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Astros, Bauer, Pohlad's, Twins, Future of MLB

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:42 PM

BIG title right? But I think MLB is sitting at a unique precipice right now, and we, as baseball fans, should be concerned about everything in the title.

Spring is almost here, sorta, but it feels more like spring is right around the corner with Spring Training's arrival! All the world seems better and rignt when Spring Training comes!

Except...it's not. Not completely at least. I think we can all grudgingly admit that. The 2020 season is beginning with some of the usual optimism we all share as baseball fans, whether it be here at TD as Twins fans, or as baseball fans everywhere. But there is a dark cloud hanging over our beloved sport that needs to be addressed. This cloud is the Astros cheating scandal, and the future of MLB in general.

Baseball has survived and thrived for well over a hundred years from everything from world wars, tbe Black Sox scandal, racial prejudice and inclusion, work stoppage, betting scandal from a "hall of fame" player/manager to steroid and HGH embarrassment. But times are a changing, and what is happening now needs to be addressed.

The Astros scandal refuses to go away at this point. Partially due to the depth and breadth of it. And partially due to continued reports that make the handling of it by the powers that be in charge of the league questionable at best, but also by the handling of the situation by the guilty parties.

Have we talked a lot about this whole situation already? Yes. Many times. But there is something more to discuss here, along with the future of MLB.

I am breaking this whole OP in to two parts.

NOW:

Judd Zulgad wrote a brilliant article on February 13th concerning the removal of Jim Crane as owner of the Astros. The basic premise being 2 strikes and you're out. The Astros organization was publicly eviserated, deservedly so, when assistant GM Brandon Taubman when on a public rant to embarrass the entire organization with misogynistic comments concerning a player on roster in front of several reporters, including female professionals. Initially, the Astros relation department refuted these comments until an overwhelming report of eye witnesses put them in their place and Taubman was fired.

Then comes "trash can gate", or whatever you wish to call it. For whatever reason, Manfred exonerated all players involved in the situation in order to seek the "truth" of things. Jim Crane was an absolute idiotic embarrassment of a speaker who spoke so absolutely out of both sides of his mouth I wondered if the entire media department should have been fired on the spot.

If you recall the former owner of the LA Clippers of the NBA, Donald Sterling, there is presidence for a league to remove/insist on the sale of a team and removal of an owner. Haven't we come to this point now in MLB?

Here is where the Pohlad's come in to play. While it has been loosely reported by a former player or two that the Yankees may have also cheated, there has been nothing reported as fact. And the Yankees themselves may have been victimized by these events. And the Dodgers, the 2nd of the "great" ML franchises may have also been "victoms" of this scandal and have been at least a bit outspoken. While the Twins remain a mid market team, it has been inferred at various times that the deceased Carl and his family held a certain sort of credit within the ownership circle. Can the ownership of MLB put aside any sort of "old boy" network and do what is right? Can Jim and his family help carry the flag and do what is right?

TOMORROW:

If you haven't seen/listened to the recent rant by Trevor Bauer concerning the state of MLB then you are doing yourself a disservice as a fan. While I am not a fan of the man, despite sharing the same surname, he makes some outstanding points as to the current status of MLB and it's future.

While he rambles some, he makes excellent points about how MLB controls video and online feeds and information. He speaks about how the NBA markets players and MLB doesn't. He even speaks, sounds silly at first, how MLB requires certain colored cleats to be worn. I thought that was silly at first before I thought more about NBA shoe contracts. His primary topic/objection is, where is the forward thinking in baseball?

And I agree!

Where is the forward thinking in MLB? I think Manfred's playoff ideas are a joke. Just my opinion.

The game is beautiful as is. But how do you market it? How do you appeal to this modern day market?

I feel like a failed father because my kid's interest is just asking me how the Twins are doing, when they have been to games and used to play baseball video games in their youth.

MLB needs to step forward in this modern age to promote the game in any way they can. Not change the game, but promote it and make it enticing again.

Short and sweet:

1] MLB has to find a way to put the Astros and this horrible scandals and it's ownership aside.

2] MLB needs to find new ways to market itself and make it more relevant again.

What say all of you?
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#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:49 PM

Frankly, the cheating thing bothers me but it's not that big of a deal. It's a team getting a leg up against the rules, which happens all the time, this just happens to be an egregious example of it.

 

But I want to see the Astros franchise burn; not necessarily because of the cheating alone but because of the systematic arrogance and disrespect they show to everyone else in the game (and life, really).

 

Should Crane be removed? Probably. Does it really matter? Probably not, as he gets an epic golden parachute if he sells. Part of me would rather see him wallow in the sty he has created now that he's had some of his best lieutenants kicked the **** out of the game.

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#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:07 AM

Frankly, the cheating thing bothers me but it's not that big of a deal. It's a team getting a leg up against the rules, which happens all the time, this just happens to be an egregious example of it.

But I want to see the Astros franchise burn; not necessarily because of the cheating alone but because of the systematic arrogance and disrespect they show to everyone else in the game (and life, really).

Should Crane be removed? Probably. Does it really matter? Probably not, as he gets an epic golden parachute if he sells. Part of me would rather see him wallow in the sty he has created now that he's had some of his best lieutenants kicked the **** out of the game.


I think what the Astros did is a direct shot at the integrity of baseball. The arrogance shown by Astros players, fans, and ownership is absolutely making this worse.

Speaking of that, I don’t know who decided to make Carlos Correa the Astros’ spokesman, but it’s brilliant so far. In Ken Rosenthal’s latest article, Correa now said Altuve didn’t want his jersey ripped off because he had an unfinished tattoo on his collar bone that looked terrible.

https://theathletic....=shared-article

Obviously Correa didn’t think ahead and there would be receipts online... People have already dug up a pic on Altuve’s Instagram showing he doesn’t have a tattoo in the works at all. I think Altuve needs to stick to the bit and get a horrible tattoo on his collarbone now.
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#4 Sconnie

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 10:45 AM

I don’t think MLB has dated marketing, they have a dated commercialization system as well. A league that led the way in how to deliver the sport, let the rest of the leagues catch up, when there are so many opportunities for baseball to simulcast and later advanced stats for those who want them, while delivering a cord free experience.

Cable is dying and MLB could easily go on its own.

As to Astros and the league, the league has purchased teams in the past, and could do so now, taking control of the Astros on a reduced price or kick them out of the league. If MLB wanted to, it could retract them, like the Expos.
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#5 mikelink45

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:05 AM

I wrote about this in my Blog - Cheating

Entry
Cheating
Last Update Feb 15 2020 10:07 AM

and I really appreciate this continuing dialogue. 

 

What I want to emphasize is that all levels of cheating are bad.Yes this is a terrible culture, but so were PEDs.When McGuire hit 70 Bonds suddenly got angry and grew a larger head so he could hit 73.Is there integrity here or in the record book anymore.

 

Baseball has a lot of issues to clear up.Pete Rose signing autographs in Los Vegas and holding up his discretion versus the Astros is part of this culture and the continuing wink, wink of baseball cheating.We now know that the Bobby Thomson shot heard round the world was at least partially the result of sign stealing.Do we remove their championship from the record? 

 

Do we forgive the Pohlads willingness to have contraction? 

MLB used to be the sport you wanted to know if you were going to be an American, but the nicks and controversies have harmed the sport, the players and most of all those of us who truly love the game. 

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#6 Monkeypaws

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 02:05 PM

As the news broke about the Astros scheme, I was fine with MLB’s initial punishments. The comportment of the organization and the players since leads me to believe stripping them of the title is the only fit punishment.
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#7 Diesel

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 05:20 PM

Rob Manfred called the World Series a piece of metal. That’s rough. The worst commissioner in Major sports, ahead of goodell and bettman.
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#8 Number3

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 09:32 AM

First the "cheating" What gets me is that there is no sport in which the teams don't try to figure out what the other team is doing ahead of time. Its perfectly fine for NFL teams to have tablets all over the sidelines and coaches in press boxes with binoculars and speakers in the QB's helmet. Its fine for a runner at second base to signal to the batter if they "steal" a sign but don;t use cameras and trash cans. On top of that the batter still has to hit the pitch and the stolen sign may actually be wrong which would be worse than not knowing the sign.

 

Future of MLB. I think the media is as much to blame with the demise of the game as anything. A TV game used to be a big deal. Now every game is on TV and TV dictates schedules. World Series and playoff games in prime time end at midnight or later. The game itself can be very boring with constant 3-2 counts, pitchers acting as if their very existence depends upon the next pitch and then a 2 strike foul ball. The announcers ruin the games with their constant blathering about who knows what and many obviously believe that they are the true attractions, not the game. Actkally attending a game can be an expensive nightmare.

The possible contraction of the minor leagues speaks for itself and is probably directly tied to the exorbitant contracts of the chosen few.

 

All for now.


#9 Don Walcott

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:38 AM

Point 1: I agree.

 

Point 2: MLB has already taken care of this. This season is going to have the marketing magic of reality TV. There will be Astros hitters getting brushed off. There will be fights. There will be more from Trevor Bauer and Alex Bregman. And I will be sorely disappointed if fans don't employ some form of trash can antics -- maybe a "Let's go Astros" chant with a banging of trash cans (bang, bang, bang-bang-bang) whenever an Astros player is up to bat? Maybe a serenade of "Your Cheating Heart"?

 

This season, MLB should advertise the Astros controversy as if it's All-Star Wrestling coming to town. . . . Okay, I'm mostly kidding. Take it easy on me.

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#10 jctwins

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 01:21 PM

 

Point 1: I agree.

 

Point 2: MLB has already taken care of this. This season is going to have the marketing magic of reality TV. There will be Astros hitters getting brushed off. There will be fights. There will be more from Trevor Bauer and Alex Bregman. And I will be sorely disappointed if fans don't employ some form of trash can antics -- maybe a "Let's go Astros" chant with a banging of trash cans (bang, bang, bang-bang-bang) whenever an Astros player is up to bat? Maybe a serenade of "Your Cheating Heart"?

 

This season, MLB should advertise the Astros controversy as if it's All-Star Wrestling coming to town. . . . Okay, I'm mostly kidding. Take it easy on me.

 

I love all of this. Unfortunately when it will come to official team marketing, they are all franchises of the same organization, so the franchises will be forced to remain silent on the subject.

 

 

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#11 MMMordabito

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 02:44 PM

Target Field should hand out trash can lids and billy clubs at the gate July 31 - August 2.Basically, choreograph an entire "Cheaters" cry using the jumbotron.

 

Later, David St. Peter can state that while the Twins are sorry that the Astros felt intimidated during the series, he is hopeful that they can just move past those events and concentrate on the rest of the baseball season.  

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#12 MMMordabito

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 02:46 PM

 

I love all of this. Unfortunately when it will come to official team marketing, they are all franchises of the same organization, so the franchises will be forced to remain silent on the subject.

 

I know.MLB will probably treat the Astros like a protected class. 

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#13 AceWrigley

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 02:59 PM

I'd like the Astros to go 0-162 this year, with games not even being close.

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#14 DocBauer

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:31 PM

First the "cheating" What gets me is that there is no sport in which the teams don't try to figure out what the other team is doing ahead of time. Its perfectly fine for NFL teams to have tablets all over the sidelines and coaches in press boxes with binoculars and speakers in the QB's helmet. Its fine for a runner at second base to signal to the batter if they "steal" a sign but don;t use cameras and trash cans. On top of that the batter still has to hit the pitch and the stolen sign may actually be wrong which would be worse than not knowing the sign.
 
Future of MLB. I think the media is as much to blame with the demise of the game as anything. A TV game used to be a big deal. Now every game is on TV and TV dictates schedules. World Series and playoff games in prime time end at midnight or later. The game itself can be very boring with constant 3-2 counts, pitchers acting as if their very existence depends upon the next pitch and then a 2 strike foul ball. The announcers ruin the games with their constant blathering about who knows what and many obviously believe that they are the true attractions, not the game. Actkally attending a game can be an expensive nightmare.
The possible contraction of the minor leagues speaks for itself and is probably directly tied to the exorbitant contracts of the chosen few.
 
All for now.


I wonder if the 3 batter rule will slow the game, speed it up and maybe it more interesting?
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#15 DocBauer

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:36 PM

Target Field should hand out trash can lids and billy clubs at the gate July 31 - August 2.Basically, choreograph an entire "Cheaters" cry using the jumbotron.
 
Later, David St. Peter can state that while the Twins are sorry that the Astros felt intimidated during the series, he is hopeful that they can just move past those events and concentrate on the rest of the baseball season.


I don't knkw how security will handle fans brining in various "tools" to express themselves, but I suspect they are already ahead of any marketing, and I doubt teams will do anything to support protests. But bells and drums and the such are already allowed. Something tells me fans, if not allowed to bring in certain accoutrements, will adapt.
"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

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#16 DocBauer

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 11:06 PM

On a serious note, heard an interview with former MLB great Fred McGriff. While he danced around the subject for a moment or two, he basically stated the players should:

A: NOT have been granted immunity as Manfred should have been looking for THE TRUTH about everything including the B.S. of not removing a jersey due to some made up story about an unfinished tattoo when the reality was a device was being hidden.

B: The players who have expressed their anger should just be quiet and handle things on the field. When prodded, he basically implied hit batters and high heat buzzing should be "on the field" versions of communicating displeasure.

He also commented on how "the kids" in ball today don't appreciate the union and what they have fought for, and never bonded together through a strike, etc, etc.

Personally, I never felt the players should have been given a pass as various reports have stated the players themselves helped implement the cheating with the assistance of the FO. And we know more now than we did initially. But the genie is out of the bottle on that one. If deliberate or accidental use of certain drugs mean suspension, I believe various suspensions should have been made. But again, what's done is now done.

In all my roughly 50yrs watching and loving baseball, despite other dark moments and scandals, one thing I have NEVER seen is vitriol from player to player. Despite all that has happened, what has been revealed, what may yet be uncovered with the Astros and MAYBE another team or two, I have NEVER been an advocate for throwing a hard round object at 90mph at another player to inflict contact and possible injury.

This is not over. And I'm afraid it may get more nasty and messy before before it is done. And that's sad for this wonderful game we all love.

I feel Manfred is either inept, or a puppet. I still think ownership may need to step forward before this all said and done. If that is the case, considering over the years we have heard the Pohlad family had a certain cache, I would like to see Jim step forward.
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#17 Vanimal46

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:08 AM

Concur, Doc. The players are speaking out about it now to get their opinion on record during spring training. If nothing else is done before the regular season, the players will take it in their own hands. I also don’t like or advocate intentionally throwing at a batter, but the reality is pitchers will do just that without further action.

Some people are probably bored with this topic. I can’t get enough of this content. The additional reports and quotes from other players are bananas. The players across the league usually tow the company line and back up their brothers. Not this time... Players on other teams are genuinely pissed about the Astros.
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#18 Number3

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:40 AM

 

I wonder if the 3 batter rule will slow the game, speed it up and maybe it more interesting?

I don't think it will make a bit of difference in the speed of the game because that is not what is slowing the game down. I think a manager should be able to use his/(maybe her sooner than you think) bull pen any way they deem necessary. If they want to waste a pitcher on one batter so be it. Meanwhile, commercial breaks, time between pitches, high pitch counts, and fewer balls put in play for outs are what slows the game down. Oh and the ridiculous challenges and reviews. If an umpire's call is not obviously wrong almost immediately upon looking at the replay, it should stand. Simple as that.

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#19 David HK

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:53 AM

 

Target Field should hand out trash can lids and billy clubs at the gate July 31 - August 2.Basically, choreograph an entire "Cheaters" cry using the jumbotron.

 

Later, David St. Peter can state that while the Twins are sorry that the Astros felt intimidated during the series, he is hopeful that they can just move past those events and concentrate on the rest of the baseball season.  

They need to get Rubbermaid Co. on the horn right now. I sense an even better marketing idea than the Snapper Mow-Em-Down Inning!


#20 USAFChief

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 09:39 AM

I wonder if the 3 batter rule will slow the game, speed it up and maybe it more interesting?

yes. Absolutely.

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