The Brewers to retain two old guys

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Old guy number one is manager Ken Macha, who not only gets to finish out his two year contract — there were rumors a few weeks ago that he might not — but gets an option added for 2011 so, in the words of Doug Melvin, he won’t be a lame duck. 

Old guy number two is Trevor Hoffman, who is poised to sign a one year deal worth $8 million within the week.

Both deals are wise. Hoffman obviously still has it: he was 37 for 41 in save opportunities and posted a 1.83 ERA. Given his age he will almost certainly cease to have it at some point soon, but $8 million is more than worth the risk that the end will come after 2010.

As I wrote a week or so ago, Ken Macha isn’t the kind of manager who makes your heart race or anything, but it’s not his fault the Brewers didn’t return to the post season this year. Milwaukee’s rotation is what did them in.  Melvin will no doubt seek to improve that this winter, and he doesn’t need to be looking for a new manager as he does it.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.