Of all the weird things in the wacky world of pro sports, Balls can’t think of anything weirder than this …
While the best NBA and worst MLB franchises couldn’t be more different, they play their home games only a few feet apart.
Fess up, girls and boys, while the Warriors’ Victory Tour was in progress, you forgot the Athletics were still in existence, didn’t you?
Well, you haven’t missed much. The Pathetics suck like usual. At the start of Wednesday, they had the worst record, the third least runs scored, the most runs allowed and the most errors committed in the American League, for those of you snoring at home. Yeah, that pretty much covers it.
Speaking of watered down, what does operations honcho Billy Beane do with his time, anyway?
The A’s didn’t promise to field a major-league team this season. Once again, the plan was to develop young players and trade the older, more expensive ones for more prospects while they turned another profit.
OK, fine. But where are all of these phenoms that Beane stockpiled the last few years while studs Yoenis Cespesdes and Josh Donaldson were pushed out the door?
One is in New York, name of Aaron Judge.
In 2010, the A’s drafted Judge out of nearby Linden High School, but they couldn’t convince the kid to bypass college. They had another chance to take him before the Yankees finally did at the 32nd pick three years later. That was eight spots after A’s selected somebody named Billy McKinney, a career minor league no longer in the organization.
Wait, it gets worse. Beane and his boys also passed on Los Angeles Dodgers whiz kid Cody Bellinger five times in the same draft.
Meanwhile, according to Baseball America, sawed-off shortstop Franklin Barreta is the lone A’s prospect currently among the top 78 overall. While Judge is on a 57-home run pace …
REST OF THE STORY: About the only hope for A’s fans is a proposed new stadium, whose whereabouts is expected to be announced shortly.
Even if a new facility is built, what will change exactly?
What will change is that A’s fans will have more ways to spend their money in and around the ballpark. Because as long as billionaire John Fisher owns the team, it always will have among the lowest payrolls in the league. And once he has a new cash cow, it will take a hammer and chisel to separate him from the franchise.
Oh, then there’s the MLB-endorsed fallacy about new stadiums and their impact on the field.
Of the nine mid-market teams that moved into new faculties this millennium, only the St. Louis Cardinals made a World Series appearance in that span.
BEANE COUNTER: It has been 3,908 days since BillyBall won a playoff series.
FISH WRAP: While Balls is on the subject of rip-offs, the Sharks cannot be thrilled about the way the NHL has sucked up to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
In 1991, Sharks co-owners George and Gordon Gund shelled out $50 million for a bunch of has-beens and never-wases. The other 20 teams were allowed to protect two goaltenders and 16 skaters in the draft. So desperate was the league for Vegas to succeed, 30 teams were allowed to keep only eight forwards and defensemen plus one goaltender or seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender.
Of course, the Sharks won’t be nearly as peeved off when they get their piece of the $500 million expansion fee. Or about 150 mil more than the Raiders will pay to head east.
ANOTHER DRAFT, PLEASE: The expansion draft has been so much fun, the NHL should add a new team every year until it becomes, say, 88 teams
In a brilliant public relations move — did Balls actually write that? — the league reversed course and decided to make the protection lists public. While puckheads debated the possibilities, Golden Knights general manager George McPhee sorted through offers like some sort of Wayne Brady on Let’s Make A Deal and even provided daily updates.
Some GMs were in such a panic, they offered high draft picks to protect back-ups. Why, the Sharks even offered a fourth-rounder to keep Joe Thornton’s beard, Balls heard from sometimes reliable sources.
Word is the Golden Knights will have at least four first-rounders in the draft that’s said to be good but not great, not to mention enough experienced talent to field the best expansion team in league history.
Yep, the Golden Knights are gonna four-peat soon. You watch.
JUST ASKIN’: What would the Sharks have to give up for the Golden Knights to take Mikkel Boedker and the $12 million left on his contract. Please.
JUST SAYIN’: The expansion draft has created such a buzz, few have paid much attention to the annual player awards. So, relax, there’s still time for David Schlemko to steal the Lady Byng Trophy.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE … (Missing) Link Gaetz?
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