MLB announces the “Franchise Four” campaign, seeking the four “most impactful” players per franchise

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Who are the four “most impactful” players in your franchise’s history? You’re about to find out. At least if you trust democracy to figure it out. From MLB:

Major League Baseball today announced the launch of the “Franchise Four” campaign, which will allow fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport’s history.  The winners of the month-long period of fan voting on MLB.com/FranchiseFour will be announced during pregame ceremonies before Baseball’s 86th All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 14th at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on FOX.

I guess this is a formalized “Mount Rushmore” thing, which has become a fun bar conversation in recent years. The fun/annoying part of it is that you can define “impactful” or “important” in any number of ways. It doesn’t have to be the best players, but it could be. It doesn’t have to be the most historically significant, but it could be. Everyone who comes to the conversation is going to read in their own rules and provisos as they see fit. No one will agree. It will be chaos. Which is what makes if fun.

I’ll start with the two franchises I know best, the Tigers and the Braves. With almost zero reflection, I’ll go with:

Tigers: Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline and Willie Horton.

Braves: Hank Aaron, Warran Spahn, Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones.

Obviously you could pick ten other dudes for those slots, but that’s who I’d go with I guess. Go vote.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?