December 6, 2013
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Thursday, January 15, 2009
Andruw Jones is about to be released. I wouldn't bet my belly button lint that the Braves won't sign him to a veteran minimum deal within the next week or so.
The A's and Nats are talking about Nick Johnson:
The Nationals and Oakland Athletics, who discussed a potential trade for first baseman Nick Johnson all the way back in November, have revived those talks in recent weeks, according to a source familiar with the discussions. At one point last week, the source said, a deal seemed very close.
Eventually every stathead crush past his prime -- or beyond the point where he can ever hope to have one -- comes to Oakland. And I really do mean all of them.
Next up: Mitch Meluskey.
The economy may be stank on a stick, but the Twins are doing just fine, thank you:
The Minnesota Twins are on pace to sell a franchise-record 11,000 season tickets for the 2009 season, up from about 10,000 last year.
They've also sold 80 percent of the club seats to the new joint already.
Scott Simkus has a piece up about Bill James, James' website, and (a bit) about his upcoming book about crime. It ends in an interview of sorts. Based on the intro, you can tell it's not your typical James profile:
George William H. Bonney “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949) has been turning sabr-tricks since the 1970s, when he began peddling crudely rendered baseball smut from a dark alley behind a pork and beans plant in Kansas. Business was slow at first; with James offering an enigmatic selection of stat-urbation, sometimes published in Baseball Digest, the contents of which befuddled most hardcore baseball johns at the time.
It only gets weirder.
So a couple of weeks ago I was writing an article that will appear in Rotoworld Magazine. You'll have to buy it to read it, but the jist is that it's a list of predictions of things that will happen in 2009, erring on the side of the funny and absurd. In an initial draft I had a joke about the kinds of guys that will show up at spring training for the Padres that reads like the opening scenes of "Major League." Among the misfits and former members of prison leagues I ran down, I threw in Omar Vizquel's name because I thought it might be funny to see an ancient guy like him on such a list. Then I thought better of it because (a) I couldn't come up with a joke; and (b) I figured that, hey, it may not be so crazy to think that he would sign with San Diego, thus ruining my joke if I had one. I took the joke out and went with something else.
Glad I did, because the joke would have been ruined:
The Padres are seeking depth at shortstop. Omar Vizquel is looking for a job, preferably, he says, in the National League West Division.
Not the most inspiring move in the world, but given how far out of it the Padres are likely to be this year there are worse things than signing Vizquel as long as he's dirt cheap, which I assume he will be.
Yahoo!'s Jonathan Littman has a major story today about the legal status of "The Clear" at the time Barry Bonds was asked about it in the course of his grand jury testimony, and suggests that this fact may prove problematic for prosecutors:
It could explain why Barry Bonds’ attorneys believe the grand jury questions to him were impossibly vague and why the focus of the BALCO case veered from prosecuting distributors of illegal anabolic steroids and money launderers to catching world-class athletes lying about drug use.
Well, partially. As I noted last year, Bonds was indicted for lying in response to numerous specific questions, and not all of them were of the "did you take steroids" variety which Mr. Cannon believes to be a problem in light of this new information. There were several other general categories of questions too, such as "did Anderson ever give you anything to take in a syringe" as well as questions about the years in which Anderson gave Bonds anything. The revised indictment setting forth the specific questions is here.
The key to remember here -- and the thing that almost everyone reporting on this case forgets for some reason -- is that this isn't a prosecution of Barry Bonds for actually taking steroids. It's a prosecution about him lying in response to specific questions in a specific setting. If it was the former, yes, the fact that THG wasn't technically a steroid when Bonds took it would be highly relevant. Since it was the latter, however, the fact of it being classified as a steroid or not only has bearing on some of the counts Bonds faces. I guess the easiest way to think of this is to imagine that one of the questions to Bonds was whether or not he had ever taken Coca-Cola orally in the Giants' clubhouse. If he said "no" even though he really had, it still would have been perjury despite the fact that Coke is street legal.
But while the facts set forth in Littman's article may not render as serious a blow to the Bonds prosecution as his quoted experts imply, it does show how cynical and in many ways frivolous the prosecution of Bonds really is. Yes, it's technically a violation of the law to lie about drinking a Coke under oath. One would have a right to wonder, however, why scarce prosecutorial resources were being brought to bear in a case about soda consumption. It remains to be seen whether THG and the other fine products from BALCO are any more dangerous -- or available to impressionable youngsters for consumption -- than a Coke, but I can't help but think that even if they are, making a six-year, $55 million federal case out if it seems like a waste of time and money.
When your team comes out with a new jersey, you can (a) say "Here's the new jersey. We like it and hope people buy a lot of them"; or (b) reach for a lot of symbolic hooey. Tampa Bay has chosen (b):
On May 1st, the Rays will don a new alternate jersey when they host the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. It will be a navy blue button-down with RAYS outlined in white trim with a light blue shadow across the chest.
This first addition since November 2007, eh? Man, they really were due for a makeover.
The city of Anaheim has decided to drop that lawsuit in which they're trying to force the Angels to change their name:
Mayor Curt Pringle says the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to give up its battle to restore the team's name to the Anaheim Angels.
Given the contract language at issue -- as you'll recall, it only required that the word "Anaheim" be in the name somewhere, and Moreno has certainly done that -- dropping the suit is clearly the right decision. Heck, they probably shouldn't have even sued to begin with.
Which is why this story confuses me a bit. I mean, at some point, some lawyer had to convince the City Council that this was a winnable case even though it clearly wasn't, right? Well, if he's that good a salesman, how come he couldn't convince them appeal this baby to the Supreme Court? Depending on whether he's a private practice guy or a city staff attorney, that's a good six months worth of fees and/or job security he just threw away.
Almost makes me ashamed of my profession.
News flash: billionaire plutocrats fly their private planes to exclusive, mountainside resort to lament tough times and advocate for cost cutting.
Yesterday was kind of a surreal day for me. I had a meeting with an executive placement kind of person in a suburban office park at 8AM. I probably wouldn't have gone on my own, but the business is run by a friend of a friend, and the two of them either (a) wanted to use me as a connection point with which to further solidify their network; or (b) were genuinely psyched to want to help find something productive for me to do with my life. I felt like I couldn't let them down, so I went. Waiting in the conference room, I started perusing the titles on a bookshelf. It was filled with Stephen Covey books (for those of you keeping score at home, I think there are now 124 habits of highly effective people) and all number of titles that compare management styles and career tracks to the lives of pirates and samurais and other fanciful archetypes who would never allow themselves to be caught dead in an office building. I wasn't sure how any of those books would help me find a job, but I'm pretty sure that my parachute is a faded puce, and that despite all of my habits, I'm not that highly effective of a person.
One book did stick out, however: Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. When my would-be executive placer came into the room I asked her about it, feigning ignorance. She said that she hadn't read it, but she was of the impression that it was a managerial self-help book with baseball as the central metaphor. I nodded and said "ah."
I made it home after an afternoon of various errands and tasks. By then five inches of snow had fallen on central Ohio, more was on the way, and the temperature was headed towards the single digits. I cracked a beer and turned on local news. A reporter was standing out in blowing snow, holding a pair of jeans which he had soaked with water and then allowed to freeze rigid in the winter air. I'm not sure what he was trying to prove, but just so you know: wet jeans freeze when it's 9 degrees outside.
The takeaway from my weird Wednesday: it's a scary world out there, babies, and we'd all be better off if we never left our homes and never turned on our televisions unless a ballgame is on. Read the Internet instead. It will never steer you wrong.
Record cold temperatures here this morning. Can't wait to see what the news guy freezes today.