Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Major League Baseball

Amid Fear of a Work Stoppage, Baseball Is Stuck in Neutral

Amid Fear of a Work Stoppage, Baseball Is Stuck in Neutral

Sports
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Expected to still be rebuilding, this year’s Seattle Mariners offered a glimpse of their potential future. They won 90 games, the team’s highest total since 2003. Their hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2001 — the longest playoff drought among teams from the four major North American men’s professional sports leagues — were alive until the final day of the regular season.So the mission for Jerry Dipoto, Seattle’s president of baseball operations, this off-season is clear: continue shaping the young team into a contender — with loosened purse strings from Mariners owners. For an aggressive and restless executive like Dipoto, though, this winter is likely to offer a unique challenge.At midnight on Dec. 1, the foundation of the sport — the collective...
World Series: A Tribute to Hank Aaron Will Kick Off Games in Georgia

World Series: A Tribute to Hank Aaron Will Kick Off Games in Georgia

Sports
ATLANTA — Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves, was shoved aside by Major League Baseball in April when the league stripped the team of its chance to host the All-Star Game and garner the attention and money the event provides.In a decision that inspired a great deal of debate, M.L.B. moved the game to Denver to signal the league’s opposition to Georgia’s new election law that limits voting and, according to Democrats and voting rights groups that have condemned the law, unfairly targets voters of color. The team was bitterly disappointed by the move and said so in a rare statement that took issue with the league’s decision.But fate forced all of baseball back to Atlanta, not for the All-Star Game, but for the World Series, much to the delight of the team — and some local residents ...
M.L.B. Commissioner Can’t Hear Native Voices Over Atlanta’s Chop

M.L.B. Commissioner Can’t Hear Native Voices Over Atlanta’s Chop

Sports
“Then there are people like me,” she said. “We’re saying what the Braves do is humiliating. It makes it easier for our communities to be marginalized, traumatized and objectified.”Welch’s evolution on the subject embodies its nuance. Like many Native Americans, she did not think twice about her love for the Washington Football Team and Atlanta’s pro baseball team when she was growing up. It was a family thing, and she knew many families who felt similarly.But then she became one of the few who left the tribe’s land, headed off to college and did not come back. From the outside, she saw things differently. Now she adamantly opposes the fake chants and the cartoonish team names and mascots at every level of sports.Some Native American schools use the imagery, a relic of early 20th century ef...
As Baseball Considers Its Future, Parity Isn’t the Problem

As Baseball Considers Its Future, Parity Isn’t the Problem

Sports
HOUSTON — A general manager’s job is to build World Series teams. Yet as he sat in the Atlanta Braves’ dugout on Monday night, with his players on that stage as they prepared for the Houston Astros, Alex Anthopoulos made a confession: His path here was a mystery.“I wish I knew,” said Anthopoulos, Atlanta’s general manager. “I’ve been in baseball since 2000, with 10 years as a G.M., and I don’t know how you get to a World Series, I really don’t. You’ve got to get in. Get in and hopefully guys step up.”In baseball, the sport with the longest regular season, the reward for six months of excellence is a lottery ticket. Even the worst team almost always wins 50 or more games every year, and when the most impactful player — the starting pitcher, in theory — changes every night, randomness can sw...
In Dusty Baker, the Astros Have a Manager Worth Rooting For

In Dusty Baker, the Astros Have a Manager Worth Rooting For

Sports
HOUSTON — Twin traumas have haunted Dusty Baker for nearly two decades. Late Friday night they fused as he tried to clinch a pennant as manager of the Houston Astros. If Baker had chosen to hide until the storm blew over, you’d have understood: He was leading 5-0 in Game 6 of a championship series.Normally this would be a very good thing. But the scoreboard also read 5-0 in Anaheim, Calif., when Baker’s San Francisco Giants had a chance to close out the 2002 World Series. The Angels stormed back to win and took the title the next night.If that sixth game seemed crushing, Baker’s next one was even worse. Five outs from winning the 2003 National League Championship Series with the Chicago Cubs, Baker watched the pennant disappear when a fan touched off a hellscape by innocently reaching for ...

Yankees Are Done. A Frustrating Season Ends in a Wild-Card Loss.

Sports
BOSTON — Concluding a 162-game, six-month regular season with one night is both nerve wracking and cruel. But if a team is going to have its year decided by a winner-take-takes-all contest, the best antidote is having its ace, one of the elite starting pitchers in baseball, on the mound.The Yankees had that in Gerrit Cole for the 2021 American League wild-card game on Tuesday in hostile Fenway Park against their longtime archrival. The Boston Red Sox countered with their best starting pitcher this season, Nathan Eovaldi, an All-Star like Cole.In a meeting of imperfect and streaky 92-win teams, the Red Sox and Eovaldi thumped the Yankees and Cole, 6-2. Tuesday was the fifth time these storied rivals had played in an elimination game in the playoffs and the Red Sox have now won the past thre...

The Environment Affects Baseball. These Players Want to Help.

Sports
Flying all over North America every week is part of being a major leaguer. The Milwaukee Brewers, for instance, traveled as far away as San Diego and Miami as part of their 162-game regular season this year. Now multiply that by 30 teams across Major League Baseball.Brewers reliever Brent Suter can’t help but think about how much fuel is burned and how many emissions spewed during all of those flights. As he has helped the Brewers reach the postseason for a franchise-record fourth straight season, he worries about the planet.“The fact that you can just go wherever you like, it’s just not sustainable,” he said before a recent game. “We can’t just keep adding carbon to the atmosphere and not offsetting it and not set limits on curbing it in any industries, and still searching every nook and ...
Before Balls and Strikes, Umpires Make a Call to Pray

Before Balls and Strikes, Umpires Make a Call to Pray

Sports
CHICAGO — The umpires dialed in at about 3 p.m. on a Friday, calling from places like St. Louis and Oakland, Seattle and Cleveland.It was time to pray.“God is our father,” Ted Barrett, a major league umpire for over two decades and an ordained Southern Baptist minister, told the men. “He loves to hear from us, and so don’t ever feel like he’s too big or too busy to bring your little problem to him.”The umpires on the line had endured all manner of turmoil: anger or family troubles, addiction or overwhelming grief, loneliness and the agony of imperfection. Those last two, Barrett knew, were among their vocation’s most familiar menaces, ones that might surface during games that very night or in the hours afterward.So for about a dozen big league baseball seasons, small groups of umpires have...
Miguel Cabrera Hits His 500th Home Run

Miguel Cabrera Hits His 500th Home Run

Sports
They don’t make them like Miguel Cabrera anymore.On Sunday, Cabrera, the 38-year-old slugger for the Detroit Tigers, blasted the 500th home run of his stellar career, taking a 1-1 changeup from the Blue Jays’ Steven Matz and depositing it 400 feet over the center field wall at Rogers Centre in Toronto. He is the 28th player to reach the milestone, and as he lumbered around the bases during the top of the sixth inning it was fair to wonder how long it would be until there is a 29th.Pondering a long wait for the next member of the 500-homer club seems absurd considering baseball’s power surge over the last 20 years. The club’s membership has swelled so much that it has watered down a feat that once came with automatic entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet a look at the active players behin...
Topps Loses Baseball Licensing Deal and Ends Plans to Go Public

Topps Loses Baseball Licensing Deal and Ends Plans to Go Public

Sports
Topps has been synonymous with trading cards, particularly baseball cards, for 70 years.That era will soon be over. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are ending their licensing agreement with Topps in favor of a deal with Fanatics, the up-and-coming sports collectible brand. The loss of baseball rights also led to the abrupt cancellation on Friday of a plan for Topps to go public, casting its future into question.The company, which also owns Bazooka gum, announced a deal in April to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, run by Mudrick Capital. The $1.3 billion merger was set to go to a shareholder vote next week.Topps and Mudrick announced Friday morning that the deal was off, a day after they were notified that the baseball contra...