The Rundown: Wrigley Seats, Hot Seats, PEDs, and Penalties
Oh man, it’s crazy out there in the world of MLB action! Or not, whatever. This time of year kinda proves out the trope that it’s always darkest just before the dawn, what with the dearth of action just prior to Spring Training report dates. As such, this Rundown is going to be like combing through the meat section at the grocery store for those items that are on sale but not quite past their expiry.
There might be a little fuzz on a couple of these, but I’m sure you won’t mind cutting around them. There’s still good stuff on the inside.
- The Cubs are selling off pairs of seats removed during the renovations in 2015 and 2016. The former vintage will run you $799 while the latter is a mere $899. Oh, there’s also a mandatory $132.99 shipping fee (no pickup options available). Each set will include a certificate of authenticity and a hologram signifying its authentication, so that’s cool. If you need more proof that they’re real, though, just check for the smell of stale urine and the teeth marks from the rats on the bases.
- Speaking of seats, former San Francisco Giant Aubrey Huff found his getting a little warm after a Twitter rant in which he started big-leaguing people who questioned his views. He eventually apologized, but it was kind of a sorry-not-sorry deal. Here are a few excerpts from the “apology:”
- “I don’t apologize for my political views, but I do apologize for rubbing this fancy little life in people’s faces — making millions of dollars, retired, not having to sit in rush-hour traffic. That was childish. I’m sorry.”
- “I just got kind of triggered by a troll and I decided to just hop on Twitter and start firing with pure rage and anger, man.”
- “You see all these celebrities and they’re constantly getting crushed on social media and Twitter by these people that have no name. They can be whoever they want. They can say whatever they want. And we just sit there and have to eat it most of the time. I just got fed up. … So I just started firing. I’ve always been the kind of guy that doesn’t take a lot of crap from people. So if I get fired on, I’m pretty sarcastic and witty back.”
- If I may, Huff is not very witty. He’s certainly titled to express himself, though he would do well to find some self-awareness prior to doing so. I mean, I don’t think a man who made millions playing a game before retiring at 35 is really in a position to question the gainful employment of those who don’t share his views.
- White Sox legend Frank Thomas went off recently as well, though his tirade dealt with PED users getting into the Hall of Fame.
- Not all former players were in the news for being angry, though. Grandpa Rossy grabbed some headlines when it was announced that he’d be joining ESPN as an analyst.
- In a long-awaited announcement, the St. Louis Cardinals were finally punished for the hacking scandal in which a former employee had accessed the Houston Astros’ database in what was described as an act of spite. It was also corporate espionage, which is why Chris Correa is serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison. While the penalty (loss of their first two picks — 2nd round (56) and comp balance (75) — and $1.8 million in bonus pool attached to them. Sounds fair, maybe, but here are my thoughts:
- This has been shared elsewhere, but the timing of this penalty probably helped the Cardinals. I’m not saying they were warned of anything, but knowing they were going to get hit may have driven the desire to sign Dexter Fowler. The Cards lost their 1st round pick as a result, but they were more than willing to do so. That pushed the loss of picks and pool money a little further down the line.
- As Brett Taylor mentioned, the loss of that top pick meant St. Louis was already shifting toward a strategy that required some below-slot, bargain-type guys. And knowing there was a potential for the loss of other picks gave them time to prepare even further. Listen, I get that missing out on two picks (I don’t count that top one because they willingly sacrificed it for several years of a starting centerfielder) is a big deal. But it’s only one year of impact and a paltry $2 million fine. Big whoop.
- I can buy the idea that no one else in the Cardinals organization was complicit in the hack, but it seems a bit dubious that no one was aware of anything fishy. Who knows. The first thing I thought when I saw that unsealed details offered the revelation that Correa’s actions were motivated by jealousy (spite link above) was that it would insulate the Cards. Looks like that may be true.
- More than just the Cardinals being penalized is the Astros directly benefiting from it. It’s impossible to quantify exactly what, if anything, the Cards gained from the hack, but it’s even less possible to measure the Astros’ losses. As such, awarding them the picks from the Cardinals feels like an incredibly disproportionate gain. I’d get it if we were talking about two siblings, but this isn’t as binary as that. As a result of the ruling, Houston now has five of the first 91 picks (15, 53, 56, 75, and 91) in the upcoming draft.
- So what would I have done? I’d rather see the Cards lose their 2nd rounder this year and a first rounder next year, or maybe a 2nd and 5th this year with a 1st and 4th next year. That’s just spitballing, but something that dings them for more than just one cycle. And I’d have just bumped everyone up a slot and maybe awarded the Astros some extra pool money, just not the corresponding picks.
That’s all for now, be sure to check back to learn more about Jake Arrieta’s inconsistent slider.