May 18, 2013
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Friday, February 20, 2009
Mets! Yankees! Madoff! Stanford!
Johnny Damon, earning $13 million this season, cannot pay his bills.
Nady and Damon have something else in common: Scott Boras, whose financial division handles their money and, one presumes, directed them into the Stanford stuff. Oops.
Boras says it's going to be alright and that neither Damon nor Nady are at risk of losing their money. Of course, Boras also said that Manny Ramirez had tons of better offers than what the Dodgers have made too, so we should probably
(that's what I get for editing on the fly; I was going to say "shouldn't take what he says at face value," got distracted, and out came nonsense)
Ballpark Village, we hardly knew ye:
Oakland Athletics officials today asked the City of Fremont to halt the planning process required to build a new stadium and move the team there, saying they want to reconsider their options.
It wasn't that long ago that cities used to compete for teams, but given how things are going in Miami and Fremont, one wonders if a place like Portland isn't going to be able to make the A's and the Marlins perform stupid ballclub tricks for the privilege of coming there and paying to build their own stadium. It's certainly something I'd like to see.
At least their ticket office does:
The Cleveland Indians may have found their most valuable statistics this season are coming from the ticket office rather than the playing field.
Vince Gennaro! SABR represent!
The government's case against Bonds gets weaker by the day:
A federal judge has barred prosecutors from using three positive steroid tests and other key evidence in Barry Bonds' trial next month because of his personal trainer's refusal to testify. The ruling issued late Thursday was expected. The judge had said earlier she was troubled by the admissibility of the test results because prosecutors couldn't conclusively tie them to Bonds. Prosecutors allege that Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, collected the urine samples and delivered them for testing to the Bay Area Co-Operative Laboratory in 2000 and 2001. But Anderson has refused to testify. The judge said without his testimony, prosecutors cannot link the tests to Bonds. Federal agents seized the samples when they raided BALCO in 2003.
I've always been less impressed with the positive tests in this particular case because if you've read Bonds' grand jury testimony it's clear that everything turns on whether he knew what he was taking or not. Indeed, no one -- short of people wishing to create a straw man out of Bonds -- is claiming that Bonds didn't take steroids, because it's quite obvious that he did. As such, the existence and admittance of a positive test, while interesting and no doubt damaging to Bonds' case, would not have been dispositive.
This case effectively died the day it became clear that Greg Anderson wasn't going to testify. Indeed, if the government is really interested in sticking it to Bonds, they would probably have a better shot at easing off and biding their time in the off chance that Greg Anderson buys a hundred thousand dollar sports car in Newport Beach with Barry Bonds' American Express card or something.
Yesterday Neyer noted that big heads should roll in Washington as a result of the Esmailyn González fiasco. Today Tom Boswell amps up the pressure on the biggest of the heads:
Bleak humor about the Nats now bounces all around baseball. But this case, as Kasten says ominously, "will have big repercussions." At one level, the FBI and Major League Baseball, both of which are investigating broad allegations of kickbacks to street agents and other improprieties in the Dominican Republic, will sort out the villains. The White Sox already have fired personnel because of the scandal.
All I'll offer is that Bowden should go regardless of whether or not he's dirty. Being involved in the buscone kickback scandal is certainly a terminating offense. But even if he was clean, the Gonzalez episode is one too on the basis of mere incompetence.
The Royals signing of Jose Guillen stands as one of the worst deals of the past few years. Guillen must know that himself, because he's trying to save the club money in other ways:
Royals outfielder José Guillen expects to return to full-time drills, perhaps by this weekend, after easing the pain in his right big toe by yanking out a severely ingrown nail. The nail was only a slight irritant Monday when Guillen reported to camp but soon worsened from the pounding caused by various workouts. "The doctor saw me (Wednesday)," Guillen said, "and he said we’ll see how it feels in the morning. If it wasn't any better, he wanted me to have surgery. I thought, 'Whoaaa.' "So I went on my own (Wednesday) to the pharmacy, got some tweezers, came home and pulled it out myself. Let me tell you, I cried. I had one tough hour. But I got it out."
In other news, is there any ballplayer who trusts established institutions less than Guillen does? You'll recall a few years ago that Guillen eschewed banks in favor of check cashing businesses. Now he seems wary of organized medicine as well.
Of course, given that he was somewhat prescient about the unreliability of banks, maybe we should all be rethinking our health care right now too . . .
Sabermetric writing and analysis was and remains an essential corrective to inane, old school sportswriter blather, but I like a little right-brained action too, ya know? Thank goodness then for Phil Bencomo, late of Baseball Toaster's Cub Town, who has a new project in the works:
As much as baseball is about statistics, it is about stories. Every fan’s head is filled with numbers, but it’s filled with memories, too. In that spirit we announce The Baseball Chronicle. Every month or two, we choose a theme and publish great stories based, however loosely, on that theme. If you love baseball storytelling, then we think you’ll love the Chronicle, too.
The first theme is "hooked," and Phil is looking for submissions:
We’re looking for personal stories and essays, interviews and original journalism.
This sounds like a really worthy endeavor. I may very well put my story-telling pants on and submit something. I hope some of you do too.
You probably know Jon Bois best as the moderator of The Dugout, but there's more to him than merely inventing insanely clever screen names for ballplayers. Like this piece for example, in which he takes a look at the often erratic and increasingly diminishing attendance spikes new ballparks have brought their teams. Upshot: recessions and labor stoppages rather suck.
It's more of an observational piece than an opinion piece, but I do take slight issue with one of Jon's conclusions:
I wonder, though, whether the Yankees and Mets would have built these stadiums if they knew a recession was on the way. Based upon the attendance trends of the other baseball stadiums built this decade, they probably won’t get the short-term revenue boost they could really use.
Maybe not an attendance boost -- and given that the parks are slightly smaller, that's a given even if they sold out most games -- but given how much more expensive everything about these new parks is, I think that revenue will increase substantially.
I was catching up on recorded episodes of "Man vs. Wild" last night -- Bear Grylls actually ate bear poop in this one! -- when I noticed no less than three commercials for new Discovery Channel reality shows. For those who don't watch the Discovery Channel, these aren't the super-contrived kinds of shows you see on the networks or MTV or whatever. They're usually focused on one profession, like loggers, or fisherman, or something unique like that. Well, there is some degree of contrivance in these in that they always seem to follow a crew full of misfits and strong personalities within these professions, but the action is more or less straight up.
As I was watching them, I got to wondering whether there would ever be one about government lawyers or bloggers. Then I realized that the only difference would be that the former would consist of a guy in a suit and tie staring blankly at a computer screen and clicking a mouse, while the latter would consist of a guy in a t-shirt, jeans, and blue hoody staring blankly at a computer screen and clicking a mouse. They could call the show "EXXXXTREME ANALYSIS" or something. I think it would be a hit.
All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up . . .