Thursday was probably the craziest day in the baseball newscycle the offseason has ever seen. It was all very hard to keep up with and, trust me, we’ll get there. But first, there is some Rockies-specific news to cover first.
In a day that was, and this is a scientific term, bonkers across baseball, the most consequential news for the Rockies was that one of the voices many of us associate with Rockies baseball will not be returning next year. Jerry Schemmel was let go from his position at KOA radio thanks to iHeartMedia going through some massive job cuts. Patrick Saunders has quotes from Schemmel, manager Bud Black, and Trevor Story which all amount to the same thing: losing Jerry is a big blow.
Schemmel's partner Jack Corrigan did confirm that KOA will be sticking with a two-man booth for the upcoming year, which puts KOA on a tight timeline with spring training around the corner.
Personally, I want to thank Jerry for the time he gave me during my trips into the press box at Coors Field but even more for being a familiar voice of comfort for me over the last 10 years of listening to the Rockies, even—and perhaps especially—when the baseball wasn’t much of a comfort. Good luck and God bless on the rest of your endeavours.
One of the bright sides of the newscycle getting dominated by more consequential manners in the league is that we got a break from the never-ending Nolan Arenado trade rumors. Well, kinda, since this article got posted on Wednesday. We’ll have more on the article next week, but it gives us a decent starting point for what an Arenado trade would entail and, while Mike Petriello-as-Jeff-Bridich pulled the trigger on one of these deals, I’m personally inclined to say I’m a little underwhelmed by each of the proposals but I’ll let you be the judge.
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Now, onto the wider MLB news. I hope you’ve had your coffee because this gets a little crazy, so we’ll start with the simplest and perhaps most historic news from Thursday.
New Giants manager Gabe Kapler is rounding out his coaching staff for next year and Alyssa Nakken will be joining it. After the Yankees named Rachel Balkovec a minor league hitting coach a few months ago, the Giants become the first team to hire a woman to serve on the coaching staff at the major league level. MLB rules restrict the dugout to seven uniformed coaches and, considering she will be one of 13 and her role hasn’t been fully detailed at this juncture, Nakken probably won’t be one of them. Still, it truly is a historic day that got lost in all the bluster that followed.
After the Red Sox unceremoniously parted ways with World Series winning manager Alex Cora on Wednesday, the writing was on the wall for Beltran. MLB’s report on the Astros Sign Stealing Scandal (I hope there’s a better acronym out there than that) unveiled Cora and Beltran as two of the leaders of the scheme, though penalties didn’t fall on them directly. Still, with Cora implicated in another cheating scandal with the 2018 Red Sox whose investigation was still ongoing, it seemed like Cora leaving the team was the smart thing to do.
The Mets-Beltran situation was a little trickier, because he wasn’t involved in anything attached to the Mets like Cora did. Still, it seemed like an odd choice to keep him around with all the controversy swirling so they parted ways. For those keeping score at home, that’s three managers and one general manager who have lost their jobs due to this scandal.
Things only escalated from there. Shortly after the Beltran news came through, a user on Twitter spoke up. This user had the Beltran-to-the-Mets and Beltran-from-the-Mets news before anyone else, so it seems to be at least somewhat legit. The user, claiming to be Carlos Beltran’s niece, accused the Astros of further malfeasances including the use of a buzzer inside the jersey to relay stolen signs (this person also pointed fingers at some prominent Yankees so this twisty tale seems to not be going away anytime soon).
The evidence is pretty damning if you only look to Altuve’s walk off home run in the 2019 ALCS. As he’s coming to the plate, he motions to players not to tear of his jersey. Then, during the celebration, he’s seen going into the dugout to change. Afterwards, he gave this explanation to Ken Rosenthal.
Here's Ken Rosenthal, who broke the news of the Astros cheating scandal, asking Jose Altuve why he was telling teammates not to rip his jersey off after the walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS: pic.twitter.com/xoBGX159QG— Kyle ⚾️ (@KyleNYY) January 16, 2020
Uh, huh. Yep, Shy and stuff. I believe it.
The day turned into some Zapruder-level video investigation but MLB came out and said their investigation into the Astros included the 2019 season and they found no evidence of wrongdoing outside of what was named in the report. But this seems hardly a comfort when behind the scenes people across the baseball were fuming about these punishments because there seemed to be way more happening than MLB was letting on.
Oh, and none of this includes Jessica Mendoza, an analyst on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and a consultant to the Mets, going on the radio this morning and lamenting the actions of Mike Fiers, the former-Astro who effectively blew the lid off the trash can. Or the son of a former-MLB player and coach getting on Instagram and implying that more than just the Astros are doing some shady sign-stealing and, oh by the way, Mike Trout is on HGH. Sometimes, a meme is all you need.
The last 4 hours in baseball news pic.twitter.com/ZHTUmyMJQ1— dolphin pilot (@TheAmitie) January 16, 2020
So, how was your Thursday?