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Baseball Off-Day Open Thread

Well, well. One more day before A's baseball returns, and I'm not sure we're ready yet. Of course, there is plenty to talk about, so let's get right to it.

First of all, we’re excited for everyone that has signed up to be a part of AN Day 4 on August 4th. In addition to meeting some of your favorite ANers in person, there will be food, a baseball game, and maybe even some special guests--even more special than Blez, Nico, monkeyball, and myself--although we will certainly be there too. For those of you waiting, tickets will be mailed at the end of this week, and if you’re still on the fence, I’d recommend emailing me today, and we’ll see what we can do. We really want everyone to attend.

Second of all, the QOTM diaries are back, starting with May. June will follow sometime today.

This thread is open to any number of topics. May I suggest the ever-popular ‘let’s trade Bobby Crosby for Alex Rodriguez’ trade proposal? Just make sure to include a budget to kidnap a Hogwarts student to do some work on the Yankees for this.

We can also talk about the A’s second half. Who’s hot? Who’s not? Do you think his new-found All-Star recognition will help Haren if he continues his march for the Cy? Can Haren match his first half? Will Gaudin continue to shine? Will Blanton channel his anger into the baseball, and not Ichiro? Can Jack Cust complete a season in the bigs? Can Eric Chavez stay healthy? Are we even going to touch the Harden debacle?

And if we really want to be a part of the cool kids club today, I suppose we should mention baseball’s hot topic right now. The question is: Was Tony La Russa asleep at the helm last night, paid off by the AL, or did he just make an incredibly, mind-boggling, stupid decision?

Let’s set the scene. You are an All-Star manager, trying to lead your team, the NL, to their first win in ten years. You are down by one run in the ninth. You have a chance to pinch hit one of your own players as a) the tying run b) the winning run c) when the tying run and winning run are at first and second or d) when the tying run and winning run are at second and third. Heck, I’ll make it easier for you: He’s the only player on the bench--you can’t miss him. Oh, okay, I’ll make it even easier for you: He’s one of the best players in baseball. You could have one hundred players sitting on the bench and he’d still be one of your top choices, if not the top. What do you do? Please consider that decisions do not get more win/win than this one. You get to use one of your players in a situation where you would please him, thrill the crowd, and set yourself up for your best chance to win the game.

Instead, you keep him on the bench, citing an imaginary ‘extra innings’ need, you lose the game by one run, and the best player you’ve ever had takes your actions as a snub. As well he should.

I felt cheated as a baseball fan, even one who usually doesn’t care about the All Star Game. Yes, I was rooting for the AL, probably in name only this season, but who didn’t want to see Pujols take K-rod deep? I can’t even imagine how Pujols feels. Well, here’s a glimpse:

"It's the All-Star game. He can do what he wants," Pujols said Tuesday night. "He does whatever he wants. If I wasn't expecting to play, I wouldn't have come up here."

Pujols, the NL MVP in 2005 and key to the Cardinals' win in the World Series last year, said La Russa didn't talk to him the entire game.

To which La Russa said:

If he wants to get upset, he can get upset," La Russa said. "Whatever he wants to do, he can do. It's America. That wasn't the most important thing tonight." ...

"Once we lost (Miguel) Cabrera and (Freddy) Sanchez, he was the guy we were going to use to protect ourselves in case we kept playing because of Albert's versatility," La Russa said. "I think we had the right guy at bat."

Okay, I’ve never managed a major league team before, but play extra innings, I would think that you probably should make sure you have a chance of getting there first, yeah? I was sure Pujols hurt himself in the Derby on Monday. I thought that was the only possibly explanation for why he didn’t play.

Apparently, I was wrong.