December 13, 2013
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
No, I'm not talking about anything they've done with the LaRoche brothers this week, I'm talking about banishing the ugly red vests:
The Pirates' red uniforms, which have drawn notable ire from the public since being introduced in 2007, will be no more.
Here's hoping for bumble bee uniforms and striped pillbox hats.
The guys at River Ave. Blues have a really sharp idea about how to fix the free agent compensation system so as to raise the price of free agents for teams like the Yankees and make life hurt less for the teams that, though no fault of their own, lose players to teams like the Yankees.
From the "gee, I did not know that" department: The guy who has been the P.A. announcer for every inaugural parade since 1957 got the gig because of baseball:
Charlie, the PR spokesman for the Washington Senators, got the inauguration gig because someone was impressed with the way he introduced President Eisenhower for the first pitch of the 1956 Senators home opener at Griffith Stadium. They kept using him when President Kennedy took office, and he has continued as the public address announcer for the parades. And it all started because of Washington baseball.
And I bet he never flubs his lines like Chief Justice Roberts did during the Oath of Office today.
The Marlins still can't seem to get their new park built:
The campaign to bring the Florida Marlins a new ballpark in South Florida has stalled again. Votes by Miami and Miami-Dade commissioners that could lead to the new stadium have been delayed, in part because of the holiday season and Tuesday's presidential inauguration. City and county officials are now expected to vote on the issue next month. When Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria began making plans for a new ballpark, the target opening date was 2005.
Meanwhile, the Tigers still can't seem to get their old park demolished:
The city of Detroit has granted preliminary approval to a nonprofit group's plans to preserve the remaining portion of historic Tiger Stadium. The city's Economic Development Corp. approved a plan and budget by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy in a letter to the group dated Friday . . . The conservancy must show by March 1 that it can provide the funding or the stadium will be completely demolished.
I wonder what the world would look like if every billionaire was as ineffective at getting what he wanted as Jeffrey Loria is and every charity was given as many opportunities as the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy is.
Not all of the mainstream press accepts the owners' recent whining about salary caps at face value, and today the San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins takes a whack at it. A key thing to remember about salary caps:
As many have established, salary caps are bad ideas economically speaking. But even if they weren't, they are aesthetic nightmares that insert unsightly, unwieldy, and downright complicated concepts like "franchise tags" and "expiring contracts" into the sporting discourse. Are they comprehensible? Well, sure, and I suppose it would be no great trick for every team to hire a cap guru if they felt the need. Certainly the readers of this blog could get their heads around caponomics if they had to.
But there is no escaping the fact that salary caps and all they have wrought serve to alienate the common fan from the essence of the game even more than he is already alienated, thereby rendering sports a slightly less enjoyable thing. Sure, no matter what the economic situation is, the Royals would never have been able to sign CC Sabathia. But without a salary cap in place at least there is an enemy to complain about in the Yankees or their skinflint owner or their brain dead GM or what have you. What do Kansas City bargoers complain about if there is a salary cap? Section 1.5(A)(1)(i)?
Such a discussion wouldn't even be worth the beer.
Jim Rice: step aside, because this is what it means to be a feared hitter:
A pair of 8-year-olds armed with baseball bats are being credited with stopping a man who had put a gun to a woman's face and threatened to kill her
I sure hope they weren't maple bats, though. Those things are dangerous.
Jason at IIATMS has started rolling out all of the responses he got to his "what would you do if you were made Commissioner for a day" request. He got so much feedback that he's going to break it down by subject. First up: relocation and territory rights, with a contribution from Keith Law and Chipmaker.
Check in to IIATMS throughout the week for what, on a basic level, amounts to some nice quality complaining.
I'm not always the best judge of these things, but Nick Markakis' new deal seems to be pretty decent for both sides:
The Orioles have reached a six-year, $66.1 million contract extension with right fielder Nick Markakis, according to baseball sources. He will be in Baltimore on Wednesday to take a physical and sign the contract.
Well, it certainly beats the Tejada deal.
Markakis is an outstanding young player with fabulous plate discipline and at age 24, we can probably expect his power to increase. You have to figure that he would have made something like $6-10 million a year in his arbitration-eligible seasons, so the Orioles, as all teams making this kind of deal, are paying a premium for what will likely be his most productive seasons. The key then, is to look at the free agency years they've purchased. If my arbitration assumptions are anywhere close (and if my cocktail napkin math is roughly accurate), that puts Markakis at something like $13-15 million a year for those years. Given that he'll still be in his 20s for most of that time, that he has a great eye, and that he's not a fatty, that probably makes for a nice discount for his services on the back-end.
So good on Baltimore for making this deal, and good on Markakis for getting rich. There's still a long way to go in Baltimore, but dadgummit, they might actually look pretty darn good here in the next couple of years.
I find that there is nothing less nutritious in life than quickie autobiographies of Warholian figures. These are people who are fleetingly famous for a very specific purpose, with said purpose capable of thorough exploration in the space of a mid-sized magazine feature. We nevertheless get full-blown books out of these guys for some reason, and are forced to slog through approximately 76 pages of the author's uneventful childhood before getting to what we all really want to read, which is the part where he screws everything up in his life and gets arrested.
Thankfully there are people like Michael Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt sweet-talked a copy of Kirk Radomski's book from a clerk at Books-a-Million or someplace, and has the highlights:
In a portion of the book that is likely to attract attention, Radomski states that he was asked by Mitchell about a handful of major leaguers who were not among his dozens of customers and who did not end up being named in the Mitchell report. Radomski names this group of players in his book — several of them have been previously linked to performance-enhancing drugs in other books — and says that he told Mitchell that he had no firsthand knowledge about their possible use of drugs.
Fine, Mitchell didn't raise names for Radomski. He just gave him a list of every friggin' ballplayer there was and asked him to pick some. I suppose that's kosher enough, but the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the list was kind of like those photo lineups that courts are always ruling to be unduly suggestive. Like, Larry Bigbie and Eric Gagne's name were double-bolded and italicized or something.
In any event, after reading Schmidt's article, I hope that none of you feel an overpowering need to go buy Radomski's book. There is so much garbage being published these days that we shouldn't be in the business of encouraging any more of it.
I should have included this in Today at THT, but please know that THT's intrepid leader, Dave Studeman, will be speaking about Win Shares and other sabermetric concepts at Northwestern University on Thursday. Here are the details:
When: Thursday, 7PM
Where: University Hall, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL
Snacks: Doubtful, but it's always possible
Dress code: Freshman must wear their beanies; all others can wear what they like, but NO ZOOT SUITS.
Finally, I'm not going to say that Dave is Batman and I'm not going to say that he isn't, but please, try to be careful when walking the streets this Thursday evening, because you may be on your own for a while.