Scott Boras
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Scott Boras is talking about rectal thermometers, pancakes, and chickens

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Baseball may be driving itself over a cliff, but at least its most famous agent hasn’t changed.

Yep, Scott Boras is still out there in Newport Beach, calling up reporters and saying odd things. Things intended to be funny and profound but which, at times anyway, land like jokes told by a robot that was programmed for humor but which jussssst miss the mark. Fun, though! At the very least colorful.

Like the stuff he says in Tom Verducci’s latest article at Sports Illustrated about the current state of negotiations between MLB and the union. Here’s Boras on Rob Manfred:

“He’s being the pancake commissioner, where ‘I’ll flip anywhere I want to. When you negotiate publicly, once you say it, if you go down a different road you lose credibility. When he said on draft day ‘100 percent we’re going to have baseball,’ the commissioner said there’s a chicken in every pot.”

I’ll give him 5 of 10 on “pancake commissioner” — pancakes are a bit tired an analogy for flip-flopping leaders — but I like the “chicken in every pot” reference. That comes from a criticism of Herbert Hoover in 1932 based on something he allegedly promised in 1928 but actually didn’t. It’s a political trope that has started to fade from the discourse and I think it’s sad. We often forget how the politics of the past are, actually, not as different from modern politics as we’d like to think. We do the same thing when it comes to nasty baseball labor wars. Looking at the past is useful, though, and I’m glad Boras is well-versed on the rhetoric surrounding Hoovernomics.

Boras starts to lose me a bit later in the article, though:

Moreover, Manfred’s case was weakened by word that TBS was giving MLB a billion dollars to remain in the postseason broadcasting business.

“The TBS contract was the rectal thermometer,” Boras said. “It illustrated the truth to all the fans, and that is the content of this game has such value even in the heart of a pandemic that you get a record contract for your rights. When I say rectal thermometer, I say it as the truest form of the temperature of the game.”

Eight out of 10 on “rectal thermometer” in the abstract, but if you have to explain your joke and/or metaphor you probably need to revise it a bit.

Oh well, at least at the rate we’re going there will be plenty of time for someone to call Boras back and get him talking again. By August or September I suspect he’ll be spitting fire.

 

Video reviews overturn 42% rate; Boston most successful

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NEW YORK (AP) Video reviews overturned 42.4% of calls checked during Major League Baseball’s shortened regular season, down slightly from 44% in 2019.

Boston was the most successful team, gaining overturned calls on 10 of 13 challenges for 76.9%. The Chicago White Sox were second, successful on eight of 11 challenges for 72.7%, followed by Kansas City at seven of 10 (70%).

Pittsburgh was the least successful at 2 of 11 (18.2%), and Toronto was 7 of 25 (28%).

Minnesota had the most challenges with 28 and was successful on nine (32.1%). The New York Yankees and Milwaukee tied for the fewest with nine each; the Yankees were successful on five (55.6%) and the Brewers three (33.3%).

MLB said Tuesday there were 468 manager challenges and 58 crew chief reviews among 526 total reviews during 898 games. The average time of a review was 1 minute, 25 seconds, up from 1:16 the previous season, when there 1,186 manager challenges and 170 crew chief reviews among 1,356 reviews during 2,429 games.

This year’s replays had 104 calls confirmed (19.8%), 181 that stood (34.4%) and 223 overturned. An additional 12 calls (2.3%) were for rules checks and six (1.1%) for recording keeping.

In 2019 there were 277 calls confirmed (12.5%), 463 that stood (34.1%) and 597 overturned. An additional nine calls (0.7%) were for rules checks and 10 (0.7%) for record keeping.

Expanded video review started in 2014.