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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The latest Torre stuff: Johnny Damon's lack of heart in 2007 brought players to tears or something:
Interesting stuff on Pages 394 and 395 about Johnny Damon's physical and emotional struggles early in the 2007 season, when a leg injury sapped him of his enthusiasm and he began to annoy old-guard Yankees.
The tears seem a bit much. Tell me: when you're complaining about someone behind their back and trying to get them fired, aren't you more angry than tearful? Wait, you don't plot against your co-workers like that? Well pardon me, your majesty.
Anyway, here is a list of the people who are probably happy with the Joe Torre book: Joe Torre, Tom Verducci, The Doubleday Publishing Group, column writers, bloggers, talk radio hosts and Joe Girardi, who will no longer have to compete with the fiction that Torre inspired some preternatural calm and good chemistry in the Yankee clubhouse which he cannot replicate.
And here is a list of the people who are probably not very happy with the Joe Torre book: Every Yankee player who joined the team after 2000, the Yankee front office and, in all likelihood, every player on the current Los Angeles Dodgers roster who can now expect to be thrown under the bus by their boss when the sequel implied by the title of this book is inevitably written.
I'm going to read this book. I'll probably like a lot of it because it appears to cover a lot of stuff we've never heard before. I still can't fathom, however, why Joe Torre wrote this book, at least while he's still in the game.
The offseason does crazy things to people. Hope springs eternal and that's great and all, but there's a fine line between hope and delusion. Example: last summer the Mets probably couldn't have paid anyone to take Aaron Heilman off their hands, yet this winter, not one, but two teams have traded for him.
This isn't just a Heilman thing. It happens a lot. Some Joe Palooka is almost run out of town on a rail in August, and the next winter some GM thinks, "ya know, if I can get a Palooka and somehow sign a couple of live arms, we might just be able to do something." Of course no one has ever explained to me what a "live arm" is. Regression to the mean notwithstanding, I don't know why such thinking prevails every year.
Whatever the case, thinking that someone looks better through the hazy shade of winter is close enough to a similar phenomenon that I'm going to dub it "snow goggling."
Unfortunately, he won't be playing first base:
Will Clark, who remains one of the club's most popular players since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958, is expected to be named to the Giants' front-office staff on Wednesday.
As the article notes, the Giants are really good about keeping their history in the fold, as the team employs Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, and others in various capacities. I'm not sure to what extent other teams do this -- I know the Tigers do -- but whether these guys are doing actual front office work like Nolan Ryan or if they're simply making public appearances like McCovey, keeping these connections strong can only be a good thing.
As for Clark, while I know he has some baggage, I've always loved the guy. Great swing. Just carried himself like I always thought a Ballplayer should. I had a serious flirtation with Giants fandom in the late 80s, and he had an awful lot to do with it. Well, him and Jeffrey Leonard. Forgive me: I'm not that big on team chemistry.
With all apologies to my THT colleagues, Razzball -- a most excellent fantasy site, by the way -- has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that FanGraphs is the most powerful stat site on the planet. Why? Because they have apparently brought Cory Lidle back from the dead and have a 2009 Marcel projection up for him.
Worst part: He'd probably constitute an improvement over the fifth starter/swingman a half-dozen teams will be trotting out this season.
Miami-Dade officials have set the vote -- and released the final renderings and sketches and stuff -- for the Marlins' new stadium:
Miami and Miami-Dade leaders are poised to cast rapid-fire, historic votes that could end the decade-long search for a permanent home for the two-time World Series champion Florida Marlins.
You all know how I feel about publicly-funded stadiums, so for philosophical reasons I'm hoping this doesn't pass. And in an ideal world, the vote's failure would result in Jeff Loria throwing up his hands and selling the team to someone who would build a stadium themselves and make Miami the amazing baseball town it certainly could be.
But we also know that won't happen. If this fails, there will be more political junk, followed by even greater cuts to the Marlins baseball operations (if that's even possible), followed by an eventual move to a town with more pliant politicians. So I suppose this is a lose-lose proposition. Which was probably inevitable the moment Loria took control of the team.
Great minds think alike. Mine just thinks snarkier.
While most media attention has focused on the death of my cat, the world of letters lost someone else of note yesterday as well: John Updike. If you haven't read it, the Rabbit series was pretty spectacular. And of course, as many baseball bloggers are noting today, in 1960 Updike wrote this fantastic piece on the occasion of Ted Williams' last game.
It's long, but you're not going to read anything better today.
This list of the top 10 sports mascots is a bunch of applesauce for two reasons: (1) The Phillie Phanatic is way better than Mr. Met; and (2) Brutus Buckeye was totally robbed.
And really, does anyone really like that green guy the Red Sox use?
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
I found out yesterday that I can have someone killed for about $160. Unfortunately it was my cat, so I'm in a pretty crappy mood this morning. On the bright side, the two cats that remain in Chez Calcaterra have been on their best behavior since I had to put Lizzie down, as they now know I am not one to be trifled with. On the even brighter side, I'm not going to subject you to 4,000 words about it. I'm more of a denial/repression guy, so what I need is a distraction. Hey, here's some distracting stuff:
I know this is a bit unusual, but while on her death bed, Lizzie demanded a burial at sea with full honors, so if there aren't as many updates today, it's because I'm either looking for a color guard or en route to the North Atlantic.