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#pounditWednesday, September 30, 2020

Baseball

Thom Brennaman resigns from job with Reds

Thom Brennaman

Longtime Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman has resigned from his position with the team.

Brennaman confirmed on Friday to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he has turned in his resignation to the Reds and FOX Sports Ohio. The 56-year-old was suspended last month after he was caught on a hot mic during a broadcast using a homophobic slur.

Brennaman issued an apology during the broadcast after realizing what he said went out in live television. He left the set during the Aug. 19 game between the Reds and Kansas City Royals after begging for forgiveness. He said he wasn’t sure if he would be putting on the headset again.

Brennaman is the son of former longtime Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, who retired last year. Thom has been a Reds announcer since 2006 and also serves as a national announcer for FOX. We previously wrote about him a few years ago when he bizarrely interviewed a bird during a game as part of a gimmick.

Jerry Seinfeld offers accuracy tip to Mets announcer during game

Jerry Seinfeld Mets

Lifelong New York Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld offered a tip to the team’s TV announcer on Thursday.

Seinfeld was watching the Mets face the Washington Nationals. The Mets were up 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th and had closer Edwin Diaz trying to seal the win with two outs and a runner on first. Diaz had a 1-2 count on Luis Garcia, which must have prompted announcer Gary Cohen to say the Nats were “down to their final strike.”

The saying is commonly used by announcers, but Seinfeld pointed out the technical inaccuracy.

Seinfeld is correct. It’s more accurate to say that the pitching team needs one more strike.

Maybe announcers will take note of this correction from Seinfeld and start applying the language during their broadcasts.

This is not the first time the comedian has weighed in on Mets broadcasts.

Is Brodie Van Wagenen on his way out with Mets?

Brodie Van Wagenen

Brodie Van Wagenen is in only his second season as the general manager of the New York Mets, and it is fair to wonder if it will be his last.

Steve Cohen, who recently purchased the New York Mets but still needs approval from Major League Baseball to take over, announced on Thursday that he is planning to bring back former Mets GM Sandy Alderson to serve as team president.

“If I am fortunate enough to be approved by Major League Baseball as the next owner of this iconic franchise, Sandy Alderson will become president of the New York Mets and will oversee all Mets baseball and business operations,” Cohen said in a statement “Sandy is an accomplished and respected baseball executive who shares my philosophy of building an organization and a team the right way. I am excited to have Sandy in a key leadership role with the Mets if my purchase of the team is approved. Lets’ Go Mets!”

Cohen has been a limited partner with the Mets for eight years now, so he is familiar with Alderson. Alderson was the GM of the Mets from 2010 until he stepped down in 2018 because of a recurrence of cancer. He has since taken a job as a senior advisor with the Oakland A’s.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, Cohen’s decision to bring back Alderson may have some business strategy behind it. Alderson is well respected across baseball, as he has worked in front office roles since the early 1980s. His association with the Mets could help assure that Cohen gets the votes he needs to complete the purchase of the franchise.

From a baseball standpoint, Alderson’s return could spell bad news for Van Wagenen. The former agent has traded a number of top prospects in an attempt to improve the major league roster, but that has not paid off. The Mets missed the playoffs last year and are on their way to meeting the same fate this season. Van Wagenen was also involved in an embarrassing controversy recently.

Alderson built New York’s 2015 NL championship team, and Sherman notes that his relationship with Van Wagenen is not all that strong. The two are familiar with one another from when Van Wagenen was an agent, but that’s really the only tie.

Assuming Cohen’s sale goes through and Alderson takes over baseball operations, it seems unlikely that Van Wagenen is going to keep his job.

Video: Trevor Bauer does Vince McMahon strut after strikeout

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer put together a brilliant performance for the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, and he brought out the swag.

Bauer pitched eight innings during the Reds’ 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed just four hits, one run and struck out 12 in an impressive performance.

Bauer was oozing confidence during his outing. After he struck out Christian Yelich to end the top of the eighth, he did the strut popularized by Vince McMahon (and later copied by Conor McGregor).

This is not the first time Bauer has done this. He also did it in early August during a start against Detroit.

Bauer asked to start on short rest and got his way. He proved the Reds’ trust in him was justified; the Reds are now in a much better spot to grab a playoff spot in the National League.

Rays made funny T-shirt from Kevin Cash’s inflammatory remark towards Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays logo

The Tampa Bay Rays are definitely not apologizing for antagonizing their AL East division rivals.

During a virtual media session on Wednesday, Rays pitcher Charlie Morton showed off a T-shirt that he and some other teammates were wearing. The shirt depicted several horses in a stable. It was an obvious reference to Rays manager Kevin Cash’s remarks towards the New York Yankees earlier this month when Aroldis Chapman nearly hit Rays infielder Mike Brosseau in the head with a pitch. An angered Cash said afterwards that “I have a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 mph.”

Here is a look at the shirt:

Yankees manager Aaron Boone rebuked the comment from Cash at the time. It is clear though that the Rays are really doubling down now. The timing could not be better either with Tampa on the cusp of clinching the division.

Report: Padres concerned Mike Clevinger could miss playoffs with injury

Mike Clevinger

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger left Wednesday’s start after just one inning, and it could be significant enough to cost him the chance to pitch in the playoffs.

Clevinger on Wednesday threw what looked to be a routine 12-pitch first inning against the Los Angeles Angels, striking out two. However, he did not come out for the second. He had been dealing with biceps tightness, which caused him to be scratched from his previous scheduled start on Sunday.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres believe that Clevinger is dealing with a muscle strain or tendonitis. While neither is a worst-case scenario, it could be serious enough to keep Clevinger out for some or all of the playoffs.

The National League playoffs are slated to open on Sept. 30. It seems like a longshot that Clevinger will be ready by then. After that, it may come down to how long the Padres can stay alive without him.

Clevinger was the Padres’ big trade acquisition at the end of August. He’d won two of his three starts for the team coming into the day Wednesday, but it sounds like he may not pitch again in 2020.

Yankees’ Tyler Lyons unable to pitch due to lineup card error

Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees wanted Tyler Lyons to pitch in Tuesday’s game for them, but that was not allowed due to an error.

The Yankees signed Lyons on Tuesday and activated him to their roster.

The team wanted to have Lyons pitch the bottom of the eighth inning as they were leading the Toronto Blue Jays 10-1. He went out to warm up and then was told to leave the mound.

So what was the issue? Even though Lyons was added to the team, he was not added to the lineup card. That made him ineligible to pitch in the game.

Zack Britton ended up pitching a scoreless eighth instead, and the Yankees won 12-1.

The same issue happened to the Blue Jays earlier this season. This sort of thing does not happen very often. But with teams shuffling players in and out of lineups due to COVID-19 circumstances, unusual things are happening.

Andrelton Simmons quits on Angels with five games left in season

Angels logo

Andrelton Simmons quit on his Los Angeles Angels with five games remaining in the 2020 MLB season.

Simmons and the Angels announced the decision on Tuesday.

Simmons appears to have ghosted his team. Manager Joe Maddon indicated he had no idea Simmons was planning to opt out with five games left.

Simmons’ decision appears to be selfish and inconsiderate. If he had problems with playing amid the coronavirus pandemic, he could have opted out before the season, or early on in it had he felt uncomfortable. Instead, he waited until the Angels were almost eliminated from playoff contention before telling them “peace.”

Why? Probably because the 31-year-old shortstop is a free agent after the season and doesn’t want to risk further injury.

Announcing this decision with five games to go seems to show that Simmons plays for Team Simmons, and not the Angels. As a member of the team, he should be with them from the beginning until the end rather than duck out just before elimination. Entering Tuesday, the Angels’ playoff chances were estimated by ESPN to be 0.4 percent.

Not even giving his manager advanced notice makes the move even more unprofessional.

David Bell explains why Reds gave in to Trevor Bauer’s short rest demands

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has long advocated for being allowed to pitch every fourth day. With their season on the line, the Cincinnati Reds are finally allowing him to do it.

Reds manager David Bell admitted the decision to start Bauer on short rest Wednesday is a gamble, but in a key matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, it ultimately made sense.

“Just everything that Trevor does, the way he prepares, the way he works, the way he knows himself, I couldn’t be more confident with any other pitcher than I am with Trevor going into it, even with the uncertainty,” Bell said, via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I think it’s just where we are and it’s worth giving it a shot.”

The Reds are locked in a tight battle with several teams, including the Brewers, for the final National League playoff spots. Bauer is a Cy Young candidate with a 1.80 ERA in ten starts. Giving him the ball as often as possible simply makes sense, especially when he’s long advocated for it.

MLB plans to allow fans at NLCS, World Series games

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball’s playoffs are going to involve a unique bubble environment. They may also include something else that hasn’t been a part of the game in 2020: fans.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that, pending approval by the appropriate authorities, the plan is to allow some fans to attend games at the NLCS and World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas,” Manfred told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.”

None of MLB’s regular season games had any fans in attendance. It’s not clear how MLB will handle the ticket situation for the two series’, but there is definitely a plan in place.

This has been MLB’s plan for a while. Having fans at these big games would at least help create a more playoff-appropriate atmosphere, and would generally be good for the sport.