Been a rough few days at ACHQ. My wife's grandmother passed away and we were in Oklahoma for the funeral. A former student of mine was shot and killed. Let's just get this over with:
*Oakland's "quality control coach" Mark Kotsay was interviewed by the Astros for their vacant managerial opening. That's nine candidates so far:
Brad Ausmus, Dusty Baker, Jeff Banister, Joe Espada, John Gibbons, Mark Kotsay, Eduardo Perez, Buck Showalter, and Will Venable.
Reminder that Jim Crane said he wants to make a decision on the manager by February 3 - which is next Monday, which is also the day after I turn 40 (and I'm not happy about that, either).
*And hey ho the Astros need a new GM (and it should be Kevin Goldstein) and they've interviewed former Giants GM Bobby Evans for that role.
Justin Verlander notes that the Astros are very analytically and technologically advanced....followed by a lot of laughter.— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) January 26, 2020
This is going to happen all year, all next year, all the year after that, and the year after that, and the year...forever. Get used to it. Our collective favorite team was caught doing something wrong. It doesn't matter if other teams were doing it - we'd roast them if they were - now they're a lightning rod. It's how it is now. Would have been great if they'd won a home game during the 2019 World Series so we could all have some semblance of facts to counter it, but they went 0-4 at Minute Maid Park (after going 65-21 at MMP from Opening Day through the ALCS), so we don't. It is officially Frustrating to be an Astros fan. All those years of losing, completely discounted, because of what they did, and what Mike F. Fiers said (and, no, I won't be linking to the pedophile rumors at present) two years later.
*Tom Verducci presented Yordan Alvarez with his 2019 Rookie of the Year Award on Saturday night.
*Nolan Ryan reiterated that he's "no longer associated" with the Astros.
*Buster Olney: The sign-stealing fallout could leave the Astros vulnerable in the AL West.
*Former Braves Great Dallas Keuchel was the first 2017 Astros member to apologize for the sign-stealing scandal. Keuchel:
Was it against the rules? Yes it was. And I personally am sorry for what's come about the whole situation....It's just what the state of baseball was at that point in time...It is what it is, and we've got to move past that. I never thought anything would've come like it did. I, myself, am sorry.
Basically what I've been saying: this was far more widespread, and no, it doesn't make it okay that the Astros did it. But the Astros weren't going to get left behind when there were advantages to be made.
*ESPN's Bradford Doolittle: Why the Astros' penalties are harsh enough, despite calls for more.
*Lame-Ass Dodgers Fans are going to take the 30-mile/150-minute trip to Anaheim for the expressed purpose of booing the Astros. That seems extremely cool.
*FanGraphs: A home run rate refresher.
*Verducci: Rob Manfred knows it's time for him to act.
*Bill Plaschke is a Clown, but occasionally Clowns have a good take. Plaschke, on Kobe.
*The Nazis and the Trawniki Men.
*Esquire: Jordan Peele finally explains what The Tethered's plan was at the end of Us.
*The Atlantic: The Enemies of Writing.
*Liverpool had a 2-0 lead and blew it against a Shrewsbury Town substitute in the FA Cup 4th Round. Now League One's Shrewsbury Town gets to play at Anfield and make a ton of money off of ticket sales. You cannot reasonably explain to me how the NCAA Basketball Tournament (Men's and Women's) wouldn't be better off by letting all 350 D1 colleges participate, with qualifying games taking place throughout the season. Like you wouldn't watch Tourney Weekend when Siena and Iona play what would be a qualification game in December and letting all 350 teams have the chance to advance to fill out the 68 teams (or however many there are) in March for the Actual March Madness.
*A Musical Selection: