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It's come to this, has it?


The Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros, teams which have carried this particular identity since the mid 1960s, although both have histories that go back a little longer. Each has won a single championship in their current incarnation. The Astros, of course, have what we may always see as their tainted title from 2017. The Braves made five trips to the World Series in nine years during their lengthy reign of dominance in the 1990s but won only a single championship, in 1995.

Before becoming Astros, Houston's team was known as the Colt 45s, because... well, I guess they're pretty enthusiastic about their firearms down in Texas. Don't ask me to explain. It's a trend in team nicknames that didn't seem to catch on, and I'm sure we're happy to have been spared such monikers as the Green Bay Glocks. Still. it's probably a good thing that the Houston team changed the name when they did, upon moving into the Astrodome in 1965. If they were trying to dump the Colt 45s label today....I guarantee you, there would be quite a controversy. Because we live in weird and disturbing times.

The Atlanta Braves appeared for the first time one year after the Astros, in 1966, but the franchise had a long, long history before they went down to Georgia. They'd spent thirteen generally successful seasons in Milwaukee, winning a title in 1957. It's somewhat baffling that those Braves only won it all once - they had one of the greatest players who ever lived (Henry Aaron), one of the greatest third baseman of all time (Eddie Mathews), and their staff ace (Warren Spahn) won more games than any LH pitcher in the game's history. They had lots of very fine talent in support of these immortals. It's a puzzle. Before their brief time in Milwaukee, the team had played in Boston since 1871. They had been one of the National League's charter teams in 1876 and they were probably the greatest of all the nineteenth century teams. They were known as the Beaneaters in those days. They won six National League pennants, and are represented at Cooperstown by Kid Nichols, Hugh Duffy, Tommy McCarthy, Billy Hamilton, Jimmy Collins, and manager Frank Selee. But the good times ended with the 19th century and let's face it - Beaneaters was a silly name. They became the Boston Braves in 1912 and two years later won a championship as unlikely as any in the game's long history. At about the halfway mark, 15 July 1914, the Braves were dead last with a 33-43 record. They went 61-16 the rest of the way - that's right, 61-16 -† and then swept Connie Mack's A's in the World Series. It was their last championship in Boston.

I think it's a fair assumption that most teams would have have thrown in the towel on the season upon losing Ronald Acuna, one the best young players in the game, to a season ending injury just before the All-Star Break. With one other outfielder, free agent acquisition Marcell Ozuna, already under suspension, the Braves outfield had become a gruesome dumpster fire. But they still had a fine starting rotation and a very fine infield. Even better, they still played in the NL East where merely playing .500 ball made you a contender. Alex Anthopoulos brought in Jorge Soler from the Royals, Adam Duvall from the Marlins, and Eddie Rosario from the Guardians of the Future† to fill the gaping holes in the outfield. And as it turned out, just 88 wins were easily enough to cruise to a comfortable six game victory in the game's weakest division. Bitter Blue Jays fans are muttering that they should try that crap in the AL East, and see where it gets them.

It took the Astros a couple of months to get truly untracked - they were still only at .500 in mid-May, they were still looking up at Oakland in mid-June. Then they got serious, rolled up 11 wins in a row to take over first place on 21 June, and led the rest of the way. They got zero innings from erstwhile ace Justin Verlander, and their other old ace (Zack Greinke) faded badly over the final two months - but they still had no less than five other capable starters and they added some bullpen reinforcements (Kendall Graveman, Yimi Garcia, Phil Maton) at the deadline. They already had the highest scoring offense in the majors. While the four infield stars who will forever be associated with the garbage cans of 2017 are still there and still producing, their best hitters in 2021 were actually RF Kyle Tucker and DH Yordan Alvarez.

This is not the first time the Braves and Astros have met in post-season play; they encountered each other five times, always in the Divisional Series, back when the Astros were still in the National League. The Braves swept them in the NLDS in 1997 as Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz held Houston to just 16 hits and 5 runs in the three games. Two years later, the Braves won in the NLDS again; the Astros managed to win the first game before losing the next three. Two years after that, in 2001, they met up in the NLDS yet again and it was time for another sweep by the Braves. At this point, the Braves had won 9 of 10 post-season games with Houston. The Astros finally broke through in the 2004 NLDS.† This was the year that the Astros picked up Carlos Beltran at the deadline and Beltran went absolutely berserk in the post-season - .435/.536/1.022 with 8 HR and 14 RBI in 12 games. The teams exchanged victories over the first four games and in the finale Houston blew them out 12-3, as Beltran hit two homers and drove in five. The Astros were back in 2005 and beat the Braves again in the NLDS, this time in four games. They then beat the Cardinals in the NLCS but were swept by the White Sox in their first ever trip to the World Series.

So... would I cheer for a team whose fans still do that bloody tomahawk chop? Or would I cheer for old Dusty?

You're not seriously asking, are you?

Fifty years ago, he was the Braves' young centre fielder, and if you can squint you can almost see the old man's features in the young man's countenance. He was mentored by Henry Aaron himself, like so many other young African-Americans coming up with the Braves. And he's still paying it forward, fifty years on. It can be very hard to cheer for the Houston Astros. I understand that completely. But it's pretty easy to cheer for Dusty Baker.

The World Series | 109 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#408920) #
Good point on Baker being easy to cheer for. With Atlanta I can cheer on Freddie Freeman, who is proud of his Canadian heritage. It'll be an interesting series, and regardless of who wins I'll have someone I can feel good for. Boston, NYY, nah. Thankfully neither made it.
Chuck - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#408924) #
This will be a tough one to find a rooting interest. In the one corner, you've got your garbage can gang. In the other, cringey chopping, Travis Tritt and just 88 wins in a soft division. Alas, Dusty Baker does not help move the needle for me.
scottt - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#408925) #
Maybe a chance at redemption for Houston.
rpriske - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#408927) #
This will be the first World Series in a very long time that I won't be watching at all.

I have a VERY short list of teams that I won't cheer for. Cleveland is finally of that list. Atlanta is #1 on it. Houston is #2. (Texas is the 3rd, but that is personal, as a Blue Jays fan.)

My dislike for Houston and Texas will eventually wear off, but Atlanta will need a Guardians style makeover to even start...
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#408928) #
Dusty was a mainstay of my first APBA team that won two pennants.  By the early 80s, he had lost his speed and was a below-average fielder but still a good hitter.  Mostly, though, I just liked him.

The others on my team- Jason Thompson, Garry Templeton, Greg Minton, Terry Kennedy and others are forgotten by most, but not me.mI had forgotten what made Minton good.  Over a six year period, he averaged 100 innings in 66 relief appearances, with a 2.76 ERA.  He had an almost even W/K, but succeeded by keeping the ball down and in the park.  He generated 12.5 bWAR in those six years which would be equivalent to Kenley Jansen's best 6 period (2012-17).  I imagine that if Minton was pitching today, he'd face a lot of left-handed hitters trying and probably succeeding to uppercut the ball into the Bay.  The Giants' nemesis would go from Manny Mota to Max Muncy.  Mmm...
uglyone - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#408929) #
Thankfully we lucked into s good hire in Shapiro because this Rogers-Masai drama is likely exactly how AA got the boot too, exactly what I suspected.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#408930) #
Would be lovely to see President Carter and the First Lady at Game 3 in Atlanta on Friday night. (The President has not made public appearances during the pandemic.)
Bid - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#408931) #
And wasn't it a long way down?
Wasn't it a strange way down?
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#408932) #
I wondered if Atlanta invited Jimmy Carter to throw a first pitch at any World Series' games in the 1990s, so I googled "Jimmy Carter World Series 90s".  This produced nothing about Jimmy and lots about Joe.
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#408933) #
But I did learn about <a href="https://www.mlb.com/news/former-president-jimmy-carter-fondly-recalls-sid-breams-famous-slide-for-braves/c-62491450">the time</a> Jimmy Carter kissed Jimy Williams...<br>
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#408934) #
Ack, I messed up the link.  Here it is.
uglyone - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#408936) #
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#408938) #
Link please, UO.
85bluejay - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#408939) #
https://www.reddit.com/r/OldSchoolCool/comments/dotq2a/jimmy_carter_throwing_out_the_first_pitch_of_the/

I think Jimmy Carter threw out the first pitch in 1992 WS in Atlanta

Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#408940) #
Youtube has him throwing out the first pitch in the 1995 World Series.  He was then in his early 70s.  Not bad at all.
85bluejay - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#408941) #
I am reading suggestions on social media that other teams could use the Rogers imbroglio to encourage free agents to avoid Jays.
Glevin - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#408942) #
Hard to care about the WS. For me, it's also partly that I don't think either team is very good. A healthy Astros team is good but without McCullers, their starting is meh. Braves are a good team with Acuna and Sirotka. Without, they're OK. Braves won 88 games in a bad division which makes me bitter. How many games would Jays have won in NL East? 100? Neither team is particularly likable or, like the Yankees or Red Sox, even worth rooting against.
bpoz - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#408944) #
Shapiro spoke a few days ago. Said "Just get in. Just get in. If you are hot at the right time and playing your best baseball at the right time, your record during the season does not necessarily matter. You can win a world Series".

I agree with this. Guzman and the Jays played very well in the playoffs. Also Ward/Henke. Verlander carried Houston in 2017. D Price outpitched Verlander in 2018. Both Houston and probably Boston were cheaters.

The Cubs beat Cleveland in I think 2016 because of a lucky bounce. Buckner!!

So a hot team can take it all.
Magpie - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#408946) #
Alas, Dusty Baker does not help move the needle for me.

Well, I don't expect all you young whipper-snappers to get it. But this is largely a case of Old Guy Solidarity.

Curiously, this didn't apply to Tony LaRussa one little bit. It's a fickle sort of thing....
SK in NJ - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#408949) #
I fully expect the Braves to win just because I'm rooting against them, but I'm going for the Astros. Better story with Dusty going for a ring, and the Braves winning the NL version of the AL Central and getting hot at the right time doesn't do anything for me.
AWeb - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#408952) #
Any series where, rightly I think, the best reason to root for either team is the manager...well...that's a dictionary example of damning with faint praise.

Two teams from the confederacy for the first time, which, while an interesting factoid, again induces revulsion if I was trying to pick a team. Both states being openly hostile to human life makes me feel guilty watching fans in the stands.

But I don't really know enough about Atlanta players to particularly dislike them, so if I had to pick, I guess it's Atlanta? But the openly racist fanbase makes me hate that, nevermind. I 'm rooting for both teams to be caught neck deep throwing games in the world series, in with the distasteful gambling sponsors. Atlanta is stripped of a franchise and moved to Montreal, and Houston is moved to Vancouver. Mlb is forced to get a real commissioner again who quickly bans gambling sponsors. Can that be called a rooting interest?
Magpie - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#408953) #
Any series where, rightly I think, the best reason to root for either team is the manager...

I can't disagree. The Astros do have Zack Greinke, who's always been a favourite. But alas, in the last two months he's gone from Staff Ace to questionable afterthought who might work some middle relief. What can you do? Watch the Leafs?
Thomas - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#408954) #
Maybe there will be a series of rain delays and the series won't finish four games in October or November and the CBA will expire and there'll be a work stoppage and no one will win.
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#408956) #
Funny you should mention that, Thomas.  I was thinking that a hurricane at the end of season (call it a 9th inning hurricane) which wiped out the World Series might capture the attention of the world for COP26.  Houston is vulnerable to it, and they have had flooding in Minute Maid Park. Nah, too dramatic. 

I do like the idea of "Hou v. Atl (ppd., rain)" in the newspaper day after day.
AWeb - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#408957) #
Maybe in game 7 both teams run out of subs and pitchers in the 9th inning (in 2021 there's no need to imagine an extra inning game for this...), we hear a 2000s wrestling intro music (undertaker bells? Austin glass break?), Bud Selig comes out of the stands, declares he's been the secret commish all along, declares it a tie, and walks off with the trophy himself.

When reached for comment, Manfred says he'll consider taking action to fix it eventually, but just because every fan hates it doesn't mean they should rush into anything (yes, another pace of game is too g''''m slow comment).
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#408958) #
In 2008, Hurricane Ike tore off the retractable roof at the football stadium in Houston.
Eephus - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#408959) #
Like many others I really have no desire to watch a minute of this World Series (sad in of itself, really) but I'm with Mags in hoping Dusty Baker finally gets all the way there. As a manager he's endured quite a lot of playoff heartbreak: the Angels Game 6 comeback in 2002 when managing the Giants, the Steve Bartman Game the very next year as the skipper of the Cubs, his 2012 Reds being unable to finish the Giants after going up 2-0 in the NLDS...

Besides, a team that does "the Chop" in freaking 2021 doesn't deserve glory. As much as I really, really like Freddie Freeman.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#408960) #
Here's a nice piece from The Athletic about Glenn Burke, the first openly gay player in the majors. Burke has been honoured by the Oakland A's, but curiously not by the Dodgers - the team he came up with, the team he played in a World Series for. The author attributes this to the lingering ghost of Tommy Lasorda's influence. (Lasorda's son was gay, he died of AIDs, his father was unable to acknowledge either of these things.) One isn't too surprised to learn that Dusty Baker was one of the men who welcomed Burke in the clubhouse. One is somewhat startled (upon clicking an additional link!) to learn that so was Steve Garvey. It turns out that when Alan Wiggins died of AIDs, Steve Garvey was the only former player to show up at the funeral. Steve, we hardly knew ye.
Michael - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#408961) #
Great piece to call out Magpie. Well worth a read.
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#408962) #
What is this odd creature that is swimming against the current up my aorta towards my beating heart? Could it be "like" for Steve Garvey?
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#408963) #
Alan Wiggins died in 1991, after Steve Garvey had retired and been through a divorce and the bestselling publication of his ex-wife's book in 1989.  Whether he had changed, or whether he was decent to teammates but not necessarily other people, is an interesting story.  His post-career life suggests that while he is not a particularly appealing human being, he does indeed love the game and respects all who play in it. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#408964) #
Off-topic, but I noticed this in an mlb.com article on Monday's top performers in the AFL:

"Blue Jays: Gabriel Moreno, C (MLB No. 32), Mesa Solar Sox

Playing in his fourth AFL contest, Moreno broke out with a perfect day at the plate. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a walk. Batting out of the No. 2 spot, Moreno singled in the first, walked in the third, doubled in the fifth and singled again in the sixth. After driving in a run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, he delivered an RBI double in the eighth to cap his day. Moreno is making up time in the AFL this year after playing just 37 games between Rookie-level, Double-A and Triple-A during the Minor League season, and he was able to post a .367/434/.626 slash line in his limited action."
Magpie - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#408965) #
Could it be "like" for Steve Garvey?

I don't know that we want to get too carried away...

What do we make of the garbage can gang, four years on? Only five members of the 2017 Astros are on this year's team. One of them is a pitcher who's injured and won't be playing. It does leave the entire infield. While from all accounts Altuve did not like the scheme and did not want any banging while he was hitting, Gurriel, Bregman, and Correa (along with the since departed Beltran and Springer) took full advantage of it. Correa is really the only one who's been very willing to talk much about it. If he's as smart as he sounds, he'll do what Springer did and get out of Dodge.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#408966) #
October 9th, 2005: NLDS Game 4 - Atlanta vs. Houston
Astros win series with 7-6 victory in 18 innings.
14 total pitchers - Roger Clemens wins.
92-93 - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#408967) #
Bernie Pleskoff on Moreno, via his Twitter over the last 24h:

"He's also a very solid catcher. He takes charge behind the plate. Strong arm. Good mechanics."

"I haven't seen anything that makes me believe he can't stick behind the plate. I'll be seeing more of him. He can sure hit."

"Moreno isn't ready yet."
Glevin - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#408968) #
Moreno 3/5 with HR and 2B today. Slashing. 474/.577/.789 so far in five games. He is a really elite prospect.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#408969) #
Mesa lost 15-7 despite Moreno's good game.  Leo Jimenez doubled and drew 2 walks in 4 plate trips.  He has 5 walks and 2 strikeouts in 15 PAs there.  He played short today, but has mostly been playing second base. 
Magpie - Tuesday, October 26 2021 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#408970) #
Well, here's a Dusty Baker story I did not know. When he was 18, in 1967, Baker's parents got him tickets to the fabled Monterey Pop Festival (I still watch the video of the Who's set regularly, although the performances by Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix are equally legendary.) That was a pretty cool birthday present (I did know that Baker has always been a big music fan.)

While he was between managing jobs, he wrote a memoir, Kiss the Sky,  about the experience.

The summer after the Monterey Pop Festival, Baker was briefly called up to the Braves, the first of his nineteen seasons as a professional ballplayer. After his first stint in the bigs, Baker writes, he ran into Jimi Hendrix on the streets of San Francisco one night and, having abandoned the "no grass" rule, smoked a joint with him. (He's mum about the words they exchanged, if he remembers them.) All of this by nineteen.

Put this man in Cooperstown. Do it now.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#408971) #
Another great game by Moreno in the AFL.

I checked his NH numbers, May 65ABs 6bb 16k (24.6%).
June 61ABs 8bb 6k (10%). Fantastic June bb/k ratio.

Looks like he has recovered from the thumb injury.

Thoughts about Moreno in general by our Bauxites?
scottt - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#408972) #
And the highlight was Morton striking out Altuve on a broken leg.

Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#408973) #
Dusty Baker is to Queen Elizabeth II, as Houston is to the House of Windsor.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#408974) #
Dusty's parents have a solid peak case for Hall of Fame parenting on that one move alone- tickets to Monterey Pop on kid's 18th birthday.  My favourite bit from the Pennebaker movie is Janis Joplin's version of Big Mama Thornton's Ball and Chain- the way she skips off the stage knowing that she has nailed it.  

Gabriel Moreno is an interesting case study on development, and I do have a theory about it.  He was a shortstop as a 16 year old.  He is listed at  5'11" and 160 (although he looks heavier than that now), ran well back then, and hit line drive after line drive.  The club decided that he wasn't going to be able to play shortstop at a higher level and decided to move him behind the plate.  I suspect that his height and build played a role in the decision to move him there rather than somewhere else (third base, the outfield).  I believe that some development time behind the plate can actually help a player as a hitter- it does tend to build a good knowledge of the strike zone.  On the other hand, the risk of injury is pretty much constant.  Which is why good hitters (Foxx, Downing, Biggio, Delgado, Donaldson) have regularly been moved off the position.  I think that's what they should do with Moreno, but I am doubtful that they will.

Here's a recent piece on Jordan Groshans from milb.com.




92-93 - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#408975) #
Thanks Mike. Interesting that Groshans "committed more errors at the hot corner (seven) despite having 75 fewer chances".
SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#408976) #
Moving Moreno to 2B or 3B, assuming he can handle the position, would probably benefit the team short and long-term, as it will be less wear and tear on their best prospect and the team should be fine with Jansen/Kirk behind the plate for the next 3-5 years. I'm actually surprised they haven't done that, or even considered it. Moreno at 2B/3B with Kirk at catcher seems like a much better way to maximize the current roster than Moreno at catcher and Kirk likely shipped out. Of course, they see Moreno up close, so if they feel he's not an infielder defensively, then that explains it.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#408977) #
My favourite bit from the Pennebaker movie is Janis Joplin

Oh yes. Probably even more dazzling than Jimi, despite her rather lame band.

But my love for The Who - especially in 1967-68 - is a desperate and irrational thing that knows no bounds. That is all.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#408978) #
the highlight was Morton striking out Altuve on a broken leg.

This famously happened to Bob Gibson in July 1967. Roberto Clemente led off the inning by lining a comebacker off Gibson's shin. Like Morton, Gibson lasted for three more batters before his leg gave out. (He didn't strike out any of them, though.)

He made it back in September, had a memorable World Series, and everyone who was there never forgot and everyone who joined the Cardinals was told all about it. "We didn't have too many guys begging off with sore arms or hangnails after that."
scottt - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#408980) #
I don't know.
It looks to me like Craig Biggio was moved away from catching because he wasn't that good at it, not because they wanted his bat in the lineup move often.
He did win a silver slugger behind the plate, but with a pedestrian 114 OPS+.
He wasn't Mike Piazza or Gary Carter.
Also, Craig Biggio was a later bloomer, he didn't start putting MVP numbers until he was 27.
Moreno is 21.
A silver bat behind the plate could lead to a series of division win.
The same bat in the infield might not even make him an All-Star.
I don't see him outhitting Guerrero, Springer, Bichette or Hernandez.

Kirk has some adjustments to make. You get him to hit a ground ball and he's out. Or worse you walk someone to get him to hit a double play.
I'm still waiting for a good year from Jansen.
They need a 3rd catcher in AAA who can step up, regardless.

Let's hope Cavan's Biggio's best years are ahead of him.
He's turning 27 next year.

Magpie - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#408981) #
It looks to me like Craig Biggio was moved away from catching because he wasn't that good at it, not because they wanted his bat in the lineup move often.

The main reason was because they thought he'd lose his speed if he stayed behind the plate.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, October 27 2021 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#408982) #
In a recent interview Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that he was confident that a new agreement would be reached by December 2. I don't think anybody else feels that way.

Manfred, when asked about controversy over the Atlanta team name, replied " The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community. The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop. And for me that's kind of the end of the story."

The writer of the story then included his own take- " While opinions of the Braves name and their use of the tomahawk chop are varied in the Native American communities, the Native Council of American Indians has called for the franchise to drop the team name and chant."

The article also included this -- In an experiment with a pitch clock in Low-A West, the clock was set at 15 seconds ( To deliver the pitch) with the bases empty, 17 seconds with runners on base, 30 seconds between batters, and 2 minutes 15 seconds between innings. Games went from averaging 3 hours 2 minutes without clocks to 2 hours 41 minutes with the clock.
John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#408985) #
Looking at Craig Biggio's BR page I see his dWAR was positive 3 of the 4 seasons he was behind the plate (first was just 50 games), 0.7 net dWAR during those 3 1/3 seasons.  71 SB vs 21 CS with a 104 OPS+ - back in the late 80's SB's were a big deal - Rickey Henderson was still a major star, the Cardinals of the 80's were known to win thanks to their crazy speed, Vince Coleman was just a couple years removed from the last 100 SB season in ML history.  Biggio Sr ended up with 414 SB in the end.  He only had 2 more innings behind the plate in his career - in his final season as a stunt I'm assuming to celebrate the end of his career in the 2nd last game of that great career.  Weird that in both his final 2 games, despite the team sucking (sub 500) and their opponent barely over 500 they pulled him late both times.

Interesting to compare their age 24-26 seasons - Craig 282/360/363 108 OPS+; Cavan: 235/354/408 107 OPS+.  Cavan has a much lower average, but is close in OBP and far ahead in Slg resulting in almost an identical OPS+.  Craig 11.4 vs Cavan 5.4 WAR  (461  G for Craig, 238 Cavan) - WAR/162 = 4.0 Craig, 3.7 Cavan.  Not as far off in WAR/G or OPS+ as I expected.  Craig had a big head start, reaching at 22 vs 24 for Cavan plus Cavan had his 2nd season cut grossly short by COVID and 3rd by injuries, but adjust for the time difference and they aren't far apart.  I don't expect another 2436 H from Cavan, nor a 283/367/450 113 OPS+ line from here on out, but I'd certainly look at giving him more playing time in 2022 than 2021 would suggest.  Put him at 2B and leave him there, have Espinal sub for him vs tough LHP.  Might work out well.
Nigel - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#408986) #
Gurriel Jr. - Gold Glove finalist again this year. Contemplate the absurdity of that for a minute. It should add a chuckle or two to an otherwise grey mid-week day - or, at least, it did for me.
Chuck - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#408987) #
Contemplate the absurdity of that for a minute.

You'd think somebody at Gold Glove Headquarters would investigate a little given that their candidate was routinely removed for a defensive replacement.

mathesond - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#408988) #
But those BASERUNNER KILLZ!
Thomas - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#408989) #
Semien's hired Boras as his agent.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#408990) #
Gurriel Jr. ended up with a good DRS number this year because of his admittedly good (but erratic) arm.  He does have a positive DRS and UZR number over the last 3 years.  Statcast has him at -14 OAA for the last 3 years; that doesn't include his arm but I'd venture a guess that he would end up a little below average overall.

But no, he ought not to be a GG finalist.  He is however a leading candidate for the IG award- the iron glove's which are kind of like the IgNobels for fielders.
Cracka - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#408991) #
Gurriel was replaced in 37 of his 118 starts in LF (31%), an almost unbelievable amount for someone who is both a Silver Slugger AND Glove Glove finalist.
John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#408992) #
Silly as Gurriel as a Gold Glove finalist is, it isn't as insane as the award used to be - in 1999 Rafael Palmeiro won a gold glove while DHing in 128 games and playing only 28 games at 1B.
scottt - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#408993) #
By dWAR, the guy who replaced Craig Biggio was much better defensively.
0.8 dWAR the first year alone.

scottt - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#408994) #
If we're going for absurdity, Turner is a 2B silver bat finalist.
He hasn't played an inning there this year.

scottt - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#408995) #
If only there was a Bronze Arm award.
scottt - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#408996) #
Do people hire Boras? Is that how it works?
Or is it Boras who recruits players?
Like, Boras he's on the line, something about 300 million dollars. You wanna talk to him?

John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#408998) #
Wow, that is insane - Justin Turner last played at 2B on July 21st 2019 for the final inning of a blowout.  Before that you need to go to 2015 for another inning at 2B (27 1/3).  Career wise he has played a total of 133 games at 2B, or less than many players did this season alone.  How anyone could have listed him there except as a typo is beyond me.

Seems there is another oddity this year - Joey Gallo - Silver Slugger finalist at DH, Gold Glove finalist in RF - 92 games in RF, 51 in LF, 14 at DH.  Weird.
Chuck - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#409000) #
Could it be Trea Turner who is the second baseman in question?
John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#409001) #
Chuck: Sadly not - Finalist list. No question it is Justin Turner LAD listed there. Very weird. Hopefully we find out it was a typo.
John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#409002) #
Appears via the LA Dodgers twitter that it is Trea Turner, a bit better, but still just 49 games at 2B vs 98 at SS. Really should be a rule that you can't give a positional award to someone who played more at a different position.
Magpie - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#409003) #
Contemplate the absurdity of that for a minute.

Not much else they could do, actually. The real hard part was finding a third guy they could nominate. Gurriel and Benintendi were the only AL left fielders to start more than 100 games.

Bob Melvin's leaving Oakland, going down the coast to San Diego.
AWeb - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#409004) #
Regarding the lack of players in LF, the lack of starting pitcher innings has gotten more written about it, but it seems like position players are also slowly dwindling away from being full timers as well. 2001 had 156 qualified players for the batting title and 73 with 150 games...that's about 5 and 2.4 per team. 2021 had 132 and 38, down to 4 and 1.2 per team.

Like a lot of baseball changes, this makes sense on a 'win games' basis. The 'charm' of an every day day who kinda' sucks can be fun. The Jays have Grichuk who just played 149 games because...well, the Jays don't really develop outfielders these days, Pillar was the last regular from the minor league system, so someone's gotta play. But as an older guy now, the charm wears thin...
John Northey - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#409005) #
Wow Magpie, just looked at FanGraphs and saw that was indeed the case this year.  Crazy.   Using 500 innings (a pretty weak standard = 56 games roughly) you only get 12 AL players qualifying.  Benintendi was the only one to crack 1000 innings, Gurriel Jr. the only 900 guy,
Mark Canha for Oakland the only other one over 800.  720 for Andrew Vaughn with 7 others in the 600's and 1 in the 500's.  Ugh.  2019 had 6 qualified, 2018 had just 7, 2017 6.  I can see why they had just 'OF' instead of individual slots in the old days.  For 'qualified' in CF you only get 3 guys, RF gets 4 guys.  But OF general gets 22.  So individual positions you get just 9 guys for 3 awards, but for general 'OF' you get 22 guys for 3 awards   Raw UZR for OF's say it should be Michael A Taylor, Adolis Garcia, and Myles Straw with the top Jay coming in 9th in Grichuck.  Hernandez is 11th, Gurriel 12th - between 2.3 and 0.0 UZR this year (Gurriel at 0).

Yeah, the Gold Gloves might need another redo.  Statistics are getting stronger now (I'm sure there are better ones than UZR) so awards are more meaningless each year.  I suspect if broadcasters stopped talking about 'gold gloves' then they'd disappear.  Much like how few care about Silver Slugger outside of guys who win it.  The Jays do have an Awards Page on their site though...
  • Gold Gloves: Devon White  (5), Roberto Alomar  (5), Tony Fernandez  (4), Vernon Wells  (3), Jesse Barfield  (2), Kelly Gruber , Marcus Stroman , Orlando Hudson , R.A. Dickey , Shawn Green
  • Silver Sluggers: Carlos Delgado (3), George Bell (3), Joe Carter (2), Jose Bautista (2), Josh Donaldson (2), Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Damaso Garcia, Dave Winfield, Fred McGriff, Jesse Barfield, Jose Canseco, Kelly Gruber, Lloyd Moseby, Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, Shawn Green, Vernon Wells
  • Edgar Martinez Award (best DH): Adam Lind 2009
  • MLB Hank Aaron Award: Donaldson, Bautista (2), Delgado
  • Manager of the year: Bobby Cox 1985
  • Rookie of the Year: Alfredo Griffin, Eric Hinske
  • Cy Young: Hentgen, Clemens (2), Halladay
  • MVP: Donaldson, Bell
25 Silver Slugger awards (last in 2016 to Donaldson), 24 Gold Gloves (last in 2017 to Stroman, then Dickey in 2013, last position player was Vernon Wells in 2006).  I suspect the Silver Slugger slump ends this year, but I doubt the Gold Glove one does.  If Ray does win the Cy then he'll have as many as Halladay did as a Jay.  Seems wrong doesn't it?
Evair Montenegro - Thursday, October 28 2021 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#409006) #
Teoscar won a Silver Slugger last year.
scottt - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#409007) #
Brace yourself. With a 13th position player in 2022, there will be less playing time.
Mike Green - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#409008) #
Happy birthday, Jesse Barfield!  That he has only 2 GGs reflects badly on the voters.  He was easily the best defensive rightfielder of the last 40 years, and neck-and-neck with Clemente as the best ever (Clemente of course had a much longer career and added more value over the career).

With a runner on third and less than two outs, a flyball to right-field with Jesse waiting was generally a win for the pitcher.  This changed the dynamic of the situation considerably.  And for a fan, the anticipation of a play at the plate with Barfield throwing was part of the joy of going to a game in the 80s.
John Northey - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#409009) #
Funny that the Jays own website didn't list Teoscar's winning of that silver slugger. Wonder if the Jays aren't updating that page or something. Double checking it appears that is the only one missing. No Gold Gloves or other Silver Sluggers since 2017. I suspect that changes big time this winter - Semien and Vlad are locks for SS's I'd think. The GG slump will continue most likely - I'd be quite surprised if Gurriel wins it.
Mike Green - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#409011) #
I would think that Semien has a pretty good shot at winning the GG.  Both he and Merrifield are very, very good. 
Chuck - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#409012) #
Appears via the LA Dodgers twitter that it is Trea Turner

Well, it seems that Trea Turner is nominated as a shortstop. I have read speculation that Justin Turner "qualified" as a second baseman because of how frequently he played on the second base side of the bag on defensive shifts. This seems more than a little whack-a-doodle. Actually, most everything about most awards, and not just in pro sports, seems whack-a-doodle. Enough already with these things.

Mike Green - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#409013) #
I think, of course, about Brett Lawrie who put up some really good defensive numbers in his first few years in Toronto largely because of his performance in the shift. Incidentally, Lawrie's #1 BBRef comp at age 22 was Scott Rolen and his #1 comp at age 23 was Nolan Arenado.  It was all downhill from there.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#409014) #
The Star-Spangled Banner is not so easy to sing...

Among famous Atlanta singers:

Kelly Rowland (Destiny's Child)
Chilli (TLC)
Brenda Lee (Little Miss Dynamite)

Meantime, Travis Tritt can Whistle Dixie.

Magpie - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#409015) #
Among famous Atlanta singers:

Yeah, let's scrap Houston-Atlanta. Let's have Austin and Athens instead.
Mike Green - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#409016) #
"Waterfalls" instead of the Star Spangled Banner works for me.  Or in memory of Lisa Left Eye Lopes and Hank Aaron, Big Boi and/or Cee Lo Green could do the national anthem or maybe (even better) the full version of This Land is Your Land.  If the Flyers could have Kate Smith do America the Beautiful, nothing is written in stone. 

But, nah, the woke owners of the Atlanta Braves will have Travis Tritt and the chop. 
Mike Green - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#409017) #
The NAACP called on pro athletes to avoid Texas, including the Rangers and Astros.

For young 'uns, the NAACP is pretty much the most mainstream organization supporting the rights of African-Americans, drawing support from famous people ranging from Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell and Bill Clinton to Michael Jackson and Mary Tyler Moore and Oprah.

 
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#409019) #
John Rocker should throw the ceremonial first pitch!
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#409021) #
Game 1 - 4:06
Game 2 - 3:11

Astros' Game 3 starter Luis GarcŪa has a long wind-up. (Borderline balk?)
cascando - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#409029) #
The length of these games is really discouraging. Tune in close to an hour after the game is supposed to start and itís the second inning. Iím sure fans of the teams are rapt anyway, but this canít be good for overall viewership.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 29 2021 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#409031) #
Game 2 had a decent pace to it, but Game 1 and tonight is really bad. Garcia's windup is ridiculous and hopefully motivation for the league to implement a pitch clock ASAP.
bpoz - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#409032) #
Atlanta ahead 2 wins to 1 loss. Atlanta 88 wins, SF 107 and LAD 106. So the 88 wins is the lowest for this year's post season.

As Shapiro said Just get in and if we are hot in the playoffs we can win a WS.

Buck Martinez has been around for a long time in the game. Long playing career and long media career. Once in a while he will give a very quick answer to a question. Bob MacGowan in asked him in ST about a bench player that just had a good year becoming a regular. Buck "No". I assume that if you were a bench player you are type cast to stay there. Another ST question I believe Litsch (considered clearly #4) MacGowan suggested he could win 10 games. Buck "if your #4 SP wins 10 games you are going to the playoffs"

I randomly picked 2009 Richmond/Cecil/Tallet 8/7/7 wins.

2021 4th best win total Manoah/Berrios/Stripling 9/5/5. Almost.

I do love these sayings based on long experience.
scottt - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#409035) #
Watching Garcia is like watching bowling.

I gave up in the 6th. Things picked up a bit, but not much.

greenfrog - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#409037) #
It must be satisfying for Anthopoulos to have his team go this far in the postseason, with Shapiro (who scolded AA in 2015 for excessive trading of prospects) watching the WS at home on television.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#409039) #
"I'm sure fans of the teams are rapt anyway, but this can't be good for overall viewership."

The second game of the World Series had 10.8 million viewers on T.V. which was the second least-watched game in Series history. A good portion of those would be fans of the two teams plus some other hard-core baseball fans. I don't know who will be watching baseball in twenty years time as the youth of today don't have the attention span for 4 hour marathons.
Chuck - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#409043) #
the youth of today don't have the attention span for 4 hour marathons.

In fairness, do we non-youth have that attention span? More and more, baseball games feel like something you have on in the background while you multi-task, that the pace of the game precludes it from being able to fully absorb you. The game seems to have involuntarily evolved so that it slots in nicely into a world already predisposed to its multi-tasked consumption.

Magpie - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#409052) #
the youth of today don't have the attention span for 4 hour marathons.

Well, neither did the youth of yesterday. Let's be fair!

As far as I can tell, there seem to be four factors that have stretched out the time it takes to play nine innings:

1 - TV commercials between innings. This is sacred and can not be touched. On to the others.
2 - Changes in hitting approaches have added roughly 20 or so extra pitches to every game.
3 - Mid-inning pitching changes.
4 - Enormous lengths of time passing between pitches. Everybody thinks they're Juan Guzman or somethng.

Proposed solutions include:
a) a clock on pitchers while they're on the mound
b) a limit on how many pitchers one can have on the roster (as well as something to discourage the two or three weekly roster moves teams make to increase the size of the pitching staffs), and
c) tying the DH to that day's starting pitcher. When the starter comes out, you lose the DH. I love that idea.
johnny was - Saturday, October 30 2021 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#409058) #
It's not just the length of the commercial breaks, it's the ad content itself. Take a second to acknowledge that we collectively are a ripe target for peddlers of booze, ED meds, fast food, and online gambling.
bpoz - Sunday, October 31 2021 @ 06:56 AM EDT (#409059) #
Atlanta leading the WS 3 gms to 1.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, October 31 2021 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#409061) #

Changes in hitting approaches have added roughly 20 or so extra pitches to every game.

Actually it seems to be more like 35-40 more pitches since 1988, when bbref starts tracking pitch count data. So this is like playing an extra full inning, top and bottom, compared to years ago.

And I'm not really sure if it's more on the hitters or the pitchers. Again using bbref, the swing% is remarkably stable over many years. Hitters are not taking more pitches now than in the past, at least going back to the late 80s. Pitch counts per AB have definitely gone up, but this appears to be entirely due to more foul balls and whiffs. A swing and miss (unless strike three) or foul ball will cause more pitches to be thrown, whereas a ball in play ends the at bat one way or the other.



a) a clock on pitchers while they're on the mound



I would also add a rule keeping hitters in the box. It's ridiculous how routine it is for them to go wandering around needlessly.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 31 2021 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#409062) #
Rule 5.07 (c) - Pitcher Delays

"When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds...timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher...

Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire..."

Rule 6.02 (a) - Pitcher Illegal Action

"If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when:

(8) The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;"
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 31 2021 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#409063) #
Today's NFL schedule:

1 PM - B-B-B-Bengals and the Jets
bpoz - Monday, November 01 2021 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#409068) #
WS decided by mid week. Then long off season.
scottt - Monday, November 01 2021 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#409077) #
Urquidy pitched the 4th inning yesterday, which mean he won't be able to start tomorrow.
Instead, Garcia will be pitching on short rest.

Personally, I think that's trying to avoid losing with a fresh pitcher on the bench.
That's not trying to win. That's trying to find an excuse for losing.
The Astros ended up winning 9-5.

I can understand using the starter for the 8th or 9th if there is no other options, but for 4th inning?
What's the logic there? That the pen is not used to pitching the 4th inning?

John Northey - Tuesday, November 02 2021 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#409087) #
If a starter is going to be used in a game (other than starting) it makes sense to use early to eat a few innings. Strangely Houston used him for just 1 inning suggesting they were hoping keeping him to 14 pitches would keep him available for a game 7. At least that is my guess for the logic. I'd have just kept him in to eat 4 or 5 innings if possible myself if I was going to use him at all.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 06:36 AM EDT (#409088) #
Congratulations to Atlanta.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 07:33 AM EDT (#409089) #
Atlanta already has a deep rotation for 2022. Should make the playoffs next year as well.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#409090) #
Alex A has Covid and was unable to participate in the on field celebrations. Talk about bad timing!
scottt - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#409093) #
Starting pitchers on short rest is asking for a blowout.
It's kinda of moot here since Houston couldn't produce any offense at all.

Some are saying that this is the end of the Houston dynasty because they're about to lose Correa.
I think he might be easily replaced, given the depth of shortstop options this year.
However, it seems some of the other players are hitting the age curve.

Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#409096) #
The next game Toronto wins at Houston, the players and coaches might skip the handshakes.

Instead, Charlie can lead a Conga line around the basepaths. (Replace the Conga drum with a trash can, naturally.)
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#409097) #
Congratulations to Freddie Freeman and Alex Anthopoulos for the World Series win!

I saw a clip on a news show that said a Houston man, apparently with lots of money, bet over 2 million on the Astros back in June to win the World Series. If they had won. he would have pocketed over 44 million. Instead, they lost and he has less money.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#409098) #
Houston's average age hitters: 29.0, pitchers: 28.4. 6 guys had 20+ starts for them, 2 were over 30 (Greinke at 37 had 29 starts to lead them and is now a free agent), 1 year left for their 32 year old closer (vesting option which he reached for $10 mil). They have a few old guys (Yuli Gurriel 37, Jose Altuve 31, Michael Brantley 34, Martin Maldonado 34) but also a few young ones (sub 27 for Myles Straw, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Ńlvarez, and Carlos Correa who is a free agent after his age 26 season).

Some tough choices for Houston's GM this winter. I figure they'll feel a need to keep contending but the cost to do so will be very high now. They will be interesting to watch this winter.
jgadfly - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 05:12 PM EST (#409279) #
Interesting BA comments on Gabriel Moreno ...

" BA Grade :.. 65/High ... Hit - 70 ... Arm - 60 "

" Moreno has an elite combination of quickness, bat speed, hitting actions and excellent contact skills "

" Some scouts believe Moreno has a chance to be a perennial all-star, a potential plus to plus-plus hitter who could hit 20-25 home runs while chipping in above-average defense at a premium position."

I guess the Jays would take that
bpoz - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 08:02 AM EST (#409283) #
Thanks for the report jgadfly.

Moreno seems to be living up to the hype. Yesterday DHing 3 hits in 6 ABs includes his 10th double.
Mike Green - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 09:11 AM EST (#409285) #
Moreno has hit fine, but the statistics show very little.  He's 4th on the Mesa Solar Sox in OPS behind Velasquez, Bleday and Misner.  He has walked 11 times and struck out 12 times; in an ordinary environment, this would be very good,but in the AFL in Mesa, it's par for the course. 

He's a good line drive hitter and the home runs will come, probably when his injury fully heals. 
bpoz - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 09:31 AM EST (#409286) #
Next year Moreno could play well enough to come up very fast, maybe 1 month into the season. His ST will be very important to get familiar with the ML pitching staff.
scottt - Saturday, November 13 2021 @ 09:58 AM EST (#409298) #
Moreno is playing stellar defense, blocking pitches and throwing out runners.
About half of his hits are for extra bases and he's hitting well over .300.

Spencer Horwitz has also hit very well in the AFL. 9K 9 BB OPS close to 1.
He's showing a lot of patience at the plate, working out walks and he's hitting left.
He's stolen 4 bases.

What if the pitching isn't very good this year in the AFL?
Spraker has 14K, 2 BB 0.0 ERA and batters are hitting .071 against him after 9 innings.
He dominated AA and might force the Jays to add him to the 40 roster.

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