected to charge the mound. He got up to seven before calling time-out with 1:14 on the clock. With his remaining 74 seconds, Myers blasted three more before the end of his regulation time. As he didn’t hit one 440 feet or farther, Myers didn’t earn any bonus time. Duvall will need to jack at least 11 dingers to move on.

9:04 PM EDT: Duvall stepped in, taking pitches from Tony Padilla, a former coach he had with the Sacramento River Cats, the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate. He got started quickly, and wound up tying Myers at 10 home runs with 1:51 remaining. He clinched his trip to the second round about 25 seconds later. No hometown storyline for Myers. Duvall is moving on.

9:16 PM EDT: Carlos Gonzalez opened up the final bracket against Todd Frazier, taking pitches from Fred Ocasio, the manager of the Modesto Nuts, the Rockies’ Single-A affiliate. He was slow out of the gate. Gonzalez called timeout with 2:01 on the clock and only five homers on the board. After stepping back in the box, Gonzalez ripped two homers in a row, fell into a rut, went on a homer streak, then fell back into a rut. All told, he ended regulation time with 12 homers, but he earned 30 bonus seconds. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit any home runs in bonus time. Defending Home Run Derby champion will need to hit 13 home runs to advance.

9:23 PM EDT: Todd Frazier wrapped up the first round, taking pitches from his brother Charlie. As the ESPN broadcast noted, Charlie isn’t exactly the quickest at lobbing the pitches towards home plate, but it didn’t seem to matter. Frazier belted seven home runs before calling time out with 2:13 on the clock. He was slow to get back on the board after the time out, but still managed to crank out six more before the end of regulation, giving him 13 homers to advance to the second round. No need for bonus time.

Round 2

9:37 PM EDT: Stanton launched the second round, needing to overcome Trumbo to advance to the finals. Heck, Stanton-Trumbo is just as good as — if not better than — the finals. Stanton cranked a bunch into the second deck in left-center field. His pace wasn’t quite as frenetic as the first round, understandably. Stanton called time out with 2:21 on the clock and six dingers to his slate. His first homer out of the break went 486 feet. Number 11 went 489 feet. Number 15 went 497 feet. He finished with 17 in regulation time. Stanton wasn’t able to add on with his 30 bonus seconds. Trumbo’s gotta hit 18 to get to the finals, which would be more than his first round total.

9:44 PM EDT: Trumbo hit the scoreboard with his first homer. So someone did something that Stanton couldn’t do, which is nice. His sixth homer got onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. The slugger used his time out with 2:05 on the clock and six homers. Trumbo’s pace just wasn’t quick enough. He ended regulation with 12 homers, meaning he’d need to hit at least five in his 30 bonus seconds to move on. He could only manage two homers, leaving him with 14 total. Stanton is on to the finals of the Home Run Derby.

9:56 PM EDT: Duvall kicked off the other side of the bracket in the second round, opposite Frazier. He started off on a line drive trend, but started lofting fly balls as the clock winded down. At long last, he called timeout with 1:08 on the clock and 11 home runs to his name. Duvall came back from the break and finished out his regulation time with four more to settle with 15. As he didn’t hit two home runs 440 feet or beyond, he didn’t earn 30 bonus seconds. Frazier will need 16 home runs to advance to the finals against Stanton.

10:03 PM EDT: Frazier seemed to be just under the pace, but caught fire right before the halfway point of his four-minute allotment. He called time out with 1:30 on the clock and 12 dingers. 90 seconds to hit four dingers. Out of the break, he didn’t hit homers on his first five swings. He got on a roll, hitting three in a row to tie. With about 35 seconds remaining on the clock, Frazier lined a Mark McGwire-esque (#62) shot down the left field line, just narrowly clearing the fence for his clinching 16th home run. He’s on to the finals to face Stanton.

Finals

10:17 PM EDT: Stanton started off with four homers in about the first 30 seconds, but went homerless for the next 45 seconds or so. He called time out at 2:25 with six dingers. Teammate Jose Fernandez came out and offered Stanton some Gatorade. It must’ve done the trick. Stanton hit seven in the next minute. He called another time out with 46 seconds on the clock and 15 dingers. Regulation ended with 19 homers. In his 30 bonus seconds, Stanton only hit one, but he put the onus on Frazier to hit 21 to win the Home Run Derby. That’s gonna be tough.

10:28 PM EDT: Frazier fought valiantly, but he didn’t have enough left in the tank. He took a time out with 2:51 on the clock and only three homers. Out of his break, he hit three homers in a row and got to nine at the halfway point, two minutes. He went homerless from that point, then called another time out with 1:24 left. He finished with 13 and didn’t earn any bonus time, so we have a new Home Run Derby champion: Giancarlo Stanton.