May 25, 2013
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Jason has the definitive take.
At this point they should just sign Manny too.
In the runup to its January 1st launch, I thought I'd plan ahead and find out on exactly which channel the MLB Network will be appearing among the many hundreds of offerings I receive from my cable provider, Insight Communications. After all, I'd hate to tune to channel 947 when the Larsen perfect game is appearing on channel 962! Plus, it's never too early to set up a series recording of what looks to be the be-all and end-all of nightly highlight shows!
You'll imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered a few moments ago that Insight will not be carrying the MLB Network in 2009.
This from just about the only cable company who actually carried the Big Ten Network when it launched. Other channels -- just the HD ones, mind you -- I will be able to watch that are not the MLB Network:
Big Ten Network
FOX Business News
SCI FI Channel
HD On Demand
HD Movies On Demand
Ambient HD On Demand
FEARnet HD On Demand
Nat Geo HD On Demand
Sundance HD On Demand
HD On Demand: Action
HD On Demand: Comedy
HD On Demand: Drama
HD On Demand: Horror/Sci Fi
HD On Demand
So I get a channel called "Ambient" and something called "Palladia," but I don't get in on the largest channel launch in the history of cable television.
This is why five-day waiting periods were invented.
Evidence that the Yankees have not turned a deaf ear (blind eye?) to the complaints over the cost of their stadium, the way in which it is being paid for, and what it has done to the price of tickets in New York:
The price of a bleacher seat for the exhibition openers at the new Yankee Stadium will cost far less than a soda.
Yes, it's a gimmick, yes it's only an exhibition game, and no it doesn't forgive any let alone all of the excesses which have led to the opening of their new place, but it's still a nice gesture.
(Thanks to Pete Toms, who seems to have devoted his entire week to sending me interesting links, for sending me this interesting link)
Will Leitch comments on Dock Ellis' passing today, particularly his acid no-hitter. In so doing, we're reminded that Deadspin lost a hell of a lot more than most people realize when he left:
The world is a crazed, nonsensical place, mostly random, confused, chaotic, numbing. We search for reason wherever we can find it. And then, out of the nether, someone throws a no-hitter on LSD, and we realize that there is so much we do not understand, so much that will always elude, so much with a strange beauty that's impossible to comprehend. Dock Ellis' achievement has been lost to the years — it's not exactly the type of thing ESPN can do a "SportsCentury" about — but it's staggering and awesome, and we mustn't ever forget it. R.I.P. Dock Ellis. We know a little bit more about our world because of you, and a lot less. Thank you.
Much of the appeal of baseball is that it allows you to shut out the real world for a while, but I find that it's much more fulfilling to use baseball as one of many points of comfortable reference to observe and understand the real world. Leitch is doing that here, and I find it far more satisfying than simply listing the guy's stats and noting the LSD thing as a comical aside, which so many other remembrances have done since Friday.
Sure, trying to find some greater human truths in the world of baseball is an approach which has its limitations -- for example, if you're looking for the secrets of the universe inside the Rockies' decision to designate someone for assignment, good luck -- but it's something I shoot for around here, and something I'd like to see more of in the sporting press.
I was just going to let this morning's thing about the McNamee-Clemens suit pass without further comment, but I can't not think about it, so let's flesh it out a bit. I said this in the comments, but for those of you who don't read those, this is my initial take on what's happening here:
In light of the affidavit filed by the federal agent last week, it looks like Clemens is almost certainly going to lose his Texas defamation case against McNamee. That's great for McNamee, but not great enough, because simply winning as a defendant down there doesn't do anything for him. He'll still have a mountain of attorneys fees and loads of personal debt to deal with, and you simply can't pay bills with a defense judgment. What to do about this?
You file a suit in New York, so you can create an ideal negotiating position, with the opening salvo of the negotiation going something like this:
“Look Roger, you’re going to lose and lose badly in Texas, and when that judgment comes out, it's going to humiliate you. You can't unilaterally dismiss this case because everyone will know you're doing it simply to avoid an embarrassing judgment, and you can't reasonably settle with us as things stand because there's nothing more embarassing than having to pay money out when you're the freakin' plaintiff.
"However, if we sue you in New York, everyone has a chance to get something out of this mess. You'll be able to drop the Texas suit and avoid a humiliating ruling in your own backyard by saying that you're doing it to get rid of the New York suit, which you can claim is a bogus distraction, but one worth getting rid of all the same. We'll get a nice check to pay our fees and get Brian a little something to grow on. After a round of mutual declarations of victory, we end this mess before anyone has to go under oath again.”
There may be a big flaw in there somewhere, but weirder things have happened.
Redleg Stats Blog (via BTF) has a pretty extraordinary transcript of Reds' broadcaster Marty Brennaman unloading on a fan who dares to defend Adam Dunn:
Caller: People here don’t realize that Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn don’t get paid $12 million to hit .300. They get paid to hit home runs; that’s it.
You should read the BTF comment thread for the micro breakdown of Brennaman's statistical ignorance. For my part, I'm far more disturbed by just how much Brennaman seems to hate Adam Dunn and why he feels he needs to constantly voice this in public even after the guy has left the team.
Being in Ohio and listening to a lot of Reds games over the past decade has brought Brennaman's hatred of Adam Dunn specifically -- and the Reds at large -- into clear relief. And it is hate. Brennaman is way past the point of telling tough truths about players, and now he's simply bitter. Day in and day out, he sounds like a man who truly hates his job, and truly hates the Reds. He hates that after having been able to watch the Big Red Machine in the 70s and some pretty darn respectable Reds' teams in the 80s and into the mid 90s, he's had to watch a mostly bad team play for the past decade. What's worse, he's not professional enough to put that disappointment aside and simply do his job like Skip Caray and Herb Score any number of other announcers of bad teams have done over the years.
While in many cases I'd be content to sit back and laugh at a broadcaster's ignorance and pettiness, Brennaman's stature is such in the Cincinnati market that he is probably killing off a generation of Reds' fans with his anger and bitterness. Indeed, if in the late 70s I had tuned in to WJR and heard Ernie Harwell talking angry smack about Dave Rozema and Steve Kemp, I probably would have wondered why I was wasting my time with the Tigers and tuned out.
Yes, I realize that Marty Brennaman is supposed to be a legend in these parts, and I'd never want to listen to a broadcaster who sounds like he's working for Pravda, but at what point does Reds' management get fed up with the voice of the team constantly and unreasonably denigrating the product?
Nearly a year after Roger Clemens sued Brian McNamee in Texas, Brian McNamee has sued Roger Clemens in New York:
Roger Clemens' former personal trainer - the man who ratted out the Rocket to the feds over alleged steroid use - is suing his ex-client for $10 million, claiming the former Yankee hurler defamed him.
Oh, brother. I can't find a copy of the complaint anywhere, but I'm struggling to think of anything Clemens has actually said that, even if it wasn't true, would be defamatory with respect to McNamee. Sure, it's been a bad P.R. year for McNamee -- worse for Clemens, actually -- but almost all of the actual statements about McNamee came from Clemens' attorneys while Roger has mostly stuck to simply denying McNamee's allegations and telling everyone how much of a family man he is. That may be a truckload of baloney, but it doesn't strike me as enough to make a defamation case, and that's even before you get into the state of Brian McNamee's pre-Mitchell Report reputation, which wasn't all that hot to begin with.
If anyone can find the complaint, by all means, help a brother out, but if not, I'm content to just put my head down on my desk and pray that this ugliness all goes away sometime soon.
I realize that I'd go to jail if I killed my parents, but do you think the judge would go easier on me if I told them I did it because they bought my three year-old son a drum set for Christmas?
At some point in their career -- many points if you work in a certain type of law firm -- every young lawyer is asked to find some legal authority to support a truly dumbass argument that the partner for whom they're working thinks is brilliant. Some precedent which stands for a proposition which flies in the face of established law or, at the very least, makes damn little sense. The worst part of this is that the partner who came up with the, um, novel argument won't own up to the fact that it's crazy, so when the young lawyer is given the assignment, the partner always says "I'm sure there's tons of law on this out there." By doing this, failure will later be reported to the client as a result of the young associate's inability to find the right law, rather than the partner's terminally creative thinking. In the rare event of success, the partner will, of course, hog all the credit. It's also worth noting that young lawyers experience much higher rates of divorce, alcoholism, and depression than those in other professions, but that's not important right now.
Anyway, two examples of this kind of thinking are on display in the case of Andy Oliver, the Oklahoma State southpaw who is suing the NCAA in an Ohio court for declaring him ineligible due to his having worked with a pair of agents -- the Barattas -- after he was drafted out of high school. Lots of amateurs do this, apparently, but for some reason the NCAA decided to come down extra hard on Mr. Oliver. In his defense, Oliver's people make the first stupid argument:
"Because the Barattas are lawyers, whenever lawyers are involved it changes the dynamic because lawyers are regulated by the Supreme Court of the individual states. The Barattas were at a 15-minute meeting with the Twins and talked to the Twins twice on the phone. That's what Andy's in trouble for. At that time, they were offering like $400,000. What lawyer could let an 18-year-old kid negotiate a contract like that by himself? That would be malpractice. That's why the rule is invalid on its face, because it interferes with the ethical obligation a lawyer has to protect his client. The NCAA is attempting to regulate lawyers, but they're not allowed to."
There is some logic in there -- like the part about how silly it is that an 18 year-old can't hire representation to advise him on a very important decision prior to entering college lest he kill his eligibility -- but the notion that lawyers are somehow OK while agents are not is pretty silly. Do we really want to create a system where players feel obligated to hire lawyers simply because they are lawyers rather than experienced agents? Should we really indulge the fiction that NCAA is attempting to "regulate lawyers" when, in reality, they're simply setting rules for their organization, even if they are dumb ones? In every way, this argument attacks all that Oliver's lawyers mistakenly believe to be vulnerable about the NCAA's decision, but nothing about it which is truly wrong. Maybe there's some kind of genius there, but if an argument doesn't make surface sense to an outside observer, it's probably not going anywhere.
The NCAA has a beauty of an argument too, this one in a cross-claim it makes against Oklahoma State:
The NCAA's cross-claim against OSU argues that because Oliver was suspended by Oklahoma State and not by the NCAA, the school has an obligation to contribute toward any monetary damages awarded to Oliver against the NCAA "to the extent that OSU's actions have caused those monetary damages."
Get that? Because Oklahoma State moved to enforce the NCAA's rules -- rules which, if it didn't enforce, would cause Oklahoma State itself to be punished -- Oklahoma State has to pay the NCAA if the court decides that Oliver was wrongfully deprived of college eligibility.
How much time and how much in attorneys fees would be saved if the NCAA simply ceased to promulgate rules that impose restrictive and exploitative conditions on young adults under the guise of amateurism? Why should an 18 year-old baseball prodigy be forced to operate without professional assistance when 18 year-old violin, painting, and physics prodigies are not? At the same time, why are presumably high-priced lawyers spending Andy Oliver's money to create legal disincentives for players to consult agents as opposed to simply lawyering up?
I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but I tend to think that they lie with those partners in the law firms spinning silly arguments and making the lives of young associates miserable.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)