June 19, 2013
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009
When I started writing ShysterBall in the spring of 2007, the idea was to give myself a place to be where I could escape the stress and unpleasantness of my legal career, if only for the briefest of moments. As time went on, it began to consume more and more of my waking hours and, in all honesty, interfering pretty significantly with that legal career. No, I never dropped the ball on a case, but it has been a struggle. I mean really, how is someone supposed to prepare for an oral argument when Roger Clemens is testifying before Congress? I'd like to say that I eventually managed to find balance with all of this, but that would be a lie. My life hasn't been in balance since at least 2006. Maybe earlier. Something has to be done. So I'm doing it:
I'm quitting the law. Starting November 30th I will be writing about baseball full time for NBC Sports.com.
Obviously this wasn't a unilateral decision on my part. NBC has decided that they want me all-in on Circling the Bases, and that's not the kind of thing you have to ask me twice. The people over there have been fantastic to me since I started moonlighting back in April. They've never censored a word I've written. They've never declared a topic off-limits. Their instructions to me when I started were to make some f*cking noise, and they've allowed me to do that non-stop since. When they asked me to do it full time, it was a complete no-brainer. I don't yet know how it's going to all work out -- the enormity of this is just starting to sink in -- but to say I'm excited would be something of an understatement.
Q: But Craig! Where am I going to go for my daily ATH fix come April?!
A: Right here. Well, to THT at least, because NBC has been good enough to allow me to keep doing ATH and posting it at The Hardball Times (see above about NBC being totally cool). It likely won't be in ShysterBall, because the ShysterBall name is going to go into mothballs. Right now the smart money is on it appearing as a daily post at THT Live, but we'll give you lots of advanced notice once the good Mr. Studeman and I figure it out. The upshot, though, is that everyone involved realizes just how valuable an outlet and how outstanding the readership and community is at THT, and no one wants to mess with a good thing. Day-to-day blogging will be at NBC, but ATH will continue to appear at The Hardball Times.
Q: But Craig! How can you subject yourself to the kind of abuse you get from the commenters over there every day?
A: I've learned a lot in a short period of time. I've also noticed a slight uptick in commenter quality as time has gone on. I credit many of you for that, as I have been seeing a lot of familiar commenting handles migrate over to NBC as the year has progressed. I hope that continues. And I'm sure that it can. None of you are the type who can't handle more baseball in your lives, so I'm sure you can make a point to be good boys and girls and read your THT, and then come over to NBC to see what I'm up to.
Q: So, like, what does this all mean for you?
A: I don't know. No shaving. Pants optional. Walking kids to the bus stop. Cheaper coffee. More time to go to the gym. Occasional cushion forts in the living room. I'm sure it's going to be an adjustment process. I'll ask Neyer what he does with his days.
OK, enough self-indulgent crap, we have almost a month to get all of that in. In the meantime, let me offer some thanks to some people.
Thanks ShysterBall readers of both the commenting and the lurking persuasion. I could bring more bloggy noise than anyone, but it's worthless if there's no one there to read it. I'm not the statcounter obsessive I used to be, but whenever I've lost the will to write, I've checked in to look at the numbers. When I see people who have way better things to do with their lives click and click and click like you've been doing for so damn long, I'm reinvigorated.
And away we go . . .
I may dabble, but Josh Fisher is the go-to source for all of your McCourtly goodness. Today, Josh talks about just how much of a clusterf*ck the Dodgers' sale was, and why it will make the McCourt divorce an even bigger hassle than most of us currently realize:
So, if you're counting at home, the above adds up to $421 million in financing...for a $371 million purchase. That, friends, is a little scary. And there's more. In May 2005, McCourt announced a new, $250 million 25-year note which took out B of A and what remained of the debt to Fox (after the foreclosure on the Boston property). This increased the debt load to $521 million on a $371 million purchase. This financing, known as a private placement, was provided by an unidentified group of institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies. The terms of the loan--5.66% fixed for 25 years--are relatively favorable to McCourt. The collateral for this new loan was reportedly the 300 acres of real estate surrounding Dodger Stadium--not the club itself. Importantly, one of the provisions of the private placement was that control of the Dodgers would not change hands.
That is just a snippet of an insanely fascinating (at least to people like Josh and me) post about Dodgers, Inc. The upshot of which is that the McCourts don't have nearly as much money as Jamie McCourt's filings would have you believe, and that unwinding all of this is going to be a monster headache. So much so that if I were one of the McCourts, I'd consider some kind fo truce as soon as possible that would keep joint ownership to some degree rather than risk all of the creditors calling in the notes.
Things I wrote while realizing that no matter who wins this series, one of the managers is going to get more guff than he probably deserves:
Not that guff is the worst thing a guy can take. Indeed, on the "taking" scale, guff is far preferable to grief, crap and its more colorful permutations. Really, with the exception of "rebop" guff is probably the best thing you can expect to take under the circumstances.
This video is better without any intro.
I would love to see one of these specifically geared toward every single team.
Phillies 8, Yankees 6: Jimmy Rollins on the win: "We didn't have a choice. It was either go home and watch football and college basketball or extend the season." Somewhere Cole Hamels is whimpering. He really likes college basketball. Other random thoughts:
Today is the last off day before the season is over. Can't decide if that's a good thing (no more waiting around a whole day for baseball) or a bad thing (we're so close to months of waiting around for baseball).