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Kris Bryant doesn’t seem interested in an extension with the Cubs

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Kris Bryant is pretty good at the whole baseball thing. He’s 25, he’s already got an MVP and a World Series ring, and he’s not even arbitration-eligible yet. The Cubs were hoping to keep him from ever being that way, too, as they reportedly offered him an extension or, at the least, tried to begin extension talks. However, Bryant (and his agent, Scott Boras), apparently have no interest in signing one, to the point that they might not have even taken the time to hear the Cubs out.

According to the Jon Heyman story linked above, one Cubs official described the response of Bryant’s camp to an extension entreaty to be We’re good. And you probably don’t even need to ask why that’s the case. But if you’re scratching your head as to why, it has to do with maximizing earnings.

Kris Bryant would benefit financially if he accepted an extension now, sure, in the sense that he’s trapped in a system that refuses to recognize the value of what he’s producing until he’s 30 years old. He’s a superstar athlete, though, and he’s in a tremendous position to bet on himself and earn far more than what the Cubs will offer him.

A team would have to have three rookies in their lineup, all who have never hit a major league homer before, and they’d all have to face a pitcher who was ready to give up dingers. Well, ready probably isn’t the right word there. James Shields wasn’t ready to give up those home runs. But now he’s part of history, just like Olson, Brugman, and Barreto.

The Athletics have had a rough few years, but their future is full of promise. And everyone saw it explode in to reality in the span of just three innings.

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Cal State Fullerton was this year’s first team to advance out of the regional round

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LSU participated in perhaps the zaniest college baseball game of the year on Saturday with Florida State, where three Seminole blunders tanked FSU in a 5-4 loss. The Tigers and ‘Noles should play every year.

So LSU and No. 1 overall national seed Oregon State sat down for a getting-to-know-you Monday in a high-expectations bout between tournament heavy hitters. Big time arms Alex Lange and Jared Poche were out of service, having thrown Saturday night in the Tigers’ opener. So meet they did. Thing is, only the Beavers came to play, or at least play well.

Let’s take a moment to GO FULL CAPS IN SUPPORT OF THE DAVIDSON WILDCATS, WHO WON THREE STRAIGHT GAMES, INCLUDING TWO OVER HOST AND NO. 2 OVERALL SEED NORTH CAROLINA TO ADVANCE TO THIS YEAR’S SUPER REGIONAL ROUND. Glad we got that out of our system.

Cal State Fullerton was this year’s first team to advance out of the regional round, riding three straight wins out over BYU and Stanford twice to earn Tuffy’s place in the tournament’s second round. They cleaned up a 4-2 win over the Cardinal on Saturday night and now they’re dancing off to meet whoever wins the Long Beach regional.

In the early game of the Lexington regional, detested Indiana was dispatched by host Kentucky with relative ease, 14-9, thanks to a six-run sixth inning for the Wildcats. Kentucky got beat up by NC State on Saturday and, like many a host club, had to fight their way out of the losers bracket to advance into the Lexington regional’s final.

There were steroids and new ballparks mixed in. Then the steroids were partially curtailed and the new ballparks became old ballparks. The players keep getting bigger and stronger, and the balls keep getting thrown and hit harder. Baseball is, and will always be, changing.

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The momentum for a rule change had stalled.

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In the article, we’re treated with the news that not only were the rules going to remain the same, but that Torre declined to bring the matter to the rules committee. It wasn’t that baseball deliberated about a new rule and then declined. It wasn’t even brought up. Total nonstarter.

Then the 2012 season came and went, and Posey won the MVP. His career wasn’t ruined. The urgency wasn’t the same. The momentum for a rule change had stalled.

In the 2013 American League Championship Series, though, Alex Avila was blown up at home plate and removed from the game. Here was a headline after that play:

SABERMETRICIAN: Well, when you pair his improved exit velocity with a slight change in swing path …
Justin Smoak was a perennial tease, a top-10 draft pick as a college first baseman, which is usually a recipe that leads to at least one All-Star appearance. He was a career .223 hitter who averaged 15 homers a year. In seven combined seasons, he was worth a total of 1.5 WAR. That is, he was a replacement-level first baseman, more or less. Just a guy.

He’s already doubled his career WAR this season, hitting .291/.353/.597. He’s hit 17 homers. If he went 0 for his next 100, his season line would look roughly like last season’s.

He’s not even the best example from the top half of the 2008 Draft, either. Yonder Alonso was the story of April, and he’s the story of May. He was the Justin Smoak of first basemen for years, hitting just enough to try again, never hitting enough to be excited about it. He’s nearly doubled his career high in home runs in just 156 at-bats, and it’s not like he’s doing it in Coors Field, either.

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College World Series 2017 scores and bracket: Louisville brought the bats to Omaha

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After Saturday night’s zany antics between LSU and Florida State, Sunday would be hard-pressed to top the Tigers and ‘Noles in the drama department, but both bouts on the other side of the bracket had plenty to offer College World Series viewers. Louisville’s bats in particular opened up TD Ameritrade Park for some good old fashioned run manufacturing, and the Cardinals scored the most runs of the CWS thus far.

Flamethrower Sam Bordner took the hill for Louisville in the bottom of the sixth, with the Cards sporting still a 4-3 disadvantage. He put down the side in order, then it was TCU’s duty to allow no more Cardinal runs, insofar as tagging hits off Bordner is the tallest of tasks in college baseball this season. Bordner and Wymer thus sat down for a classic pitchers’ duel, with neither crossing runs for two innings.

In the top of the eighth, Louisville catcher Colby Fitch reach first, then tried to steal second where he was thrown out on a very close tag-and-touch. That brought out Cards skipper Dan McDonnell to argue vociferously with the second base umpire, who promptly tossed Louisville’s head man the first such coaching ejection in the CWS since 2007. McKay struck out swinging and the frame was over.

TCU answered in the bottom of the eighth with an impressive bunt down the third base line, which Drew Ellis fielded then blasted for a wild throw over to second, which Zach Humphreys capitalized on for an advancement to second. Power man Evan Skoug then received an expected intentional walk, and a committee meeting took place at the mound with Lincoln Henzman.

As it happened, though, TCU’s arms could survive the Cards, and they polished off a 4-3 win to score a rematch with Florida on Friday night.

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Alex Bregman has not taken the world by storm like Kris Bryant.

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This year’s .308 OBP is something of a disappointment, then. Or a cosmic disturbance.

I’m not sure how much the Astros were really expecting from a 40-year-old Carlos Beltran slightly less than they got in 2004, perhaps but his average, OBP, and power are all down substantially. It’s not like he moved from Yankee Stadium to AT&T Park, so the age gremlins might have gotten him.

Charlie Morton has been OK, but not great. Mike Fiers is broken, perhaps, and the entire rotation behind Keuchel and McCullers has been underwhelming, at best.

It’s not an extensive list of disappointing players. But for a team that’s winning nearly three out of every four games, it’s still telling that over a quarter of their roster has been a disappointment, including four projected lineup cogs.

That’s outright ignoring the rules, and by doing so the Cubs lost out on a run and the Padres lost their catcher to injury. Shouldn’t Maddon be upset about that first part, even if he has to pretend the second part isn’t an actual issue?

[Update 2:59 p.m:] These aren’t just the ramblings of someone with a series to follow-up on. MLB has reportedly determined Rizzo did in fact fail to follow rule 7.13. This changes nothing, as Rizzo was called out at the plate, other than the fact that he was wrong and now should have to apologize by saying It turns out that the game was not on.

In lighter news we can be mad at the Cubs about, they’re selling pieces of ivy from the 2016 version of Wrigley Field for $200. I guess we should just be happy that the Cubs didn’t make all of them say That’s Cub.

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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2017 scores and bracket: Upstart Davidson 2-0 in Chapel Hill regional

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Day 2 of the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament is in the books, and a handful of games required extra innings, rain delays, or both before their conclusion. Arizona and Delaware in the Lubbock regional, for instance, weathered a three-hour delay in the middle of the 11th inning while tied 5-5 before the Wildcats prevailed in 13.

Two ACC regional hosts, Florida State and North Carolina, battled back out of their respective losers brackets after dropping their Friday games in stunning fashion. UNC dismantled an upstart Michigan team, 8-1, while FSU handily eliminated UCF, 6-1.

That understanding has led Maddon to take swift action whenever he sees a potential negative impact on the development of his young players. In the case of Montero, he simply couldn’t have his Stage 2 players thinking the type of behavior shown Tuesday from a 12-year veteran and two-time all-star was acceptable.

Regardless of what [Arrieta] said about it not impacting the clubhouse, I think it would have, Maddon said. There’s too many young guys in there that are impressionable. It’s not like a group of veterans that could separate and dissect it properly to the point where they could walk with what’s necessary and drop off what’s not.

Veteran players can be both good and bad, Maddon said. Veteran players can really elevate a group, and veteran players can really drag down a group. It depends on their agenda.

That buildup ended abruptly, though, as the ever dangerous Aiello popped out to end the inning, and the stretch was on.

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Faedo’s stuff destroyed Wake’s hitters, and the Gators are marching off to Omaha.

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Schwartz’s two-run shot carried the 3-0 score through the next few innings, wherein Wake struggled to manufacture hits under the onslaught of Gators’ slinger Dyson. But the Deacs’ Sheets again found his way through Florida’s defense in the top of the seventh for a snappy double to right center, and Wake found themselves with a runner in scoring position.

Strong arm Florida ace Alex Faedo entered to start the eighth, and after two Deacons reached base he struck out Jake Mueller to maintain a clean sheet. The Gators couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the frame, and it was up to the ninth inning to decide this year’s eighth and final College World Series team.

In the end, Faedo’s stuff destroyed Wake’s hitters, and the Gators are marching off to Omaha. A 3-0 victory after more than 24 hours worth of delays. What a crazy damn series this was.

The problem with this, see, is that Colon has been abominable this season. Not bad. Not really bad. Absolutely abominable. He’s one of just 33 pitchers in history to make more than 10 starts and have an ERA over 8.00. A contending team would need to be pretty desperate to take a chance on a 44-year-old pitcher with those kind of numbers.

The Orioles, then? The Twins? I suppose it’s not inconceivable for a contender to take a chance he was an All-Star just last year, after all but his velocity has been declining for a couple years now, and it’s hard to find the reasons for optimism. When a 44-year-old pitcher falls apart, it usually doesn’t take a Blue Ribbon Committee to figure out why.

Nah. This is the time of year when those teams are busy breaking in their rookies, or prepping their veterans for trades to make room. While it made sense for the Braves to get Colon at the beginning of the season, it makes less sense for a non-contender in the middle of the year.

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OK maybe ‘Sports Illustrated’ was right about the 2017 Astros

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Back in the summer of 2014, Sports Illustrated released an issue of their magazine with a cover that got a whole lot of people riled up. Said cover included the words Your 2017 World Series champs in reference to the Astros, who, at the time, were 33-46 and in last place in the AL West. Fast-forward to June 1 of 2017, and the Astros have the best record in Major League Baseball at 38-16, with a commanding 11-game lead over the second-place Angels.

The Sports Illustrated cover wasn’t as outrageous at the time as some claimed sure, it was funny as hell to see a prediction like that, but baseball teams run in cycles, and the Astros’ farm system was ready for harvesting. Grant Brisbee even noted at the time that, since teams tend to run in three-year cycles, the Cubs facing the Astros in the 2017 World Series probably wouldn’t sound ridiculous by then. And hey, look at that.

We have to assume that he didn’t go into a bathroom stall and then run down to the field, which means that he stood up and took his pants and underwear off in front of his entire section, exposing at least one young child to his basketwork.

I would imagine that it was in that rushed, ha-ha-hope-no-one-notices way. Except everyone noticed. Do you know how boring baseball games are? You notice when a hot dog wrapper floats by. You definitely notice when there’s a pasty, flat butt in your face.

Wow. I didn’t expect this to take such an apocalyptic turn. (Then again, Syndergaard does eat a Bowl of Doom for breakfast every day.) But you know the first rule of improv is yes, and…? As in, keep the imagination going. Don’t block it by batting down an idea? So I roll with it and ask Syndergaard what the one food he’d bring to a deserted island would be, if he were to find himself stranded.

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MLB draft: The all-time team of players who switched positions after being drafted

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There just aren’t a lot of good players who were drafted with a listed position of second base. Chase Utley was the most notable, but for the most part, it’s an uphill battle for kids who weren’t athletic enough to wrest control of the shortstop position at Iona College.

Crisp gives this team some speed and slashing. Looking at his stats and remembering his defensive prowess, someone, somewhere, made a very good decision about his career. That .912 fielding percentage at second base with 24 errors in Rookie League probably helped the decision make itself.

When a player has a career on-base percentage under .300 and he’s about to turn 28, there shouldn’t be a lot of surprises. He’s hitting like he’s a cloned Lance Berkman wearing Marwin Gonzalez’s skin. That is, .314/.409/.636. He’s a homer away from a career high, in 342 fewer at-bats.

Not only was the ball slower getting to second than he might have liked, but he had issues with accuracy, too. Three of the throws went into the outfield, with the runner advancing on the error. A lot of the throws bounced and one-hopped the infielder, and I counted exactly one throw that might have even needed a replay for the viewer to confirm the call was correct.

Stage 2 people, in any profession, are just there to try to avoid making mistakes, Maddon said. They’re not there to try to make things happen in a positive way. That’s the natural order of things.

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Connecticut governor want Islanders to relocate to Hartford

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The governor of Connecticut made a pitch Friday to bring the Islanders to Hartford for the 2018-19 season.

Hartford had been home to the Whalers untl the franchise relocated to Carolina in 1997.

Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-CT) sent a letter to Islanders ownership making his state’s case as the team’s future home.

Via WFSB, it reads in part: It has come to our attention that the Islanders may be in the need for a new home after the 2017-18 season. Recognizing that many issues will complicate your decision making, we would nonetheless like to offer Hartford’s XL Center as an option for your interim use.

Malloy later adds we would suggest the building as a long-term solution to your needs as well.

The Islanders play in Brooklyn, but reports say the team will be forced out of the The Barclays Center after next season when the lease is terminated.

Senators coach Guy Boucher even thinks that Karlsson should be seriously considered for the Hart Trophy.

With what he’s done this year, the way he’s done it, I can’t imagine better, Boucher told reporters last month. Right now, it’s absolutely sublime. It really is.

Karlsson was snubbed in the Norris voting last year despite leading NHL defensemen in nearly every offensive category. The Kings’ Drew Doughty took home the award because of his defensive skills.

With Burns and Karlsson so close in offensive production, Karlsson gets the edge here because he’s a better all-around defenseman.

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