Matthew Trueblood – Baseball Prospectus ($): The end of the Clint Hurdle era was a long time coming for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That being said, firing Hurdle alone is not the answer to the Pirates’ larger problems. He is responsible for losing the clubhouse and the less than desirable culture of that team. Neal Huntington is responsible for the bad trades and roster construction while Bob Nutting is responsible for refusing to put any money into the team. They remain in place and thus the Pirates will remain in the dustbin of the National League.
Jim Allen – jballallen.com: Roki Sasaki is an immensely talented young pitcher. He has chosen to declare for the Nippon Professional Baseball amateur draft. That’s a perfectly reasonable decision, however, it will be far more interesting to see what decision Sasaki makes in regards to any deal he signs. NPB teams have gotten away with treating their players like owned cattle for many years now. Sasaki is saying all the things they love to hear young players say and that makes me suspect he will be yet another talented Japanese youngster who puts the needs of a corporate entity over his own.
Neil deMause – Deadspin: I’ve beaten this drum many times before, but the live Major League Baseball fan experience is dying and MLB owners don’t care. It’s far too expensive for working-class and poor folks to attend a scant couple of games, let alone regularly attend. Families have to view going to the game as a niche luxury, and even diehards like myself would rather spend less to go watch a pro game somewhere else. The owners don’t care though, because they are still making their massive profits. They could easily lower ticket prices across the board, instead, some clubs have already announced increases for next year. When MLB finally hits a wall and really starts to fade the owners will have no one but themselves to blame.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Kyodo News