Calling Friday night’s game between the Cubs and Cardinals, MLB Network broadcaster Bob Costas laid the criticism on heavy when reliever Pedro Strop was exiting the game in the eighth inning. Strop had allowed a game-tying home run to Greg Garcia, then hit Kolten Wong, got Matt Carpenter to fly out, and walked Jhonny Peralta before manager Joe Maddon pulled him in favor of Jason Motte.
Costas said of Strop’s performance, “Motte is on his way in, Strop is on his way out, pointing toward the heavens. We can only ask, or wonder that he is asking some departed relative for forgiveness for this atrocious performance.” Deadspin has video which includes the comment.
As expected, the comment didn’t go over well. The New York Daily News reports that Costas has reached out to the Cubs’ PR department to apologize personally to Strop. The two will meet on Sunday in Chicago.
“I intended it as a kind of sarcastic comment about this overall thing where everybody seems to be pointing toward the heavens for every accomplishment, large and small,” Costas said. “That wasn’t my intention. And so I owe him an apology. And I will apologize to him tomorrow.”
You no doubt recall that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow were given the one-year bans and were subsequently fired in January due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It’s possible, however, that each of them could be back in baseball without having missed a single game.
That’s the report from Buster Olney of ESPN, who has learned that Hinch and Luhnow will become eligible in 2021 even if there are no games played in the 2020 season. The reason: Hinch and Luhnow’s suspensions are tied to “the end of the 2020 postseason.” In contrast, players who are suspended for PED offenses for violations of the league’s domestic violence policies are suspended for a set number of games. Their suspensions will not begin until games begin and, if the number of games in the 2020 season ends up being fewer than the number of games in their suspension, it will carry over to 2021.
It would not shock me a bit if another team hired Hinch at some point down the road. And, despite the league’s finding that Luhnow fostered a “toxic” environment in the Astros’ front office, I would not be at all surprised if he were hired as some sort of advisor down the road and, potentially, found himself running a team again. His tenure in Houston was discovered to be objectively awful from an ethical perspective, but (a) he won; and (b) he cut costs, and those are the two biggest priorities for most teams. Not necessarily in that order.