June 18, 2013
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It didn't come here, but I'm off the clock at NBC and it's the kind of thing that sparks good discussions on ShysterBall. In response to my post criticizing baseball for making all players wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson day, reader Web-Gem had this to say:
This is not a "tribute", this is MLB's way of making more money. Now the MLB can sell #42 jerseys of every player in the MLB. The kid who has the Pujols #5 jersey now has got to have the Pujols #42 jersey!
They didn't cut corners anywhere else on Yankee Stadium, so why start with the artwork?
Art broker Tracie Speca has been working 16-hour days for the past six weeks to install 1,300 vintage photographs worth a total of at least $5 million in the stadium's clubs, hallways and restaurants. Ms. Speca saved whimsical images for the suites' private bathrooms, including a shot of a group of nuns getting out of the subway for a game and another of Mickey Mantle selling chicken. Ms. Speca sorted through 60,000 images from the Daily News and sourced additional images from MLB, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress. The Yankees have already hired Ms. Speca -- whose father played minor-league ball and roomed with Pete Rose his rookie year -- to collect and install 500 to 700 additional pieces later this year.
Personally, I would have gone with Art.com. Sure, the stadium's walls would have been covered in whimsical Campari ads and those posters of the dudes sitting on the beam eating lunch during the construction of Rockefeller Center, but they would have saved an awful lot of money.
(Once again a thanks to Pete Toms for reading the Wall Street Journal so I don't have to)
In 2002, Tom Hicks famously sat on the deck of his yacht -- less than a year after signing Alex Rodriguez to a $250 million contract, mind you -- and excoriated fellow owners for not being more careful with their money. The levels of hypocrisy there were already off the charts, but it has only gotten better and better as time has gone on:
Creditors to Texas financier Tom Hicks's Hicks Sports Group have declared the company in default, a measure that could eventually dislodge the Texas Rangers baseball club and Dallas Stars hockey franchise from his control.
As Rovell notes, there's a six-month cooling off period of sorts before banks can take over the Rangers, but for all intents and purposes, the team is in foreclosure. What to do? Again, Rovell:
So the immediate solution for Hicks is to sell pieces of his teams to raise enough cash to remain the owner or eventually just hand them over to the banks. But, trust me, the banks don’t want the teams. They want the money . . . but the person who is buying has to have more cash than ever before. And someone who doesn’t have a sports team who is going to buy now is going to want majority ownership, if not immediately upon purchase, within a couple years.
If only there were someone who (a) lived in Dallas; (b) was interested in owning a sports team; and (c) had a lot of money.
If only, if only, if only . . .
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up)
Ex-baseball blogger, noted presidential historian, world class librarian, vehement Cleveland-hater, and longtime ShysterBall reader Bob Timmerman left a comment in ATH this morning about Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle:
You forget that Dodgers fans had almost been like the Jews in the desert traveling to the Promised Land with the cycle.
Which got me to wondering why it has been so long since a Dodger had done it. Which got me to Googling, which got me to something that pretty much gave me an answer. Not surprisingly, it was an article that a fellow THTer wrote, in this case David Gassko, who last year investigated park effects on various stripes of batted balls. The article is here, with a spreadsheet setting forth all of his data here.
I'll keep any explanations to a very basic minimum because I don't understand complicated things like batted ball data, but the upshot is that Dodger Stadium is, by far, the hardest park in which to hit a triple in the Majors. A factor of 1.00 is a league average park for triples. For the years 2003 through 2007, Dodger Stadium clocks in at a cool 0.51 for triples hit on flies to the outfield, and 0.72 for line drives. The former factor is much lower than anyone else's. The latter is beat by Angels Stadium, but Angels Stadium is much more generous when it comes to fly balls. Maybe Dodger Stadium's toughness on triples was obvious to many of you, but it's something that hadn't occurred to me until today.
So yeah, the Dodgers have been in the cycle desert. But in their case, the desert truly is their home.
I don't know much about what goes into deciding where All-Star games are held, but I can't recall the process being subject to intense, Olympic-style lobbying, can you?
The Reds are pursuing an All-Star date for 2013, Karen Forgus, the club’s senior vice president of business operations, said on Monday.
I guess I was always under the impression that the prerequisites for hosting an All-Star game were (a) having a park; and (b) not having had it for a while, and if those things were present, Major League Baseball simply decided to host it in your town. Or not. Am I now to understand that bids are actually packaged and weighed? Or is this a news item because what's going on in Cincinnati is a different than the process that usually takes place?
I used to pretend to be Gene Garber when I played little league, figuring that if I couldn't throw the ball very fast, the least I could do was to be deceptive. Unfortunately, my coaches were less impressed with my deception than they were with my velocity, so I continued to catch a little and play the corners and it all turned out just fine. Gene Garber's life has turned out fine too:
Garber, who retired from baseball in 1988, is 61. He and his sons Greg, 34, and Mike, 31, own and run 400 acres of farmland.
And for those of you have never heard it before, the article recounts the story of Garber putting an end to Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak. It's a great story. Gives you yet another reason to hate Pete Rose, and believe me, if you don't already hate Pete Rose, you simply haven't been paying attention.
Sorry it's been dead today, but work and other stuff has taken much of the wind out of my sails. In the meantime, for your edification and enjoyment, here are the five NBC posts I did this morning:
I have a lunch meeting today and some other assorted lawyerly B.S. this afternoon, but there will be some more posting before the whistle blow this evening.
Padres 6, Mets 5: I watched this one, as did many of you I'm sure. Allowing the winning run on a three-base error followed by a balk ain't exactly starting things off in the new park with a bang, is it? I gotta say, though, I love the fact that those guys in the restaurant behind the chain link fence in right can just get right up in Ryan Church's face and taunt him as he's trying to make plays out there. I predict that we will have (a) a beer splashing incident; followed by (b) the installation of Plexiglas by the time the All-Star break rolls around. My overall TV impressions of Citi Field: OK, I guess, but they did get a little cutesy out in right, didn't they? And is it just distorted on TV, or is that out of town scoreboard really at blimp level?
Dodgers 11, Giants 1: Orlando Hudson hits for the cycle, which is always fun, but I'd personally rather be Andre Ethier, who hit two homers rather than just one and drove in two more runs than did Hudson. Randy Johnson sees his ERA shoot north of 11, which is not fun at all if you're interested in seeing history. 300 seems very far away at the moment.
Phillies 9, Nationals 8: The Phillies win one for Harry the K.
White Sox 10, Tigers 6: Signs that I may be on the Internet too much: I read the recap of this as I was putting these together last night and saw the thing about Konerko and Dye each hitting their 300th homer and thought "wait, didn't that happen a couple of days ago?" Than I realize that, no, it was earlier in the afternoon and it just seemed like days ago, because I've probably read the same amount of online content that most people read in a week since then.
Cubs 4, Rockies 0: Ted Lilly and three relievers handcuff the Rockies, allowing only one hit. In Colorado's defense, it was 36 degrees, delayed, and rainy, and I'm guessing that there aren't a ton of places to get comfortable in the visiting clubhouse in Wrigley Field.
Pirates 7, Astros 0: I'm not going to spend much time this year talking about how these games impact my fantasy teams, but do know that I needed this start from Zach Duke very very much, and because I got it, I don't feel nearly as stupid for trading Xavier Nady away to get him. Probably doesn't matter, though. John Lackey's injury and the presence of Nick Blackburn and Jonathan Sanchez -- who I have named "the arsonist twins" -- have pretty much sunk me already.
Rays 15, Yankees 5: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Wang isn't yet all the way back from last year's injury (1 IP, 6 H, 8 ER). I'm also going to go out on a limb here and note that if the Yankees find themselves running Swisher out at first base and Ransom out at third very often, it's going to be a long damn season. Finally, I'm going to out on the farthest limb of all and say that if Swisher is your most effective pitcher of the night, you've got some problems.
Orioles 10, Rangers 9: Sure, they may have been outslugged, but how about Andruw Jones (2-3, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI)? It's almost as shocking to see him hitting well as it is to see arguably the best defensive player in my adult life at DH, probably out of necessity.
Royals 4, Indians 0: Is Zach Greinke on his way to pulling a 1972 Steve Carlton? Well, not if he continues to throw 100 pitches in five innings, but he could definitely be one of those guys who win 20 for an otherwise bad team. With a four run lead entering the ninth, this would have been a nice night for Trey Hillman to have given Joakim Soria a rest. And he tried. But Ron Mahay didn't have anything and the Mexicutioner had to come in to save his bacon.
Blue Jays 8, Twins 6: Everyone pitched in to this lousy performance by the Twins' staff. From Kevin Slowey allowing five runs on thirteen hits to Luis Ayala and Matt Guerrier allowing the Jays to pull ahead for good, it was a sold all around effort. Well, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey didn't help: he allowed no runs in the ninth, which leads me to think that he should probably be the Twins' all-time pitcher. Unless management doesn't feel like winning and being awesome and everything.
Reds 7, Brewers 6: Yovani Gallardo vs. Edinson Volquez should have been a pitchers' duel, but they gave up thirteen runs on ten hits and eight walks. Volquez won by process of elimination. The game went 3:28, and from the looks of the boxscore, it was probably a pretty brutal affair.
A's 8, Red Sox 2: Jon Lester gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in six innings. He picked two guys off of first base in succession, but the key to winning in this league, son, is to keep 'em off the bases to begin with.
Cardinals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Brian Barden hit his first career home run -- the game winner -- against the team that drafted him. Todd Wellemeyer gave up one run on seven hits and struck out four in seven innings. The Cards are 6-2, and it's about this time every year that I start wondering why I discounted them so completely before the season began.