President Trumps backs Pete Rose for the Baseball Hall of Fame

Earlier this week disgraced baseball hit king to be reinstated Pete Rose asked to be reinstated by Major League Baseball and earlier today impeached President Donald Trump tweeted out his support for Rose’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

To be honest I’m zero percent surprised Pres. Trump supports Pete Rose’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame – after all cheaters and villains tend to stick together.

Brewers welcome back Keston Hiura, Tyler Saladino

Yesterday the Milwaukee Brewers made a couple of really interesting roster moves. In the first move the team announced third baseman Travis Shaw was being optioned to Triple-A San Antonio and top prospect Keston Hiura was rejoining the team. In a brief 64 at-bat stint with the team earlier this season Hiura hit .281 with 5 home runs and 9 runs batted in, while on the other hand Shaw has struggled through what can only be described as an absolute s–t show of a season. Obviously this move means we’ll see Mike Moustakas move back to third base with Hiura manning second base.

In a related move the Brewers also announced utility player Hernan Perez was being designated for assignment. While Perez has struggled at the plate this season he’s been a valuable utility player for the team, having played every position on the field except catcher during his three plus seasons with the Brewers, so I thought he’d be given a little more time to come around at the player. It’s clear the team had lost patience – and given the high expectations for the team entering this season I can’t really blame them for making moves to put the best possible team on the field.

While there’s a part of me that hates to see Travis Shaw and Hernan Perez leave the team after what they’ve helped the Brewers accomplish there’s another part of me that’s glad to see GM David Stearns making moves to improve the team instead of showing blind loyalty to players based off past accomplishments. The Milwaukee Brewers are a better team with Keston Hiura and Tyler Saladino replacing Travis Shaw and Hernan Perez – so now that these moves are made I’m left to wonder what (if anything) the team will do to address its pitching problems.

Will Keston Hiura be the odd man out when Travis Shaw returns?

Earlier this season Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw was placed on the 10 day injured list with a right wrist strain. In Shaw’s place the Brewers called up top prospect second baseman Keston Hiura.

Prior to his injury Shaw had been struggling mightily at the plate for the Brewers, with just a meager .163 batting average, .281 slugging percentage, and a ridiculous 50 strikeouts in 135 at bats. To say Shaw’s 2019 season has been a regression from 2018 would be an understatement, but it’s worth noting his regression this season is part of a trend, as his 2018 season was a regression from his very solid .271, 31 HR, 101 RBI line from the 2017 season.

As I noted earlier in Shaw’s place the Brewers called up second baseman Keston Hiura, the team’s top prospect. Since being called up to the Brewers Hiura has done well, with a .296 batting average with 4 home runs and 7 runs batted in to show for his brief time in the majors. While Hiura’s sample size is small – just 58 at bats – he’s shown he can hit major league pitching. In yesterday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Hiura hit an absolute bomb of a home run to dead center field, and as Shaw nears a return to the majors I’m left to wonder if Keston Hiura will be the odd man out for the Brewers. There are a number of moves the Brewers could make to accommodate Shaw’s return (optioning catcher Jacob Nottingham being one), but it doesn’t make much sense for the team to carry Shaw, Hiura, and Mike Moustakas.

Given what an unmitigated disaster Travis Shaw’s 2019 season has been – and considering how solid Keston Hiura has been in his absence – I wouldn’t shed a single tear if the Brewers decided to part ways with Shaw. That being said I’m also a realist – I know Manager Craig Counsell and GM David Stearns won’t give up on Shaw this season, because I’m sure they think there’s still a glimmer of hope Shaw can correct whatever issues have led him to such a low point. That being said, unless Shaw makes a miraculous turnaround this season I think his days as a Milwaukee Brewer are numbered.

Some thoughts on the possibility of MLB expansion

During an appearance last year on FS1’s First Things First Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he hoped to be around for MLB expansion and mentioned moving to 32 teams would be “great” for baseball. Manfred went on to note baseball list of cities he thought were both interested in having baseball and viable for MLB expansion.

“Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville in the United States, certainly Montreal, maybe Vancouver, in Canada,” Manfred said. “We think there’s places in Mexico we could go over the long haul.”

As someone who’s been a lifelong fan of baseball and the history of the game I’m fascinated by the possibility of MLB expanding to 32 – or possibly more – teams. While I generally tend to be a traditionalist who believes things like the DH, pitching clocks, and robot umpires are a pox on the game I think the possibility of growing Major League Baseball is exciting.

Two of the cities on Commisioner Manfred’s list – Montreal and Portland – may be the strongest short-term contenders for future MLB expansion. While Montreal lost the Expos in 2004 after the team was moved to Washington, D.C., Montreal has a strong baseball history, both in MLB with the Montreal Expos and in the minor leagues with the Montreal Royals. What’s more, recent MLB exhibition games held in Montreal have been well-attended, and while a potential team in Montreal would need an ownership group and a stadium, Montreal has a potential ownership group led by Stephen Bronfman, the son of former Expos owner Charles Bronfman and just today came news a firm led by Bronfman reached to an agreement to develop a site at the city’s Peel Basin with a project that could include a new ballpark.

Another city waiting in the wings if MLB does decide to expand to 32 teams is Portland, Oregon. While Portland has never hosted a Major League Baseball team it does have a long baseball history, having been the longtime home of the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League, which at one point in its history had an “Open” classification, meaning the league was a grade above the Triple-A level and just a hair below Major League Baseball. Portland is one of the four largest metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada with only one team from the four major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA) so there seems to be plenty of room in that market for a Major League Baseball team. What’s more, an MLB team in Portland would have a natural rivalry in the Seattle Mariners. Portland has a potential ownership group in place including NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, former Nike executive Craig Cheek, and former MLB player Darwin Barney and there are preliminary plans for a new retractable roof baseball stadium.

While the possibility of MLB expansion is interesting, MLB Commissioner Manfred has made it clear MLB will not expand until the stadium situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay are resolved, and while Oakland appears to be moving towards a concrete plan for a new stadium for the A’s there seems to be little hope of a new stadium in Tampa Bay. What’s more, attendance at Rays games has been pretty awful and according to a recent report Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has noted low attendance at Rays games could have consequences.

“I’m genuinely enjoying this and trying to put us in the best position we can to win and provide an amazing experience for anybody who follows this team or chooses to show up at a ball game,’’ Sternberg said. “In the background we’re working to do what we can to ensure that baseball remains (in the bay area) for generations. That’s been my mantra, and it’s been no different.

“But certainly what has gone on and what goes on is going to have an effect on it. And it’s not purely in my hands to have that happen.”

Obviously it remains to be seen how the situation in Tampa Bay will be resolved but I’m eager to see Major League Baseball back in Montreal because I think it’s a great baseball city that really got a raw deal thanks to absolutely mismanagement of the entire organization by Jeffrey Loria.

Report: Brewers make $66 million in profit in 2018

It’s no wonder the Milwaukee Brewers decided to enter the 2019 season with a record payroll.

The Milwaukee Brewers not only made a $66 million profit in 2018, but they have been able to make more money per fan than all but one team in the sport.

Forbes Magazine revealed its Major League Baseball franchise financial evaluations for 2018 and found that the Brewers’ overall value has risen to $1.175 billion, a 14 percent increase from last year.

It stems from the team making about a six-percent profit, certainly a product of its run to the National League Championship Series.

Only seven teams made more profit than the Brewers, led by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $95 million operating income.

The Brewers are spending more on players this year as well. Sportrac says the Brewers’ total adjusted salary in 2019 so far is more than $125 million, a $17 million bump up from 2018.

The Brewers are also powerfully successful in making more revenue per fan than almost every team in the sport.

Per Forbes, the Brewers earn $111 per fan on ballpark and local media contract revenues. That evaluation divides the total revenue from those two areas by the number of fans in the metropolitan areas. Only the San Francisco Giants make more per fan.

What’s most interesting by the report noted above is that the Brewers’ 2018 profit was topped by only seven teams in all of Major League baseball despite being the smallest market in the league.

Hopefully 2018 is the rule rather the exception for the Brewers, because a profitable team is a team the owner is more likely to be willing to spend a few (million) extra dollars on, especially when it comes to player salaries.

Some opening day thoughts

Here are a few things I think after opening day 2019:

  • There are few experiences better than spending a day at the ballpark with all the people you love – a day just like today.
  • Reigning 2018 Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich has the most pure swing in all of baseball. I don’t know that there’s a better hitter than him in the game right now.
  • Reliever Josh Hader is just as filthy as he was last season.
  • The Brewers bringing out all four of the players who’ve won MVP awards as Brewers to throw out the opening pitch was a classy touch.>/li>