Hurricane Irene is totally messing with this weekend’s games

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Yesterday the Marlins and the Reds played a double header in order to get out ahead of Hurricane Irene’s impact.  As of a few minutes ago we have our first official rejiggering of the schedule for this weekend: the Phillies have moved Sunday’s game to Saturday, making it part of a day-night doubleheader with the Marlins.

Of course, there’s a decent chance that rain will already be falling on Philly by Saturday, but I suppose that the Phils are counting on the combined awesomeness of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay to keep the atmospheric forces at bay.

There are many other series that are bound to be impacted by Irene, including the Yankees-Orioles in Baltimore, Braves-Mets in New York and the Athletics-Red Sox in Boston. No word on those, but there’s a non-trivial chance that we’ll have as many as 19 games on Saturday as a result. And if some of those get rained out the last few weeks of the season are likely to be a scheduling nightmare.

In the HBT video today I cursed James Bond for screwing up Martinis. I doubly curse him now for vanquishing villains who had perfectly good weather control systems at their disposal. Sure, they’re mostly used for evil, but I bet we could have persuaded them to have this storm pushed off the east coast in the name of baseball, right?

Please trade Manny Machado already, will ya?

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Manny Machado has been on the trading block for some time now, and he’s obviously a highly sought-after player who will command a nice haul for the Orioles if and when they deal him. Until they do that, however, let us talk for a moment about how to read a given trade rumor that gets tweeted or reported out into the ether.

Let’s look at the latest one, shall we? It goes like this:

At the outset, let me be clear about something: I do not doubt this reporting. Heyman is well-sourced, and I’m sure he’s hearing this exact thing. But so too are other reporters reporting other things, such as a rumor that floated around yesterday that the Phillies were in the lead. And so too are the guys who, several days ago, reported that a Machado trade was “on the 10 yard line.” Yesterday some random person on Twitter, claiming they had inside info, reached out to me to tell me that the O’s and the Phillies had a “handshake deal” in place (which sounded totally bogus, BTW). It’s all so imminent and urgent-sounding.

It’s urgent-sounding not because fast-paced and urgent activity is happening. Some GMs are texting one another, just like they always do. Some are making offers and waiting to hear from the Orioles, some are getting counters from the Orioles and are considering them. The GMs of two teams competing for Machado are not, themselves, in communication. In that respect it is decidedly not like a horse race or a football game.

The Orioles want it to be one, though, and make no mistake, that’s where these rumors are coming from.

The Orioles have a vested interest in the Dodgers, Brewers and Phillies upping their bids to beat out the other suitors, and it’s hard not to see all of these reports as stuff the Orioles are telling reporters in order to get the other clubs to think they’re going to miss out. It’s the Orioles and the Orioles alone who have a vested interest in this appearing more like a horse race — or a football game — and thus are cultivating horse race coverage. Whether it’s coordinated or whether it’s just random people in Baltimore telling what they know to reporters I have no idea, but that’s what this is.

That’s interesting to me as a media guy, and I guess it’s interesting to fans of the teams involved, but it’s probably good to remember that it’s less baseball news, proper, than it is a team using the media to get leverage.