May 22, 2013
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
A month ago I was sad to see the MLB Network cave in to the perceived need for perceived gravitas and give Bob Costas a feature spot on its debut broadcast. At the time, however, I was comforted by the fact that it seemed to be a one-off. Apparently it's now a forever-off:
Bob Costas, a 19-time Emmy Award winner and NBC broadcaster, has signed a multi-year contract to join the upstart* MLB Network, CNBC has learned, though he will remain at NBC Sports.
I think Costas was -- and probably still is -- a great play-by-play man, but his Keeper of the Game shtick wears thin in a hurry. If they send him to class-up a Thursday night tilt between the Pirates and the Rockies, wonderful. We'll all be better for it. If they stick him in a plush armchair and allow him to wax sepia, however, it will represent a major step back for the MLB Network.
*I suppose MLB Network is an "upstart" in the most literal sense (i.e. it just started up) but describing a channel backed by a $6 billion business and owned in part by the nation's largest cable companies as "upstart" kind of stretches the normal meaning of that word, don't you think?
Just before a critical vote on their taxpayer-funded playground, the Marlins are making promises:
With final voting on the Florida Marlins' long-sought ballpark less than two weeks away, club president David Samson says he expects near-capacity crowds nightly the first year in the team's new home, with annual attendance above 2 million for at least seven seasons.
I'll believe it when I see it. I have zero faith that a team owned by Jeff Loria will pay one penny more in payroll than it takes to field a team that doesn't actually forfeit games. If they build that stadium, I expect them to skate on the novelty of the joint for a year or so, then complain that pre-construction revenue projections were unduly optimistic, while continuing to ship off the decent players the baseball operations side always manages to unearth prior to arbitration.
Needham despairs at the state of the Nats' farm system:
Last season, just about anything that could go wrong, did. Ross Detwiler, the top pitching prospect, threw batting practice at single-A. Chris Marrero, the top hitting prospect, didn't excel, and his season ended halfway through thanks to a bone-shredding slide into home plate.
The next time you catch me complaining about the Braves' mediocre and uninspiring play, just punch me in the mouth, because at least my team has had a really good farm system for the past, oh, 20 years, and a good farm system = hope.
This is so good it has to be phony, but via Sullivan, here is Edgar Allen Poe explaining why I decided to scratch the sports writing itch I've long had via blogging instead of going to journalism school and busting my hump on the beat for the past 20 years:
" . . . authors will perceive the immense advantage of giving their own manuscripts directly to the public without the expensive interference of the type-setter, and the often ruinous intervention of the publisher. All that a man of letters need do will be to pay some attention to legibility of manuscript, arrange his pages to suit himself, and stereotype them instantaneously, as arranged. He may intersperse them with his own drawings, or with anything to please his own fancy, … In the new régime the humblest will speak as often and as freely as the most exalted, and will be sure of receiving just that amount of attention which the intrinsic merit of their speeches may deserve."
Not sure if I can get away with calling myself a man of letters, but the rest of it sounds pretty ducky.
It could be closer than you think:
Citigroup Inc., eager to quell the controversy over how lenders are using government bailout money, is exploring the possibility of backing out of a nearly $400 million marketing deal with the New York Mets, say people familiar with the matter.
I'd be curious to see what kind of rights the Mets have under the marketing agreement. I presume that there is some sort of opt-out/buyout provision that would head off any lawsuits. But then again, if reasonable people were involved in all of this, the whole deal never would have happened in the first place.
Further evidence that last week's flurry of press releases from the Bonds prosecutors was more flash than substance:
Jason Giambi told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t know whether Barry Bonds was taking banned substances and that he never gained any information about the home run king’s alleged drug regimen from his contacts at BALCO.
Giambi's name was leaked as a witness because the feds knew it would get headlines. His testimony, however, is largely irrelevant, and if it is not struck as such it will, at the very least, provide little help in moving the prosecution's ball forward. Any wonder why the government is putting the full court press on Anderson and his family in order to get him to testify?
But don't take my word for it. Click through to Jonathan Littman's article to read about many of the problems the prosecution has with its case.
Baseball is doing right by Lou Gehrig and everyone else with the disease that bears his name:
On July 4, the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s immortal “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech, Major League Baseball will help fight the disease that bears the name of its doomed hero.
One would think that A.L.S. would have been, for lack of a better term, baseball's "official disease" long before now, but this event is a first, and it was spurred by, of all things, a Newsweek article written by a law professor with A.L.S. last November. Better late than never, of course.
First he has a two-year, $40 million option, but he doesn't want it picked up. Then he gets a two-year $45 million offer, and doesn't answer the phone. Then he gets a one-year, $25 million offer, and rejects it:
Manny Ramirez wasted no time rejecting the Dodgers' latest offer, a one-year, $25-million proposal that was presented Sunday to his agent, Scott Boras.
I know Scott Boras is an evil genius and everything, but has someone explained to him that the point of holding out is to make the offers go, you know, higher?
Whatever the case, we'll know what Manny's doing when Jon Heyman tells us what he's doing.
Baseball Toaster -- home to many a fine blog such as Cardboard Gods, Dodger Thoughts, and the Griddle -- has ceased to be:
If you've been paying attention lately, you've noticed that Baseball Toaster has had a bunch of its knobs and switches and dials and wires fall off in recent months. Today, with the largest part of our engine leaving to join the Los Angeles Times, we are officially sending the Toaster to the scrap heap.
There is some good news in all of this. For one thing, in the course of all of this weirdness, Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts has adopted the Good Doctor's advice and has turned pro. I think Jon himself puts it best when he says "Blogs have come a long way in the past seven years, from being something that nearly no one had heard of, to being a dirty word, to slowly being considered part of the solution rather than part of the problem." There are problems with the L.A. Times' baseball coverage, and Weisman is a great first step towards fixing them.
There is also sadness, in that Bob Timmerman has decided to end his always entertaining and often weird Griddle blog. Bob is tall and hates Ohio, but he's good people, so it will be sad to see him go. The Toaster's Master of Ceremonies Ken Arneson is also hanging it up, as is Cubs Town's Derek Smart. No more Score Bard, either, though I'm guessing he'll still show up over at Think Factory from time to time.
Many of the other Toaster blogs will continue, just at different locations (details here). ShysterBall readers will be most interested in the fate of Cardboard Gods. Thankfully, Josh has picked up right where he left off, with a particularly poignant post about beginnings and endings and blogs and all of the stuff we love him for. It's funny: you read a handful of Josh's posts and you're ready to call the suicide hotline for him, but when you sit back and think about his entire body of work, you realize that he's far more of a survivor than any of the rest of us are. He's going to probably be the last one left to turn out the lights when baseball blogging goes the way of stereoscopes and nickelodeons.
Anyway, when beer-thirty rolls around your neck of the woods this afternoon (or morning), be sure to pour some on the ground for the Toaster. Good stuff happened there, and it always, always looked great.
Bud Selig: "Very well, if that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say I don't also blow:"
Last year's World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays was interrupted by torrential rain and cold weather in Philadelphia.
OK, cheap shot at Selig inasmuch as I don't think he is anywhere on record responding favorably to those idiotic neutral site ideas from last fall. But you have to admit, if the groundswell were greater than just Buster Olney and some other neutral site deadenders, he'd be all over it.