Jeff Fletcher of FanHouse is at Turner Field and he just tweeted that fans just gave Brooks Conrad a standing ovation as he stood in the outfield during batting practice.
That makes me happy.
Braves fans, as I have said on numerous occasion, are not the best fans in the world. They have to be cajoled to show up. They have to be cajoled into cheering. In some ways they’re worse than fair weather fans because they don’t even show up in fair weather unless it’s seen as the fashionable thing to do. And don’t even get me started on the Chop. Dear GOD I hate the Chop.
But they’re decent people for the most part. They don’t boo guys. That might offend a lot of you because, hey, sometimes people need booin’, but it fits my temperament just fine. They generally understand that athletes are human beings with their own lives and stresses and concerns. It’s hard to get amped up for a Braves game in that environment, but it’s nice to know that the person sitting next to you is probably a decent human being.
Still stinging over the Conrad play. Ready and willing to let it go though and hope for the best tonight. Glad to see the fans in Atlanta giving him a warm reception so far.
I’m sure I’ll be posting after the game tonight. Talk to you then.
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?