May 23, 2013
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
And That HappenedWhite Sox 2, Rays 1: Chris Sale: 15Ks and three hits in seven and a third. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer.
Red Sox 7, Tigers 4: Jim Leyland said that we saw what we saw and should write what we saw, so let's do that: The Red Sox' second inning rally never should have happened but did because with two outs, the umpire said that Mike Aviles hit a foul tip that the catcher didn't catch. Except replays showed it was a clean swing and miss that was caught. So, per Jim Leyland's instructions, let us have some sort of robot/cyborg/android umpires now. That aside, Doug Fister did get beat up a bit, which serves him right for me having the parody song "Hey Doug Fister" in my head all weekend. It wasn't his fault, but it makes wish I had actual Train songs in my head.
Indians 8, Royals 5: Jose Lopez and Jason Kipnis combined for five RBI, which is exactly how we expected the middle of the Indians order to roll this season.
Cubs 11, Padres 7: The Cubs' losing streak finally ends with an offensive 'aslposin. Three RBI a piece for Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart. Big winds blowing out helped the teams combine for eight home runs. Chase Headley had two of 'em.
Rockies 9, Astros 7; Rockies 7, Astros 6: Wandy Rodriguez had been pitching really well. I guess all good things must come to an end, because he got tattooed in the early game of the twin bill (5 IP, 10H, 7 R, 4 ER). In the late game, Dexter Fowler tripled home Michael Cuddyer in the 10th. Fourteen pitchers were used between the teams in the nightcap.
Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2: Barry Zito, seven innings, seven hits two earned runs. Gregor Blanco doubled twice. It was Kirk Gibson's 55th birthday yesterday. On Sunday it as Siouxsie Sioux's 55th birthday. Why I knew both of those things is a mystery to me too.
Pirates 4, Reds 1: James McDonald pitched eight five-hit shutout innings. How the Pirates are at .500 with their cruddy offense is beyond me, but there they are.
Twins 5, Athletics 4: Justin Morneau drove in a couple, Joe Mauer went two for three and scored twice and Matt Capps got a save despite being greeted into the game by a chorus of boos. Just like the season was supposed to go.
Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton homered, Carlos Zambrano pitched six strong innings and Heath Bell got a 1-2-3 save. Just like the season was supposed to go.
Phillies 8, Mets 4: Ty Wigginton drove in six and Cole Hamles won his eighth.
Cardinals 8, Braves 2: Lance Lynn also won his eighth. Matt Adams drove in three. And the Braves will apparently never win a game again. They have fallen all the way from first to last place in a little more than a week.
Rangers 4, Mariners 2: Mike Napoli with a three-run homer and Matt Harrison with eight strong innings.
Blue Jays 6, Orioles 2: Drew Hutchison struck out nine in seven shutout innings and the Jays snapped their losing streak. the Orioles have lost three in a row and six of eight. For all the drama in the AL East this year, it's still anyone's division.
Brewers 3, Dodgers 2: The game was interesting, but to me the most interesting part was hearing Vin Scully explain how home plate umpire Brian Gorman's father -- also an umpire -- was buried in full umpire regalia with a ball-strike counter in his hand, set to 3-2. I'm sure that's not proprietary information, but I'm also sure that only Vin Scully is gonna talk about that stuff during a game. And it's awesome. Oh, and Jerry Hairston is hitting .394/.474/.530 in 66 plate appearances. The most useful bench dude in the majors this year?
Angels 9, Yankees 8: Picked a wrong morning to have to wake up for an early as hell flight, because it meant I didn't stay up to watch Mark Trumbo hit a walkoff homer to end this wild one. The Angels blew a three-run lead and suffered the early loss of Jered Weaver to win their seventh straight. Perseverance? I think so. And definitely a team turning things around.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:35am
Friday, November 27, 2009
See you on the other sideAnd thus endeth the current iteration of ShysterBall. Starting Monday it will be all CTB, all the time. It'll be everything ShysterBall is and more. I'm hoping you all join me.
But this is not goodbye old friends, it is merely farewell, for I will be back on the esteemed pages of THT come April with "And That Happened." Same Bat Time -- early -- but different Bat Channel -- most likely at THT Live. I may even start doing it on the weekends. We'll see.
Like I said yesterday, thanks to all of you for making this blog everything that it has become. If it weren't for your clicks, comments, praise and, occasionally, scorn, I would have quit a long time ago. If that had happened and I never would have realized my dream of becoming a full time writer and there would be one more practicing lawyer in the world come Monday. Nobody needs that.
I'm the luckiest sonofabitch on the face of the Earth, and don't you think for a second I don't know that. And for that allow me to, once again, offer my thanks.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:00pm
My Morning in ExileI actually came in to work today because I figured my last day should be a Friday. I'm like the only attorney in the whole office. Even better? They entrusted me with the coffee club money to pay the guy from the catering company who comes by on Fridays. What's stopping me from running off with the $26 they gave me? For that matter, what's to stop me from running off with laptops, video conferencing equipment and The Great Seal of the State of Ohio? I'll tell you what: Ethics. You double-cross once - where's it all end?
OK, that last one was a stretch, but I had it in me mind to do all of these with "Miller's Crossing" quotes, and that's the best I could do.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:22am
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Giving ThanksThe past couple of Thanksgivings I did a post in which I ran down the teams, one by one, and noted what they had to be thankful for. I don't have that kind of snark in me this year. Probably because I'm so damn preoccupied with those things I am thankful for.
This time last year I had been laid off -- but wasn't yet gone -- from my last law firm and I was unsure of what the new year held for me and my family. Things worked out alright, of course. After a 47-day vacation to begin the year I started at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and everything worked out OK. There are people who had and are having way, way worse times of it than I had, but during that uncertain time I was constantly made aware of how many good friends I have and how great my family truly is.
This time last year I was also winding down the original Blogspot ShysterBall and getting ready to jump over here to THT. As I sit here today, just under a year from the switch, I can't believe I ever blogged anywhere else. The THT folks -- from Studes on down -- have been unbelievably welcoming and supportive, and the THT readership has been beyond outstanding. Having so many smart people reading the blog has made me keenly aware of what I don't know, and knowing what you don't know is the key to learning and improving. B.S. is easy. Thank you all for not allowing me shovel it more than I already do.
So here we are at another Thanksgiving; my favorite holiday and the time of year when I traditionally take stock of where I am in the universe. In four short days I will again begin something new. I'm not going to lie to you: I'm nervous. Nervous that I don't have the chops to do what I do now in six to ten posts in a given day across sixteen or twenty or more posts over at NBC. Nervous that the readership won't get or appreciate Hitchhiker's Guide or "2001" or "Miller's Crossing" or World War I references. Nervous that the need to generate traffic and buzz and all of that stuff will cause me to shovel more B.S. than I already do and become some sort of Walter Winchell caricature. Wait -- I like Walter Winchell; he had pizazz. I'm actually nervous that I'll become some sort of Perez Hilton for baseball or something. I doubt I will, but stranger things have happened. How about you all just follow me over and keep me honest, OK?
But enough about me. As you gather with family and friends today take a few moments and think about how profoundly wonderful it is that we have people who love us and people we love. It's a nasty world. I tend to have a pessimistic view of human nature. For that reason, I am encouraged whenever I see people caring for one another in even the smallest of ways. Like it's a triumph over hate and want and death and entropy and all of that terrible stuff that stalks us all, whether we know it or not. Yeah, that sounds like a downer, but when you view human kindness as a virtue instead of a given you're rarely disappointed.
OK, I'm going off the rails here. For now let me cut things short and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:00am
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The final Geoff Baker Rigidity Award of the ShysterBall EraRemember the Geoff Baker Rigidity Awards? If not, they were a short series of posts I wrote last spring in the wake of the Jerod Morris/Raul Ibanez steroid dustup. You know, the one in which a blogger said that it was possible, based on a statistical pattern, that Raul used PEDs and then every mainstream writer came out of the woodwork to attack said blogger for being irresponsible? Following all of that, our friend Geoff Baker wrote a column in which he claimed that the people who hurl this kind of baseless innuendo wouldn't have passed the "very rigid course" he taught at Concordia University. Never mind that Baker himself and countless other members of the media had done the same or worse in the past without anyone raising an eyebrow. A blogger though? Lord, have mercy.
Anyway, I recap all of that because, for the first time in a long time, we have a candidate. It's Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News, who in the process of breaking down Philly's third base options, says this about Adiran Beltre, a man who has never been accused -- based on any evidence anyway -- of doing steroids:
Beltre, 31, hit 48 home runs with the Dodgers in 2004, but who didn't hit 48 home runs in the pre-congressional steroid hearings world of 2004?
You'll recall that Rick Reilly won the first ever GBRA for his own evidence-free accusation of Beltre. Did Beltre take steroids? I don't know! For what it's worth, Beltre denies it and, for even more of what it's worth, though it may have been a "pre-congressional steroid hearings" world, they were testing for steroids in 2004.
But the point is that neither Donnellon nor Reilly know either, and if they're going to drag Jerod Morris or any other blogger through the mud for leveling such claims, they had better be prepared to withstand Geoff Baker's rigidity as well.
(thanks to reader Jay S. for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:14pm
My Morning in ExileAs I'm winding up work this morning, a law student who has worked in my office as a clerk since the beginning of summer left me a mix CD entitled "Music that Craig Likes?" She and I have been friendly enough, but we've never talked about music or pop culture or anything like that. Certainly not about anything of enough substance that would give anyone a sufficient lead to go and pick out 15 songs that are likely to be up my alley. Skeptical, I put the CD in. The results: fabulous. Mostly old school punk -- Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, and more mainstream stuff like the Ramones and the Clash -- but also some nice 80s and 90s flavor like Billy Bragg, Nick Cave and the Pixies. To top it off, she ended it all with "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow because, hell, just because. All stuff I love, but mostly stuff I last had on Memorex tapes circa 1990 and lost somewhere between then and real adulthood. If she had merely parroted my current record collection she would have gotten points for coming up with a good profile. Putting together stuff I (a) love; and (b) have lost turned what merely could have been a fabulous mix CD into a transcendent one.
Is this law clerk some sort of mind reader or, as another coworker said a few minutes ago, do I merely give off super obvious aging hipster vibe? I don't think it's the latter. In fact, I've always assumed most people who meet me figure that I'm an old fart who generally wants people off his lawn. Which is true, of course, but either way doesn't lead anyone to think that I'd actually enjoy a CD full of punk. I dunno, the lesson here, such as there is one, is that you just never know, ya know?
Anyway: I wrote seven posts for CTB this morning. Right now they're missing for some technical reason, but I assume they'll come back soon. Stuff about Roy Halladay and the Red Sox, stuff about Johnny Damon begging the media to ask the Yankees if they'll sign him (quite an endorsement of Scott Boras) stuff about poor Frank McCourt only having a million bucks to his name. A post about Billy Wagner being a good fit for the Braves. Tim Lincecum's arbitration demand. Something about Adrian Gonzalez being off limits. There's another one in there, too, but I can't remember it. Click here. If it works, great. If not, click again later. We're reaching the point of my legal career where I feel comfortable drinking bourbon in the office, so I'm not gonna check back a whole lot.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:39am
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
My very long Morning in ExileI pulled double duty over at the Blue Network today. Let's get to it:
Ah. So that's what it feels like to blog full time. I probably need to start working out more or something, because I'm a bit winded.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:52pm
Monday, November 23, 2009
Mauer PowerPop quiz, hot shot: There's a catcher who wins the Gold Glove, the batting title and leads the league in on base and slugging percentage. What do you call him?
That is, unless you're the (presumably) Detroit-area voter who put Miguel Cabrera in front of Mauer in first place, costing him the unanimous MVP.
Same dude who voted Verlander over Greinke for the Cy Young award? If so, is it time to investigate whether this city-by-city system is the best way to go?
UPDATE: Ken Davidoff Tweets that it was Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, based in Seattle, who voted Miguel Cabrera first. I can think of no worldly justification for voting Cabrera ahead of either Mauer or Jeter for that matter, so I eagerly await Mr. Konishi's explanation.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:24pm
My Morning in ExileHad my last Monday morning staff meeting this morning. Next Monday: it's me, my cat, my Ipod, my pajamas, a pot of coffee and a big bowl of Count Chocula. Until then:
As I mentioned the other day, the job change is tempting me to take a stab at reviving my long dead personal blog. I make no promises that it will keep going -- two blogs tends to be a challenge -- but I've got a new post up today. It won't be anything like my baseball writing in terms of volume -- if I get one or two new things up a week over there I'll be happy. And if it dies again, hell, it dies.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:38am
Friday, November 20, 2009
Great Moments in Championship CelebrationsThis has nothing to do with baseball at all, but this story sent to me by MooseinOhio is so cool that I gotta post it somewhere.*
After the Celtics won the 1986 championship, [Bill] Walton sat alone in Bird’s kitchen drinking Wild Turkey until after the sun came up.
Drinking Wild Turkey in a kitchen until dawn > spraying champagne all over sweaty guys in a locker room. Though, yeah, I suppose those things aren't mutually exclusive activities after cutting down the nets.
*As an FYI, after the switchover to NBC, I'm probably going to revive my old dead personal blog for stuff that I can't really post over there, non-baseball stuff, and what have you. As of now there's only some old remembrances and a road trip diary. It might serve as a nice hangout going forward, though.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:00pm
My Morning in ExileSo I get to take the kids for their H1N1 vaccinations today. That should be a barrel of laughs. On the bright side, they're spending the night at my folks' house, so I'll only have to hear their complaining about it until I drop them off around dinner time. After that, Mrs. Shyster and I grab some fabulous Columbus cuisine and sample the hot Columbus nightlife. Well, what else are we gonna do? We're all through with "The Wire" DVDs.
As for "The Wire," the best thing I got out of it is the certainty that my recent decision to stop watching any non-ballgame-related television was a good one. Unless they bring back "Barney Miller" or something, there's no way any show can top it, so why waste my time?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:10am
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Your Thursday afternoon tizzyThere is some brewing discontent over the NL Cy Young vote, as two members of the webby portion of the BBWAA -- our friends Keith Law and Will Carroll -- did not include Chris Carpenter on their three-man Cy Young ballots. Keith voted Javier Vazquez second (Lincecum first and Wainwright third) and Will voted Wainwright first, Lincecum second and Danny Haren third. They were the only ones who included Vazquez or Haren on their ballots.
A comment about this from reader Ron in the thread below my earlier post:
“Two voters, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law of ESPN.com, did not include Carpenter on their ballots.” Nice. Leave the best pitcher in the NL off of your ballots to insure the saber-metric favorite wins. The BBWAA guys might not be the best at voting, but the saber friendly guys don’t have the right to accuse them of manipulating the vote anymore.
Ron, I love you. You've been reading this blog longer than just about anyone and I always appreciate your input. But you're factually wrong here inasmuch as even if Will changed his vote for Haren to Carpenter and and Law did the same with his Vazquez vote, Lincecum still wins. And really, if Will was really trying to throw it to Lincecum, wouldn't he have voted him first?
But I don't mean to single out Ron. I posted his comment simply because it stands at the somewhat extreme end of the discontent I've read at a few message boards. There really are people out there scratching their heads at this, and I imagine there will be at least a little grousing about their votes over the next couple of slow news days.
For my part, I wouldn't have voted the same way Keith and Will did -- neither Vazquez nor Haren would have made my ballot -- but they explain their rationale and I understand why they voted the way they voted even if I disagree with it. At the very least I understand docking Carpenter based on innings pitched, and that seems to be the point of controversy here. I'm a bit more of a romantic than Keith and Will are, I think, so I'd probably have included him on my ballot for reasons associated with his comeback from injury and all of that, but it's certainly legitimate to not include him.
I predict that some people will use Keith's and Will's votes in some argument that statheads shouldn't be given the franchise over the next couple of days. Such an argument, if it comes, should be rejected out of hand. At most this is some down-ballot curiosity, the sort of which we see on the votes for every award.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:24pm
Lincecum takes the Cy YoungI don't have a link yet, but people are talking about it already. He's a fine choice. Great year. I probably undervalued the fact that he had more innings than Carpenter, so no arguments here.
Given that he has a court date on a controlled substance thing coming up soon, be prepared for the most boring celebration party of all time.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:54pm
My Morning in ExileI know it's basically just been a string of MMIE's lately, and for that I apologize. Wrapping up one's legal career and preparing to jump right into a new one really has a way of taking up the afternoon. Still, six new posts a day ain't exactly chopped liver as far as baseball bloggers go. You can still complain in the comments, though. Heck, I'm not happy with it myself. I feel like I'm watching baseball from 1000 yards right now. Anyway:
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:16pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My Morning in ExileIn the wake of my many threats to grow the greatest Grizzly Adams beard the world has ever seen once I start blogging full time next month, my wife emails me this post written by famed blogger Heather Armstrong and says "you married the wrong woman!" Which, while I see her point, is totally not true. Armstrong may have a thing for guys at computers with beards, but she's a stay at home blogger too. If I had married her, our kids wouldn't have health insurance. So, no worries Mrs. Shyster, I still love you and all of your fabulous benefits . . .
Parent-teacher conference at ShysterDaughter's kindergarten at 1PM. I have this feeling that the fact that I've been calling her "Mookie" lately is going to come up.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:31am
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Great Moments in Transparency: Christina Kahrl’s Rookie of the Year voteIt's too much to ask every writer to be as thorough as Christina Kahrl is in explaining her Rookie of the Year vote, but how nice would it be if every voter actually explained the thought process behind their awards choices?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:59pm
It’s GreinkeNot a big surprise. Two writers voted King Felix first. One voted for Verlander. First place votes for Sabathia would have bothered me. Overall nothing to complain about here.
He's getting married on Saturday too, so all in all it's a pretty good week for Zack.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:41pm
My Morning in ExileSlow day, so I scan the news. Great (Captain Robert Falcon) Scott! Or was it Shackleton?
Roald Amundsen: the Chase Utley of explorers. Discuss.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:48am
Monday, November 16, 2009
New Twins uniforms revealedNew house, new duds:
Plans for the new uniforms and logos unveiled today include:
Some pics available here. Some others here. Personally, I like the elimination of pinstripes on the road, which I think looks impossibly lame. Pinstripes = sharpness. Sharpness demands white. Pinstripes on gray looks terrible.
I also like the near elimination of the "M" cap (it's still available in an alternate cap). The TC is one of the coolest logos around. The more of that the better. And of course, as I've mentioned many times in the past, the M logo gives me flashbacks to 1987 and 1991, and those Twins teams bummed me out pretty terribly.
If they really wanted to be cool they would have eliminated the solid blue home alternate which never, ever, ever, ever, ever looks good. On any team. Anywhere. at any time. Solid jerseys that don't match the pants ought to be banned.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:28pm
Rookies of the Year: Bailey and CoghlanOver at NBC I figured that Beckham and Happ would win it. I even forgot to mention Andrew Bailey in my first pass at it and had to go back and update. Shows you what my figuring is worth:
A's right-hander Andrew Bailey's rise from Minor League obscurity to Major League limelight turned historic Monday when he was named the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year.
The franchise with a knack for producing some of the best young talent in the Major Leagues has another gem to add to its resume -- Chris Coghlan.
I'll take Hanson and Beckham over both of them over the long term, but hey, that's not what the award is about.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:55pm
“The Official Major League Baseball World Series Film Collection”If anyone is looking for something to buy me for Christmas:
"The Official Major League Baseball World Series Film Collection" (A&E, $229.95), a spectacular DVD set that contains 20 discs featuring extensive footage of 65 World Series from 1943 to 2008.
"Thick, elongated hard"
What's not to love?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:27pm
Sign this petitionI've signed way less important petitions than this one.
To: Major League Baseball, MLB Network
Do your part for democracy here.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:01pm
My Morning in ExileSo I'm trying to decide if, upon leaving the legal job, I'm going to keep the law license active or let it slip into inactive status. On the one hand, letting it go inactive saves me several hundred dollars and about 15 hours sitting in a classroom taking continuing legal education classes between now and the end of December. On the other hand, not actually having my license active will prevent me from filing all of those nuisance lawsuits I had always envisioned slapping on people once I left the legal job. I mean sure, I could reactivate the license by filing some paperwork and paying a small fee, but that takes a few days. What happens if I get really angry and need to sue them RIGHT NOW?!
Another career question: Starting in December, how am I supposed to answer when people ask me what I do for a living? It seems a little presumptuous of me to say "baseball writer." Roger Angell is a baseball writer. Joe Posnanski is a baseball writer. I snark on headlines and argue with people all day. At the same time, if I say "baseball blogger," about 97% of the people are going to respond with "that's . . .that's a job?" So many questions.
UPDATE: Mrs. Shyster is too good to comment among you heathens, but she did just email me and suggest that I answer thusly in response to such questions. This is why I love Mrs. Shyster.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:25am
Friday, November 13, 2009
Mr. GQSo, like, I was building this prototype teleportation machine, and just as I was about to test it on Derek Jeter, the Unfrozen Caveman version of Johnny Damon accidentally fell into the transport pod. Total mess.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:57pm
“The New York Mets will be facilitating activities that directly violate international law”If you were to tell me that a Major League team bumbled its way into an international incident, I would immediately say "The Mets. It was the Mets, right?" I mean, is there any other possible answer?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:29pm
My Morning in ExileWater on the moon? "The Lcross Mission" Noah Cross? Water where it should not naturally be? Forget it Jake . . .
I don't know why those kitty cats were even nosin' around for water up there. Don't they know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:15pm
Thursday, November 12, 2009
My Morning in ExileWhen you have Wednesday off work, Thursday is Monday. Considering that Monday sucks and that I never really got the hang of Thursdays, I'm just really off my game today. Maybe I'd feel better if opposing counsel in one of my cases were to call me and say he was going to "take a meat axe" to me. Damn, that happened this morning too, and it only made me feel happy for a little while. Sigh.
I should totally set up a status conference in the case with the meat axe guy for November 30th.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:02pm
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Two thoughts on Marvin MillerI wrote over at NBC this morning that I think Marvin Miller was a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. Not everyone agrees with that. Not even some pretty damn reasonable people. Here are two perspectives. First Rob Neyer:
I mentioned this morning that I'm still an agnostic regarding Whitey Herzog's Hall of Fame candidacy. I suppose I'm also agnostic about Marvin Miller. Before you tear my head off, let me ask you one question: If you believe that Marvin Miller belongs, would you be comfortable with Scott Boras someday joining Miller? Because Boras, too, has been historically significant and reaped untold millions of dollars for the players.
Point taken, but doesn't the innovation trump mere exploitation? Isn't comparing Miller to Boras this like comparing Henry Ford and Lee Iacocca? Wait, that's not even fair. Iacocca at least developed the Mustang. Isn't that like comparing Ford and the CEO of Toyota? If there's an automobile Hall of Fame Ford's in it. The CEO of Toyota isn't.
Another perspective comes from NBC commenter Simon DelMonte (don't worry; he's one of the reasonable ones over there):
I'm as pro-union as they come in this day and age, the son of a proud member of the teachers union. And I usually agree with Marvin Miller when he gives interviews on the state of affairs in baseball. But I still feel uncomfortable about having him in the Hall. His accomplishments were off the field. Period. And just don't know if they helped the game. Helped the players, yes. The game? I don't think so.
Well, for starters there are a lot of guys in the Hall whose accomplishments were "off the field," so that's a non-starter. I understand the thinking behind the "good for the players and not the game" argument, but I don't buy it. The game is radically different now than it was before free agency, I'll grant that. But I think it's a tall order to say that the game is worse off. More people watch it now. Everyone makes more money. The quality of play remains high. There is competitive imbalance, but is it any worse than what we saw during the alleged Golden Age? Are Royals fans really worse off than St. Louis Browns fans were? Wait, we can't answer that because there are no more St. Louis Browns.
As for Flood: if you're inclined to put him in the Hall of Fame, I can't see how you can argue against Miller. Miller was behind Flood's challenge in the first place. If failed in his case. Miller persisted and ultimately won with other players what could not be won with Flood alone. Ultimately they were after the same thing, and one succeeded where the other failed. Why honor the guy who failed instead of the one who succeeded? Put less harshly, why honor the name out in front of the challenge instead of the mastermind?
Ultimately my argument for Miller comes down to this: there were three times in baseball history where everything frickin' changed: the end of the deadball era, the integration of baseball and the advent of free agency. Marvin Miller was the force behind that third one. How can you not honor that?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:28pm
My Morning in ExileSorry for the late Exile post, but I had the great fortune of taking a cat to be euthanized! Second one this year! On the bright side: the lone remaining cat has been on his absolute best behavior for the past two hours. Anyway:
R.I.P., Ringo. Watch your ass George.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:02pm
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My Morning in ExileBefore we get to the posts, take a look at some amazing pictures of that Utah salt flat NASA tried to sucker us into believing was the moon forty years ago.
I wish the photo at the link would have focused more on the West Crater so we could see the Monolith. Wait -- It's buried 40 feet below the lunar surface near the crater Tycho. Forget I said anything.
UPDATE: The 2001 reference got me surfing, and I made it over to the "memorable quotes" section of the IMDB page for the sequel, "2010." This passage stood out:
Heywood Floyd: I'd love a hot dog.
It's not quite 2010, and neither of those stadiums exist anymore. I can't help but think the writers of the flick, back in 1984, thought "well, the Astrodome is totally futuristic, so it'll still be around 25 years from now. And Yankee Stadium is freakin' Yankee Stadium. Let's go with those references.!"
And while I'm rambling, allow me to go on record as absolutely loving "2010." No, 2001 didn't call out for a sequel -- quite the opposite actually -- and it's not as good as 2001, not does it even attempt to be. But it works on its own merits, and has a bunch of nifty performances by actors I really like. Lithgow and Scheider mostly, but the always welcome Bob Balaban as well. I probably watched that flick on HBO 100 times when I was a kid, and if it's ever on now -- usually SciFi or some other low rent channel -- I'll watch it all the way through again.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:20am
Don’t bring Griffey back SeattleThe Seattle Times' Larry Stone thinks that the Mariners should bring Ken Griffey Jr. back. There are many words, but it essentially boils down to this:
I believe Griffey still has something to offer. He can tickle Ichiro, bring laughter to the clubhouse, hit an occasional bomb and take one more crack at October.
With the exception of the occasional bomb, he can do those things as a bench coach. And those occasional bombs are more than outweighed by his other liabilities. Just say no, Seattle.
Retire his number on opening day. Enshrine him in any Hall of Fame at your disposal. Offer him any job in the organization he wants this side of GM. But don't give the man a roster spot.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:20am
Monday, November 09, 2009
Jeff Pearlman continues to loathe his jobThe working conditions are terrible. None of his colleagues do their job. The whole damn operation is a waste of time. I'm just waiting for the "I don't believe in nothin' no more, I'm goin' to law school!" post.
Not that I don't see where Pearlman is coming from. Press boxes are bad places to watch games. Reporters do ask inane questions. Athletes do give vapid answers. That whole scene is rather silly.
But rather than mope about it, Jeff, do something about it. Tell SI that you're done with the conventional beat and you want to cover stories differently. Tell them you want to eschew the box, dispense with the postgame interviews and ask the questions you're presumably not allowed to ask. You wonder why no one asks if Jay Cutler is overrated? Ask it yourself! You want to rain on the Bears' playoff pretensions? Do it!
But for God's sake, drop the pity party. Everyone has a job they hate from time to time. None of us like being away from our kids for work. All of us, however, sack the hell up and get on with it.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:13pm
Tom Brookens SightingYou probably have to be in your mid-30s and had to have lived in Michigan in the mid-80s in order to care about this.
Anybody know what John Wockenfuss is up to?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:49pm
Chalk pulls a FavreRemember Dave Chalk's retirement from Bugs & Cranks last week? Well, he's takin' a mulligan.
You'll recall my bewilderment re: Dave's stated dissatisfaction over steroids and money and stuff ruining baseball, and wondering why that all of a sudden became a problem for him when it was nothing really new. He responds, with the upshot being that 2008-2009 were particularly bad in those departments, thus fueling his dissatisfaction. The substance is too long to blockquote, so click on through to read his explanation.
I like to see more baseball bloggers, not less, so good for Dave for taking a week and rethinking it all.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:10pm
My Morning in ExileTwenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell. I'm obviously not equipped to do the event historical justice in this space, so I'll share my own shallow personal remembrance: I was in the 11th grade, taking an advanced placement government and politics class. The teacher was way more interested in international relations stuff, however, so the syllabus and text for the class was premised almost exclusively on Cold War politics. With the fall of the wall, the entire lesson plan for the class was essentially mooted. It was at that moment that I realized "hey, maybe they're not teaching us everything we need to know in school."
Secondary remembrance: the fall of the Wall led directly to the Scorpions' late-career hit "Winds of Change." Who would have thunk that a band who once put out an album called "Virgin Killer" with a cover depicting a nude pre-teen girl covered in broken glass would one day tell us everything we needed to know about the thawing of NATO-Warsaw Pact relations? Anyway:
One definition of happiness: receiving a case schedule from a court and realizing that you'll be long gone before any of the hard stuff has to be done.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:38am
Friday, November 06, 2009
Great Moments in PlagiarizationESPN plagiarised -- and then un-plagiarised and apologized for plagiarising -- a story on my NBC colleague Mike Florio's Pro Football Talk blog. Best part of it is the first comment on ESPN's article after the correction was made:
Jesus... at least plagiarize a legitimate site... you're now poaching off of a failed lawyer's sports blog
That works for me on so many levels.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:24pm
The Nats lay people offFrom Washington Business Journal:
The Washington Nationals, which finished its 2009 season with the worst record in baseball, recently laid off several people in the team's executive offices, according to sources close to the team. Two former employees, who asked not to be identified, admitted to being laid off by the team.
So I guess that means the other person let go was Strasburg?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:05pm
McCourt UpdateI didn't get to it today due to other obligations, but you don't need me when you have Josh to tell you all that has happened. Obviously the most notable thing in all of this is that the person who will be overseeing the case is named Commissioner Gordon.
It's nice to see him back to work after what happened to Barbara.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:43pm
My Morning in ExileFor reasons that aren't important, I took out a supplemental disability insurance policy a few years ago. I can't remember the terms and don't have the policy handy, so I got on the phone with my broker this morning and asked him if the fact that I'm not going to be a lawyer anymore makes a difference for my coverage. I won't bore you with the details, but the conversation ended with "well, you're still basically going to be sitting in front of a computer and typing all day, so it's not like anything new is happening . . ." Nothin' like that kind of ego boost to power you through your day!
It may be quiet this afternoon. I have all manner of administrative hooey I need to deal with. I've been leaving jobs at a fairly regular clip for 20 years now, and the paperwork just gets more arduous.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:39am
Deep Thoughts: Tim Lincecum EditionI'm sure you've all seen this by now:
An officer approached Lincecum's 2006 Mercedes and smelled marijuana as the pitcher rolled down his window. Schatzel said Lincecum immediately complied with a request to hand over the drug and a marijuana pipe from the car's center console.
Lincecum pitched a two-hit shutout last June 29th, but this was his first career one-hitter.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:23am
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Bit dramatic, ain’t it?I'd like to think that the announcement by Bugs & Cranks' Dave Chalk that he is quitting the baseball blogging business is dry humor, and that his leaving B&C is occasioned by another offer or a lack of free time or something as opposed to truly being disgusted with the sport. If not, it's simply baffling. He's been blogging about baseball for less than three years. None of the factors he cites -- high payroll teams having advantages, steroids -- came onto the scene anew during that period.
If he is being straight-up about it, it just reinforces what I've always told people who ask me about blogging: I don't care if it's baseball or politics or tech or sitcoms or the self-indulgent, overrated novels of Susan Sontag. If you're going to seriously blog about something, you had better love the subject matter or at the very least find your peace with its flaws, because you're going to be living and breathing it.
Good luck with whatever you're moving on to, David.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:08pm
Judge to Jamie McCourt: No you can not have your job backNot yours:
A court commissioner has denied Jamie McCourt's bid to be reinstated as the chief executive of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon ruled Thursday in Los Angeles there is no state law to support her bid.
I hate it when judges cite B.S. reasons for ruling against you. Stuff like "there's no state law to support your arguments" and "your pleading was a month late" and "you're not wearing any pants, Mr. Calcaterra, please cover yourself before I throw you in jail, you utter disgrace of an attorney."
You know, just by way of example.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:43pm
My Morning in ExileNot sure why I'm writing this -- I'm guessing most readers are off work today for Guy Fawkes Day and everything -- but for those of you in essential services . . .
Glad the series ended last night. If it had gone to Game 7, I'd have a living room half full of baseball fans and half full of people commemorating the unravelling of the Gunpowder Plot! AWK-ward!
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:35pm
The Yankees and the DUI checkpointThis story is mostly about Joe Girardi helping an accident victim on his way home from the ballpark last night, but this is all kinds of fun:
Police were in the area conducting a driving while intoxicated checkpoint on the parkway. In fact, about 15 minutes earlier, Girardi had passed through a driving while intoxicated checkpoint on the parkway. Cristiano, who was working the checkpoint, congratulated him on his first win as a manager and waved him through. He hadn't been the only Yankees member to pass by the checkpoint. Pitcher Andy Pettitte also passed through earlier.
Of course it makes perfect sense that Girardi and Pettitte were waved through with a smile. I mean, it's not like there was any video of them drowning in booze from less than two hours prior . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:47am
And That Happened: World SeriesYankees 7, Phillies 3: Champs. You saw it, so no need for me to describe it. I'll just offer some observations:
I suppose I could go on all day. And really, there won't be much other news happening, so I probably will. For now, congratulations to the 2009 New York Yankees, champions of baseball.
151 days until Opening Day.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:40am
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Viva DemocracyWith perks like these, you'd think the folks in Congress wouldn't beat baseball up over steroids and stuff as often as they do. I mean really, isn't a bribe worth anything in Washington anymore?
Tickets for Wednesday's World Series game are nearly impossible to come by at face value. But that isn't the case if you are a member of Congress or one of their aides.
(thanks to reader Rich C. for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:02pm
My Morning in ExileJust want to thank everyone for all the kind words in my little ego thread yesterday. It's humbling to say the least. I feel like Johnny Fever after he told people to go throw garbage on the steps of city hall and they actually, you know, did it. I'll try to get back into my usual snarky-ass ways as the day progresses, but I'll admit: it would be way easier if Bailey Quarters were here to help me get my mojo back like she helped Johnny in that episode. Alas.
BTW: Happy 59th birthday to Markie Post. (Call me).
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:00am
Great Moments in Being Vicente PadillaLadies and gentleman, the man on which Joe Torre depended to stave off elimination in the NLCS:
Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla accidentally shot himself in the right leg, the Dodgers confirmed Tuesday, but the wound is believed to be minor.
Whatever. I couldn't get too mad about that, even if I was a Dodgers fan. What I can't abide, however, is the fact that one of my NBC colleagues stole the Warren Zevon reference I was going to drop. I'm not going to get a chance like that again. At least until some ballplayer loses their head in a war in the Congo.
I haven't officially signed my NBC deal yet, but rest assured, prior to doing so I will check the fine print to make sure that I have the authority to have Harkins killed if something like this happens again.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:31am
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Programming NoteWhen 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 . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:52pm
The McCourt divorce: messier than you could possibly imagineI 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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:10pm
My Morning in ExileThings 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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:22am
From the WTF departmentThis video is better without any intro.
I would love to see one of these specifically geared toward every single team.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:30am
And That Happened: World SeriesPhillies 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).
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:43am
Monday, November 02, 2009
My Morning in ExileLots of cross-pollination between NBC and THT this morning, as every time I wrote something in one place, someone would tell me something interesting and new about it in the other. Who says that the mainstream media and new media can't get along?
Lots of legal work today, so there's a chance this afternoon will be light going. Must do something about that . . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:33am
Quote of the Day: Johnny DamonIn Lupica's column, via CTB reader comeoneman:
"What were you doing going to third?" Damon was asked in the Yankee clubhouse.
And in case you've missed the comments in ATH this morning, eagle-eyed and elephant-brained ShysterBall readers recall that Willie Mays and Brandon Phillips both pulled that play off before, stealing against anti-McCovey and anti-Dunn shifts. Please let me know of any others.
Not that it still wasn't totally cool to see it happen live.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:18am
And That Happened: World SeriesYankees 7, Phillies 4: On the one hand, the double steal by Damon in the 9th doesn't really matter, right? He'd be on second base before the A-Rod hit and still would have scored, even if someone had thought to cover third. On the other hand, Brad Lidge was on the mound, and that guy is something less than grace under pressure. You know he was worked up about that play when he hit Teixeira, and you have to figure he was still thinking about it when he threw the pitch to A-Rod.
But that's boring post-hoc analysis. As it happened, all I could think was "WOW!" I have no horse in this race, but I stood up and shouted at my TV when Damon took off from second, just as amazed at what was happening as I was amazed at how quickly Damon reacted, realizing that there was no one at third and that he had the edge in the footrace. My next thought was "man, they've been playing baseball for more than 150 years, so you'd think everything that has happened could happen, and then something like THIS happens." I'm guessing some guy will dig deep somewhere today and find an account of this happening before, but the fact that he'll have to dig is testament enough to that play.
But maybe it hasn't happened. Think about the perfect storm of weirdness that has to occur for that play to happen: (1) the overshift has to be on with the third baseman covering the play, just, like they had on for Teixeira; (2) someone has to be stealing with an overshift on, which by definition means that someone is attempting a steal when a fierce pull hitting lefty is at the plate, which is usually a low-percentage play; and (3) a defensive brain fart, to the extent the pitcher not covering third on a stolen base -- something which doesn't come up too often -- can be considered a brain fart. If I had to guess, I'd say that someone got a double steal awarded to them on a bad scorer's call at some point, when an error really should have been recorded. My guess is that it happening like Damon did it has never happened before.
Anyway, it's 3-1 now, with Cliff Lee on tap. My Yankees in 6 pick looks reasonably safe right now. Unless things like momentum and statements and dramatic turning points and all of that mean anything, in which case New York takes it tonight.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:29am
Friday, October 30, 2009
Pearlman on McGwireJeff Pearlman brings the Mark McGwire sanctimony:
Worst of all, however, McGwire was a baseball thief. At the very moment his 341-foot home run landed behind the outfield fence, he robbed Roger Maris of the most important record in professional sports. He robbed the Maris family of future income from 61-related merchandising and events. He robbed the Hall of Fame -- which swooped up McGwire memorabilia as if it were free Twinkies -- of its credibility, he robbed those fans who spent hundreds of dollars for a ticket in order to witness history and he robbed thousands upon thousands of kids of a seemingly genuine role model.
Pearlman often writes how disgusted he is with what baseball has become. I can't help but think that if he hadn't had such a ridiculously idealistic notion of what it was in the first place, he never would have crashed so hard to begin with.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:56pm
Great Moments in Niche BloggingReader and Dodger fan Josh Fisher has found his bloggy calling. It's called Dodger Divorce. But allow Josh to explain it:
Greetings, Dodger fans, and a pleasant afternoon to you, wherever you may be. Welcome to Dodger Divorce, a blog designed to be your one-stop shop for news and insight into the McCourt divorce and how it will affect the Boys in Blue.
If you're a Dodger fan, I presume that you'll want this blog to run out of content as soon as possible. Based on what we've seen in the last week, however, I see no danger of that happening.
Good luck, Josh!
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:58pm
My Morning in ExileAs brushes with celebrity go, this is pretty good. Not as good as that time I was at the urinal next to a totally wasted Marshall Faulk at the Bellagio during the Rams' bye-week in the 2001-02 playoffs, put pretty good.
The next night, also at the Bellagio, I saw Fred Schneider of the B52s dining alone at Circo. If you made a list of 1000 celebrities who you'd expect to see dining alone, would Fred Schneider ever be on it? I figured that the "Love Shack" video was one of his home movies.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:19am
And That Happened: World SeriesYankees 3, Phillies 1: The Empire Strikes Back. Sorry, that was totally hacky. I haven't looked, but I'm guessing that line is being used by no less than two dozen outlets this morning. Anyone that can find them and make a note of it in the comments gets bonus points. Anyway:
In the copious back and forth I had with Phillies fans in my "it's not time to panic yet, Yankees" post, almost everyone said that Burnett would get lit up last night because, well, I don't know exactly why. Yes, the guy was a bit erratic down the stretch, but he was still an above average pitcher this season, totally capable of dropping a nice performance like this one last night. Teixeira and Matsui shaking off the cobwebs was welcome too. And for the "good outcomes don't mean good decisions were made" file, how about Molina picking off Werth and Posada hitting that pinch hit RBI? I bet Burnett still has good stuff and wins last night even if Posada was behind the plate, but with it breaking down the way it did, Girardi will probably get some genius points today, for whatever they're worth.
Ah, Pedro. I love the guy. Like I said over at NBC, I hoped like hell that he would be able to catch some 1999 lightning in a bottle. He didn't quite do that -- who could? -- but he gave a solid and gutsy performance, showing all of the smarts and guile he's always had, even if he doesn't have the velocity anymore. But really, if you had told anyone before the game that he'd throw over 100 pitches, lasting into the seventh and giving up only two runs before his exit, you would have assumed a Philly win, right? He was just met with a better performance by his counterpart. That happens.
I can't tell you how much I've been enjoying this World Series so far. I'm a pitching guy, and we're four for four in solid starting pitching performances. Here's hoping it keeps up.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:38am
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Frozen Ropes and Dying QuailsYou may remember The Baseball Project, which was a supergroup of sorts (R.E.M.'s Peter Buck being the biggest name) that put out an album of baseball-related songs last year called "Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails." I had it in my "must acquire and listen to" file but lost track of it. MooseinOhio had his ears on last night and heard it featured on NPR's World Cafe last night. Interviews with the principals and some of the music.
A good time killer before tonight's game.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:12pm
Phillies trying to end World Series droughtYa gotta believe:
The last time the Philadelphia Phillies brought a World Series title back to the City of Brotherly Love, the nation’s financial sector was in complete ruin, the cost of a gallon of milk was only $2.74, fans watched the Fall Classic while huddled around their slightly-less-streamlined high-definition television sets, and Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard was just 28 years old.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:01pm
Great Moments in World Series HistoryA 5-0 Phillies lead has Mayor Bloomberg snoozing, Bernie Williams happy.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:50pm
22 milliseconds = $850KA big products liability award for the family of a dead American Legion pitcher and against the maker of an aluminum bat company:
Attorneys for Hillerich & Bradsby Co. argued any other bat would not have hit the ball differently; in fact, they said, most bats on the market at the time would have struck the ball harder. Patch’s death was a tragic accident, they said. The defense lawyers declined comment after the verdict was read.
I've never read the pleadings in this case and I'm not a products lawyer, so I have no idea if this is a crazy verdict or not. I will say, however, that I'm pretty dubious about such claims in general. And I say that even though I'm generally anti-aluminum bat.
UPDATE: to clarify: my general position on this is that aluminum bats are either inherently safe with proper use or inherently unsafe and are incapable of proper use that won't cause injury. The presence or absence of a warning, or a milisecond difference between reaction times off of various aluminum bats does not seem like it would render the bat either safe or unsafe to use. As such, these kinds of bats should either be banned, or else we should accept comebackers to the mound as accidents, however unfortunate they might be.
(link via BTF)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:47pm
My Morning in ExileColumbus, Ohio has the highly annoying habit of scheduling trick-or-treating on nights other than Halloween. They call it "beggar's night" and after 18 years in this town, I've still never heard an adequate explanation for why kids can't go door-to-door on the 31st. Some have suggested non-interference with high school or college football, but they move it even when Halloween falls on a Monday-Thursday. Some have claimed that, many years ago, Columbus held some city-wide Halloween party on the 31st and they wanted people to be able to do both, but no such beast exists today. There's really no good explanation. My suburb actually does it on the 31st most years, but this year they're falling in with Columbus. So we go trick-or-treating with the kids tonight, 6pm-8pm, followed by a good hour of trying to bring my children down from their sugar highs before bed.
So I guess what I'm saying is, no one email me with mid-game spoilers, because I'm going to be DVRing that bad boy and watching it late. In the meantime:
And if anyone cares, my daughter is dressing up like a witch, my son is dressing up like a construction worker, and my wife and I are dressing up like two suburban parents carrying travel mugs filled with liquor around the neighborhood while hoping nobody notices.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:57am
Now that’s a game storyThose of you who recall an era when game strories weren't mere regurgitations of the box score will enjoy Josh Levin's game story over at Slate:
On this night, the slim Phillie's casual brilliance outshines the grunting effort of his hefty ex-Indians teammate CC Sabathia. Despite a recurrent inability to spot his pitches, the Yankees starter kept every Phillie off the scoreboard excepting the brilliant, lefty-hitting second baseman Chase Utley. Down to his last strike in each of his first three plate appearances, Utley coaxed a walk and yanked two solo home runs. Utley's first shot comes with his left hand off the bat, a looping parabola that drops over Yankee Stadium's short right field porch. The second, which extends the Phillies' lead to 2-0, gets half as high off the ground and travels seemingly twice as far to deep right-center, leaving grunts and gasps in its wake.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:50am
And That Happened: World SeriesPhillies 6, Yankees 1: Cliff Lee looked like Neo on top of the building at the end of the Matrix. Like the game slowed down just for him and he could see everything in ten different ways while the Yankees were stuck in their little three dimension world. With the exception of a couple of fat pitches, CC Sabathia wasn't bad himself, but Chase Utley deposited both of those fat pitches in the seats.
If you're the Yankees, you can't really worry too much about Sabathia's fat pitches or especially what Lee just did to you. He's good. You knew he was good. You knew that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the Phillies rotation and that losing to him is no dishonor. What you do worry about, however, is the fact that neither Phil Hughes nor David Robertson could keep it close, because Burnett and Pettitte are going to need a good bullpen behind them even more than Sabathia did, and right now that pen ain't getting the job done.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:38am
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Neyer: Ryan Howard is basically Shin-Soo ChooThere have been a lot of people who have followed in Rob Neyer's footsteps over the years, but there still isn't anyone better at writing stuff that pisses off mainstream baseball writers:
Ryan Howard is pretty good. I mean, he's no Shin-Soo Choo. But pretty good, for sure.
If you don't know where Rob goes with this next, well, you're just not familiar with his work.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:02pm
IIATMS v. Wezen-BallIt's not as bad as Sophie's Choice, but picking between Jason and lar in their blog network's awards voting is kinda sorta like picking between your kids. Your baseball-obsessed, sloughing off from work, probably-got-no-family-life-to-speak-of-because-they're-reading-old-Baseball Digests-or-trying-to-hide-their-man-love-for-Derek-Jeter kids.
Each are nominated for "Best Baseball Blog." Jason is also nominated for "Blog of the Year." Vote early and vote often.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:47pm
Frank Fires BackWell, it was technically the Dodgers themselves who filed the latest brief, this one telling the divorce court -- quite reasonably, mind you -- that it has no business telling a private company whom it must and must not hire or fire, no matter who owns it. Best quote:
"Given the dysfunction which was caused by the Petitioner's prior employment, her inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee and the clear acrimonious relationship between her and Mr. Court (sic), if she were reinstated by order of this Court it would no doubt lead to this Court being called upon to oversee the day to day management of the Dodgers."
I love how Frank McCourt's lawyer misspells his name to make it look like it is a totally different party filing this thing. I also love how "The Dodgers" cite Jamie's "inappropriate relationship." If this really was the team advocating its own interests separate and apart from Frank's, don't you think they'd want to be more circumspect about citing the reasons for the employee's dismissal? What company cites this sort of thing in a public filing in a case in which they're not a party?
Of course the answer is that this isn't really the Dodgers acting in their own interests as a corporation or partnership or whatever type of entity it is. This is Frank trying to get his infidelity allegations out there as soon as he possibly can (his big brief contra Jamie's will likely take a few days to put together). That "the Dodgers" filing is signed by Frank McCourt's divorce lawyer pretty much says it all. Are there any minority owners involved in that team at all who can put an end to this silliness and get the team its own representation, or are Frank and Jamie the only people around? It's behavior like this -- and Jamie McCourt's using the team as her personal bank account as she admitted in her own filing -- that gets corporate veils pierced.
And before you say anything: yes, I realize I'm linking TMZ again. I blame Major League Baseball and FOX. If there weren't so many damn days off in October I'd have some actual baseball to write about.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:47pm
My Morning in ExileLet's put the comments section to good use this afternoon: use this thread to post your World Series prediction. No need for heavy analysis. I want (a) your winner; and (b) a short statement with your reasons why. I won't hold you to Twitter length, but I'm definitely looking for Twitter spirit: short, pithy, decisive and, for bonus points, funny. I'll start: Yankees in six. Why? Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E! It is with this left hand that the Yankees will strike the blow that will lay the city of brotherly love low.
Now you go (no, you don't have to be as obtuse as me). While you're thinking:
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:01pm
The McCourt Divorce: Reader’s Digest versionRecently-fired Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt filed for divorce from Dodger owner Frank McCourt yesterday. Or I should say alleged Dodger co-owner Jamie McCourt filed for divorce from alleged Dodger co-owner Frank McCourt, because ownership of the Dodgers is clearly the big deal here. If you're into this sort of thing you can read the papers here. If not, here are some of the highlights:
It goes on and on and on like that, complete with exhibits and stuff which bloat it to 137 pages. At the risk of going on that long myself, I'll stop now. But before I do, let me say one thing: don't ever, ever, ever get married, no matter what you do.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:01am
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
“It’s Slumdog, but with baseball, baby!!”At least I'm assuming that was the pitch:
The rights to the improbable story of two kids from Indian villages, who won a pitching contest without even knowing the rules of baseball and were eventually drafted, have been acquired by Sony. Rinku Singh won the Million Dollar Arm contest and was marketed to teams along with the runner-up Dinesh Patel. Both signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although the plot doesn't necessarily have the perfect ending yet -- the two pitched 20 innings combined of rookie-A baseball this season -- the fact that they are even on the same playing field with people who have been playing baseball for their entire lives . . .
Nice casting suggestions.
Of course, given that they signed with the Pirates, the movie will be a tragedy.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:33pm
Quote of the Day"I don't have hate for Philly exactly -- they are like our redheaded stepchild. It's like a nothing city. It's just insignificant in comparison to New York."
-- Michael Stewart, random Yankees fan quoted in an article that brings the Phillies' hate like nothin' you're going to see today. I'm guessing that the Philly retort will come tomorrow, either in the form of a companion article in the Inquirer or via a mob hit or something.
A lot of us wanted to see at least one of the L.A. teams in this thing because of the contrast in styles and the weather and all of that. But really, it had to be New York-Philly to get this kind of trash talk going, and I for one am thrilled with it.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:12pm
Why I’m not a divorce lawyerI'm guessing Joe Torre never would have guessed in a million years that he'd ever find a more messed up ownership situation than the one he had in New York.
(link via FanHouse)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:01pm
My Morning in ExileDon't read anything I wrote this morning. Spend any free Internet time you have today here. You won't be sorry. But when you get done with that:
The best book over at that blog has to be Why our Children Drink. Points will be awarded to the best answers to that question in the comments.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:04pm
“Win one for George”Win one for George? He's got six already. Can't Hal have this one? Or maybe they can mail it to Bobby Murcer's family or to Mattingly? They always deserved one, didn't they?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:41am
And Nothing HappenedI get having last night off, but is there a reason in the world why Game 1 can't be played tonight? I mean a reason that doesn't involve silly network decisions?
In the meantime: Robin Roberts reflects on the Whiz Kids and the Phillies of today. In his honor, and in honor of the 1950 series, Charlie Manuel should sit Cliff Lee for Game 1.
Also, lar has all kinds of fun with the 1950 series. Hey, if Jim Konstanty smokes Camels, why wouldn't I smoke Camels too?
Note: the last game of the 1950 World Series was played on October 7th. People keep complaining about the postseason lasting so long, but at least we still have some baseball ahead of us in late October. What did those mopes in 1950 have to look forward to? The Chinese invasion of North Korea? The Rosenberg trial?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:59am
Monday, October 26, 2009
Yankees > GiantsBaseball is my sport, but NBC pays me, so I'm torn:
In a television matchup of New York sports teams, baseball’s Yankees were more popular than football’s Giants.
But with all due respect to my NBC overlords, anyone watching the Giants and the Cardinals over the Yankees-Angels who wasn't being paid to do so needs their head examined.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:55pm
Silver Chalice VenturesI've written in the past about Fenway Sports Group and its not-subject-to-revenue-sharing money. The Red Sox are not the only team getting in on the act:
The Chicago White Sox are stepping up to the plate in the digital media arena.
If David Glass were serious about making the Royals a winner he'd rebrand the pharmacies and sporting goods sections of every Wal-Mart store "Royal-Mart" and give Dayton Moore a billion dollars to play with every year.
Well, not the Dayton Moore part.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:21pm
The World Series and the polsNPR's Ken Rudin has a story on politicians riding on the coattails of baseball teams. After rolling his eyes at Bloomberg being an attention whore in the Yankees' locker room last night, Rudin asks an intriguing question: what do the people running for Governor of New Jersey do about the World Series? What plays in Camden doesn't necessarily play in Hoboken! And Game 5 is scheduled for the night before the election . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:07pm
My Morning in ExileI got 99 problems but delaying the first pitch ain't one:
Finally, though I didn't weigh in on it in a formal post, I am struck by the notion that three nights of bad judgment as a playa did for Steve Phillips what five years of bad judgment as an analyst couldn't do: get him fired. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm too busy planning a rendezvous with my portly mistress to think too hard about it . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:58am
Coach Mark McGwire, 2010I handled the McGwire story seriously here, so now let's have some fun with it:
[scene: Cardinals-Cubs game, summer 2010. Yadier Molina just struck out on four pitches and goes to talk to the hitting coach]
Molina: Hey Mac, Zambrano got me with the changeup last time. So I was looking changeup, and he busted me with the fastball. Did it look like I was cheating changeup?
McGwire: I'm not here to talk about the past. I'm here to be positive about this subject. You took a good hack at that last one.
Molina: Um, sure, but I need some help with my approach here. I feel lost up there today. Should I move back in the box a bit?
McGwire: Asking me or anyone else to answer questions about where to stand in the box will not solve the problem. If I answer 'No,' he will just come with the changeup again and you'll be further out in front. If I answer 'Yes,' you risk public scorn and endless second guessing when you wait too long to react to the pitch.
Molina: Jesus, coach, you got anything for me?
McGwire: My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. I will say, however, that it remains a fact in this country that a man, any man, should look at more film before facing a crafty veteran like Carlos Zambrano.
Molina: Uh, thanks, coach.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:25am
And That Happened: ALCSYankees 5, Angels 2: "At times we played good baseball. At times we shot ourselves in the foot," Mike Scioscia said after the game. Someone's gonna have to point out the good for me, because I missed most of it. Eight errors in the series. Saunders walked five guys last night. Scioscia made baffling move after baffling move. Guerrero getting doubled off first base on that shallow fly ball. Just a lot of ugly baseball from a team that's alleged to be fundamentally sound.
But like the Phillies over the Dodgers, this is the case of the better team winning, not some default job. It was like old times seeing Pettitte and Rivera taking care of business. It was like an alternate universe seeing A-Rod repeatedly come up strong in the postseason (I love me some CC, but I really think Rodriguez deserved the MVP). Based on how my postseason predictions have gone it'll make Philly fans happy to hear that I think the Yankees are gonna take this thing, but this time I don't think even my prognostication will prove poor. Here's hoping the weather holds up.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:47am
Friday, October 23, 2009
GiveawaysSBJ breaks down the impact of various ballpark giveaways and promotions on attendance. There's a chart at the link that I'm not going to reproduce here. Suffice it to say, however, that Webkinz night is quite the draw. College Night and Little League Day, however, may as well be replaced by an H1N1 promotion.
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:08pm
My Morning In ExileThings I wrote while wondering whether I am the only attorney in Columbus, Ohio who is listening to "Protect Ya Neck" on his iPod right now. Maybe this guy is . . .
That's right: I'm all OVER 16 year-old hip-hop. Next year I may listen to some new stuff by some guy called the Notorious R.B.I or whatever his name is . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:12pm
And That Happened: ALCSAngels 7, Yankees 6: Behold the power of the Rally Monkey. Or behold the the suckiness that is A.J. Burnett when he doesn't have his best stuff. Or behold the presence of mad chance that allowed the Angels to win despite the best efforts of Mike Scioscia. Whatever the case, each team did its best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, with the Yankees just barely edging the Angels in that department.
Game 6 in New York. Giant rain is in the forecast. Thankfully we have approximately 19 days until Game 1 of the World Series, so we should be OK. Probably.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:35am
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Deadspin’s assault on ESPNLike a lot of you, I've been watching the Steve Phillips business from afar. Between the almost complete lack of any real baseball angle whatsoever, and the fact that, unlike a lot of scandalous stories, this one has an innocent wife and children being dragged through it all, I really don't see the percentage in writing about it. I'll gawk like the rest of you, but it doesn't exactly scream out for coverage.
Of greater interest to me is one of the things that has spun out of the Phillips story, and that's Deadspin's crazy-even-for-Deadspin assault on ESPN yesterday. If you missed it, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio, apparently pissed that he missed out on the Steve Phillips scoop due to ESPN stonewalling him when he sought comment on the affair last month, decided to let loose with multiple rumors he's been sitting on regarding the sexploits of ESPN employees. He reported on a sexual harassment complaint against radio guy Eric Kuselias, as well as his divorce. He went after Katie Lacey, ESPN's Executive Vice President for marketing, accusing her of sleeping her way to the top. In his last post he went on about the overall culture of ESPN, about how everyone there allegedly has sex with everyone else and how, somehow, the town of Bristol, Connecticut is to blame. These descriptions do not do it justice. He really pulled no punches.
I read these with my mouth agape, not because of the allegations contained in them, but because of Daulerio's decision to actually write about them, and Nick Denton's presumed approval of them to begin with. Yes, the Gawker empire is well known for trafficking in scandal, but this seems above and beyond their usual brand of muck. As AOL's Clay Travis -- lawyer, and, it just so happens, former Deadspin assistant editor -- notes, this may not amount to a meritorious defamation suit by ESPN, but it's certainly closer to the line than Deadspin normally treads. I actually think ESPN would ultimately lose any lawsuit here simply because defamation is so hard to win, but I could see Disney and ESPN making the decision that, after all of the hell Deadspin has caused them, this is a decent enough place to draw the line, file the suit, and cause Nick Denton to have to pay a bunch of money in legal fees. Whether any suit is brought would likely hinge on the cooperation of either Kuselias or Lacey, whose lives would become open books in such a suit, but if one of them were pissed off enough and/or close enough to retirement to say sure, go ahead, it would be game-on.
Maybe there are long odds against that happening, but are they so long that it was worth Daulerio taking such a risk? Moreover, is this really where the original promise of Deadspin and the sports blogosphere in general was meant to lead us? I'm not Buzz Bissinger when it comes to these matters, but as I sit here today and reflect on all of this, I am far from inspired.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:55pm
The Negro League All-Stars for Strat-o-MaticCourtesy of our friend Scott Simkus, the Negro League All-Star set is now available for Strat-o-Matic:
I’ve spent the past several years working as a consultant to the Strat-O-Matic game company, focusing on their Negro League All-Star set. The opportunity is really the product of happenstance, lucky timing on my part.
But it is now, and Scott talks about what went into it and why it was possible to do it today. Neat stuff regardless, but especially so if you're a strat guy. Or girl.
The set can be found here. New Strat website too.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:39pm
My Morning in exileStuff I wrote while thinking of the best way to taunt the lead singer of a 1980s British synth-pop band (explained below) . . .
I've mentioned this before I think, but my In-N-Out managing brother's longtime girlfriend was a childhood friend, and is still best friends with the wife of a guy named Andy McCluskey. McCluskey, some of you may know, is the lead singer for the band OMD of "If you leave" fame. The McCluskeys keep a house in San Diego and my brother is over there all the time, house sits for them them, babysits the kids, etc. When I first became aware of this several years ago I began taunting my brother -- who was sort of dropping the OMD thing like it was some major social chit -- over the moderate-at-best worldwide fame of his new friend and patron. I probably would have left it alone, but he set me off when he used the "hey, they're really big in Europe and Japan" line. Since then, it's been almost constant abuse. Things like "hey Curt, I gotta go; Howard Jones is on the other line, and it's obviously a much more important call." Or "So, like, is house sitting for Human League a promotion or is it considered a lateral move?" Most of the jokes were about him being a one-hit wonder. He told Andy about all of this. His response: "ask your brother what it's like to work a job, because I'll never have to know." Damn McCluskey. He's had me dead to rights on that one for about five years now.
Anyway, I'm newly inspired to mock him -- in a friendly fashion, mind you -- because OMD is apparently going on some tour this winter with another John Hughes movie one-hit-wonder, Simple Minds. Curt is going to travel with them and, hell, I don't know, get them towels or hair gel or white Zinfandel or Patrick Nagel paintings or whatever it is those 80s synth-poppers need to survive. I was thinking about flooding the official OMD website with questions about whether it was true that Hughes' will finally freed them from servitude or whether it's true that Oingo Boingo was going to be headlining or something, but his wife runs the site and she's pretty good people.
There's no point to this except that if I'm slow blogging this afternoon it's because I'm obsessed with trying to come up with new and inventive taunts for OMD. Which pretty much shows you how pathetic I am. Determined, but pathetic.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:27pm
And That Happened: NLCSPhillies 10, Dodgers 4: At some point this winter, Ned Colletti and Joe Torre are going to have an epiphany in which they realize that having to rely on Vicente Padilla to save their butts in an elimination game means that they screwed something up somewhere along the line. Torre may not have deployed his troops in ideal fashion in the NLCS, but ultimately, he was simply outgunned. And betrayed by his bullpen, his supposed strength.
But this was not merely a Dodgers loss. It was a Phillies win. Their lineup has proved every bit as formidable as advertised, with Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth showing that to beat them you need to do more than to throw a lefty or two at Ryan Howard and hope for the best. They're going to be tough to beat.
The Yankees are their likely opponent. We'll see if they seal the deal tonight. If they do, Game 1 of the World Series will likely feature a matchup of two Cleveland Indians' Cy Young Award winners, one of whom is managed by the Indians' former manager. They should get Duane Kuiper to throw out the first pitch.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:38am
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Don Fehr gets a severance packageDon Fehr's severance package comes in at about $11 million. He made $1 million a year for the past decade or so, which is way below his worth based on what he does and who he tangles with on a day to day basis. His work has put hundreds of times that amount of money into the pockets of the players he has represented. According to the article, the players had no problem agreeing to pay him his dough.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:02pm
My Morning in ExileI don't have anything snarky to say about Steve Phillips' situation. Some bad judgment on his part has led to an ugly and possibly scary situation, and that's no good for anyone involved, whatever their foibles.
But man, if the dude was going to get kicked off ESPN for a week, you'd at least hope that it would be during a week in which he was scheduled to broadcast a game . . .
Thanks for all of the kind words and constructive criticism in last night's thread, everyone. I try to do whatever I can to get better at this stuff, and you're all a big help in me doing so.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:37pm
And That Happened: ALCSYankees 10, Angels 1: I-95 Series here we come. As the geniuses out there predicted, CC was studly on short rest. As has been the case all postseason, A-Rod was huge (3-for-4, two-run homer, three runs scored).
Man, that umpiring. Calling Swisher out on the tagup play was an obvious makeup call. Of course, like the unwritten rules, umpires say there are no such things as makeup calls, so we should probably ignore it, right? I guess we can just be thankful that it didn't have an impact on the ultimate outcome of the game.
Pointless day off today. Burtnett vs. Lackey tomorrow. Philly vs. New York, hell, sometime around Thanksgiving, I think.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:35am
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Death threats and precedentsThe Mariano Rivera stuff obviously struck a nerve today. For what it's worth, I stand by my posts on it, both here and at NBC. There was a video that showed something interesting. I raised some questions about it and doubted whether simply saying "Mariano would never do such a thing" was enough to put the kibosh on the inquiry. I qualified everything I said with statements about how the video was not conclusive and how better angles would be needed before something conclusive could be said. If there was an actual accusation in my comments somewhere, someone will have to point it out to me. MLB at least felt it necessary to take a quick look. When they did and weighed in later, I posted an update quite quickly. All in a day's bloggy work.
But clearly not everyone agrees. Question: was it illegitimate to post links to the video and ask the questions I asked in the first place? I don't think so, but I'm curious for your thoughts. Not about Mariano -- that's over, and I'm quite content to accept MLB's view on it, especially in light of the still photos that appeared later in the day. I want to know whether it was wrong to even raise the issue in the first place, and if so, why so. The one reason people cited over and over today -- that it was Mariano Rivera we're talking about here, and he's not worthy of accusation -- doesn't convince me. If we had a picture of Mother Teresa raising a baseball bat over the head of a cowering man, would we not ask what was happening? The problem, it seems, only comes if you (a) immediately jump to a conclusion that she's beating the guy without acknowledging that more could be going on that first meets the eye; or (b) disregard actual, later evidence which debunks the first impression created by the picture.
Two things lead me to ask these questions. First is the fact that I got a freakin' death threat over all of this. It's been deleted, but a commenter at NBC, after multiple posts in which he wished for me to die of horrible diseases, finally came out and said that he hoped someone killed me. Hey-o! I'm used to the Yankee nonsense I willingly stir up over there turning ugly, but this was beyond even my comfort level. There's no need to tell me that was uncalled for -- believe me, I know it -- but was this merely a moron at work, or was the post (which was nearly identical to the post below here) beyond my usual taunting? I honestly want your opinion.
The second, and more substantial reason I ask is because I'm reminded of the Kenny Rogers affair from three years ago. You'll recall that cameras captured some schmutz on Rogers' hand. It disappeared an inning or two later. It was quickly looked into and then dismissed by MLB. In all of that, it was much like today's business. The difference: Mariano Rivera has a better reputation than Kenny Rogers, and no one thought to say that Kenny Rogers was above such questions.
Was it legitimate to raise questions about Rogers and not Mariano? Was it legitimate or illegitimate for both? What are the rules here? Like I said, I think my posts were within the realm of the acceptable but obviously others disagree. Even those who don't want me dead.
If you're all tired of this, move along. There's baseball happening. If not, though, I think it might be a worthy conversation to have in the comments.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:36pm
MLB: No evidence Rivera was throwing a spitterI suppose this closes the case:
The Commissioners Office reviewed available video and still photography from Mariano Rivera spitting toward a baseball in ALCS Game 3 and “found no evidence that Rivera spit on the ball,” a spokesman for the commissioner told the Post.
Kudos for MLB to looking into it. As I said in the earlier post, there was certainly nothing conclusive about the video -- another angle clearly showing spit smacking the ball would be the minimum necessary for this to be taken to the next level -- but it was interesting enough that it warranted scrutiny.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:40pm
Did Mariano Rivera throw a spitball?!Check out the video here. I'll hear all evidence to the contrary, but that looks to me like he (a) looks up to see if anyone is watching; and (b) spits right on the damn ball.
Is that the secret to the unhittable cutter?
UPDATE: The Yankees' bad day in multimedia continues . . .
UPDATE #2: A Q&A on Mariano:
Q: Is Mariano definitely spitting on the ball?
A: Hard to say. Looks like it to me, but the cutaway is quick and the angle could be deceiving. I'm just going with my first impression of what the video and photo show. I'd kill for another angle of this.
Q: Do you actually throw a spitball by, you know, spitting on the ball?
A: It's not the most traditional way -- according to everything I've read merely wetting the fingers is more common -- but it's certainly been done. Really, anything that either (a) adds a viscous fluid to the ball to alter its flight; or (b) lubes it up to decrease friction upon release, thereby increasing the spin and thus the ultimate drop is sufficient.
Q: If it is a spitball, why would Rivera be so obvious about it? He's a smart guy. He'd try to hide it better, wouldn't he?
A: Maybe so. But isn't it just as valid to say that Rivera, one of the most talented pitchers ever, never had to use a spitball before, and thus if he is now, he's less likely to be practiced at it than a guy who had to cheat just to keep his job?
I have no idea what he's doing here -- and I simply don't want to believe that Rivera was throwing a spitter, because I've always admired and respected the guy -- but it doesn't seem satisfying to simply say "Mariano would never do this, so he didn't do it." The video is very, very interesting. It may be completely debunked by another angle -- and if anyone has one, please send it ASAP and I'll update. But for now, it's all we have.
I know I have a reputation for baiting Yankees fans, but I am sincere in asking whether or not Rivera was doing this. I don't know, and I'm open to alternate interpretations and evidence.
(thanks to Jason Epstein for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:45am
And That Happened: LCS EditionAngels 5, Yankees 4: Girardi, on the decision to replace Dave Robertson with Alfredo Aceves:
Joe Girardi: The bullpen goes up to eight. Look, right across the board, eight, eight, eight and...
Phillies 5, Dodgers 4: Um, L.A.? You're supposed to have the good bullpen. Bruntlett scored the tying run, but let us all remember that it was Matt Stairs who drew the walk that called for a pinch runner to begin with. Matt Stairs is the best. 3-1 Phillies. I hate to cut this short, but I have a long day of "See! I told U! No 1 believed in us! We're the champs, dood! Your stupid 4 picking the Dooshers to win anything. Get a new job" comments over a the Blue Network. And they'll still come when I write a piece talking about just how sharp the Phillies are right now, and how well-managed and confident they are and everything.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:02am
Monday, October 19, 2009
NBC Comment of the Day
If St. Louis baseball fans are so great and "die-hard" why aren't the Browns still in St. Louis?
-- Commenter "Bamboozled" in "Teh Yankees are the greatest, dood!" post.
I often use this feature to mock, but I can't decide if this one is mock-worthy or brilliant. I'm leaning brilliant. The actual mouth breathers over there probably think that the Browns moved to Phoenix in the late 80s.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:21pm
Nats tickets? Really?From the military police blotter:
The Marine Corps said Monday a sergeant charged with faking war injuries to obtain freebies intended for wounded warriors will plead guilty . . . The 34-year-old Marine from Springhill, La., faces eight counts carrying prison terms of up to 31 years. He is accused of bluffing his way into 33 events last year, including six rock concerts, two Washington Nationals baseball games and a Washington Redskins football game.
I understand the rock concerts and Redskins games. Those are expensive! But why anyone would risk their freedom and honor over Nats tickets is beyond me. They have roughly the same value of a spent Metro card, don't they?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:13pm