Is Los Angeles too much trouble? Try San Diego!

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My kids want to go to California, so I am planning on taking them to California on a vacation sometime this summer.  The first thought was to head towards Los Angeles, or at least somewhere near there like the Orange County beaches.

But it’s expensive!  The airfares are pretty steep to LAX at the moment, and the hotels and resorts are no bargain either. So I’ve been rethinking.  The current candidate: San Diego. Much cheaper to get there from here. And, even though it is not as glamorous, I think it’ll be pretty darn nice, even if it means I have to visit my brother too.

A similar dynamic is going on with baseball team sales at the moment. As Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, the bidding for the San Diego Padres is now open. And, not surprisingly, a lot of people who first thought L.A. was a great idea are now interested in San Diego:

Citing confidentiality clauses and the sensitivities of embarrassed losers, Greenberg and Moag declined to discuss potential bidders Tuesday. Still, Greenberg has a history with hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who lost out in the final bidding for the Dodgers …Two baseball sources Tuesday identified former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley as an interested party. Another baseball source believes former player agent Dennis Gilbert may get involved with the Padres once he’s recovered from losing out on the Dodgers.

It’s still warm, the accommodations are still fabulous and, while it may not be quite as glamorous, my kids and those old rich dudes will probably like San Diego just as much as they would have liked L.A.

At least I hope so, or else next year it means I’m going to Disney World.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.