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Time to sell the Oakland Athletics
A’s exhibit A why MLBPA opposes tanking
Good Morning, all. I hope your week is off to a great start.
When I was broadcasting games for the Richmond Braves in the 1980s, Billy Beane was playing leftfield for the Tidewater Tides, the New York Mets AAA ballclub. He has since scaled greater heights, renowned as one of baseball’s top executives. However, his rebuilding projects are getting stale. It seems, just when Oakland reaches contending status, Beane - of Money Ball fame - cannot stand the prosperity. It’s like someone who enjoys the chase but grows bored once he gets the girl.
The latest teardown and rebuild endeavor is well underway, on the eve of the new MLB season. We constantly hear the Athletics do not have enough money, play in a decrepit stadium and claim they cannot afford to compete with the big guys.
The franchise, however, has reached new depths. Oakland’s team payroll is $33 million. Five players will make more this season than the entire A’s club: Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Correa.
The Athletics are exhibit A why the MLBPA fought to stop clubs from tanking. If the Athletics cannot compete with other clubs, then it is time to sell the franchise or move it to Las Vegas. While the city of Oakland continues to drag its feet on a new stadium for the A’s, the fans are getting hosed. How could you get excited, every time Oakland trades another star player for prospects? What is the incentive in buying a ticket?
As currently constituted, the Athletics are nothing more than a farm club for the rest of MLB. If commissioner Rob Manfred really wants to reach out to the players to improve relations, he could start by demanding the Athletics either be sold or moved, regardless of how much Billy Beane is addicted to rebuilding, rather than creating a championship club.
South Carolina was the better team
The 11-time UConn women’s basketball team has nothing to be ashamed of, losing in the finals of the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament to South Carolina on Sunday night, 64-49. The Gamecocks were the better team. They were stronger inside, employed a suffocating defense, and forced the Huskies to shoot from beyond the arc.
Yes, Paige Bueckers played courageously since returning from knee surgery, but even a fully recovered Bueckers would not have been enough to stop the South Carolina juggernaught.
Long before there was the WNBA, there was the American Basketball League. I broadcast the games for the New England Blizzard, who were led by UConn icon Jennifer Rizzoti. Some of the best games were New England vs. Philadelphia, whose team leader was Dawn Staley. No one was better, driving to her left than Staley, and her tenaciy on the court has carried over to the sidelines, were she has now coached the Gamecocks to two national championships in five years. My guess is she is due for a hefty pay hike. She deserves it.
UConn legend Geno Auriemma arguably did his best coaching job in 37 years, guiding the Huskies to their 12th national championship game, but South Carolina was the better team and proved it Sunday night.
Those were the days
Remember when pitchers threw shutouts? Even as recently as 2011, Cliff Lee threw six shutouts for the Philadelphia Phillies. When Oakland traded Sean Manaea to the San Diego Padres over the weekend, he was one of only four pitchers to have thrown three complete-game shutouts since 2018. (The others are Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer and Lucas Giolito.)
The way the game is played now, we are lucky to witness a pitcher toss a complete game, let alone a complete-game shutout.
That is it for this week. As always, thank you for your support and pray for peace.