Some things to talk about while we worry about whatever is emitting radio waves into space...
1) Should Puig get into the All-Star Game?
Joe Posnanski does Joe Poz things in his latest piece on the All-Star Game and everyone's favorite snubee, Yasiel Puig.
Papelbon's words have been roundly mocked, but this kind of thinking permeates baseball. Why doesn't the All-Star Game experiment with some new rules? Why don't they include great players from the past? Why don't they make it more fun, more interactive, more compelling? The answer comes from another time, when just having an All-Star Game was enough to get people excited. That's just not true anymore.
What got me about this very good piece was how he talked about the game being an exhibition and wanting the best players there who fans actually want to see. As an Astros fan, we want to see Jason Castro, but does the rest of the baseball world? Wouldn't they rather see Chris Carter in the Home Run Derby or Jose Altuve out there on the field next to big Adam Dunn (who's not in the game, I know)?
I don't mind Puig getting included, just like I didn't mind Bryce Harper getting included last year. I'm actually excited about Harper being in the Derby, since that's my favorite event of the weekend. Still, maybe embracing the ASG as an exhibition could reinvigorate it.
If they invited Craig Biggio back to play after he was elected to the Hall of Fame, wouldn't you be glued to the TV?
2) Cubs going to the wire with Bryant
Maybe another reason the Astros chose Appel instead of Kris Bryant is they knew his price and knew they could get him signed quickly. Doesn't appear the Cubs are in a similar situation with Bryant.
There's no update. We basically have four or five days left of discussions. We're confident we'll get it done. We'll make it an exceptionally fair offer. If Kris wants to be a Cub and be a professional baseball player, I'm confident we'll get a deal done. Sometimes it takes a deadline to make a deal, and we have a deadline coming up shortly. In a lot of ways, I think it's a plus at this point.
Yes, usually a deal does get done. But, this is the Cubs. If Boras wants to try and extract as much money as possible, could they balk? Would they rather get another pick in next year's draft (which may be deeper and more talented at the top) while letting Bryant go back to school? Maybe the best storyline of this somewhat boring week leading up to the signing deadline.
3) Is Rays attendance affected by MiLB?
Good piece over at DRaysBay today on whether Tampa Bay is hurt by the Florida State League being in its backyard. It's hard to take one snippet from it, because all the research and numbers are very interesting. But, here's what caught my attention and why I'm bringing it up to you:
While the Rays stand defenseless, Minor League Baseball has become big business in the Tampa Bay area. The Threshers, with their $1 dollar nights and Thirsty Thursdays are regularly among the top draws in the Florida State League. Meanwhile, the Bradenton Marauders recently added 10 million dollars in upgrades to historic McKechnie Field to include a tiki bar, an upgraded scoreboard, and more concession stands. Putting the cost of the upgrade into perspective, the Rays put $35 million into Tropicana Field after the 2006 season for a stadium five times bigger.
Let's imagine they're talking about Houston instead of Tampa Bay. Now, let's also talk about the discussion we brought up briefly yesterday about whether Houston is a "baseball town." If the Astros bring a Triple-A team to The Woodlands and already have the Skeeters drawing well, will the Astros see attendance hurt by this?
Can it be hurt any more than attendance has already been hurt? It's a great question and I'm very interested to see how you all might react. There are other teams who haven't flinched at having minor league teams in their backyard, but those teams also don't have attendance problems right now. Are Houston and Tampa Bay's situations unique or is there something we can learn here?