Conflicting reports on the Athletics-San Jose thing

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It has been three years since Major League Baseball set up a committee to look into whether the A’s can move to San Jose. So you’d figure there would be some resolution on the matter now.  Guess what? Nope!

Two conflicting reports over the weekend. First from Bill Madden of the New York Daily News:

Unfortunately, the “Moneyball” film came up empty with the Academy Award voters, and the same fate beckons for Beane and Oakland A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher in their determined effort to move to a new stadium in Hi-Tech haven. The latter prospect, in which, for a variety of reasons, MLB is going to uphold the San Francisco Giants’ territorial rights in San Jose …

Then comes Hank Schulman’s report in the San Francisco Chronicle:

I’ve just been told by someone in the commissioner’s office that contrary to what a New York newspaper suggested yesterday, the A’s proposed move to San Jose is not on life support. And, it is not true that Commissioner Bud Selig and baseball owners have all but decided to uphold the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose, which would preclude the A’s from going there.

Who knows? Madden’s report was casual to the point of catatonic, passing along that little nugget in the course of yet another lame “Moneyball” analogy. If it was news — Extra! MLB to slam the A’s! — you’d think it would warrant its own story or at least its own sentence. This smells like scuttlebutt that couldn’t be confirmed and is now being passed along as gossipy conventional wisdom.

That said, the reasoning in Madden’s story — Selig doesn’t have the support of the other owners to approve the San Jose move — makes a lot of sense, so it’s possible that that’s where things will eventually go.

But the key takeaway here is this: IT HAS TAKEN THREE YEARS TO DECIDE THIS.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.