Brian Sabean: “the game is East Coast-centric”

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An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Giants GM Brian Sabean, who notes that life hasn’t changed all that much for the World Series champs in terms of hype or outside media interest or anything like that.  Part of that may be, he explains, because of the dreaded east coast bias:

“It teaches us that the game is East Coast-centric. If you came in here after traveling on a year-long safari in Africa and knew nothing about the events of last year, you would not know there was any difference.”

East Coast-centric?

“We were joking about the Phillies’ press conference they chose to have, I guess, because of all the interest with their starting pitchers. Somebody told me they had 200 media people there. And they didn’t even get to the World Series.”

I don’t think Sabean is complaining here or taking a swipe at the Phillies rotation, but I also don’t think that interest in the Phillies rotation compared to the Giants winning the World Series is indicative of anything, east coast centrism or otherwise.

Someone wins the World Series in the fall and starts spring training the following February every single year. Unless they import some player with a singularly large media following like Hideki Matsui, the same media contingent that follows them each spring shows up.  Maybe during your first game of spring training you get some guest members of the national sporting press hanging around — the Giants’ spring kickoff played host to me, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times and Dave Brown of Yahoo!, among others — but beyond that it’s the same half-dozen beat writers and a random camera crew or two who always cover the team.

What doesn’t happen every year is the assembly of an All-Star rotation like that in Philly. So when the Phillies — who were no doubt inundated with individual press inquiries — decide to hold a press conference about it, of course it’s going to garner considerable interest.

Put differently, the Giants aren’t news. They were news in October and if they do anything neat again, they will again be news.  The Phillies rotation coming together is news.  And reporters tend to go where the news is.

(link via BTF)

Mookie Betts could play second base in the World Series

Mookie Betts
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The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.

The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.

The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.

Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.