Zito plunks Prince: Revenge is a dish best served six-months cold

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The Giants and the Brewers played in the Cactus League today and, against all odds, something (kinda) meaningful happened:

In the first inning of today’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee
Brewers, Zito hit Prince Fielder in the back with his first pitch in
apparent retaliation for Fielder’s staged “bowling pin” celebration
after his homer ended a Sept. 6 game in Milwaukee.

You remember that one, don’t you:

prince fielder hr celebration.jpgI’m fiercely opposed to guys throwing at one another out of b.s. like honor and adherence to the so-called unwritten rules, but that was really, really bush league by the Brewers and I probably would have plunked someone over it too.

And besides, Barry Zito’s fastball is in no danger of hurting anyone over the age of 6, so it’s all good.

UPDATEPrince Fielder’s comments after the game:

Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinel asked Fielder if the celebration was worth the ball in the back.

“Hell yeah,” Fielder said. “That’s something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them.”

“You’re damn right it was worth it.”

I hated the celebration, but I like that he’s at least owning it, ya know?

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?