The fans in Pittsburgh watched Andrew McCutchen play his last game as a Pirate on tv Oct. 1. He went one-for-three, hitting a double off of Gio Gonzelez and left the game for a pinch-runner. The Pirates went on to win 11-8 over the playoff-bound Washington Nationals, notching their 75th and final victory of 2017.
The Giants, very much in win-now mode, will be interesting to watch. In addition to McCutchen, they added longtime Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria this offseason. I don’t remember the last time a team acquired two players who were so strongly identified with a different franchise in one winter. Neither is the star that they once were, but magical things seem to happen in San Francisco.
The Pirates are clearly hoping to build for the future. Crick gives them a potentially interesting reliever who’s ready to help at the big league level and Reynolds gives them a lottery ticket for 2020 or so. Given the lackluster return Pittsburgh got for two years of Gerrit Cole, this isn’t an awful package for one year McCutchen.
But it’s the end of an era that once showed such promise in Pittsburgh, and it’s sad that the team wasn’t able to do more when they had McCutchen than go to the playoffs three times and only advance to the Divisional Series once.
And more bad news for Pirates fans… team owner Bob Nutting says this cycle is going to keep happening until there’s a “fundamental redesign of the economics of baseball; that’s not what we’re going to have.”
But as frustrating as it’s gotta be, at least the Pirates have a plan and an owner willing to take some responsibility for the team’s moves. You can argue that Nutting should be willing to risk more of his own money or sell the team to someone who is, but he’s out there sharing his point of view with the media and the fans. (Contrast that with Mets ownership, where everyone is content to let GM Sandy Alderson take all the fallout from unpopular moves even though it’s unclear what financial resources he’s got to work with.)
Mets’ nemesis Yadier Molina says he plans to retire after his current contract with the St. Louis Cardinals expires in 2020. That’s hardly surprising, since I don’t see a ton of teams wanting to give a 37-year-old catcher another big contract even if he was the best backstop of his generation.
The San Francisco Giants have been organizing some amazing sci-fi promo nights. In September, they gave out a baseball-themed BB-8 Pop for Star Wars night.
Next season, they’re planning a Star Trek night on Friday, August 31st when they host the New York Mets. Fans who purchase a special event ticket will get a San Francisco Giants cap featuring the Star Trek Starfleet Command badge, and the team is encouraging people to come to the game in Star Trek costumes.
If I win a lottery jackpot between now & then, you’ll know where to find me on August. 31st.
(On a slightly more realistic note, the New York Mets are giving away a Mr. Met Star Wars Bobblehead to the first 15,000 fans at their Saturday, May 19th game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. I have a much better shot of making it to that one…)
Last week, I added five new signed baseball cards to my autograph collection.
First up, we have a Venezuelan baseball card of New York Mets infielder Wilfredo Tovar that I found on eBay. Aside from learning that Falcon and C27S (ColeccioneS 27) is a manufacturer of baseball and soccer cards in Venezuela, I haven’t been able to find out anything about it.
Tovar, 23, is an infielder who received late September call ups from the Mets in each of the last two seasons when injuries created late-season depth issues. He’s been in nine major league games even though he has not played above the Double-A level in the minor leagues. (In case you’re wondering, Tovar did appear on a two-player Topps Heritage rookie card this year, but the Venezuelan card may have been his first appearance on cardboard in a non-digitally altered Mets uniform.)
Last night, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals by the score of 3-2 in Game 7 to win their third World Series championship in the past five years.
Madison Bumgarner finished off the game with five scoreless innings on two day’s rest, cementing his status as the World Series MVP.
If you were watching, you might remember Joe Buck mentioned that the official scorer had sent word that Bumgarner would receive credit for the win. And for almost an hour, Bumgarner did have a 3-0 record in the 2014 World Series.
Jeremy Affeldt, the pitcher of record at the time the Giants took their 3-2 lead, ultimately got the “W” by his name. Bumgarner instead received credit for the extremely rare five-inning save.
While the initial scoring decision seemed to comply with the provisions of Rule 10.17(b), the scoring panel decided that it was not consistent with the comment that follows in the rule book:
If two or more relief pitchers were similarly effective, the official scorer should give the presumption to the earlier pitcher as the winning pitcher.
In general, if a starting pitcher does not complete five innings, and the score is tied, a victory is assigned to the pitcher of record when the lead changed hands. The exception is when the scorer determines the reliever of record was ineffective.
While Bumgarner was more effective than Affeldt, it would be tough to argue that Affeldt was ineffective.
So if you kept score of last night’s game, you might need get out your eraser.