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Mark Prior: “I don’t blame Dusty for what happened to me”

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The story people tell about former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior goes like this: he had perfect mechanics and the sky was the limit. Then his manager, Dusty Baker, overused him in 2003, giving him 211 innings regular season innings in his first full big league season and allowing him to throw 130+ pitches multiple times down the stretch and the playoffs. Prior broke and never really recovered, ending his career before it truly began.

Only one problem with that: Mark Prior says it’s bunk. Today he writes a first person account over at The Cauldron about where he is now — happily working as a pitching coordinator for the Padres — and where he was. As for where he was, he says leave Dusty Baker alone. It’s not his fault, Prior says, noting that he had other injuries totally unrelated to overuse which could have easily contributed to his later problems. He says “I don’t blame Dusty for what happened to me.”

Prior makes a lot of fair points there. And, it’s important to note that while overuse is not a good thing for a pitcher and while Prior was overused, some pitchers experience the problems he experienced with far less use. He may have blown up anyway. For what it’s worth, Baker became a much different manager as far as pitcher use goes after he moved on to Cincinnati and then Washington. Baker’s rep was earned but it’s outdated.

I don’t think Baker is totally blameless. What’s more, Prior alluding to his own desire to not leave games when he was young doesn’t carry the day. It was Baker’s job to rein in Prior’s youthful competitiveness and be the adult and he didn’t always do that. But as Prior notes, it’s his job now with the Padres to deal with workloads and pitcher health and it is not an easy job at all. There is still so much unknown and we know far more now than anyone did in 2003.

If Prior is letting Baker off the hook for this we all should too.

 

Will fans be allowed to attend MLB playoff games?

The MLB Playoffs are underway!
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After a condensed 60-game regular season, the MLB playoffs kicked off this week with an usual 16-team format that you can read more about below, but one of the many questions on everyone’s mind is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend MLB playoff games.

Will fans be allowed to go to MLB playoff games?

There have been no spectators at any games this season but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful that fans will be able to attend the National League Championship Series and World Series Games. Both will take place in Texas which has been one of the few states allowing spectators to attend events this year.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas with a ticket sales announcement expected soon,” said Manfred to reporters at USA Today Sports. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.’’

Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys allowed over 21,000 fans into AT&T Stadium for the home opener. However, the MLB is still waiting for approval from Texas government officials. ALCS and NLCS games are expected to begin on October 11 and 12, respectively.

Below is the format and locations for each round. Unlike the regular season, there will be a bubble setup for each series in the postseason with the exception of the Wild Card round. Click here for the MLB schedule and scoreboard.

MLB Playoffs Format

Wild Card Series (Best-of-three): September 29 – October 2

All games will be held at the higher seed’s ball park.

American League

No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

Division Series (Best-of-five): October 5 -10

The American League Division Series will be contested at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The National League Division Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

League Championship Series (Best-of-seven): October 11-18

The American League Championship Series will be held at Petco Park in San Diego while the National League Championship Series will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

World Series (Best-of-seven): October 20-28

The World Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Home field advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record.

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