December 9, 2013
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Between this and the Kerry Wood signing, I can't decide if the Indians are going to have a really good staff this season or set the record for use of the disabled list.
Mark Cuban isn't going to be the next Cubs' owner, and today on his blog he tells us why he thinks that is. He blames a lot of things -- Jerry Reinsdorf and the capital and credit markets to name a few -- but never once mentions that he's being sued by the SEC for insider trading.
At the end of the piece he notes that he has asked MLB for an extension on his bid, and that no one is returning his calls. It seems to me that the lawsuit is a pretty good reason for them not to.
For three days straight I've been seeing the headlines about how the Yankees are planning to "unveil" Teixeira in some sort of news conference and have been wondering why, exactly, this is big news. We know who he is. We basically know about his contract. What is there really to unveil? It's an empty exercise borne of New York media competition more than anything else.
I'm not the only one who thinks this, as Jason at IIATMS has a near certain to be correct prediction of what we'll hear when Teixeira is, um, unveiled.
Lee Smith feels disrespected:
Smith held the major league record for career saves with 478 from 1993 until 2006, when Trevor Hoffman surpassed it.
You know, until Gossage got in last year following a multi-year whine fest, I would have thought that such antics from Smith would be counterproductive. But like they say, what's good for the Goose . . .
Tony Massarotti does a post-mortem on the Red Sox' unsuccessful pursuit of Mark Teixeira. Nothing all that shocking or new here, but then he says something interesting:
5. Can Boras and the Red Sox still do business?
Reader MooseinOhio -- who sent me the link (thanks, Moose!) -- says:
Boras certainly walks a fine line in his dealings (e.g. referencing 'phantom' deals on the table, stretching the process out and affecting a team's ability to have an option B and C still available) and I would be curious what would happen to his efforts if the Sox pulled a Frank Wren and refused to deal with him in the future as one of the big money players took their chips to another table.
I don't know how likely that is. Frank Wren's recent fatwa against Arn Tellem and his crew wasn't an isolated incident in Bravesland, as John Schuerholz all but gave up on Boras clients in 2003 after Greg Maddux's decision to accept arbitration when, allegedly, Boras assured Schuerholz that he wouldn't. In short, the Braves have a history of getting emotional and arguably irrational about this stuff, so their example may not be the best one.
Still, one has to wonder how long Boras can get away with this. The part of me that values professional ethics and people keeping their word often makes me wish that his business would crater. The part of me that understands how the world really works, however, convinces me that Boras, whatever his methods, will continue to be outrageously successful until the exact moment that insanely talented ballplayers stop hiring him.
I collected baseball cards in my youth and still have tens of thousands of them in my basement. I haven't bought a single card, however, since the 1980s and you can count my purchases of other baseball memorabilia since that time on one hand. A lot of this has to do with growing up. If I have $50 burning a hole in my pocket these days -- wait, since I have kids and bills and stuff I never have $50 burning a hole in my pocket, and that's kind of the point. Another factor is that collecting became far less fun when I became aware of how big a business it was and how seriously so many adults took it. I love my bent-to-hell 1954 Al Kaline more than anything, and I frankly don't need to hear some guy wearing a sweatsuit behind a folding table at a convention hall chastise me for mishandling it when I was ten and telling me that it's now worthless.
But I think the final nail in the collecting coffin came when they started inserting little pieces of stuff -- bats, jerseys, etc. -- into card packs. While I am devout worshiper of the Cardboard Gods, the Gods I believe in aren't into holy relics, mister. I feel compelled to read the backs of the cards and bask in the reflected glory, yes, but I draw the line at genuflecting before their gourds or shoes. Or dirt:
Like so many goods perceived by consumers as pricey, sales of sports memorabilia started slowing well before the rest of the economy. Still, one portion of the domestic sports/celebrity memorabilia market estimated at upward of $1 billion is expanding. Real estate values may have plummeted, but the market for what the industry earnestly terms “game-used dirt” is growing, as demand for higher priced photos and signed, game-used equipment has stalled. Now, some of the biggest memorabilia companies are cleaning up with dirt. While it is difficult to say how much game-used dirt is being sold, a recent Google search for “authenticated dirt” yielded more than 181,000 citations.
I don't care how big a baseball fan you are. If you're online looking to buy dirt that some famous guys walked and spit upon, you probably need to reevaluate your priorities.
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the link; sorry for the subscription only stuff, but the whole gist is in the blockquote)
Peter Gammons has a very detailed piece about J.C. Romero's 50-game suspension for taking, well, something:
Three months after Romero was tested before a Phillies-Mets game on Aug. 26, the players' association sent a Nov. 21 letter to players that stated, "We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S" . . .
This is a pretty messed up situation. Yes, it's apparently a technical violation of the league's substance abuse policy, and yes, Romero -- like anyone else subject to drug testing of any kind -- should take primary responsibility for ensuring that what goes into his system is permitted under the rules rather than rely on the union or trainers who, as this case makes clear, can be mistaken about such things.
But unless Gammons is leaving something major out -- and I'll note that MLB had no comment for the article -- this does not sound like the sort of conduct that should cause a guy to miss nearly a third of the season. Unfortunately, the post BALCO public outcry -- not to mention Congressional grandstanding -- demanded that MLB adopt zero or near-zero tolerance for PED use, backed up with what, in this case anyway, appear to be pretty draconian and apparently anyway, discretion-free penalties.
(thanks to reader Ian Devine for the link)
Neate Sager passes along an interesting column from Sports Business Journal offering predictions about the year in sports media. Here's one we can wish for:
Postseason baseball games will start earlier this year.
I'd love to see that. Though, in reality, the stated reason for canceling the pregame show was that it cost too much to produce. After all, to put the thing on, you gotta pay Zelasko and Grace and Kennedy and a bunch of technical people for something people are going to try to ignore in the first place. My guess about the start times is that someone somewhere has made the case that starting later is likely to lead to higher ratings earlier in the game which allows FOX to front-load expensive ads. Unless someone makes an opposite case based on some data of which we peons are not aware, I expect we will still see the later start times, with that first half hour filled with Joe Buck interviewing people or Tim McCarver changing the batteries in his hearing aid or something.
Death will eventually come to us all, but when I go, I hope it's in my 90s with a couple of billion bucks in the bank.
I've read a few Carl Pohlad retrospectives since yesterday afternoon. Some had nice things to say about his ownership of the Twins, some not so nice. The way I see it, with very rare exceptions, no man is truly good or bad, so as is almost always the case, there's much to fill each side of the ledger when it comes to Pohlad. On the one hand, his stewardship of the Twins coincided with a couple of world titles. Yes, there was an eight year lull from 1993 through 2000 in which Minnesota was awful, but since then they've been very competitive. As things stand now, the Twins are a solid organization poised to compete again this year, and to move into a nice new home next season.
On the other hand, Pohlad first tried to sell the twins off to North Carolina interests, then contract them after years of pocketing revenue sharing money and not spending all that much on talent (that eight year lull came from somewhere). Oh, and that stadium? Paid for by the good people of Minnesota, despite the fact that no matter what the death certificate says, there's a decent chance Pohlad died of krugerrand poisoning.
So yeah, kind of a mixed bag. As we all are.
If you're looking for something more expansive -- and cutting -- check out this remembrance in the Pioneer Press.
I'm tired this morning because I stayed up watching the Fiesta Bowl. But it wasn't the hour, really. After all, the game ended before midnight, and even at the decrepit age of 35 I can handle midnight. No, I am tired because of the stupid emotional gymnastics I once again put myself through for the sake of a bunch of oversized 20 year-olds. I like to think I've grown over the years. That I no longer care all that deeply about a Buckeye game and that, win or lose, my blood pressure won't deviate from the norm. That I'll, you know, behave like every other adult that doesn't live in a town like Columbus, Ohio or Lincoln, Nebraska, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama or wherever bigtime college football reigns supreme.
But it never happens, and it didn't happen last night. No matter how much cynical detachment I tried to cultivate during the third quarter when it looked like Texas would run away with it, I couldn't bring myself to turn it off and wait to read the results in the morning paper. No, I watched. And I got all excited when the Buckeyes scored a couple of touchdowns. More excited than a 35 year-old father of two should ever allow himself to get over a silly game. And then Ohio State decided to cease playing defense on the final drive and allowed Colt McCoy (who the hell names their kid "Colt" anyway?) to go some 80 some-odd yards for a touchdown, and I got depressed. More depressed than a a 35 year-old father of two should ever allow himself to get over a silly game. I feel rather cheap and dirty about the entire business, really. It would have been way easier to get blown out again.