Friday, September 17, 2004
Posted 5:20 PM by Sean
Okay, here's the scoop:
Pitcher Frank Francisco has been suspended for the remainder of the 2004 championship season, but no less than 16 regular season games in the event of an appeal, and fined an undisclosed amount for his highly inappropriate actions and reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of the fans. Unless appealed, Francisco's suspension is scheduled to begin tonight.
This more or less forces the Rangers to decide whether they want to lose Francisco's services during a pennant drive, or lose them at the start of a fresh season. To me, this is no choice at all - the Rangers aren't in a pennant drive, they're done. If it were me, I'd serve Francisco's sentence without appeal and be grateful it's not longer, and I suspect the Rangers will do so (while making noises about how "this team isn't just one guy," etc.) This would be advantageous for the Angels, since they have seven games left with the Rangers, while the A's have only three.
If Brocail begins his seven-game suspension tonight, he would be eligible to return the day Almanzar's began (there's an off-day in there). So the Rangers would be without him during their three-game series with Anaheim and their three-game series with Oakland. Almanzar's five-game suspension would be comprised of the Rangers' Saturday and Sunday games with Seattle next weekend, and the first three of their final four games with Anaheim. This would again be an advantage for the Angels, as Almanzar would miss no games against Oakland. In essence, while Oakland would play three games against the Rangers minus Francisco and Brocail, Anaheim would play three against that configuration plus three against the Rangers minus Francisco and Almanzar. Now, whether that's better than playing Seattle - which the A's will be doing - is certainly debatable, but it's certainly not debatable that, if these suspensions are served as ordered, six of the Angels' last sixteen games just got easier, while only three of Oakland's did.
We should know the Rangers' decision on the appeal before gametime tonight.
Update: Dallas radio KRLD, which broadcasts the Rangers games, is reporting that all three players will appeal.