Random link dump, World Series fiasco and AFL thoughts

No World Series game tonight. This is, admittedly, as originally scheduled, but the two teams were supposed to be down in Florida by now, rather than waiting to try and finish off the butt-end of Game Five in Philadelphia. This one is going to go down on the list of Disasters Presided Over By Bud Selig. Since he apparently decided that the game would be finished, regardless of the number of innings played, he should have called things off immediately the rain became too much - rather than risking injury to all, while waiting for the Rays to score the tying run, then suspending things one batter later.

There's no denying the decision was right, but the timing was horrific. Joe Sheehan, rightfully, tears into Selig, pointing out that the Phillies had to pitch and field in the worst of it, with their ace basically reduced to using his fastball. He is equally critical of the decision to schedule the remainder of the contest - now scheduled for tomorrow evening - to begin after 8pm once again. His comments echo my own sentiments entirely, and deserve to be repeated at some length:

Selig, in perhaps his most disingenuous moment of the entire press conference, said, "These fans obviously came and bought tickets for a night game, so they deserve to come back and see a night game." Right. Because the scheduling of World Series games is done taking into account, first and foremost, the convenience of the attendees. Because fans have demanded 8:30 local time starts for years. Because when World Series games are played in the Pacific time zone, MLB gives a rip about those people's work schedules.

The game will be a night game because Fox says so, and for Selig to sit there and say what he said insults everyone's intelligence. Just be honest and say that the game will be a night game because MLB doesn't control its own scheduling. As if the city of Philadelphia, and people holding tickets wouldn't be perfectly happy with a 7 p.m. start. Or 2 p.m. Or 9 a.m. That comment, to me, was the worst thing said last night, and goes a long way toward letting the world know who runs baseball.

Between the massive botch-job of scheduling the games, last night's disaster and the wretched job done by the men in blue, is there any wonder that the World Series is now on pace to be the least-watched ever? "Thus far, the World Series has received an 8.1/14, down 24 percent from the 10.6/18 for a four-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox over the Colorado Rockies last year. This year is 20 percent behind the current record low for a full World Series, the 10.1/17 for the St. Louis Cardinals' five-game victory over the Detroit Tigers in 2006." Sheesh, even I have only bothered to watch odd fragments, and am already turning my attention elsewhere.

Specifically, here's a piece I wrote for Fanster, summarizing the expected off-season action for the Diamondbacks. We'll probably be covering each of the topics in more depth here in due course, but I think it's a good overview of the main issues that management will be looking at over the coming months. By coincidence, it's also a topic Evan Brunell covered: he's doing a series on 'Being the GM' for each of the major-league teams, and has now reached Arizona. Signing Randy Johnson appears to be a top priority, in the opinion of GM Evan.

Please note: last chance to sign up for tickets to the AFL game on the 15th - I'll be closing requests after Friday, and donating unclaimed tickets to charity. See the fanpost if you want to claim any. Also in the AFL, Max Scherzer is leading the league to date, with 24 strikeouts in his 24 innings pitched - only one other pitcher has more than fourteen. He has a 3.38 ERA, with 16 hits and five walks, for a 0.88 WHIP. He got a win in his last start, throwing three-hit ball over seven innings of work, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs crushed the Peoria Javelinas 13-1. He said, "I was very aggressive with the fastball. They're an aggressive hitting team, and I wanted to go right after them. I tried to balance my offspeed stuff with the fastballs. I'm here to get some more starts under my belt and get a better feel for things."

Not sure how many more starts he'll make there, as he must almost have reached his innings quota. He threw 56 in the majors and 53 down in Tucson, so that takes him up to 133 all told, including the AFL. Thinking somewhere about 150 will be the aim, to get him ready for 180 innings or so, as a full-time starter next season. And here's a detailed recap of the AFL All-Star Game, which took place out in Surprise (Surprise!) over the weekend. Selected from the Diamondbacks were pitcher Brooks Brown and infielder Rusty Ryal: the former didn't get into the game, while Ryal went 0-for-2, but their team won 7-6, thanks to a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Speaking of the Diamondbacks prospects, Lisa Winston has a nice piece on mlb.com, reviewing the state of the Arizona farm system. She picks Josh Whitesell as the position player of the year and Cesar Valdez as the pitcher of the year, but reckons their farm system is "significantly weaker" than it was. On the other hand, Bill James In his 2009 handbook, Bill James still reckons Arizona is the #2 team in young talent in the majors, trailing  the Twins. Of course, as his definition of young is under 30, that includes the likes of Upton, Young, Drew, etc. who can hardly be regarded as prospects any more.

Mark Grace going back to the Cubs? The Tribune looks at the possibility of him becoming their color commentator, if current incumbent Bob Brenly gets the managerial job in Milwaukee. Though one wonders if he is simply angling for a pay rise here in Arizona, going by his comment later in the article: "I don't even know how much they pay me. I think I'm the third-lowest paid color analyst in all of baseball — so that I do know." It may be hard to justify seeing that D-backs ratings dipped by 15% last season, even if this seems largely caused by a huge increase [from 14 to 66] of games outside prime-time, that started at 4pm or earlier. Hey, at least we're not the Padres - down by 40% - or the Nationals, who drew an average crowd on TV of just eight thousand households.

Finally, former D-back pitcher - now a Rockie - Luis Vizcaino was arrested for DUI in Tampa, after officers found him going 71 mph in a 45 mph zone. Now, I don't drive drunk: but if I did, then wherever I was going, I would be damn sure not to be whizzing down streets at 26 mph above the limit. That's going to get you busted when you're dead sober.

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