That was quite a week in the major leagues, wasn’t it? And the big news didn’t come on the field but in those nasty front offices, in the ballot-box-stuffing home of the defending American League champions, and on Instagram.
There was some on-field stuff, for sure, like the Texas Rangers winning games started by Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. Old friends/outfielders Jeff Francoeur and David Murphy each pitched, with Murphy allowing five runs for Cleveland, but each was unearned.
Peyton Manning look-a-like Todd Frazier had consecutive two-homer games for Cincinnati, trumping Detroit’s hot-hitting former Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. Bryce Harper has a balky hamstring in his breakout season, and Alex Rodriguez has 3,000 career hits.
But none of that was as tantalizing as the off-field business, not even A-Rod.
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The biggest lesson to take away from the past week in the major leagues is that 123456 is not a very good password.
One of the game’s model franchises, the St. Louis Cardinals, is being investigated for hacking into the Houston Astros’ computer files.
The FBI — the FBI! —is pinning the breach on Cardinals employees who were seeking revenge on Jeff Luhnow, the former St. Louis assistant general manager who left after the 2011 season to be the Astros’ GM.
The feds said, according to The New York Times, that those dastardly employees used the same passwords that Luhnow had used in St. Louis. Luhnow, though, said that he never replicated his St. Louis passwords in Houston.
The Cardinals’ top executives know nothing, of course, but have vowed to get to the bottom of this. Just a hunch, but this wasn’t a one-man act.
Even if it were, the Cardinals are now being called the New England Patriots of MLB. This, though, makes the Patriots look like amateurs.
The biggest reminder to take away from the past week is that a manager serving under a first-time general manager who had heightened expectations with a frenzied barrage of off-season acquisitions had better get his team off to a good start or he can kiss his job goodbye.
That’s what happened Monday in San Diego, where the Padres’ lackluster start cost manager Bud Black his job. A.J. Preller, who guided the Padres to the off-season championship, made the change in the name of more consistency.
Translation: Preller, the former Rangers assistant GM, didn’t make all those wintertime moves just to field another middle-of-the-pack Padres team.
The Padres have been ordinary despite the additions of, among others, James Shields, Matt Kemp, Will Myers, Derek Norris and Craig Kimbrel. They were worse than ordinary after Black was canned.
The Padres promptly lost their first three post-Black games by the combined score of 31-8. That included a 16-2 loss to Oakland, which on most nights couldn’t score 16 runs if the other team spotted the A’s 14.
No one knows what Preller’s next move will be, but if things don’t improve under new manager Pat Murphy, maybe the Padres will become sellers at the trade deadline.
Crock the vote
Voting for the All-Star Game next month has left many in an uproar as fans of the Kansas City Royals have really taken their responsibilities to heart. As of Monday, eight of the nine AL starters would be Royals, and that’s after some 60 million ballots were disallowed.
Only Mike Trout, the best player on the planet, has endured the voting onslaught. Even second baseman Omar Infante, who has as many home runs as his mother and barely has a better batting average, would be a starter if voting ended today.
Some Royals players are deserving of consideration to be All-Star starters. Salvador Perez is a top AL catcher, and Alex Gordon is a Gold Glove-winning left fielder.
Eric Hosmer is having a nice year, but he’s not more deserving at first base than Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols or Mark Teixeira. At third, Mike Moustakas is hitting .321, but he’s not more deserving than Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado.
And there is no way that designated hitter Kendrys Morales is more deserving than Nelson Cruz. Anyone is more deserving than Infante.
But what’s the solution? Fans have been voting for decades. They shouldn’t be now, not with home-field advantage for the World Series at stake, but there isn’t an easy fix or a quick fix.
Get ready for a lot of blue July 14.
Pablo Sandoval was benched for a game by the Boston Red Sox for violating the club’s social-media policy, as he liked two photos on Instagram during midgame clubhouse visit Wednesday.
“I was in the bathroom,” Sandoval admitted.
Does his location bother anyone else? How about suspension for a violation of the personal-hygiene policy? Or did he use a disinfecting wipe afterward? Who’s willing to bet he also didn’t wash his hands?
Fortunately, Sandoval said it will never happen again. Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about taking his phone to the toilet, where the Red Sox’s season also can be found.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
1. Cardinals: My mom was wrong. Cheaters do prosper.
2. Royals: How can’t they be top-five with all those All-Stars?
3. Pirates: Pitching their way into postseason contention.
4. Astros: First AL team to 40 wins. Who saw that coming?
5. Rays: Despite injuries, best pitching in a bad division.
1. Phillies: Nine-game losing streak fuels Cole Hamels talk.
2. Brewers: Not much worse, but play in tougher division.
3. Red Sox: Debacle vs. Toronto part of miserable stretch.
4. Rockies: At least they didn’t tease their fan base this season.
5. Marlins: Owner Loria mulls naming Don Shula manager.