The Continental League

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What if there was a competing major league, set up by an undisputed
genius, located in major cities, broadcast on pay cable and set up so
that everyone shared revenue and TV money so as not to give one team a
Yankees-like financial advantage? Neat idea? Well, they already had that idea and it didn’t work out as planned:

Monday is the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Continental
League, and it is understandable if the moment does not trigger a flood
of happy associations or, for that matter, any memories at all.

The Continental was to be Major League Baseball’s third league: an
eight-team circuit that would, in the view of its architect, spread the
game across the land, ensuring its position as America’s pre-eminent
spectator sport. That the vision for the league came from Branch
Rickey, the sport’s éminence grise, gave it instant and national
legitimacy, so much so that on the day it was officially announced,
July 27, 1959, reporters flooded the Biltmore Hotel to chronicle the
event.

Fascinating article that presages a book on the Continental League by
its author, Michael Shapiro. Definitely check it out if you have a
moment or two.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.