Baseball awards picks: Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout ... <i>not</i> TWC
The boss wanted picks for baseball’s annual awards. We’ll get to them, but we had a few questions first.
Will L.A. get to see the Dodgers on TV next season?
We’re going to say yes, with guarded optimism.
Time Warner Cable could not get DirecTV to budge. Neither could the Dodgers, or Major League Baseball. Neither could the FCC, or a small army of congressmen from the Los Angeles area.
There was no reason, really, for DirecTV to budge. DirecTV was not losing subscribers in any large number, and TWC was bleeding cash every day. To television subscribers in Los Angeles, DirecTV successfully defined the issue this way: SportsNet LA = big jump in your TV bill.
The fight should be over this winter, because the antagonists should disappear. Comcast is in the process of taking over TWC. AT&T is in the process of taking over DirecTV.
Comcast runs local sports channels elsewhere, wants the Dodgers on the air, and has no particular loyalty to the financial integrity of a TWC deal judged by the marketplace to be a wicked overpay.
If federal regulators approve the Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV mergers this winter, as executives in the baseball and television industries expect, then Comcast and AT&T should be able to strike a deal by the time the Dodgers open the 2015 season.
DirecTV and other television providers that did not carry the Dodgers this season generally offered subscribers a discount, or free movies, or some kind of acknowledgment of the inconvenience. It would be nice if the Dodgers did something similar for affected fans.
What was Joe Torre’s problem with the bubble machine?
It was the weirdest story of the season: The Dodgers started celebrating home runs with a bubble machine in the dugout. The machine suddenly disappeared one day last month, after a visit from Joe Torre, the former Dodgers manager and current MLB executive vice president of baseball operations.
The machine was back the following day, but no one would explain why a machine that dispenses soap bubbles warranted a citation from the league. So, Joe, why the bubble ban?
“That was just my personal feeling,” Torre said. “I’m in charge of baseball on the field, and I just didn’t think it was appropriate.”
Torre said no opposing team had complained about the bubble machine. So why did Torre lift the ban after one day?
“There was no particular rule against it,” he said. “I just felt that was taking stuff onto the field. That was different than what was going on in the stands — the guy sliding down in Milwaukee, the [Phillie] Phanatic. Something that was happening on the field, I just didn’t feel it was appropriate.
“But there was no rule written against it. So that’s why it was out for one day and wasn’t out for another day.”
Are the Angels really going to move from Anaheim?
Probably not. Angels owner Arte Moreno can afford to build a new ballpark in Tustin, but you don’t become a billionaire by spending hundreds of millions of dollars if you don’t have to.
Moreno did not walk away from Anaheim on Friday. He walked away from a deal that had become stagnant and toxic, a divisive issue in city politics on the eve of a November election.
The Angels will continue to explore the Tustin option, and Moreno is enticed by the possibility of playing in a ballpark that is not a half-century old. But the Angels aren’t giving up on Anaheim just yet, at least not until they revisit the issue after the election.
The mayor does not like the deal. Maybe he gets re-elected, maybe not. But the four other members of the Anaheim City Council like the deal, and Moreno ought to be able to revive it to where he pays to renovate Angel Stadium, he pays to build some restaurants and shops in the stadium parking lots, and the city can share in the development profit — all at no risk to city taxpayers.
The parking lots have generated weeds, not revenue, for 50 years. Anaheim would make the maximum possible return on development if the Angels leave and the stadium is demolished. However, all five members of the City Council — the mayor included — say they want the Angels to stay. This really should not be that hard.
And what about the award picks?
Most valuable player: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (NL); Mike Trout, Angels (AL).
Cy Young: Kershaw (NL); Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians (AL).
Rookie of the year: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (NL); Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox (AL).
Manager of the year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants (NL); Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles (AL).
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