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Astros not happy about having night game on Friday

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The Houston Astros just finished a four-game series in Anaheim last night. It was a scheduled night game, starting at 6:07 PM Pacific time. Tonight they start a series at home against the Rangers. Due to the time of the game ending and the loss of a couple of hours flying back to the Central time zone, the flight after the game was scheduled to get them home at roughly 5:15 AM.

That late night flight followed by no off day has some of the Astros a bit perturbed. From the Houston Chronicle, here’s Josh Reddick‘s take on it which, it should be noted, is not just his singular opinion:

To censor myself, it’s B.S. I don’t think one person is happy about the night game travel. I think it’s a complete misjudgment on how they make a schedule. It’s absurd, really . . . Look at us, we don’t do that to anyone. We don’t ever give them a [getaway day] night game unless it’s Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. It makes no sense. It really makes no sense. A lot of guys aren’t happy about it, myself included. It’s going to be a long day, but this is what we get paid to do. We suck it up and hopefully take it as a little spark to fire us up.”

The Angels were allowed to schedule this game due to this passage in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which applies in 2019 as well:

For the 2018 championship season, the latest possible start time for getaway games on days when the visiting Club travels to a home off-day or either Club travels to another game the following day shall be determined by taking the portion of the in-flight time that exceeds 2 1/2 hours, and subtracting that amount of time from 7 P.M. However, the foregoing sentence shall not apply to getaway games that are broadcast on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball”; getaway games played in Arlington, Texas after June 1 (unless the Texas Rangers move to a climate-controlled home ballpark), or rescheduled games. Additionally, each Club that is limited by its stadium lease agreement or governmental regulation in the number of day games it may play shall receive one exception annually to the rules set forth in this Article V(C)(8), provided that the Club has applied for and has been denied a waiver by its lessor or the relevant governmental authority

The passage later refers to an Appendix that specifies the flight time between an Angels game and an Astros game as two hours and forty-two minutes. By taking the 12 minutes over the two and a half set forth there, and subtracting it from a 7 PM start time, the 6:07 PM start  time is technically allowable.

But it’s also a bunch of baloney.

For starters, a flight from L.A. to Houston is not two hours and forty-two minutes unless you’re in a fighter jet. It’s more like a three and a half hour flight, give or take. And that doesn’t count the bus ride to LAX that can take an hour. Maybe they could fly out of John Wayne Airport which is closer, but for whatever reason they don’t.

Let us not get too deeply in those logistical weeds, though. No matter how you work the math, the fact is that it was still, for all practical purposes, a night game and there was no way it was ever going to allow the Astros to get home at anything other than the wee hours this morning.

Technically allowable or not, the game should’ve been a day game or the Astros should’ve gotten an off day.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.

There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.

Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.

In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.