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Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Now that A's owner Lew Wolff has, at least for now, shelved the idea of building his new ballpark village and just wants a park, he's getting flexible about the location:
Here's a possible game changer - the Oakland A's will sit down this week with BART officials to discuss moving the team's proposed Fremont ballpark to within walking distance of the planned Warm Springs BART station . . .
Despite what you may read in some crazy outlaw Internet comment threads, public transportation is a very, very good thing. But here's the question, and I can't answer it without the help of my Bay Area friends: is the Warm Springs BART station going to be, you know, near anything, or is it just a place being built based on anticipated development? Maybe this isn't a problem -- it's been said that there is no there there in the A's current home -- but I'm curious as to whether there will be anything to look at from the hypothetical upper deck of this hypothetical stadium.
And you know, unless this location is just an absolute non-starter for some reason, why wasn't Wolff looking at it all along? Isn't it easier to get funding for a real estate project if it's next to a freakin' train station?
(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)
The Giants may not understand the law of supply and demand when it comes to thirtysomething middle infielders, but they do get it when it comes to ticket pricing:
Next season, San Francisco Giants fans buying single-game tickets for an April game against Milwaukee might pay half as much as they would for a weekend game with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers later in the year.
Makes sense to me.
(thanks to reader Doug C for the link)
Yankees fans get a bad rap. Yeah, there are some crazy ones that get a lot of attention, and the New York media doesn't help matters, but generally speaking, if you know a Yankees fan, you know someone who is very knowledgeable and passionate about baseball. More importantly, you know someone who, no matter how crazy things get in the Bronx, is aware that, yes, it is kind of crazy. These folks spend most of the offseason doing the following things:
1. Rationalizing, apologizing for and, when necessary, translating the wacko stuff that first George and now Hank Steinbrenner says;
2. Explaining to non-Yankee fans that just because the New York tabloids claim to speak for the fans, doesn't mean they really do; and
3. Trying to reconcile their support of Yankee players in light of the fact that many Yankee players are damaged individuals.
Here's a prime example of number 3 from my favorite rational Yankees fan, Jason at the blog It is About the Money, Stupid.
The rose goes in the front, big guy.
A Tuck! A Borawski! A Carty! A Brattain! Panama!
Now get busy reading that stuff. This day is not going to waste itself.
The NYT's Ben Shpigel took a tour of Citi Field, and comes away pretty impressed. This passage is telling, though:
Before and during construction, Wilpon visited several of the newer ballparks around the majors because he wanted to see which elements to incorporate. He said PNC Park was his favorite and considered Citi Field a “super-sized Pittsburgh” (minus the stunning Roberto Clemente Bridge and skyline as a backdrop), though other ballparks came to mind more readily.
There's also a Tiger Stadium-style overhang in right field.
Look, I'm sure it's a nice park, but my inner architecture geek really wishes that at some point in the now 20-year ballpark building boom, someone would have had the guts to commission a design that was sui generis as opposed to all of these retro and retro-pastiche things we've received. Yes, on some level function dictates a lot of this sameness, but beyond the diamond, the grass, a scoreboard, and about 40,000 seats, one would think that there was more room for creativity than what we've seen. Quick: click through to the article and look at the picture. If you didn't already know that was Citi Field, would you have been able to pick it out of a lineup?
Rob Neyer throws cold water all over the notion of Derek Jeter one day moving to second base, and I'm right behind him in the fire brigade. Jeter has a good arm and no range. That's exactly the opposite of your typical second baseman profile, isn't it?
But what do you do with the Captain?
My view is that moving him to any other position apart from maybe third base is destined to fail (see, Jones, Chipper), and the Yankees already have a third baseman. And no, you don't want to do the switcheroo either, because the only thing worse than trying to retrain one 30+ infielder is to retrain two of them. It's been a long time since A-Rod played short, and moving him back there doesn't make a lot of sense to me. What does make sense, however, is making Jeter the DH and hoping against hope that he becomes Paul Molitor.
Not that it will be easy. For one thing it will be a big ego blow to Jeter to have the glove taken from him, and if Jeter's ego is in jeopardy, the Yankees had best watch out, because no one knows how to play the New York PR game better than Jeter. By the time the leaks, counterleaks, and strategic misinformation campaigns were over, people would be burning the Steinbrenners and Girardi in effigy and holding candlelight vigils for Jeter's defensive legacy.
The second problem is that Jeter might not, you know, hit enough to be a useful DH. If you're the Yankees, I say you just take a chance on the second problem, because if Jeter isn't hitting, the whole drama will play itself out naturally.
As for the first problem, the only thing that will solve it is an injury. Not a major injury, mind you, but something nagging and chronic that will allow both the Yankees and Jeter to portray the move as one of career-prolonging necessity rather than having it be about hiding his glove. Maybe a hamstring. Or an oblique. Something that guys routinely come back from a bit slower but no worse for wear. Something that will allow the erroneous yet somehow still popular opinion of Jeter-as-defensive-wizard to be preserved for all time, yet that will force his non-existant move to the left and malpracticing Rawlings off the dirt forever. Something that will allow the Molitorization of Jeter to proceed without his legend being sullied.
Of course, now that I think about it, I can't really condone a call for anyone to be injured for the sake of political expediency. Best bet: the Yankees and Jeter should fake the injury. That way they can work on the talking points and hagiography ahead of time. I suggest that a meeting to discuss this scenario be scheduled for approximately one day after the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs in 2009.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:33am
Parents are getting suckered into, er, I mean are exhibiting prudent foresight in gene-testing their toddlers to determine the sport for which they are best suited:
In the overheated world of youth sports, it's come to this: a gene test that claims to predict whether a child is more likely to become an endurance athlete like Lance Armstrong or a sprinter like Dara Torres. As the New York Times reported over the weekend, some parents are paying $149 for the test in an attempt to get their kids matched with the sports at which they're most likely to succeed.
I'm not going to spring for the gene test for my boy because I can look at him, his grandpa, his uncles, and in the mirror and tell him with all certainty that if he is going to have a pro career, it's going to be as a stout relief pitcher, preferably with a moustache and mullet, who won't really start earning his keep until he's in his mid 30s.
That's why I named him Wickman Weathers Beck Calcaterra.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:17pm
Here's a transcript of an interview with Josh Hamilton on the Rangers' website. Almost all fluff and a heaping helping of Hamilton's religious stuff if you're into that kind of thing, but this caught my eye:
Hey Josh, How did it feel to hit 28 home runs in the home run derby?
Can't say I disagree, which means that they should probably tweak the Derby. Same logic applies to the All-Star Game itself too, by the way. I want to see a show. Let's scrap the "this time it counts" stuff and make some rules changes that encourage the best show above all else. For example, any rules, be they game-play rules or roster rules that prevent guys like Dan Uggla, as opposed to the real superstars, from deciding the game are something I'd really like to see. Off the top of my head that means getting rid of the every-team-must-have-a-representative rule, encouraging starters to play longer, and messing with the pitcher usage and substitution rules to optimize the game.
Any other suggestions? Yeah, I know the All-Star Game is like a gajillion months from now, but I'm cold, and I want to pretend it's July.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:42pm
A lot of chatter about Adam Dunn today, as the D-Backs' decision not to offer him arbitration has made him a more attractive target. Ken Rosenthal says that the market for Dunn is "shaping up" and includes the Braves, Mariners and Nationals. Over at ESPN Jerry Crasnick, in the course of his offseason breakdown of the Nationals, makes a longer-form case for Dunn in Washington:
In addition, Dunn's price might be dropping in a down market. Two NL officials wondered whether Dunn would command even a Jose Guillen-caliber, three-year, $36 million deal from a team other than Washington.
At the outset, I'll note that if Dunn can't get a Jose Guillen deal we've gone from a tough market to comically irrational pessimism. That said:
(1) Anyone who thinks that Dunn would have any trouble going to a losing team is forgetting that he signed an extension to stay in Cincinnati a couple of years ago; and
(2) We can't underestimate the fact that, at least a couple of years ago, Dunn's bestest buddy in the whole world was Austin Kearns, and AK-.217 still plays in Washington.
If you're Jim Bowden and you haven't called Dunn's agent 15 times since midnight Monday, you're doing it wrong. Hey, the added inspiration of the Dunner may even spur Kearns on to some productivity.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I tend to get stuff going really early around here. Some days, however, the kids don't cooperate. Today is one of those days, as my son has decided to wake up at 5:30AM. Kids > blogging in the Calcaterra household, so posting will be delayed this morning. It happens.