Is Kris Bryant on the block?
Talk of Cubs trading star
Good morning, all! I hope your week is going well.
There is speculation in several corners that Chicago Cubs’ IF/OF Kris Bryant could be on the trading block. The Cubs are in a rebuild, though they say they want to contend while reconstructing their roster. Bryant, 29, is a free agent after this season and off to his best start in years. What kind of a haul might the Cubs expect for the 2016 NL MVP, considering he is about to enter free agency? And which club could afford him? One writer for The Athletic makes a strong case for the Dodgers. But I am not sure, as I discuss Bryant’s prospects in my latest episode of The Baseball Podcast.
Mets pull a Steinbrenner
So the New York Mets have gotten off to a slower-than-expected start, under the new ownership of billionaire Steve Cohen. Francisco Lindor, who Cohen inked to a 10-year, $341M contract, “can’t hit the broadside of a barn with a wet Sporting News,” as the old saying goes. Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals, Lindor was 0-for-his-last-21 and his overall batting average was south of .200.
So what did the Mets do? Fire hitting coach Chili Davis and his assistant Tom Slater, after Monday night’s 6-5 loss to the Cardinals. Acting GM Zach Scott delivered the bad news. The decision was made in consort with Mets president Sandy Alderson, but according to NY Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman did not meet with the approval of manager Luis Rojas. If that doesn’t sound like a George Steinbrenner move, nothing does. “The Boss” was famous for firing hitting or pitching coaches, usually to get under the skin of whoever was manager at the time.
Word is Davis was not adapting to the analytics approach with his players, so embraced by Scott, Anderson and just about everybody else in the baseball world. In the end, however, it still comes down to the players. Either they have the talent or they don’t. Meanwhile, you would have to say the ice has gotten a bit thinner under manager Luis Rojas.
Derby ratings steady
The numbers are in and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, won by 12-1 shot Medina Spirit, produced ratings on par with a normal Derby telecast. The race itself snagged a 7.1 rating and 14.37 million viewers. That compares to 9.8 million who watched the “Run for the Roses” last fall, late in 2020 because of Covid-19. The race in 2019, scheduled at its usual time, the first Saturday in May, garnered 18.9 million viewers.
Incidentally, the Derby did better than the opening round of the NFL draft, which still tallied a respectable 12.52M viewers on Thursday night.
Were Penn State’s Sandusky and Paterno wronged
It has been a decade since the Penn St. football program was rocked to its core over charges of sexual abuse of players. The scandal landed the team’s defensive coach Jerry Sandusky in jail for life, ruined the impeccable reputation of head coach Joe Paterno, and brought down others at the school too. Now a new podcast is out, with its host claiming Sandusky is innocent and Paterno was unaware of any sexual scandal on his watch. David J. Halberstam writes about the podcast on his Sports Broadcast Journal blog.
What a week it was
Sixty-years ago, baseball fans awoke on the morning of May 5, 1961, exclaiming what a week baseball had just been through. In a seven-day period, ending May 4, a baseball superstar continued his torrid pace, another superstar had a four-home run game, a 40-year-old pitcher tossed a no-hitter, another superstar walked away from the game, a renowned general manager resigned from his post to take the same job with another club, the new Los Angeles team played its first home game with less than a sellout crowd but a stellar guest list and there were two major trades. All of this in one week!
I cover it all and more in episode five of my Baseball Sixty-One podcast.
Well, continue to have a great week and as always, thank you for your support!