The Braves’ Brooks Conrad just hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Braves a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Reds. Atlanta was down 8-0 after two innings. They were down 9-3 entering the bottom of the ninth. When Arthur Rhodes struck out Jason Heyward with the bases juiced in the ninth, I figured it was over. Then Dusty went to Francisco Cordero and Conrad went yard. The ball actually bounced out of Laynce Nix’s glove and over the fence. He should have been out, but it just didn’t go down like that. You can see the video here.
You don’t have to be a Braves fan to appreciate the gravity of this one. For good and for bad. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay just tweeted that this was the the “most stunning loss” in his time covering the Reds.
But Braves fans enjoy this one. For my part, I was speechless for the first three minutes. Since then
I’ve been doing a little happy dance.
The season ain’t over yet.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?