Three decades after regrettably trading a 21-year-old Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs the Phillies have hired the Hall of Famer to manage their Triple-A team.
Sandberg managed at Triple-A for the Cubs this season, but left the organization after finishing runner-up to Mike Quade in the team’s manager search and talked about wanting to land a big-league job instead of remaining in the minors any longer.
So, either Sandberg had a change of heart or the big-league coaching opportunities weren’t very plentiful.
Whatever the case, he’s back with the organization that drafted him way back in 1978 and Cubs fans are left wondering why Sandberg couldn’t have just stayed in Iowa if he was willing to continue managing at Triple-A.
Adding another layer of intrigue to the Cubs-to-Phillies move is that the man Sandberg was traded for, Ivan DeJesus, is now the third base coach on Quade’s staff in Chicago.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.