Connect with us

MLB

Houston Astros’ Framber Valdez gets starting nod for World Series Game 1, will be opposed by Atlanta Braves’ Charlie Morton

Published

on

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros will start left-hander Framber Valdez against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the World Series, which begins Tuesday night.

Valdez, 27, is coming off the best start of any pitcher this postseason after going eight innings and giving up just one run against the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. He’ll be opposed by Braves right-hander Charlie Morton.

“I expect a very formidable foe,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. “When you get down to the last two teams, you can’t overlook anybody.

“David [the Braves] just slew Goliath. They have a good team.”

Astros righty Lance McCullers has been all but declared out for the World Series after missing the ALCS with forearm tightness. A decision on centerfielder Jake Meyers (shoulder) is pending. Rosters don’t have to be turned into the league until Tuesday morning. The series features several connections between the Astros and Braves, including one that involves Baker, Braves manager Brian Snitker and the late, great Hank Aaron.

“Hank Aaron hired [Snitker] and Hank Aaron was very close to me,” Baker said. “To be in the year of Hank Aaron’s celebration, to be in the year of Hank Aaron’s passing … it’s very special to go back to Atlanta. It’s going to be a storybook ending for all of us.”

There’s a family connection between the teams as well, as Astros coach Troy Snitker is the son of the Braves manager. The two have been discussing the possibility of meeting in the World Series since both of their teams missed out on making the Fall Classic by a game last year. “It’s unbelievable,” the younger Snitker said. “It’s something we were praying and hoping it would happen. For our family, I don’t know if we can envision anything bigger than this.”

Troy was asked who his mom is going to be rooting for.

“I have no idea,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know if she’s going to clap when something happens or cry. My guess is that she’s going to be a mess.

“It’s cool to think about two pennants in the same house. One of us is bringing home the trophy.”

Source link

MLB

MLB Players Association to make counteroffer to league in Monday meeting

Published

on

The Major League Baseball Players Association plans to make an in-person labor proposal to the league on Monday, sources told ESPN, countering MLB’s offer last week that did little to loosen the gridlock that has gripped the sport after the league locked out the players Dec. 2.

Should the players’ offer do little to advance the negotiations that thus far haven’t yielded any substantive progress, the scheduled start to spring training in mid-February will grow that much unlikelier. And the longer discussions on a new collective-bargaining agreement last, the more they jeopardize Opening Day on March 31.

The gap between the players and league remains significant, with the union seeking major financial gains in a number of areas and owners trying to hold firm with what they currently pay in salaries. Other issues players have said remain a priority include anti-tanking measures and fixing service-time manipulation.

Any concessions players make in their offer could provide a roadmap to the negotiations. Before implementing the lockout, the league asked the union to drop three areas of discussion: earlier free agency for players, salary arbitration after two years instead of three and changes to the revenue-sharing plan. The union did not agree to the condition when presented with it Dec. 1, and the league left the bargaining table, locking out the players hours later.

Forty-three days later, the league returned to the union with an offer that included paying players with two to three years of service based on a formula, slight modifications to the draft lottery it previously had proposed and a mechanism that would reward teams with draft picks when top prospects who started on opening day rosters win awards.

The proposal did little to entice players, who after losing financial ground during the previous labor agreement want to make gains this time around.

News of the MLBPA’s expected counterproposal was first reported by The Associated Press

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Robot umpires at home plate moving up to Triple-A for 2022, one step away from major league baseball

Published

on

NEW YORK — Robot umpires have been given a promotion and will be just one step from the major leagues this season. Major League Baseball is expanding its automated strike zone experiment to Triple-A, the highest level of the minor leagues.

MLB’s website posted a hiring notice seeking seasonal employees to operate the Automated Ball-Strike system. MLB said it is recruiting employees to operate the system for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters and Tacoma Rainiers.

The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game in July 2019 and experimented with ABS during the second half of that season. The system also was used in the Arizona Fall League for top prospects in 2019, drawing complaints of its calls on breaking balls.

There were no minor leagues in 2020 because of the pandemic, and robot umps were used last season in eight of nine ballparks at the Low-A Southeast League.

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed in its labor contract that started in 2020 to cooperate and assist if commissioner Rob Manfred decides to use the system at the major league level.

“It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it might be employed at the major league level, because it is a pretty substantial difference from the way the game is called today,” Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, said last March.

MLB said the robot umpires will be used at some spring training ballparks in Florida, will remain at Low A Southeast and could be used at non-MLB venues.

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Tampa Bay Rays say split-season plan with Montreal rejected by MLB

Published

on

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays‘ proposed plan to split the season between Florida and Montreal has been rejected by Major League Baseball.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg announced the news on Thursday.

“Today’s news is flat-out deflating,” Sternberg said.

The idea of playing in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal has been discussed over the past several years after attempts to build a new full-time ballpark locally failed.

Montreal had a big league team from 1969, when the expansion Expos began play, through 2004. The Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals for the 2005 season.

The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season.

Since Sternberg took control in October 2005, the once-struggling franchise has been a success on the field but not at the box office.

Despite reaching the World Series in 2008 and 2020, the Rays have annually ranked near the bottom in attendance. The Rays averaged about 9,500 for home games last season, 28th in the majors and ahead of only Miami and Oakland.

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch feels a new stadium in his city remains a possibility. Governmental officials have been working on a redevelopment plan for the Tropicana Field site.

“We are working with our county partners and city council to put together the best plan possible, which will work in conjunction with my planned evolution of the Tropicana Field master development proposals,” Welch said in a statement. “With this collaborative approach, I am confident we can partner with the Tampa Bay Rays to create a new and iconic full-time home for Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg while also achieving historic equitable economic growth.”

Sternberg said the team will definitely explore options in the Tampa Bay area.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending