Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Slant Pattern Mailbag

By Kevin Beane

Welcome to another edition of the Slant Pattern mailbag. As always, we do not get mail at Slant Pattern, so instead, we poach them from other websites.

First up is this question to the SBNation Yankees' site:

Do you believe this cheating saga will significantly hurt the Astros' hitters in their upcoming free agencies?

Not only is my answer an emphatic "no," but I also think A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora (perhaps even Carlos Beltran, too) will manage again. This is going to blow over. The ownership group needing a manager will look at the successes of Hinch and Cora, and ask them, "Do you regret stealing signs? Would you ever do it again?"

Hinch and Cora will both respond with well-rehearsed, eloquent statements of regret, and they'll have the job.

I'm not endorsing that outcome, but I do think it's what's going to happen. This is the second cheating scandal (beyond those just involving one person or player) MLB has dealt with in my lifetime. The first was the steroids saga, which left us a bit aghast because of the freakish appearances it led guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire to have, and steroids are a recent phenomenon, relatively speaking: Mickey Mantle would not have had HGH availed to him.

Sign-stealing, however, is as old as time. While the methods may be new, the idea is not, and frankly, it's gonna be hard to completely stamp out. That's why I support the stiff penalties we've seen so far. I do want teams to be scared to steal signs.

But, they still will, and I'd like to move on from this chapter. Also, I got away from the original question. It's hard for me to believe that the Astros' hitters gaudy numbers are so tied to sign stealing that their numbers will precipitously drop without them, and it will only take a few owners to agree with me to see these guys get paid when they are free agents.

Raymond B asks Stewart Mandel in The Athletic:

With this year's CFP title game in the books and it being all Southern teams (again), does college football risk becoming regionalized so much as to lose appeal?

No sir. The ratings don't bear that out, and as long as schools like Ohio State and Oregon occasionally mount a legitimate challenge to the title, the whole nation will keep watching.

What's great about college sports is it gives fans, particularly alums, a real connection to the program. I attended Ohio State. I walked the same halls as Chase Young, Justin Fields, and J.K. Dobbins. That's really cool!

I also used to work for the University of Akron, as did my stepfather, who took me to many Zips' football and basketball games when I was a kid. I grew up in Akron.

With Akron, you have a school that is never ever ever going to compete for a national title. No matter, I still live and die with them; it's just that my hopes are adjusted accordingly (conference championships and the occasional P5 scalp). I don't think I'm alone in this. College football will thrive for the foreseeable future.

Finally, a question from "Ren" to the Sports Illustrated mailbag:

What's going to happen with D'Angelo Russell? Does he get traded in February? July? Ever?

Why would the Warriors do that? At some point, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be healthy again. When that happens, Curry, Thompson, Russell, and Draymond Green will be this teams core and they will be competing for Championships again. Russell was the key component in the Warriors moving Kevin Durant, and it happened after the Warriors injury woes were already in place. So why would they blow that plan up now?

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