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Tuesday Bantering: Manfred speaks

And other stuff

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight might be our last chance to watch live MLB baseball for several months, so we might as well enjoy it.

Rob Manfred gave an interview to Sportico, in the middle of a terrific World Series. Great storylines, excellent teams, lots of star players, a remarkable story of a young player who hadn’t swung a bat in a game for a couple of weeks coming up with a big hit. Tons of excellent baseball stuff. You’d think he’d want to spend the interview selling the game. Nope.

He tells us that baseball is losing money.

Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have amassed an unprecedented $8.3 billion of debt from their various lenders and will post $2.8 billion to $3 billion in operational losses this year. Commissioner Rob Manfred told Sportico Monday in an exclusive interview.

As always, when baseball talks about how much losing money, they are always lying. But beyond that, why talk about that now. Why not spend all time pointing at the game on the field? The games have been great. Ratings are good. People are watching and enjoying.

But Manfred wants us all to know how billionaire owners aren’t making money on what is, for most of them, a side business. A business they own to get their names in the paper.

I know it is posturing for a future battle with the Players’ Association, but if you were a Commissioner who wanted to grow his sport, wouldn’t you be putting the spotlight on the games instead of the owners?

And this bit caught people’s attention:

Other issues will have to be resolved. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays undoubtedly won’t be able to play again at the Rogers Centre because of restrictions at the border. They played their home games during this 60-game abbreviated regular season at a Triple-A park in Buffalo.

It is a little early to say ‘undoubtedly’. We are months away from next season (all going well). There is a possibility that there will be a vaccine between now and then. There is a possibility that there will be a new leader on the other side of the border who won’t be surrendering to the pandemic.

I want to be optimistic that this will end one day.

I know this isn’t interesting to anyone but me, but I’ve played OOTP Baseball for many years, and I had a first. The Jays season I just finished, I only used 5 starting pitchers. 5 guys made 162 starts. There wasn’t an injury; there wasn’t a spot start. This was my 2023 rotation:

I figured I’d need a spot starter to get the rotation for the playoffs, but it worked out perfectly. My number 1 starter was right in line for the first game of the playoffs.

We didn’t have many injuries. Bo Bichette was out for the season, getting injured in spring training to come back for the playoffs. And a couple of outfielders and a couple of relievers missed some time, but it was a very health season.

And we won the World Series.

Over in the Star, Gregor Chisholm has a series of ‘Blue Jays Burning Questions’.

One of them is titled “The Blue Jays need to aim higher than Randal Grichuk in centre field to contend — the sooner the better”. Then in the story it says:

The “nice to have” is a long-term solution to centre field. The position is not currently considered a pressing priority, but it might not be long before it becomes one.

I can’t see us being competitive in the former playoff structure without improving the defense side, especially up the middle. If they keep this year’s playoff structure, well any team can be competitive.

Later in the piece, Gregor notes that if he had good defensive outfielders alongside him, we could live with Grichuk’s play in center. But with Hernandez and Gurriel in the corners, we need better. I think it is the other way around. If we had an excellent CF, Gurriel and Hernandez would look so much better.

Another is titled: The Blue Jays shouldn’t give Vlad Guerrero another shot at third base. Versatility isn’t for everyone. It’s first or bust next season.

I agree with that one. Put Vlad at first, keep him there, keep him working at it, don’t confuse things by moving him back and forth.

Honestly, I don’t want any of the regulars bouncing around different positions. To me, that’s the job of the scrubs. If a guy is playing every day, put him in the same spot every day and let him get as good as it was possible.

With John Lott retiring and Andrew Stoeten being let go, the Athletic is a lot thinner on the Blue Jays coverage. It is tough to make money doing sports news online, but the Athletic was sold to us as having great coverage. They aren’t as good at covering the Jays as they were a couple of months ago.

I’m still a subscriber, but they will have to show me it is still worth it.