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Monday, May 18, 2009
This sounds like a fabulous idea:
The Reading Phillies are looking for big eaters to attend Gluttony Night when the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins) visit FirstEnergy Stadium on Tuesday, May 19 for a 6:35 PM game.
I'm not sure if this is evidence of the greatness of America or the reasons why our enemies hate us.
I do know, however, that if you're going for volume, stay away from the funnel cake. It may seem like a nice fluffy confection, but it will bore its way into your bowels and make you wish you had never been born. It's also insanely cheap to make, so you're really not coming out ahead financially either. Ice cream may be your best bet. Dairy is getting expensive, so there are lower margins on that stuff, and unless you're lactose intolerant, you'll likely be able to keep level longer with the cold snacks than the hot ones.
Good luck. We're all counting on you.
The most protracted sale in the history of team sports is rounding third and racing, er, jogging, er, kind of shuffling for home!
Chicago Cubs buyer Tom Ricketts is close to lining up three banks to arrange the $450 million financing necessary to complete his acquisition of the team, financial sources said, positioning him to clear a substantial hurdle in the long-running sale of the club.
It's big and complicated and involves three banks and seemingly unsupportable debt, so it's basically the business equivalent of turn-back-the-clock night. Instead of retro jerseys, the guys closing the deal will wear three-button suits and carry separate cell phones and PDAs. One other retro flourish:
Ricketts has been trying to sell preferred notes in the team to raise another $50 million. These so-called “perk notes” would give the individual lenders special access to games, team executives and spring training. The notes would be repaid after 15 years. Sources differed on whether Ricketts would succeed in selling the notes, with some saying there was interest and others describing it as a hopeless cause.
Given what has happened in Yankee Stadium this year, I can't help but think that Ricketts' attempt to sell such hyper-exclusivity is going to fail in spectacular fashion. Why would anyone want "special access" to Jim Hendry anyway? He doesn't exactly give off a privileged, limited access vibe. Heck, I probably have even odds of running into him in the suit department at Kohl's or on line at Burger King or something. He may actually be in the phone book.
In any event, almost-congratulations to the Cubs for nearly getting themselves purchased in a marginally sensible deal in a less than adequate time frame.
Great stuff from Lar at Wezen-Ball, as he goes back to 1992 and re-runs the Marlns/Rockies expansion draft with the benefit of hindsight and adds a couple of choice free agent signings for good measure:
What is the Internet good for, though, if we can't take the time to figure this out ourselves? So I did just that. Using the expansion draft rules as explained on Wikipedia, a list of active rosters from 1992 and 1993 from Retrosheet, and a "leaked" list of the protected players published in the November 13, 1992, issue of USA Today, I set about running the "perfect" draft. Instead of each team always choosing the best player available at the given draft spot, the teams would choose the player who would best fit in on that particular club. It was also important to consider the limitations of the draft when making these choices so that both teams could get the best possible lineup available. Finally, I only did the first round of the draft, since it was hard enough making those 26 picks in the first place. I also allowed each team to sign a couple of free agents, though I limited signings to players who I judged might be willing to move to an expansion city. Maybe it's arbitrary, but it seemed necessary since there was no way that Greg Maddux or Barry Bonds or Kirby Puckett would ever have landed in Colorado or Florida. A list of available free agents was compiled using Retrosheet's transactions database.
He has lots of spreadsheets and stuff to back it all up. It's really quite thorough and enjoyable. Best part: Jim Edmonds, Colorado Rockies centerfielder.
On a personal level, I so wish it would have happened the way Lar has it going, because I really think that the 1993 and 1996-2003 playoff runs would have ended far differently for Atlanta if they had the benefit of David Nied.
Our friend Pete Toms has a new regular feature over at Maury's place:
The Business of Sports Network is pleased to announce the first instalment of “Last Week in Bizball”, a weekly notebook column from staff reporter Pete Toms. Each week LWIB will compile opinion and reporting on topical baseball biz subjects from the preceding week. This edition of LWIB provides updates on the international signing period, secondary ticketing and the “Andy Oliver” case.
His lead story on the upcoming international signing period points to some good minority opinion about expanding the amateur draft to cover international talent. Pete has been on this one for a long time, but he links to another voice noting that, whatever the perils facing young players from the D.R., bringing the draft to Puerto Rico was bad news on a macro level, so caution should be the order of the day.
Pete has long been contributing to Biz of Baseball and wrote a week-in-review column like this for Baseball Daily Digest last year. It's good to see him back at it.
The Pohlads are kicking in more money to the new joint. And the new joint is starting to sound pretty spiffy:
The Pohlad family on Friday announced it has again increased its contribution toward the construction of the Minnesota Twins’ new ballpark to help pay for rooftop seating and various other design enhancements . . . The Pohlads’ latest expense will help pay for Wrigley Field-like bleachers that will be built on the roof of the team’s administrative offices in left field. The rooftop deck will have room for 150 to 300 fans.
Heated concourses are a stellar idea for this park. I'm less worried about spring rain and snow outs than a lot of people are -- the Twins played in open air for 20 years before the dome was built and got through it just fine -- but there are definitely going to be some cold games in the early going, and what better than to have a warm place where fans can retreat to buy beer and foam fingers and stuff?
I'm not sure what "iconic team-related signage" is. If there are statues other than Puckett's I'd assume they'd be of Killebrew, Katt, Carew, and maybe Oliva. Kent Hrbek isn't worth a statue, but maybe they'll make a Fathead of him brutally assaulting Ron Gant down at first base during Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. You know, the out that ended the inning instead of leaving it with runners on first and third with David Justice coming to bat? In the one-run game that could have gone either way and only needed a slight correction by the hands of fate -- or the meaty sausage fingers and ham fists of Kent frickin' Hrbeck -- for the outcome to have been changed?
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Frank Murtaugh of the Memphis Flyer has a pretty sane take on today's baseball world:
Whether your take [on steroids] is outrage or apathy, though, a deep breath would be valuable as the 2009 baseball season nears its third month. The game is not dying, by any stretch. And there is reason to believe -- when (or if?) the nation's economy rebounds -- that Major League Baseball can make its second century an improvement on its first.
Fun NBC fact: Nicholas Colasanto, the guy who played the character Coach on "Cheers," was also a television director. He did episodes of "Ironsides," "Columbo," and "The Misadventures of Sherriff Lobo." He did a couple episodes of "Bonanza" too. The more you know . . .
Rays 7, Indians 5: As you probably read yesterday, Joe Maddon screwed up the lineup card by listing two third basemen and no DH, thereby causing the pitcher to have to bat because, hey, rules are rules. Even worse: Sonnanstine had to bat third. Even worse, for the Indians anyway: he went 1-3 with a double and an RBI. Ban the DH!
Padres 3, Reds 1: OK, it's probably a good time to stop saying things that imply that Jake Peavy isn't awesome anymore (CG, 4 H, 1 ER, 8K). It's also time to stop, for a while anyway, saying that the Reds are serious challengers, because serious challengers don't get swept by the Padres.
Mariners 3, Red Sox 2: a key error by Nick Green led to the loss. A team as good as the Red Sox don't have any business not having a solid shortstop. Makes me think that we're going to see the 2004 Orlando Cabrera deal redux sometime in the next couple of months.
Astros 6, Cubs 5: I've also made some Ivan Rodriguez = corpse jokes this season. Looking up and seeing him with a .286/.336/.509 line, however, makes me think I need to can that stuff for a while too. Pudge goes 1-3 with a homer -- his 300th -- and 2 RBI in the win.
Royals 7, Orioles 4: John Buck had a triple -- his third of the year -- which has me wondering if the Kauffman/Kougar renovation didn't do something unexpected. Buck also distinguished himself by trotting off the field and flipping the ball into the stands following the second out of the second inning, so the day was something of a mixed bag for him. Luke Hochevar pitched better than his debut (3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB), but that's damning with faint praise. Trey Hillman basically said after the game that if he doesn't shape up for his next outing, he's out of the rotation. As for the Orioles, when your opponent commits four errors, pulls their starter in the fourth inning, blows a late lead and strands 10 men on base and you still don't win, man, you're probably suffering some Karmic justice of some kind, aren't you?
Brewers 8, Cardinals 2: Prince Fielder is on a tear, with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last five games. His three-run job in the seventh did the trick today, putting the game basically out of reach. The Cards are sputtering, but got some good news yesterday when it was announced that Chris Carpenter is coming off the DL and will start against the Cubs on Wednesday. Well, at least it sounds like good news. If he gets shelled, it will be something of a downer, now, won't it?
Rangers 3, Angels 0: The Rangers have won seven straight and are 13-3 in the month of May. Good for them, but I gotta tell ya, seeing them win low scoring games that last less than three and a half hours is a somewhat disorienting experience.
Pirates 11, Rockies 4: Ubaldo Jimenez left after six, no doubt thinking "well, if they can just hold on for me, I've got a win." Er, yeah. Ten runs cross in Pirate 7th, as the Rockies couldn't retire any of the first 11 batters they faced that inning. Pirates' reliever Matt Daley started the hit parade, and was mercifully removed from it when an umpire threw a bad out of the way, Daley stepped on it, and he sprained his ankle. He's probably happier that happened to him than he's willing to let on, given how ugly it was out there.
Phillies 8, Nationals 6: An ugly series all around, but if you're a Phillies fan, you'll take it.
Blue Jays 8, White Sox 2: Its Roy Halladay's world (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K), everyone else is just livin' in it. I am fully aware of the limitations of the "on-pace" game, but it is fun to note that Halladay is on pace for 275 innings pitched. No one has pitched 275 innings since Dave Stewart did in 1988.
Yankees 3, Twins 2: Alex Rodriguez homers again, but it was Johnny Damon's walk-off job in the 10th that won this one. The last time New York had three consecutive walk-off wins was August 27-29, 1972, which is back before people used initially-catchy, but since then played terms like "walk-off."
Dodgers 12, Marlins 5: I think it would be fun to start pushing the meme that the Dodgers seemed lost until they met with Manny Ramirez in their hotel down in Florida, at which point they started kicking butt. Laud Manny as a motivational hero or something. Doing such a thing would be worthy because (a) it would be based on just as much -- actually a little more -- evidence than your typical "Player X is a leader for Y" reasons story; and (b) because it would drive people absolutely nuts to have to switch to their "Manny is the savior" story lines early, because you know they're saving all of them up for the playoffs. Kershaw carried a no-hitter late into the game. Oh, and Juan Pierre continues his torrid start (3-5 2 2B, 3 RBI).
Tigers 11, A's 7: Armando Gallaraga retired only two of the batters he faced and the A's were spotted to a 6-0 lead. You lose a game like that and, really, I don't even want to talk to you for a while. Detroit outscored Oakland 34-9 over the three game series.
Giants 2, Mets 0: The Mets pounded the Giants for the first three games of the series but went really quietly last night, with Matt Cain pitching six shutout innings, and Bob Howry, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson finishing it off.
Diamondbacks at Braves: Postponed: Long as I remember the rain been comin down. Clouds of mystry pourin confusion on the ground. Good men through the ages, tryin to find the sun; And I wonder, still I wonder, wholl stop the rain.