Selig: expanded playoffs coming, but maybe not next year

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When Bud Selig talks to reporters he usually runs thought three or four things and then walks on. He did that last night in Milwaukee. Here are the things:

  • Labor negotiations are moving along just swell. There is no timetable or deadlines for implementing a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires in December, but no one is sweating it. It’s gonna happen.
  • Expanded playoffs are a near-certainty, but Selig is not optimistic that it could be implemented for 2012.  He was asked how to square expanded playoffs with not stretching the season into November, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem, strongly suggesting that the plan will be to do one-game play-ins between the two wild card teams in each league. My guess: everyone is still high from that game 162 crack cocaine from two weeks ago and wants to keep the feeling of scheduled win-or-go-home games alive.
  • Selig met with would-be Astros’ owner Jim Crane last week. The meeting went well he said, but there’s still no word on when or if Crane will be approved as the owner before the November 30th deadline built into Crane’s deal with current owner Drayton McLane.
  • He has no concerns about the Mets or their finances. He also sounded pretty optimistic about how the Dodgers’ litigation is going.
  • While he maintains that he will retire after the 2012 season, Selig left open the possibility that he would travel to the city of Istar during the Age of Might and ensconce himself in the court of the Kingpriest. Thereafter, he would use an artifact called the Bloodstone to retain his immortality and eventually enter The Abyss and seek to challenge Takhisis and become a god.

Hmm. Wait. That last one may have been mis-transcribed. I’d check my notes but I lost ’em. Oh well.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.