No Respect for Joe Girardi
With the lowest payroll by far in baseball and with a roster of mostly rookies and untested talent, few people gave the Florida Marlins a chance this season. Much to everyone’s chagrin, the Marlins are in the thick of a hotly contested Wild Card race, and heading into September, they have as much of a chance of making the playoffs as just about every other team in the National League. It’s almost certain that rookie manager Joe Girardi will walk away with Manager of the Year for his efforts. Despite this, Girardi might find himself without a job at season’s end because of his poor relationship with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how Loria almost fired Girardi and how it would have gone down if it weren’t for some front office executives who stepped in to put out the fire. When asked about Girardi in a recent interview, Loria was pretty evasive and gave more credit to the front office executives who built the team than he did for Girardi’s on-field management. There’s speculation that if Girardi is fired after the season is over, the team’s third base coach, Fredi Gonzalez, would be near the top of any list of replacements. There’s also been talk that Girardi could replace Dusty Baker in Chicago or Joe Torre in New York if either one of those managers were to step down.
Angels Cracking Down on Resale Ticket Market
With the proliferation of online ticket brokers, it’s never been easier to buy a set of season tickets, resell a majority of the games, pocket a profit, and then still get to go to a solid portion of the games you originally bought. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are trying to limit those plans by instituting controls on season ticket holders. Beginning next season, season ticket holders can’t resell more than 20 games, and they also must limit the sale price to three times the face value of the ticket. The Angels have also prohibited ticket resales by any other means outside of the team’s website, where the team then collects a fee on each transaction.
Devil Rays Considering Change in Spring Training Venue
The Tampa Devil Rays play their home games in St. Petersburg. They also have their spring training facilities in St. Petersburg at Al Lang Field. At least that’s where they’re playing now. The Rays are considering moving their spring training venue to Port Charlotte, FL in 2009. Port Charlotte is about an hour and change south of St. Petersburg along the Gulf coast of Florida. Charlotte County has endorsed a $27 million deal to move the team to Port Charlotte, but it’s contingent upon an $8 million state grant and an increase in the county’s tourist tax. The tourist tax will be voted on September 12, while the decision on the grant won’t come until January 2007.
All of this leaves Al Lang Field without a team beginning in 2009. There’s speculation that the city would have to pump millions of dollars to renovate the complex in order to lure a new team, so it’s uncertain what’ll happen with the current facilities.
Coping in a World Without Greenies
For those of you who have read Jim Bouton’s excellent book “Ball Four,” there’s no doubt that several players in the league lived on amphetamines in the past (better known as greenies) to get through a long, grueling baseball season. Then with the latest incarnation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program that was agreed upon last November, amphetamines were banned.
Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post recently penned an excellent article on the current baseball season without amphetamines. So far, the quality of play hasn’t changed much, but there’s still a month left in the regular season (two if a team is going to play in the World Series), so it’ll be interesting to see how the players hold up.
A Trip Back in Time
Brent Gambill recently wrote an excellent article on baseball’s first big free agent, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and his effect on free agency at Baseball Prospectus. It’s more a refresher if you’ve read “Lords of the Realm” by John Helyar, but it’s definitely worth revisiting. Hunter signed a contract with the Oakland A’s that would have some of his salary going into an annuity. When the team didn’t pony up the money, Hunter took steps to become the first free agent in baseball.
Compenesation on the Table in Collective Bargaining Agreement
I found this story over the Baseball Journals and it makes for a great read. It seems that compensation, which was a huge deal back in the 1970s and 1980s, could be going by the wayside. Maury Brown reports that the teams have already been notified, and this might have been anticipated based on the activity that went on at the trade deadline.