Competitive balance fine, no need for expanded replay, says MLB President

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Baseball’s president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy was on “Mike & Mike in the Morning” yesterday, and was asked about the Yankees’ alleged buying a title. His response:

“I don’t think that’s a fair statement. Competitive balance has been a hallmark of the entire tenure of Commissioner [Bud] Selig. The numbers tell an awfully compelling story. Twenty of the 30 clubs have made the playoffs the last 10 years, when we’ve had eight different World Series champions. There is too much disparity. We’d like to see that gap close. That’s why we’ve been pushing revenue sharing. But if you look beyond the Yankees, that ratio is more compressed than people realize.”

That last bit reminded me of the famous Marion Barry quote in which he said that if you take out the killings, Washington D.C. actually has a very very low crime rate. Absolutely true! Totally not comforting!

DuPuy went to call for a reformation of the draft to add international players. Though he didn’t say it explicitly, he was also clearly advocating for hard slots on amateur signing bonuses. Both of those things will be demanded by the owners the next time the Collective Bargaining Agreement is up for renewal. If I had to guess now, I’d say that the players will give that to the owners, simply because neither of those things directly impact current players.

Finally, DuPuy was asked about the bad umping during the playoffs. In response he dismissed the call for expanded replay and said “Our job is to get the very best umpires on the field and for them to get the calls right.”  Given that he called some of the plays this postseason “inexplicable” I’m inclined to believe that there are some umpires — say, Phil Cuzzi and Tim McClelland — who are going to get blasted back to the stone age as a result of their performance this fall.

That’s not enough for some GMs, however, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports today:

“The playoffs were a mess,” a National League general manager said.”There is no reason not to have a replay ump upstairs.”

A second GM agreed but said he expects no action on replay in 2010. “That speaks to a real lack of vision and leadership at the commissioner’s office,” he said.

Psst! Bob! He’s talking about you.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.