Game Six of the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis has been postponed due to inclement weather and the forecast for rainfall throughout the remainder of the day. Given the desire to play a game of this magnitude without interruption, and an outlook with better conditions over the next two nights, Major League Baseball, along with the Cardinals and the Rangers, determined that making the decision early would be the most prudent course of action to allow fans enough time to plan accordingly.
Game Six of the World Series has been rescheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m.(ET)/7:05 p.m. (CT) and will be televised by FOX Sports. Game Seven, if necessary, will be played on Friday at 8:05 p.m. (ET)/7:05 p.m. (CT).
It seems that every World Series, there are critical blown calls by the umpires. For the 2011 World Series, Ron Kulpa’s blown call at first base in the top of the fourth inning of Game 3 from Texas, might be a defining moment.
With the Cardinals up 1-0, Matt Holliday grounded into what should have been a double-play. Instead, Albert Pujols was out at second, and Ian Kinsler's throw was wide to Mike Napoli at first base. Napoli applied a swipe tag on Holliday, and tagged him a full step before the Cardinal outfielder made it to the bag. Instead of calling him out, umpire Ron Kulpa called Holliday safe. From there, the inning went south.
Instead of two outs and no runners on, Lance Berkman cleanly singles to move Holliday to second. Freese then doubles on a sharp grounder, pushing Holliday across the plate, moving the score to 2-0.
One play can alter an inning, or a game. As of publishing, it’s 5-3 Cardinals at the end of 4 innings of play.
See for yourself if Kulpa blew the call. Not even close. Bud Selig is at the game tonight. You think he'll get asked about whether there needs to be increased instant replay in baseball?
The matter stretched out longer than they wanted, required Commissioner Selig to intervene, and may be the biggest non-player transaction in baseball in years, but late Friday the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs jointly announced that, effective immediately, General Manager Theo Epstein has resigned from the Red Sox in order to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. A key bone of contention, and the matter that stalled the deal from quietly getting done, the two clubs also have reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox in exchange for Epstien, who had one more year left on his contract. The sides would only say that issue will be resolved in the "near term".
Both the Red Sox and the Cubs intend to hold press events this coming Tuesday during which the Cubs intend to announce Epstein, and the Red Sox intend to announce his successor as General Manager. The replacement is expected to be an in-house affair with Assistant GM Ben Cherington being promoted to the vacancy.
The media churn has been sitting on the front pages of the Boston and Chicago papers and created a major distraction for the league during the Fall Classic. Normally, such announcements would be held off until after the season ended, but with all the interest, and the need for Selig to help negotiate a compromise deal, word began to leak out earlier in the week that a deal to allow Epstein to move to the Cubs would be announced Friday. Out of respect for the World Series, both clubs have agreed to forego further comment until this coming Tuesday, the next scheduled non-game day with further information on each club’s media availability for Tuesday will be distributed on Monday.
After missing the playoffs two straight years and seeing a historic collapse in the last month of the regular season, manager Terry Francona’s contract was not renewed, word surfaced that some of the pitchers were drinking beer in the clubhouse during games they were not scheduled to pitch. Epstein was looking to garner more power, and more importantly, insulation from the turbulence at the GM position. With the Red Sox not having a position of President of Baseball Operations available, and the club not looking to create one, the Cubs had reached out to see if Epstein was available.
For the Cubs, it marks a coup of sorts, that is not yet fully done. It’s been reported that former Red Sox assistant GM, and current Padres General Manager, Jed Hoyer is being targeted for the Cubs GM position.
By now, most have heard about the delay in voting to approve Jim Crane as the new owner of the Houston Astros. Part of the sale is the fact that MLB and the MLBPA want to see expanded playoffs in 2013 and need to balance out the NL and AL with 15 teams a piece.
To make that happen, the Astros are being asked (prodded?) into jumping into the AL, something that Crane and his large ownership group believes they should be compensated for to the tune of a reported $50 million.
Some will say, “So what? I could care a less as I’m not an Astros or a fan of an AL West team.”
Here’s why nearly everyone will care…
With the jump to 15 teams per league, to deal with the odd numbers in each league, there will be an interleague game played every day of the season. That’s right, you not only will get the short stretch of interleague in the first half of the season, the longer stretch in the summer, and a game every single day of the season.
So, for the purists that never have taken a liking to those two interleague stretches each year, you’ll have to hear about it daily.
The expanded playoffs aren’t coming until 2013, so you’ll have to wait at least another season. But take it in… interleague is coming in April… and May… and August… and September… and… and…
MLB released times for Sunday’s three Division Series games that have been updated due to tonight’s suspended game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Tonight's suspended game will be resumed on Saturday, October 1st at 8:37 p.m. Play will continue at the point at which the game was left off prior to the suspension, with the Yankees batting in the bottom of the second inning. The suspension of tonight’s game reflects the January 2009 rule amendment by the Major League Clubs, providing that all Postseason games become suspended games if they are called, regardless of how many innings have been played or the score at the time the game is called. (The Major League Rules affected include 25(a), 33(c), 35(b), 37(b) and 39.) A suspended game is resumed and played to completion at the same site.
Sunday’s Game Two of the ALDS between Detroit and New York will now begin at 3:07 p.m. (ET) and will air on TNT. In addition, Game Two of the National League Division Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park has been shifted from a 4:37 p.m. (ET)/3:37 p.m. (CT) first pitch to 5:07 p.m. (ET)/4:07 p.m. (CT) first pitch and Game Two of the NLDS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies has been shifted from an 8:07 p.m. (ET) first pitch to an 8:37 p.m. (ET) first pitch.
[Subject to change]
Match-Up (ALL GAMES ON TBS/TNT)
Time (ET/Site Time)
Sat., Oct. 1st
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Milwaukee Brewers, NLDS Game 1
2:07 p.m./1:07 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Philadelphia Phillies, NLDS Game 1
On TNT:Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers, ALDS Game 2
7:07 p.m./6:07 p.m.
Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees, ALDS Game 1 Resumption
Sun., Oct. 2nd
On TNT: Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees, ALDS Game 2
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Milwaukee Brewers, NLDS Game 2
5:07 p.m./4:07 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Philadelphia Phillies, NLDS Game 2
And while earlier today, no decision had been made by Theo Epstein, the ownership of the Red Sox, and Francona, now, he has decided to leave. The man that broke an 86 year World Series Championship drought in 2004, and won another in 2007, is officially history in Beantown.
In a statement, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino – the ownership of the Red Sox – said:
“We met with Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington Friday morning to discuss the 2011 season, ways to improve the club in the future, and Tito’s status. During the meeting, Tito, Theo and Ben agreed that the Red Sox would benefit from an improved clubhouse culture and higher standards in several areas. Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on. After taking time to reflect on Tito’s sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.
We have enormous respect, admiration and appreciation for Tito and the job that he did for eight years, including two World Series Championship seasons and five playoff appearances. His poise during the 2004 post-season was a key factor in the greatest comeback in baseball history, and his place in Red Sox history will never be forgotten. We wish him only the best going forward.”
Said Francona, “We met this morning to look back on the 2011 season and to consider the future of the Boston Red Sox, including my involvement with the club. I passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players. After many conversations and much consideration, I ultimately felt that, out of respect to this team, it was time for me to move on. I’ve always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job. I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.
In my eight seasons as manager of the Boston Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation. This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball. They packed Fenway Park for every game and because of them, I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day. I want to thank John, Tom, Larry and Theo for giving me the opportunity to manage this team through some of the most successful years in this franchise’s history. I wish the entire organization and all of Red Sox Nation nothing but the very best.”
Theo Epstein issued a statement as well saying, ““Tito and I didn’t know each other when he was hired eight years ago, but over time we developed not only a great working relationship but also a personal friendship that will always be important to both of us. He proved to be an unflappable leader for our major league club, displaying consistency, calmness, hard work, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, and faith in the players even at the most difficult of times. Without Tito’s commitment over eight years, we would not be the organization we are today. Nobody at the Red Sox blames Tito for what happened at the end of this season; we own that as an organization. This year was certainly a difficult and draining one for him and for us. Ultimately, he decided that there were certain things that needed to be done that he couldn’t do after eight years here, and that this team would benefit from hearing a new voice. While this may be true, his next team will benefit more than it knows from hearing Tito’s voice. I will miss seeing Tito every day in the manager’s office, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in their next chapter.”
In eight years with the Red Sox, Francona amassed a 744-552 record (.574) winning two pennants and two World Series titles. In 12 years dating back to 1997 when he also managed the Phillies for four seasons, “Tito” has a 1029 and 915 record (.529).
Maybe it’s just time. Maybe, ownership has said we need a change. Whatever the case, Terry Francona, who guide the Red Sox to two World Series Championships, but just witnessed his team miss the playoffs for the second year in a row in epic fashion, was expected to leave Boston, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The announcement was expected Friday. According to Rosenthal:
While Francona’s departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution, sources say. He would not be fired; the Red Sox would simply decline their club options on him for 2012 and ’13.
At that point, Francona would be free to pursue long-term contracts with other clubs. The White Sox’s position currently is open, and Francona managed five seasons in their minor-league system in the early 1990s.
The Cubs could be another possibility for Francona once they hire a new general manager and proceed with the expected dismissal of manager Mike Quade. Francona played for the Cubs in 1986.
While those are possible managerial destinations, it’s uncertain that he wants them, or if he needs to take the position. He did, however, managed for five years in the White Sox minor league system and is a former player for the Cubs.
However, today when the Red Sox met with Francona, they put the move on hold. Theo Espstein released a statement through the Red Sox reading:
“John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington and I met with Terry Francona this morning at Fenway Park to exchange thoughts and information on the 2011 season and discuss areas for improvement going forward. We all plan on taking some time to process the thoughts expressed in the meeting. There are no immediate plans for an announcement.”
In eight years with the Red Sox, Francona has amassed a 744-552 record (.574) winning two pennants and two World Series titles. In 12 years dating back to 1997 when he managed the Phillies for four seasons, “Tito” has a 1029 and 915 record (.529).
In a sign that MLB and the MLBPA are close to reaching a new labor agreement, major events for the upcoming 2012 season are already being announced.
Case in point, the league will open its season in Tokyo, Japan for the fourth time when the Athletics will play Mariners in Japan Opening Series 2012, a two-game set scheduled for March 28 and 29.
Japan Opening Series 2012 will mark the first MLB season opener in Japan since the Boston Red Sox and Athletics played at the Tokyo Dome in 2008. Since 1999, ten MLB Clubs (Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics) have participated in international openers.
On top of the games, the league and PA announced that they will be dedicated to assisting in the rebuilding efforts across Japan with more details coming in the following weeks. The following is the tentative schedule of events:
Date Game Venue
Wednesday, March 28 Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics* Tokyo Dome
Thursday, March 29 Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics* Tokyo Dome
*The Athletics will be the home team and the Mariners the visitor for both MLB Championship Season games. Start times will be determined at a later date.
“Major League Baseball is very pleased to give Japanese fans a chance to see the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, two franchises with great popularity in Japan,” said Commissioner Selig. “Opening Series 2012 will be an excellent opportunity to bring the game of baseball to fans across the globe and to celebrate the many contributions to the game by Japanese players. Most importantly, with the shared love of baseball between our nations, I believe that we can use this event to further assist the ongoing relief efforts throughout Japan.”
“We are honored to open the 2012 season in Japan. The opening series provides Major League players with an opportunity to use baseball – a sport cherished and revered by both our nations – to help our Japanese friends continue their recovery from the devastating tsunami,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “Major League players look forward to playing before some of the world’s most passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans, and we appreciate the support of Nippon Professional Baseball and Yomiuri for helping make this series possible.”
“The Seattle Mariners are proud to represent Major League Baseball and open the 2012 regular season in Japan against the Oakland Athletics,” said Mariners President Chuck Armstrong. “More Mariners games have been televised in Japan over the past ten years than any other MLB team, so the fans there will be familiar with us. This will be a memorable experience for our players and our organization.”
“The Oakland A’s are honored and privileged to participate in this season-opening series,” said Oakland A's President Michael Crowley. “We were fortunate to make our first visit to Japan in 2008 and still remember fondly the warm reception we received from the fans, the host teams, and the people of Japan. We’re very excited about returning next season.”
Overall, more than 875,000 fans have attended 21 MLB Opening Series games in Monterrey, Mexico (Rockies vs. Padres – 1999), Tokyo, Japan (Mets vs. Cubs – 2000, Yankees vs. Rays – 2004, Red Sox vs. Athletics – 2008), and San Juan, Puerto Rico (Rangers vs. Blue Jays – 2001).
Upon conclusion of Japan Opening Series 2012, the Mariners and Athletics will travel back to the United States to complete an abbreviated exhibition schedule before resuming their Championship Season schedules.
Organizers of Japan Opening Series 2012 include MLB, MLBPA, NPB and Yomiuri. Further details on all of the games and events surrounding Japan Opening Series 2012 will be announced at a later date.
Remember a few weeks back how boring the Wild Card races looked in Major League Baseball? Thursday is the last day of the regular season... or is it? The Cardinals and Braves in the NL and the Red Sox and Rays in the AL are all knotted up. It's tiebreaker time.
Major League Baseball has set first pitch times both for Thursday’s potential Wild Card tiebreaker games and for Friday’s pair of Game Ones in the American League Division Series, subject to change.
Either or both of the potential Wild Card tiebreaker games, if necessary, would be played on Thursday, September 29th. The first pitch times will remain the same whether one game is necessary or two games are necessary.
If a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays is necessary to determine the American League Wild Card, then Thursday’s first pitch at Tropicana Field will be scheduled for 4:07 p.m. (ET).
If a game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals is necessary to determine the National League Wild Card, then Thursday’s first pitch at Busch Stadium will be scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (ET)/7:07 p.m. (CT).
Friday’s ALDS Game Ones are set for first pitch times of 5:07 p.m. (ET) and 8:37 p.m. (ET). The 5:07 p.m. (ET) game will feature either Boston or Tampa Bay playing at either Texas or Detroit. The 8:37 p.m. (ET) game will feature either the Rangers or the Tigers playing the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The complete Division Series schedule will be released when it is available. Any tiebreaker games would be covered nationally by TBS and ESPN Radio, both of which will cover all Division Series games.