December 10, 2013
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Monday, December 15, 2008
It's the divorce that keeps on taking:
San Diego Padres owner John Moores told MLB.com this weekend that he has hired Goldman Sachs to identify potential buyers for the ballclub.
By virtue of the community property laws, Moores' soon-to-be-ex-wife Becky has to approve of any sale. If life was a sitcom, the part of Becky would be played by Delta Burke or someone sassy like that and this fact would lead to all kinds of wonderful zaniness.
Life is not a sitcom, however, so what's going to happen to the Padres over the next couple of years is going to be crushingly ugly, bringing amusement to only those fans who live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Phoenix.
Since when does ESPN run descriptions of short TMZ.com video clips as news stories? And if you're an ESPN reporter who breaks his or her butt calling sources and landing interviews, don't you feel a bit silly for not having thought about changing your beat to the valet line outside of fancy restaurants? Much easier gig, I'm guessing.
Chew on this the next time your local columnist spouts off about how baseball salaries are out of step with reality or out of touch or insensitive or whatever the hell else mere economic transactions are incapable of being:
Major League Baseball players received about 52 percent of leaguewide revenue last season, said MLB’s Rob Manfred, which would appear to leave baseball players with the lowest percentage of revenue among the Big Four team sports.
Still, Manfred's point is a good one: how much less would football players make as a percentage of the whole if the NFL had to underwrite college football or its equivalent? Of course, if the NFL did control college football it, being a rational economic actor desirous of making its fans happy, would have instituted a college football playoff system that would go a long way towards recouping the enterprise's expenses. That, however, is a topic for another blog.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up)
Reason number 137 why, even a couple of months later, it doesn't feel like the Phillies are the World Champions:
South Korean pitcher Park Chan Ho has signed a Major League Baseball contract with the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, the club announced Monday on its website.
Park pitched moderately well in middle relief for the Dodgers last year, but did he do anything that would suggest to you that he could (or should) be counted on as a member of the starting rotation for the defending World Series champs?
For a while I was convinced that I had bored poor old Scott Simkus to death a couple of weeks ago when he interviewed me, but he's back with another interview, and this time the subject is far more interesting: Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods. In it, you can learn about Buster Olney hanging on Josh's shoulders and Uma Thurman screaming "Hwaaa!" in Josh's presence.
Wait, that may have been the other way around. You'll have to click through to find out.
It's been a long two years for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Buck O'Neil died in October 2006, and since then there has been haggling over (a) an education and research center that O'Neil hoped would be his legacy; and (b) a new Executive Director of the Museum itself. As of late Friday, (b) is solved, and it may very well mean the death of (a):
After a months-long selection process and a sharply divided board vote, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has a new executive director.
That whiff of controversy comes from Mellinger's straight report on the Baker selection. Jason Whitlock, however, bypasses the whiff and gets right down to the stinky:
When Pellom McDaniels and Greg Baker met privately with a Kansas City Star reporter Friday, they explained their bizarre, irresponsible and borderline unethical decision by playing up Baker’s “strategic” expertise.
And there's plenty more where that came from. It's probably worth noting at this point that I love Jason Whitlock's stuff, even when I think he's 100% wrong.
Not that I think he's wrong here. Indeed, though I am not acquainted with the specific politics of the Negro Leagues Museum, the dynamic here is a familiar one: a Chamber of Commerce-style politico with many career stops along the way, lauded for his alleged "entrepreneurial" and "strategic planning" credentials is given a high profile job over a lifer from within the organization. Here, the passed-over lifer is a guy by the name of Bob Kendrick, who, according to Whitlock, was O'Neil's right hand man and the guy who has truly run the place for years.
In my experience, the guy in Baker's position usually crashes and burns within two years, mostly because "entrepreneurial credentials" aren't all that applicable to a non-profit organization, and because no one really knows what the hell "strategic planning experience" really is. When the guy is eventually fired, the board then tries to get a do-over by hiring the guy in Kendrick's position. Except that guy, having been passed-over for a lightweight, has since moved on and is no longer interested, leaving the whole organization in the lerch for about five years. In other words, it's the organizational equivalent of signing Barry Zito.
I hope Whitlock is wrong, and that this Baker fellow is the right guy for the job, because the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is too wonderful and too vital an outfit to be dragged down by this common brand of political drama.
I'm sure I've linked to a story like this at some point over the past year, but I'll be damned if I can find it. Even if I have, it's worth linking to again, because silliness never goes out of style:
Leaving no merchandising stone unturned, Major League Baseball has authorized the use of team logos on a line of funeral caskets for people who want to carry their fandom unto eternity. Models for the Yankees (replete with interior pinstripes) and the Mets (with handles of mixed Dodger blue and Giant orange) went on sale at the Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown, Long Island.
These things cost five grand and feature team logos and everything. When I think about this stuff, I can't help but imagine some archaeologist finding one in 6,000 years and surmising that the interlocking N and Y formed some sort of religious symbol. Maybe he'd find one with a Boston logo and extrapolate some holy crusade between factions or something.
I'm a fan of cremation, so I think all caskets are kind of a waste, but these are particularly unreasonable. Still, I suppose there are worse ways for Yankee fans to spend their money. A.J. Burnett jerseys come to mind.
I'm going to intrude on Barbieri's turf for a moment and note that, on this day in 1974, arbitrator Peter Seitz rules that the Oakland Athletics breached the contract of pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter by failing to buy a required insurance policy. As a result, Hunter was released from his contract, allowing him to become a free agent and subsequently to sign the then-largest contract in baseball history: $3.75 million from the New York Yankees over five years.
Also on this date, this time in 2003, at the exact moment this post went live, I was in a hospital delivery room watching Mrs. Shyster squeeze a seven pound, one ounce human being out of her body. Me and the missus have gotten a way better deal out of our daughter Anna than Steinbrenner got out of Hunter, as Anna Calcaterra's CKQ+ -- that's Cool Kid Quotient, adjusted for context -- is way better than Catfish's ERA+ ever was.
In other news:
I'm not sure which represents a more needless and troubling waste of effort that could ultimately serve to hurt the ballclub: Hideki Okajima running in a marathon, or Jay Bruce openly lobbying for the return of Jerry Hairston.
At least Okajima will recover eventually. There is no cure for 500 at-bats from Jerry Hairston.
If you're looking for a fan of soon-to-be-former President Bush's, you've come to the wrong place. That said, I give credit where credit is due, and I have to laud President Bush for:
1. Throwing the best "first pitch" of any chief executive in my lifetime at Game 3 of the 2001 World Series; and
2. Showing some nifty reflexes when a fireballin' righty tried to brush him back yesterday.
Sure, President Biggio would have leaned into that pitch, but those are still some pretty good reflexes.