May 22, 2013
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Monday, April 06, 2009
Here's a story about the reasons why MLBAM ditched Microsoft Silverlight as the streaming video platform for MLB.com. Lots of technical stuff if you care, but this passage interested me the most:
The other major issue was that baseball considered Silverlight too unstable. There were some high-profile glitches, including last year's opening day, which saw many MLB.com subscribers struggling to log in and others who were unable to watch games. The malfunctions lasted several days. The rift between Microsoft and MLBAM began to grow and hasn't stopped, said the sources, adding that lawyers for each side are still arguing over Microsoft's responsibility.
Arguing lawyers is a good thing in this case. It means there's big money at stake now and big money to be made in this world later, and that's ultimately good for baseball. And, I might add, good for people who have in interest in the delivery of baseball content on the Internet.
That's what we'll have if the International Baseball Federation gets its way:
Baseball will be adding a women's component to its bid to be reinstated for the 2016 Summer Games.
There are some numbers quoted in the article, but really, I have no idea if women's baseball is terribly popular, well, anywhere, let alone organized enough to make for a viable Olympic sport. Which is not to degrade it, for it is what it is. I am somewhat more skeptical of International Baseball, which following its snub from softball -- a justified snub in my opinion -- seems rather desperate to pair up with a women's sport in order to save its own Olympic viability. It's quite possible, however, that baseball simply doesn't have the kind of international following to justify a place in the Olympics.
Not that that's a bad thing.
Well, maybe it's not official yet, but they and the Mets have an official just about everything else:
Official Automobile Classified Company: Autotrader.com
I only made up one of them. Without looking, try to guess which it is.
(thanks to Pete Toms, the Official non-Québécois Canadian of ShysterBall)
I took a shot at Joe Morgan in ATH this morning, and it has led to a lively discussion in the comments. Because I don't want to simply be that guy who tees off on Joe Morgan simply because he's Joe Morgan, however, I figured I should elbaorate a bit on what irked me.
I actually think that Morgan had a decent point in mind when he sorta criticized Jordan Schafer for the home run. Even Joe Morgan isn't going to suggest that a home run is bad, obviously. What I think he was trying to say was that it's bad for a young hitter without tremendous power to get to thinking that he's a big slugger because it risks the formation of bad habits. Maybe a young, impressionable guy like Jordan Schafer is now going to go up hacking. Maybe that home run will work like that lucky-ass golf swing you once took and screw up your mechanics for weeks. These are valid concerns.
The problem, of course, is that Morgan didn't actually make that point, and we shouldn't give him the benefit for the point we can assume he was trying to make because it's his job to be a clear communicator and he wasn't communicating clearly. And that's the problem with Joe Morgan. He's not, contrary to all of the easy anti-Morgan commentary out there, a dumb guy. He's really smart, actually. He just can't, after 25 years in the booth, get those thoughts to his lips in anything approaching a direct manner. You and I are baseball freaks so we know that there's a risk inherent in Punch and Judy guys swinging for the fences. A lot of kids or casual or potential fans may not know that, however, and on them Morgan's quasi-point was lost.
All of that said, given how fat and lifeless Myers' pitches were last night, there really isn't a danger of Schafer fooling himself into thinking he's Ralph Kiner. They were batting practice pitches, and how can any player not tee off on that kind of thing? And frankly, as a Braves' fan, I'm much more worried about Jeff's Francouer's first pitch home run. How much you wanna bet that he is now inspired to abandon whatever new approach he's alleged to have this spring and start hacking at anything near his eyes for the next month? In other words, how likely is he to be exactly like he's been since 2006?
Petco Park opened five years ago, and today the Union-Tribune takes stock:
Five years after the first Padres curveball was thrown at Petco Park, San Diego's investment in the $474 million ballpark has delivered mixed results.
To be honest, I think that the information presented in the article paints a portrait that leans towards success rather than simply being mixed. More subjectively speaking, I have a brother who has lived in San Diego for about 12 years, and his impression is that, on balance, Petco has been a positive for both the city and the Padres. It's very nice and the area in which it sits has been transformed.
Which isn't to say that Petco's example has caused me to rethink my strong opposition to public stadium projects. It may be among the best of these sorts of projects, but (a) I've seen no evidence that Moores and the Padres wouldn't have or couldn't have done this without so much public money if the city said no (and given the dearth of other viable locations for the team, exactly what kind of leverage did they have to begin with?); and (b) I've seen no evidence that, even if a large public component was inevitable, San Diego got the best deal it could. As one critic of Petco in the article says after noting that the city pays part of the park's operating expenses, "what possible rationale is there for ballpark's operating costs to be paid by the city? The Padres are a business, and a business pays for its operating costs."
Which is another way of saying that, no matter how nice these parks are from a baseball and aesthetic and municipal development point of view, it doesn't mean that they represent anything close to good government, and that's my ultimate problem with them.
I'm not a huge fan of writing big predictions pieces. It just seems to daunting, by the time my thoughts have crystalized about what might happen in the upcoming season, everyone has already written theirs, and the season has started. Oh, and I'm always wrong too. Other than that, they're great. That said, when someone shoots me an email and says "what's gonna happen?" I usually crank out 200-500 words instantly. The lesson here: don't think -- it can only hurt the ballclub.
Russ Smith of Splice Today shot me one of those emails over the weekend -- shot them to Jonah Keri, Tim Marchman, and David Pinto too -- and out thoughts about 2009, as well as Russ' own, can be found at Splice's Opening Day post.
Things to read while you contemplate snow-outs in Chicago:
Right now the Braves are undefeated and on the top of their division. Is anyone opposed to just calling it a season today and going on with our lives? No? OK, just had to ask.
The guys at River Ave. Blues have a pledge drive going to benefit the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation:
Last year we decided to use the popularity of RAB for some good, creating a pledge drive dedicated to raising money for The Jorge Posada Foundation. We based the pledges on the number of strikeouts recorded by The Big Three of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, and even though things didn’t go according to plan we still raised $1050 for Posada’s cause.
That was a tough break tying last year's drive to Kennedy, Hughes, and Chamberlain, but I think they're on the right track going with offense this year.
Like they said: it's rough out there now, but if you have the time and ability to read baseball blogs, others have it rougher than you, so please, anything you can do to help is most appreciated.
A very long piece in Vanity Fair in which a writer, who comes right out and admits that he doesn't care a lick for baseball, spends time in spring training trying to figure out if baseball will save America's psyches from the economic doldrums or something. I found it frustrating for a hundred reasons, yet still somehow hard to tear away from for most of the piece, and then he winds up with this:
Some in the crowd run for shelter, but most don’t. There’s a guy standing next to me, dressed from head to toe in Yankees apparel, and although he’s getting soaked—he looks like a wet superhero—he doesn’t move. “What a fucking lousy day for a ballgame,” he says with a snarl, and then he takes a long swig from his beer. He stares out at the field, his eyes unblinking and an expression of fierce determination on his face.
And then it dawned on me: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes "Rosebud" is just a sled, and sometimes a ballgame is just a ballgame. Go looking to find greater meaning and most of the time you won't.
Anyone who's been around here any length of time is well-aware of my man crush on Josh Wilker and Cardboard Gods. I think he's the best writer going in and around the world of baseball. That's not a qualification; just an acknowledgment that he's often not writing about baseball directly. Point is his stuff is fabulous and everyone who has read Cardboard Gods for a while has hoped that Josh would one day turn it into a book or something.
Josh Wilker is in the process of turning Cardboard Gods into a book or something:
Wilker, who works part time as an editor and proofreader in Chicago, has achieved minimal commercial success as a writer. But because of his Web site, he recently signed a contract to write a literary memoir. Tentatively called “Cardboard Gods,” it is scheduled to be published by Seven Footer Press in the spring of 2010.
Great news for Josh, and even better news for us.