In a rare display of an MLB team following the lead of its fans, or at least being in the vicinity, something satisfying took place last night in Toronto when bigoted Blue Jays asshat Anthony Bass came out of the pen:
Makes it pretty clear how a great majority of the city feels about Bass and his Dark Ages views.
The Jays haven’t taken the plunge on tossing Bass overboard (get it?), and there are probably some issues that the MLBPA would have for a player being DFA’d for something he shared on social media (Editor’s note: First, he was bitching on Twitter about United Airlines, then he shared homophobic views on Instagram.) You’d have to get into the weeds in the fine print of the contract for sure.
Maybe it’s become quite clouded lately, or even in the past couple decades, but at the base root of sports and sports fandom is that the team and the players on it are representing the fans, who are from that particular city. Rarely are they from there, and rarely do they share every or even most values of that place. But the idea is that fans feel civic pride through their team, that being a fan of whoever makes them feel better and feel proud to be where they live. The Jays are supposed to instill a buzz in Toronto residents about being from Toronto. The idea, however buried under layers of capitalistic crap it may be now, is that the Jays bring Toronto together. That’s the foundation of fandom and one that’s been monetized to a mutated degree, at least.
Gestures like this, and the reactions Bass has engineered to his posts, certainly make it clear that Bass doesn’t really stand for Toronto and Jays fans anymore. So his presence on the team is kind of pointless, even beyond the bonfires he’s starting from the mound with his performance (4.26 ERA, 1.32 WHIP).
Would the Jays be opening a can of worms by dumping Bass for not aligning with how their fans see the world? Maybe. Is that a can of worms worth opening? Almost certainly.
Rob Manfred takes the stand — but it’s about Diamond Sports
When baseball fans saw the phrase “Rob Manfred took the stand” there was probably a brief flash of euphoria that finally this slimy snake was getting his. That would have been instantly wiped out by the realization that Manfred’s running of MLB is just immoral, not illegal, and is based on the lie that is America for the most part and would be followed by a spiral of despair and a feeling of sinking into the abyss. BUT THAT’S NOT WHY YOU CALLED.
Anyway, Manfred was testifying in the bankruptcy hearing for Diamond Sports, who had already defaulted on their deal with the Padres and have 13 other TV rights deals with baseball teams that very well may go kaput. The hearing was to give Diamond/Sinclair the floor as to why they should be allowed to hang onto these deals for a cut-rate price. And if I tell you that Manfred sounds like the sane one, you will know it probably didn’t go well for Diamond.
Evan Drellich of The Athletic has a pretty thorough breakdown of the whole thing. The gist is that Sinclair and Diamond’s acquisition sounded doomed from the start, to the point where execs would just no-show meetings with MLB. And when you think about it for any longer than seven seconds, there was no other way this could have gone.
Sinclair bought the RSNs off Fox Sports with money they didn’t have, and it was all based on the idea that they could keep being funded by people who didn’t really want their service. The RSN model was based on rights fees passed onto customers in the form of cable fees, but most of that is based on people getting cable for things other than sports and just paying for the RSNs because it was part of the cable package anyway. The streaming revolution was basically based on more and more people simply wanting to pay for only what they wanted and for less money. Both sports fans and the non-sports inclined found what they wanted by cutting the cord and getting rid of what they didn’t want. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that model had a definite time limit on it. Sadly, none of those non-geniuses worked for Sinclair, which I’m sure is a huge shock to know that a conservative communications company was filled with people with their heads decidedly inserted into their own rectum.
Anyway, MLB has basically slow-played this and is going to let Diamond fall on its own face and then get the rights to their own teams without doing much more than not getting in the way of an enemy pratfalling. It was a vital lesson of Lao Tzu, really.
Sevilla adds to their Crash Davis resume
Sevilla won their seventh Europa League/UEFA Cup yesterday afternoon, their seventh in the past 17 years. It is unquestionably their tournament. Which is something of a weird statement. It’s not that the Europa League is a consolation prize, but it’s also…kinda? There are many clubs that appearing in the Europa League would be a huge accomplishment. And perhaps it’s the height of what those clubs can dream of, given the game’s imbalances.
But a club like Sevilla that regularly appears in the Champions League, and then regularly drops down into the Europa League by finishing third in their group as they did this year, probably aims to regularly be in the Champions League. And if a club is regularly in the Champions League, it probably should hope to go far in it and maybe even win it one day. At the very least, when they finish a season in the Europa League places, or drop out of the Champions League but land on the safety pad that the Europa League provides, it’s a disappointment, however small.
There’s a Crash Davis element to all this, where Sevilla get a glimpse of the big time before eventually settling down to a lower level and accomplishing things there that no one else has. It’s not the biggest accomplishment, but it might be the most unique. The memories of the seven trophies are something their supporters will take forever, even if it’s more oddity than celestial accomplishment. They’ve done something no one else has, even if it’s something no one else would really think of.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate so you too can tell him you’ll pray for him.