Category: Editorials

BraunMeetsBraunBall

What’s In a Name?

“Hey, what about Braun?”

If you’re a fan of movies, music, or even sports talk radio, chances are you like someone whose given name you don’t know. People use names publicly that aren’t on their tax forms, in part to maintain a shred of privacy (however fleeting) but also because a name chosen can be just plain cooler for the industry they’re in.

Some stage names are chosen simply. (Tom Cruise? Cruise is his middle name. His legal last name is Mapother.)

Some have little if anything to do with their real name. (Jay-Z is Shawn Carter, for instance.)

For those of you in the Milwaukee market as I am, well let’s just say that Michaels is as much Bill’s last name as it is Shawn’s.

Ah yes. Shawn Michaels — given name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom — is a retired professional wrestler who flipped his first and middle name (and added an s) to get something a bit better. Also there happened to be a pretty famous Michael already and individuality in that game is important as well.

Professional wrestling, or rather “sports entertainment” if you prefer, has a long history of athletes using fake names. Back in the 1960s though it was important that fans not be able to find your home when you were a loathed “bad guy” who would receive death threats and have everything from insults to beer cans hurled at you.

“Adam…isn’t this the Brewer Nation blog? Why are you talking about this?”

If that’s running through your head, let me cut to the chase.

Friday night at Miller Park the Brewers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost but that’s beside this point. During the game a celebrity guest was in the house. He was visiting family in Wisconsin for a couple of days and decided to catch a game at Miller Park. As a Brewers fan, it just made sense.

But there was another reason for his visit, and that was to meet his namesake. The WWE Superstar’s name is Adam Scherr, but you’ve probably never heard that name before. It’s his stage name that you’ll know if you’ve watched any WWE programming over the last few months. That stage name comes, in part, courtesy of a certain former NL MVP.

Seriously. As the man tells it, it was late in the day where a hard deadline existed. They had to pick a stage name by the end of that day. No exceptions. All the options they were given to discuss fell flat. Nothing had the right hook to it. As he and those helping him decide were sitting around, they had SportsCenter on in the background. Baseball highlights were happening and Ryan Braun was on the TV.

“Hey, what about Braun?”

That simple question, along with a slight modification to the character’s last name, is how WWE Superstar Braun Strowman came to be.

If you don’t know Strowman, he’s significantly larger than Ryan. Listed at 6’8″ and 385 pounds, Braun Strowman is a real monster in the ring as a member of the Wyatt Family.

“I’ll take the over, ” said Ryan Braun when asked about his meeting with his namesake. “That’s one of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Strowman’s physical stature matches that of Braun’s play on the field. Both are doing big things at age 32 (Strowman is Ryan’s senior by about two months) and while Ryan is long established as elite in his sport at this age, Strowman is still an up and comer in his.

So, “What’s in a name?” A tie that binds perhaps as Ryan thought it was very cool that Strowman found inspiration in him.

After all, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy like Braun Strowman in your corner. I mean, just look at him.

BraunMeetsBraun

Braun Strowman meets his namesake Ryan Braun after a game at Miller Park on August 26, 2016. – Credit: Mike Vassallo

More Thoughts on the Aftermath of Hill Shipping Up to Boston

First, here’s how the official press release announcing the trade of Aaron Hill was written, in case you haven’t seen it.

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson and second baseman Wendell Rijo from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for infielder Aaron Hill and cash. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Aaron Wilkerson, we are adding a starting pitcher who has had tremendous success in the minor leagues and could be an asset to the Major League team in the near future,” said Stearns. “Wendell Rijo adds even more young talent and strength up the middle to our organization.”

Wilkerson, 27, had been pitching this season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 9 games (8 starts). He was holding International League opponents to a .223 batting average (41-for-184, 5hr) with 54 strikeouts in just 48.0 innings pitched. He also pitched at Double-A Portland this season, going 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 8 starts. While at Portland, he held Eastern League opponents to a .175 batting average (28-for-160, 2hr) with 48 strikeouts in just 44.1 innings pitched.

Wilkerson, who was signed by Boston as a non-drafted free agent on July 18, 2014, owns an impressive career minor-league record of 22-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 54 games (44 starts). He has produced 293 strikeouts in just 279.0 innings pitched.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization, the product of Cumberland University (TN), pitched the 2013 season for three independent league teams: Fort Worth – United League Baseball; Florence – Frontier League and Grand Prairie – American Association.

Rijo, 20, began the 2016 season at Double-A Portland, where he appeared in 51 games. He was transferred to Class-A Salem in late June and appeared in 11 games there prior to today’s trade.

Born in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Rijo was signed by Boston as an international free agent on July 6, 2012. He owns a career batting average of .250 with 16 HR, 129 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 333 minor-league games (2012-2016). Following last season, he was ranked as the 15th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization and 19th-best prospect in the Carolina League by Baseball America.

Hill, 34, was acquired by Milwaukee last January 30 from Arizona, along with right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash, in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. He batted .283 (72-for-254) with 8 HR and 29 RBI in 78 games with the Brewers, making 71 starts (55g at 3B, 16g at 2B).

“Along with his statistical contributions, we thank Aaron for his veteran leadership and versatility during his time as a Brewer,” said Stearns.

For my thoughts on the trade both from the viewpoint of the Red Sox as well as the Brewers, check out my article over at Today’s Knuckleball by clicking here.

What I didn’t say there because it really didn’t fit is how this move is just the first salvo in what should be an incredibly busy month for David Stearns and company.

They have a plethora of movable assets and of those many that teams should desire to varying degrees. He even has assets that he’ll get calls on but shouldn’t move as they have a chance to be key parts of the future contender.

Here’s a quick list (alphabetical by last name) with a blurb as to why each could be moved. Oh, and let me say here that I’m not including Braun because I don’t believe he’ll be moved and I don’t feel like writing up a section about why Stearns would move him.

  • Blaine Boyer
    • Why you would move him: Really playing well (outside of San Francisco) and has shown the ability handle higher-leverage innings. Wasn’t expected to give you much when signing as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training so anything you could get in trade is a bonus from that aspect. All relief pitchers, middle relievers chief among them, are volatile meaning capitalizing on their value when you can should be considered. Plus, Boyer turns 35 next week so you can’t count on him as a part of the future here in Milwaukee.
    • Why you wouldn’t: I guess you wouldn’t if no one asked you to. Really, in Boyer’s case where he was a flier on a team looking for roleplayer bullpen arms Boyer has positioned himself to potentially be of value to a contender who isn’t getting enough mileage out of their current group (like the Cubs, for instance). There are a bunch of teams who could use an arm like Boyer’s.
  • Chris Carter
    • Why you would move him: Having a good bounce-back year as he desired when signing here, has shown he can play everyday defense at 1B. Would be more expensive next year (though under team control for a time yet) and could cool off limiting trade value in the off-season or next year.
    • Why you wouldn’t: He’s still quite inexpensive for the level of production he’s giving even with the 2nd year of arbitration eligibility looming (using this year’s one-year price as the starting point should temper the bottom line) and while there are some intriguing first basemen in the system, no one is exactly busting down the door to take the job in 2017. Carter could be move next July the same as this July plus most contenders who would covet the kind of power Carter would add to a lineup have solutions at first base already so the return might not enough during the year when the trade partner pool is limited.
  • Matt Garza
    • Why you would move him: He hasn’t performed particularly well over the last year and a half when healthy enough to pitch. He still has talent though and a change of scenery and pitching philosophy (despite there being a new pitching coach with Milwaukee this year) could benefit him. Garza is a competitor in the truest sense of the word and might subconsciously lock in if pitching in games that mean more. The main reason though is that despite his veteran leadership, the Brewers have been amassing a handful of knocking-on-the-door starting pitchers would need to be given big league chances (in some cases second chances) before 2018. Moving Garza frees up a spot for that to happen. The pool of available starting pitching isn’t exactly a robust one this year either so that could lead someone to giving Garza a shot like James Shields to the White Sox.
    • Why you wouldn’t: If Stearns couldn’t get what he considers to be fair value, then you can give Garza more time this season to prove what he still has left in the tank. He’s a guy who is tradeable come August so you don’t have to force the issue this month.
  • Junior Guerra
    • Why you would: He’s come out of seemingly nowhere to be the most consistently good starting pitcher the Brewers have run out there this season and, again in a down market for starting pitching, that could translate to serious value if someone is willing to strike while the iron is hot.
    • Why you wouldn’t: If the Brewers think he’s really for real then three years of league minimum-ish salaries and up to six years of team control mean you could conceivably control all of Guerra’s remaining effectiveness. Even if he’s never more than a mid-rotation guy, this season is proof positive that even that role can be a challenging one to fill.
  • Jonathan Lucroy
    • Why you would: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and could fetch the club a drool-worthy return in prospects.
    • Why not: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and you could still trade him in the off-season if you aren’t going to extend him.
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    • Why you would: He’s not exactly a long-term solution, especially when you have guys like Maverick Phillips on the way. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this coming off-season.
    • Why not: He knows how to succeed at the big league level, especially defensively, and his role in mentoring a guy like Phillips (and to a lesser degree guys like Ramon Flores and Domingo Santana) is a valuable job. Plus he’s still under team control for three seasons if you want him
  • Carlos Torres
    • Why you would: See many of the reasons listed for Boyer. Torres is a quality enough arm to be valuable, quality enough to have played for the NL Champion Mets last year.
    • Why not: Again, no real reason not to if you can get something of value. Let Torres play for a contender if there’s one who wants him and get something back that can help the future.

For another group of players, the write-ups would look extremely similar. You would trade them because they have value and performing well right now but you wouldn’t because they’re young enough with some ceiling still to reach (to varying degrees), and controllable/cost-effective that they could still be a part of the next contending roster. This group includes: Jacob Barnes, Michael Blazek, Jeremy Jeffress, Jimmy Nelson, Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg, and Jonathan Villar. That said, the return on packages containing those players or even straight-up on some of them would be intriguing.

I know I’ve only been going through names on the 25-man roster right now, but let me make one other point.

Anybody can be had for the right price and that’s what makes Stearns a good General Manager. He’s willing to listen — even on someone he 99% would never move. Look, I want Orlando Arcia to be the shortstop here in Milwaukee for the next decade-plus. That said, if the Angels were to extend Mike Trout for the next decade and offer him to Milwaukee straight up for Arcia (while paying 90% of Trout’s contract themselves), you shouldn’t and wouldn’t say no.

That example is wildly inequitable but I use it to illustrate that yes, even Orlando Arcia is tradeable under the right circumstances.

All this said, I expect a handful of players to probably be wearing other uniforms by August 1st. I also expect that anyone who leaves will do so to the betterment of the long-term goal which is to bring sustainable success to the home clubhouse at Miller Park.

Today’s Letter From the Principal Owner of the Brewers

December 17, 2015

Dear Brewers Fans:

During this holiday season, I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for sticking with us through a tough, challenging and–most aptly–disappointing season. You showed your loyalty by purchasing more than 2.5 million tickets to see baseball at Miller Park, which you’ve done every season over the past nine years. Only seven other MLB teams have reached this attendance milestone. And over those nine seasons, the Brewers have averaged more than 35,000 fans per home game, which is among the ten highest team averages in all of Major League Baseball.

The commitment you’ve demonstrated to the Brewers, I assure you, is equaled by my own commitment to doing better. Each of you deserves that. By doing better, I mean fielding a playoff-competitive team and one day bringing a world championship to Milwaukee. To move toward accomplishing this lofty goal, I believe we need to take a step back and build more intensively from within. Our new General Manager, David Stearns, has been spearheading this approach, which requires grinding things out, prospect by prospect and trade by trade. While we look forward to using his fresh vision to getting our baseball operations to where we want them to be, we are mindful that there is a lot of hard work to do, and we will not take any shortcuts or look for quick fixes.

Importantly, David has a great deal of flexibility to work with, as the team has just three long-term contracts remaining: Jonathan Lucroy (two years), Matt Garza (two years) and Ryan Braun (five years). As you probably know, David recruited Matt Arnold from the Tampa Bay Rays as his Assistant GM. At this month’s Winter Meetings, he and Matt started to implement their strategy, which David has articulated thematically as acquiring, developing and retaining as much young talent as we can. We do not have a rigid timetable because we believe it is vital to build a proper foundation for sustained success. I am encouraged by the level of teamwork I’ve been seeing in baseball operations and, most significantly, between David and Matt.

Even before David joined our organization, our re-evaluation effort had begun. When the start of the 2015 season told us that the first 150 days of the 2014 season had been an illusion–one ultimately supplanted by the reality of the final month of that season–we made the difficult decision to change the team’s manager. In early May, we hired Craig Counsell, already a valued special assistant to our GM, to a three-year contract. This allowed Craig five months to observe our players in the field and to start training them to play in the style that had brought him two World Series rings as a player.

With a focus on the future at the July 31 trade deadline, we exchanged veteran players who had less than two years remaining under their contracts for seven young players, four of whom saw action with the Brewers before the end of the season. A total of twelve rookies debuted this season–a club record. The performance of our lower-level Minor League affiliates provided more evidence that the talent of our prospects is improving. Our AA affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, went to the Southern League Championship Series this year for the first time since 2007. Moreover, Baseball America named three Brewers among the publication’s top five prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

Since the end of last season, we have traded for another seven young players, including three with Major League experience. Through all these trades, we have added fourteen prospects to our team, supplementing the players we selected in what was considered a rich 2015 draft. As reported on mlb.com, eleven of our top twenty prospects have been acquired in the past two years either through draft or trades. The restocking of the farm system has begun in earnest.

Finally, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Doug Melvin, who has transitioned from President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Brewers into a role as Senior Advisor. Doug’s baseball acumen, work ethic and loyalty have been an asset to the team for thirteen seasons, and he remains a valuable resource to David and our baseball operations group.

So, as we approach 2016, I want to reiterate how much the entire Brewers organization appreciates the community’s strong enthusiasm for the club. We are dedicated to building something special here in Milwaukee for you, the best fans in baseball. I thank you once again for your steadfast support.

Go Brewers!

wpid-im_attanasio_sig.gif

 

 

 

Mark Attanasio
Chairman and Principal Owner

MILWAUKEE BREWERS BASEBALL CLUB

Brewers Bullpen Prepares Through Communication

BullpenHuddleCropped

Monday night I sent out this tweet.

It wasn’t the first time I saw Francisco Rodriguez more or less holding court. The other three high-leverage pitchers were huddled by the veteran closer’s locker (to be fair, the lockers of Will Smith and Jonathan Broxton aren’t exactly far away from that of Rodriguez, and Jeremy Jeffress need only come down a handful himself) and were locked in a pointed discussion. That is to say that this looked to be more than your light-hearted postgame celebratory chat.

Tuesday, I decided to confirm my presumption and get a bit more insight from some of the men involved and find out what kind of leader the bullpen has in K-Rod and what kind of advice can be gleaned from the veterans who have combined to pitch in parts of 26 MLB seasons.

I first asked lefty Will Smith, the possessor of the Slider of Death, why it’s valuable to have those guys around him. For the record, Smith’s locker is between Broxton’s and K-Rod’s.

“In my case, I ask (Rodriguez & Broxton) because obviously they’ve had a lot of success. They know what they’re doing. So, my thought process: Why not use them as a learning tool?”, said Smith. “We’ll sit and we’ll break down ABs and what you threw to (a certain hitter).”

But what about the fact that they’re right-handed and he’s a southpaw? Does that matter in breaking down hitters? Smith offered that it doesn’t.

“Just because these guys are right-handed doesn’t mean anything. They still help out a tremendous amount with me and (Jeffress) the most, for sure.”

For his part, Jeffress echoed much of Smith’s sentiment when I asked him what exactly they talk about in those mini-meetings.

“We just break down each one of our outings. What we can learn from it. What we can do better. Just how we attack each and every hitter each day.”, Jeffress said. “Then it’s all about coming together as one because we’re all in this together. And at the end of the day we gotta go home and face what we’ve just been through.”

Jeffress then went bigger picture on me by saying that, “We (Smith and Jeffress) pick their brains so much because we know that this game doesn’t last forever for everyone. The next guy is right there so we just wanna take what they learned and what they taught us and just put it in play for the next couple years.”

I brought it back with a question about huddling early in a series because while you may not face the same guy you did last night, you might face who your teammate did. Jeffress responded about Broxton as his fellow power righty. “(Broxton) will tell me that ‘I didn’t pitch him this way, (or) the best way to go about him is that way.’ Just execute your pitches.”

Broxton told me that their huddles are a multi-directional conversation. It’s not just Smith and Jeffress asking for advice. “We just like to sit down and talk and try to pick each others brains. I may try to pick Will’s or K-Rod’s, or K-Rod wants to know what was our thought process out there. We just try to go over it,” Broxton said. “You’re out there trying to read batters and swings and trying to see what each other’s doing and their thought process too.”

As for his having a fellow veteran like Rodriguez in the clubhouse to bounce his own questions off of, Broxton said “That’s what makes (K-Rod) so great. You can sit down and talk to him about anything. Basically just asking him what is he seeing and get his thought process and (then) put yours together and you can come up with a game plan.”

Game plans are all well and good, but when it comes down to it, each guy still has to go out there and execute. Jeffress said that the veterans show faith in the less-experienced to perform every time it’s their name that’s called.

“They give me a lot of trust,” said Jeffress. “They give everyone in the bullpen a lot of confidence, a lot of trust to believe in their self to go and do the job.”

Again, this “think tank” approach is not new to a clubhouse featuring Francisco Rodriguez, nor is it closed to just the four men who got together yesterday. I’ve seen him talking to Brandon Kintzler after games last year, in particular there was a game where Kintzler struggled pretty badly and it looked to me as though Rodriguez called him over to discuss the outing. K-Rod was talking to him about pitch execution and how pitching Kintzler’s game to the best of his ability would be good enough to get the job done.

Suffice it to say, it has piqued my curiosity a few times over the past couple of seasons. After a particularly rough outing for Broxton it felt right that he would be leveraging the experience of Rodriguez, if for no other reason that K-Rod had a much smoother outing the same night.

So finally, I went to the man himself to understand where this activity came from. I had more presumptions. K-Rod confirmed them.

“That’s something that I just learned coming up. I got the opportunity to have one of the best in the game teach me (in) Troy Percival,” Rodriguez said about his mentor with the Angels. “He told me when I was coming up, when he was teaching me everything, to make sure when I get to this stage and I’m a vet to make sure to teach the young guys how to prepare themselves and how to attack and how to compete out there every night. That’s something I do every single day with the young guys. It’s something I like.”

Rodriguez went on to say that he makes sure he talks to anyone in the bullpen after a game in which they pitched. If it’s a good outing, they talk about it. And if it’s a not so good outing? That’s right — they talk about those too.

Pitchers succeed in baseball more often than they fail. After all, even the best hitters are put out more than 65% of the time. But this approach that I suspect happens in far more places than Milwaukee is no doubt a key to those successes and to overcoming any failures.

Preparedness is half the battle in baseball. For a clubhouse with Francisco Rodriguez in it, that preparation is an ongoing, recurring, everyday thing.

(This article originally appeared on Today’s Knuckleball and was republished here with permission.)

Is It Time To Consider Expansion?

This article was originally published on FanRagSports.com and republished here with permission.

(Though it certainly helps that I’m the author.)

You can view the original here if you’re so inclined.

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers

I hate seeing injuries befall athletes, especially those competing at the highest level of their sport. These physically gifted gladiators who are putting on a show for our entertainment have earned the opportunity to do so after years and years of training, improvement, and sacrificing. They’ve dedicated their lives to the pursuit of athletic excellence. That any of them should suffer an injury that prevents that excellence is awful.

Recently a pair of ace pitchers suffered injuries while taking their turns in the National League’s batter’s box. Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (jammed thumb) and Adam Wainwright (ruptured Achilles tendon) of the St. Louis Cardinals will both miss time after participating in an activity which some baseball fans see and pointless — and that’s putting it mildly. Granted, Wainwright will miss far more time and there’s a chance he’ll never be the same pitcher again. Scherzer, a former American League Cy Young Award winner, and a man who is on record as appreciating the challenge of hitting, was asked about these injuries and conceded that it may be time for Major League Baseball to adopt the Designated Hitter in the National League. ***UPDATE: Scherzer now claims he was joking when he said these comments.*** Naturally this response sent a wave throughout the circles covering the league. Everybody and their cousin has seemingly weighed in on whether adding the DH to the NL should be numero uno on Rob Manfred’s hit list.

There are plenty of columns out there touting the merits of the DH. Many of them are true. There’s statistical proof that the American League tends to score more runs. There’s statistical proof that pitchers, as a group, are awful at hitting. Someone went so far as to try to show that games with the DH are actually faster on average than those without one.

There are some intelligent pieces written in the last 72 as well debunking some of the go-to arguments of the pro-DH crowd. I am on this side, for the record. I love the strategy and decision-making that goes into the NL game, both in-game and before the game even starts. I would miss it if it were gone and while virtually nobody actually wants to see pitchers flailing wildly at the plate with a less than 15% chance (collectively) of reaching base, I’m willing to deal with those plate appearances to get the other juicy stuff that goes along with them.

But I’m not writing to argue against the DH in the NL — well, not directly anyway. And while I think that the offense in today’s game is actually fine enough, I understand the desire some feel in wanting more. As Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine once epically pointed out after all, “Chicks dig the long ball”. Substitute “fans” as the subject and I think you’ll find the reason that they finally began returning to the game following the players strike that once cost the league a World Series.

Offense sells tickets to many fans. My argument today is that while the DH may have added nominal offense to the American League over time, it is hardly the only way to do so. For your consideration I offer up the idea of expansion.

At its core, expansion increases the number of jobs at the MLB level allowing more players to realize their dream of being big leaguers. When you expand the number of top tier positions what you also accomplish is a diluting of the talent pool. Without as much worthy pitching to go around — and let’s be honest, the last couple of years have more or less been a haven for pitchers — the effectiveness of those doing the job will decrease. It’s been a proven fact throughout MLB history that offense goes up following expansion.

The most recent example, when the Milwaukee Brewers switched leagues as the Tampa Bay (then Devil) Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks came into existence in 1998 saw the resulted in a jump in total league-wide runs scored of nearly 1700 runs. When the Colorado Rockies and (then) Florida Marlins joined in 1993 a similar effect happened but that jump was over 3500 runs (runs total statistics courtesy of Baseball-Almanc.com). League batting average jumped eight points between 1992 and 1993 as another example. League batting averages in both the AL & NL have been declining each year since 2007 as pitchers become more specialized and dominant.

Expansion isn’t the end all, be all silver bullet of offense, but it helps. It’s also not just about the offense either.

One of the arguments in support of adding the DH to the NL is that with as much interleague play as happens in today’s game, there should be one universal set of rules governing all teams. Well, adding two teams would even the leagues back out to even numbers (at 16 apiece) and would allow for the end of Interleague Play nearly every single day of the MLB calendar. It’s fun to see different teams every now and then, but the Leagues in MLB were never intended to behave as conferences do in the NFL or NBA. If you even the leagues back out at 16 there’s no reason to continue the Interleague clutter currently happening. It would allow teams to face more of the team they’re directly competing against for the right to appear in the World Series. There have been examples of egregious disparities over the last couple of year in certain cases to which NL division-mates are facing which AL teams. There also isn’t much cause in having, for instance, San Diego face San Francisco 19 times while only facing Houston 16 times. There should be more schedule equality and putting league membership at even numbers would allow for that to happen far more easily.

Lest I forget, there is an insane amount of money in the game of baseball right now. I know that there was brief talk of contraction not all that long ago, but with how the sport has grown, there’s ample resources available to support two new franchises and all the minor league teams, scouting departments, front office staffs, and even beer vendors that come along with them. MLB is also not lacking for markets who would welcome an MLB team with open arms. Stadium deals can get messy, but the promise of 81 home dates each summer tend to get those things done. (And have I mentioned that Montreal already has a mostly-ready stadium?)

If those that claim MLB is dying because of a lack of national numbers are to be believed (and they’re not), wouldn’t adding to more local markets help from a national average? Plus the added revenue of two more localized, rabid, and supportive fan bases couldn’t be denied.

MLB can handle it. Fans are ready. I think hitters wouldn’t complain. Even the incredibly underpaid minor leaguers would see their opportunities increase, but that’s another argument, as is roster expansion itself.

Look, the bottom line is that the Designated Hitter isn’t coming to the National League anytime soon anyway so we may as well look for other ideas. This has been one of mine.

It’s time.