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Rays, Astros lineups for Game 1

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The first of our four games today involves the Rays of Tampa Bay and the Astros of Houston.

The Rays have changed things up a good bit from their Wild Card win over Oakland. Out is Avisaíl García, Wednesday’s right fielder. Austin Meadows takes right, Tommy Pham moves from DH to left, Yandy Díaz moves from first base to DH and Ji-Man Choi takes over at first. Got all that? Good:

1. Austin Meadows (L) RF
2. Tommy Pham (R) LF
3. Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
4. Yandy Diaz (R) DH
5. Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
6. Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
7. Joey Wendle (L) 3B
8. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF
9. Willy Adames (R) SS

P: Tyler Glasnow


The Astros are, well, the Astros. You’ve seen them enough the past few seasons that I don’t feel like any of this should shock you:

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
5. Yordan Alvarez (L) DH
6. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
7. Carlos Correa (R) SS
8. Robinson Chirinos (R) C
9. Josh Reddick (L) RF

P: Justin Verlander

Exactly what you’d expect, of course. The Astros are a blunt instrument. They are not going to try to trick ya.

Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings

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The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.

Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.

Here’s how it went:

This was confirmed by other reporters:

To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters — who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up — approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.

But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police — who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform — are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.

We live in interesting times.