A-Rod’s suspension appeal — five things you need to know about baseball’s new legal drama

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Alex Rodriguez and his New York Yankees didn’t make the postseason this year, but the A-Rod drama of 2013 isn’t going quietly into the fall night. Nope. Now we’re entering into the part of the season when A-Rod can trade out his pinstripes out for a suit, and sit in front of an arbitrator while his baseball fate is decided.

A-Rod’s appeal hearing began Monday for the 211-game suspension handed to him by Major League Baseball in August. A-Rod said then he’d fight the suspension with all he had, and now at Major League Baseball’s Park Avenue offices in New York City, A-Rod will do just that.

With the proceedings already started, here are five things you need to know

1. Apparently A-Rod has supporters. Just look at that picture above. There were people lined up with “Leave A-Rod alone” and “Bosch Liar” signs. Nevermind that all the signs look like they’re in the same handwriting and you might have a sneaking suspicion that those people were paid to be there … let’s focus on the real surprise here. A-Rod had supporters waiting for him outside the MLB offices. That must have made him feel good.

2. The hearing is expected to last five days. So it’s kind of like a five-game playoff series, right? After five days of MLB attorneys giving their side and A-Rod’s attorneys presenting theirs — much like in a courtroom — arbitrator Fredric Horowitz then has 25 days to make a ruling. Don’t expect anything too soon. As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes, “Even if Horowitz knows his decision early, MLB would not walk to disrupt the postseason, much less the World Series. Look for Horowitz to announce his ruling the first week of November.”

3. We won’t know much that goes on. This isn’t a “Judge Joe Brown” type of scene. No cameras. No TV coverage. None of that. Maybe A-Rod’s lawyer will toss out some good quotes when he leaves the building each day — neither A-Rod nor attorney Joe Tacopina are strangers to the tabloids — but don’t expect much in the way of play-by-play from the A-Rod court drama.

4. Who’s there? In addition to A-Rod, Tacopina and Horowitz, the other names you should know in this battle: MLB attorney David Cornwell, who will be presenting the “prosecution’s” side. Joining Horowitz on the hearing’s three-person panel: MLB vice president (and possible Bud Selig successor) Rob Manfred and MLB Players Association general counsel David Prouty.

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5. This really could decide whether A-Rod plays baseball again or not. We all goof on A-Rod a lot, but the stakes are high here. Should his 211-game suspension be upheld, that would mean he’s not eligible to play again until midway through the 2015 season. He would be turning 40 soon. He’s already broken down and not the player he used to be.

If A-Rod’s suspension is overturned and he’s free to play again, then that would be a huge surprise to everyone, the Yankees included. The more likely scenario, most agree, is that A-Rod’s suspension is knocked down a bit — perhaps to 100 games, or perhaps just all 162 games of the 2014 season. With a year off, though, you still have to wonder what type of player the Yankees would be getting back.

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Ruben Amaro in the year 2013 …

Ruben Amaro in the year 2013 …

By                            on Sep 30 2013, 5:37p

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Chris Trotman
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This was a passage that appeared on the Philadelphia Daily News website on Monday:

 

Some of the upcoming changes could impact that decision-making. Slow to incorporate advanced statistics into their thinking – the Phillies seem to value RBI over OBP, for example – Amaro said the front office does plan to adjust their thinking this winter, although he said they’d be “pretty minor.”

This is like a newspaper printing a story about a company thinking about canceling their Prodigy service to get on the rest of the World Wide Web. That’s not even a hyperbolic comparison. You could probably plot the rise of OBP-awareness on a graph with residential Internet service, and the lines would be going in the same direction.

If someone from the team didn’t call the Daily News and yell at them for the “seem to value” implication, there might be something wrong with the Phillies’ front office. Don’t want to get too crazy with the broad strokes, but I’m starting to wonder about the Phillies, everyone.

RBI. Come on.

Rays’ Evan Longoria hits record-breaking home run in Game 163

Stop him if you’ve heard this before: Evan Longoria is having a big game in the last game of the regular season.

Continuing a career-long trend, Longoria hit a key two-run home run to help the Tampa Bay Rays build a lead Monday night against the Texas Rangers in Game 163, a winner-take-all, wild-card tiebreaker. Longoria came in with six career home runs in the last game of the regular season, tying Stan Musial — how about him for company? — for the all-time lead.

Longoria’s seventh career dinger in Game 162 (or 163) gave the Rays a three-run lead against left-hander Martin Perez in the third inning. Longoria went 3 for 3 with a walk through his first four trips, including a double in the sixth that set up Tampa Bay’s fourth run.

Tampa Bay leads 4-2 in the ninth, with a trip to Cleveland on the line for the wild card game Wednesday — another one-game playoff.

With the regular season at its end and still on the line, Longoria was getting the last word. But then, he usually does.

 

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(Getty)

 

Most famously, Longoria hit a game-ending, regular-season ending home run against the Yankees in 2011 that put the Rays in the playoffs:

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Longoria also hit three home runs in Game 162 a season ago, though the Rays were out of contention by then

Miami Marlins selling unused tickets to Sunday’s no-hitter for $15 each

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Mike Oz                                 1 hour ago                                                      Big League Stew

 

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(USA Today)

The Miami Marlins could have ended their 2013 season on a high note — a no-hitter in the final game of the season, that’s something that makes a 62-100 record feel the slightest bit better heading into the postseason. But the Marlins couldn’t let the season end without one more cash-grab.

 

Turns out the team has started selling the unused tickets from Sunday’s final 2013 game at Marlins Park for $15. Collectors of famous moments in Marlins history (are there such a thing?) would welcome the opportunity to buy one. And people who like to pretend they went places and did things could use them as evidence when telling a story years from now about how they watched a no-hitter end on a walk-off wild pitch.

And the Marlins, heck, they can make a little bit more money. There are 9,100 tickets for sale. If the Marlins can sell them all, they’d make $136,500.

Here’s a fun (and by fun, we mean sad) wrinkle that comes to us via Maury Brown of Biz of Baseball:

The Marlins finished second to last in league attendance this year with an average of 19,584 but will be trying to nudge that up as any tickets sold—even the ones for the no-hitter sold after the season is now completed —will count as paid attendance. In doing so, the Marlins are artificially inflating their attendance. The club currently will end the season with the worst attendance decline in the second season of a brand new ballpark since 1992 when Bud Selig took over as commissioner.

The Marlins didn’t sell out a single game this season, despite their best and most shameless efforts, and now here they are, hoping to sell out a game after the fact. How gloriously Marlins of them.

Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season

Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season

Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season
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DAVID GINSBURG (AP Sports Writer)                                 52 minutes ago                                                      AP – Sports

BALTIMORE (AP) — There was a time when the Baltimore Orioles would have delighted to finish 85-77 and in contention for a playoff berth until the final week of the season.

Not anymore.

In a testament to just how far the franchise has come under manager Buck Showalter, not playing baseball in October is no longer acceptable. After ending a run of 14 straight losing seasons in 2012 and extending the New York Yankees in the final game in the Divisional Series, the Orioles now measure themselves by a much higher standard.

”This isn’t a club that went into the season trying to be the wild card,” Showalter said. ”We tried to win the division.”

Still, there were some positives to take into next year.

Even though they finished tied for third in the AL East, the Orioles achieved one of their objectives by proving last year was no fluke.

”We have to be proud of the fact that we gave ourselves a shot to be in the pennant race,” said center fielder Adam Jones, who batted .285 and set career highs with 33 homers and 108 RBIs. ”We raised the bar here. We expect to be in the playoffs every year, and the fact that we’re disappointed that we’re not is a good sign.”

The Orioles hit more home runs than any other team, and Chris Davis had more home runs (53) and RBIs (138) than anyone in the majors. He sent a franchise record for homers in a season and was a landslide winner as the team MVP.

Davis’ breakthrough season, along with the development of third baseman Manny Machado and right-hander Chris Tillman, helped make missing the postseason more palatable.

”The emergence of some really good players like Davis and Machado, that was the most encouraging thing about this year,” said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

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Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter shakes hands with relief pitcher Tommy Hunter after a baseb …

With Machado and Davis providing prowess at the corners of the infield and Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy solidifying the middle of the diamond, Baltimore set a major league record with a .991 fielding percentage. The Orioles hit 24 more homers than second-place finisher Seattle, and Jim Johnson led the AL with 50 saves.

Plenty good happened for the 2013 Orioles. It just didn’t add up to a playoff berth, in part because Baltimore yielded 202 home runs, lost 31 one-run games, went 8-7 in extra innings and had a sub-.500 record after July.

A year ago, the Orioles were 29-9 in one-run games, 16-2 in extra innings and 20-11 after July 31.

”Obviously last year, with the one run wins and the extra inning wins, that’s something that’s really tough to duplicate,” Davis said. ”But I think we might be more of a complete team this year.”

In 2012, the Orioles surprised the rest of baseball and, to a degree, themselves. This year, there was the pressure of coming up with a proper encore.

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Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season

Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis, right, walks off the field with teammate Adam Jones after a baseball …

”A lot of guys had some expectations this year. Last year we were just playing and having fun,” Davis said. ”But it’s a positive thing to be in the mix.”

There’s more work to be done before the Orioles can take the next step, and perhaps get into the World Series for the first time since 1983.

”We have to scout better, we have to trade better, we have to play better, we have to coach better,” Duquette said. ”We have to do all those things to have a championship team. My experience is the season identifies your strengths and weaknesses. ”

The most obvious shortcoming was pitching. Johnson blew nine saves, the starting rotation was spotty beyond Tillman and Baltimore’s 4.20 ERA ranked 23rd among 30 teams. That is perhaps the main reason why the Orioles never had a winning streak longer than five games.

”We didn’t really get on a roll,” Johnson said. ”It was the biggest difference. Just never got hot.”

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Orioles have differing views of up-and-down season

Members of the Baltimore Orioles shake hands after a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunda …

Thus, the Orioles cleaned out their lockers Sunday instead of gearing up for another playoff run.

”It’s not what we expected the season to be like,” Johnson said. ”We had expectations for ourselves that were justified. But it’s frustrating, too, because a lot of guys put in a lot of hard work and we didn’t get the results that we wanted.”

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The Marlins Are Selling Tickets To Henderson Alvarez’s No-Hitter

Why Your Team Sucks 2013 · NFL Media Meltdowns · ESPN · MLB

The Marlins Are Selling Tickets To Henderson Alvarez’s No-Hitter

Sunday’s season finale was actually the fourth-best attended game of the year at Marlins Park. An announced crowd of 28,315 watched Henderson Alvarez complete a bizarre no-hitter that ended with him in the on-deck circle. Though the season is over, that game might turn out to be the Marlins’ only sellout of the year.

The Marlins are selling the 9,100 unsold tickets for $15 a pop, capitalizing on the market for Miami fans who weren’t at a game but want to pretend they were, which is the precise opposite of normal.

This is slightly less sad than 2010, when the Marlins sold unused tickets (at face value!) for the game they were perfecto’d by Roy Halladay, and included those figures in paid attendance

MLB announces umpires through the Division Series

MLB announces umpires through the Division Series

Sep 30, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Joe West

Umpires: if you know their name they’ve probably messed up too much. Let’s see how many names you recognize for the Wild Card and Division Series rounds.

  • For tonight’s game 163 between the Rays and Rangers it will be Tim Welke as crew cheif, Jeff Kellogg behind the plate and Bruce Dreckman, Chris Guccione, Tom Hallion and Ron Kulpa around the bases and/or down the lines.
  • Our friend Joe West gets home plate and crew chief duties for the Reds-Pirates Wild Card game on Tuesday, with Dale Scott, Dan Iassogna, Rob Drake, Tim Timmons and Lance Barksdale on his crew. In the AL Wild Card game it will be Gerry Davis as chief and home plate ump with Ted Barrett, Mike Everitt, Greg Gibson, Phil Cuzzi and Brian Knight rounding things out.
  • Jerry Layne will head up the Division series in St. Louis between the Cards and the Pirates-Reds winner, with Wally Bell, Sam Holbrook, Jim Joyce, Paul Nauert and Tony Randazzo. The Dodgers-Braves Division Series will be policed by John Hirschbeck, Laz Diaz, Marvin Hudson, Bill Miller, Tim Welke and Hunter Wendelstedt.
  • In the AL Division series between the Red Sox and the Wild Card winner will be Dana DeMuth, Eric Cooper, Paul Emmel, Chris Guccione, Larry Vanover and Mike Winters. The Tigers-Athletics series gets Gary Darling, CB Bucknor, Mike DiMuro, Tom Hallion, Jim Reynolds and Mark Wegner.

Not sure who the A’s and Tigers angered to get Bucknor, but expect pitcher ejections the night he works the plate.

Just how can a fat,  incompetent, arrogant, unwilling to accept responsibility for numerous mistakes be rewarded and given post season work?  The answer: BUDDY BOY This guy runs the show and runs it poorly!

Successor in place? Rob Manfred named Chief Operating Officer of MLB

Successor in place?  Rob Manfred named Chief Operating Officer of MLB

Sep 30, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT

Rob Manfred

Takeaways: (1) Bud Selig is still leaving, which marks the longest he’s ever stuck with a retirement decision before; and (2) Rob Manfred is likely his successor given this move:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has begun the transition process in preparation for his retirement in January 2015 by appointing Robert D. Manfred, Jr. as the new Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, he announced today.  The promotion is effective immediately.

Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball since 1998, most recently served as Executive Vice President for Economics & League Affairs, responsible for major economic matters such as revenue sharing and the debt service rule, as well as franchise-specific matters involving the 30 Major League Clubs.

According to the press release, this gives Manfred day-to-day control of Major League Baseball operations while Selig remains the final decision maker and deals with the larger matters before the league.

Ultimately it is up to the owners, not Bud Selig, to name the next commissioner. But with this move Selig is making it clear who he wants it to be.

Mets Induct Mike Piazza

Mets Induct Mike Piazza

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Mike Piazza was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday. Now the question becomes when—or if—he’ll end up in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

 

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Associated PressMike Piazza

In his first season on the Cooperstown ballot, Piazza, who hit 427 career home runs, received 57.8% of the vote, short of the 75% needed for enshrinement. It was likely because of suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs in his career.

Piazza has denied taking illegal PEDs, but has admitted to using several then-legal substances that have since been banned. “I can only do like an artist: Here’s my work, my canvas, and it’s out of my hands,” he said.

—Jared Diamond

A-Rod: ‘Bring It On’

The week Alex Rodriguez has been waiting for is finally here—and the embattled Yankee third baseman says he can’t wait to begin the appeals process in the hopes of getting his 211-game suspension overturned.

“This has been a burden, a big burden. Let’s get it on,” Rodriguez said this weekend.

Rodriguez was suspended in early August for what MLB alleges were violations of the league’s drug policy and its basic agreement. He has been playing while under appeal ever since. Rodriguez said he expects the hearings to last five days, though it could be another 25 before a decision is rendered.

Rodriguez vowed to answer all questions after the appeal process concludes.

“I do promise you’ll hear from me when it’s all over,” he said.

—Daniel Barbarisi