*This run of exhibition games at Choad Life Park saw an empty stadium last night, as though "taking a day off" is something that happens in baseball in 2020. It's 1-1 and the off-season barnstorming tour continues tonight.
*Brent Strom talked to Mark Berman about coming back in 2021, Correa, and Dusty, and the stable of pitchers the Astros have. It's a really good interview.
*Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday and Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, and Kyle Tucker are on the list.
*Check McTaggart's Mailbox, on Houston's 2021 outfield options, Osuna, Correa, etc.
*Took a little longer than I expected, but there's a response to Luhnow's Monday Night Interview. The Athletic's Evan Drellich:
People with knowledge of the investigation said that 'there was direct testimony that Luhnow was aware of the sign-stealing scheme.' The league's department of investigations, headed by former federal prosecutors, gathered a combination of direct evidence, circumstantial evidence and testimony that a source said would hold up in a legal forum, despite Luhnow's suggestion to the contrary. 'Luhnow received emails that put him on notice of the activity, but claims he only read parts of the emails even though he responded to the emails,' the person said. 'One witness clearly stated and provided evidence that Luhnow know, and others identified facts indicating that Luhnow knew. The best interpretation of the evidence is that Luhnow either knew exactly what the video room was doing, or knew generally what they were doing and willfully chose to keep himself in the dark.
It's not out of the realm of possibility that you could find someone in MLB's New York office who has committed themselves to burying Luhnow and the Astros at every opportunity. It's also not out of the realm of possibility that the Astros did something wrong and answered MLB's questions far more whole-heartedly than any other team had/has answered them, and they have paid more dearly than any of them. [Ed. Note: I have downloaded Ben Reiter's podcast The Edge, but have not yet listened to it, something I plan on remedying today. Ben Reiter wrote Astroball, so there's reason to believe that what he has to say is worthwhile.]
Apparently I missed that Rob Manfred responded to the Luhnow interview on Tuesday. I have grown weary of this. Manfred:
Whether he exactly knew what was going on or not is really beside the point. I wrote to all the GMs. I put them on notice that it was their obligation to make sure that their organizations were not violating any of the sign-stealing rules...He damaged the game, and as a result, he was disciplined.
This is utterly exhausting. And I'm just a fan. It's a fair question to ask, Why did the Red Sox do the Apple Watch stuff AND the video room stuff and only the film room guy get re-assigned for a year, while the Astros got the worst penalty in sports since SMU? Because MLB likes to do their killin' before breakfast, they're keeping a not-small amount of the findings of their investigation private. Other teams saw what happened to the Astros and shut the hell up. I've just sort of come to terms with the idea that this is/was a league-wide problem, and Manfred decided to let everyone think that it was an Astros-only problem (in the same way that the Mitchell Report scapegoated teams on the coasts). The noisiest opponents have been the Yankees, Dodgers, and Indians, for what it's worth.
*Wired: The case for reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps.
*Ken Paxton fired two of the whistleblowers who accused him of using his office to help out a donor.
*At least everything is awful.
*Vice: How a secretive phone company helped the crime world go dark.
*The Ringer: The heartbreaking story behind the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy."
*A Musical Selection: