December 8, 2013
Who is Shyster?
Or you can search by:
Most Recent Comments
Mike Hargrove Interview (13)
Can they be the California Angels again? (9)
Another great moment in mass transit? (7)
Just another ten-percenter (his mind is like an ocean) (7)
Great Moments in Half-Baked Populism (8)
Shyster's Daily Circuit
Joe Posnanski Blog
Cot's Baseball Contracts
It IS About the Money
Baseball Think Factory
MLB Trade Rumors
Way Back and Gone
Bats -- NYT Baseball Blog
The Biz of Baseball
The Daily Fungo
The Common Man
Jorge Says No!
Baseball Over Here
Monday, January 05, 2009
It's for sale, anyway. Nice digs. Paid $3.5 million for it in 2005 and now wants north of $7 million. If he remains unsigned when spring training comes it means that he's overvaluing the market for corner outfielder/DH types just as much as he's overvaluing the market for real estate.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:10pm
According to Rosenthal, it's two years and $16 million for Pat the Bat:
The Rays, filling their need for a power hitter, are close to signing free-agent Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract, according to major-league sources.
That a really good deal for a guy who will get on base at a .370 or .380 clip and slug .500. Much better than the one the Phillies gave to the guy who is replacing him in left.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:58pm
I am far from an arbitration expert, but the book on the process over the years is that it is one to be avoided for several reasons.
For one thing, there is no baby splitting, meaning that if you lose, the other side's number wins, and nothing in between. Yes, this is probably intended as an incentive to deal, but if no deal is reached in the meantime, there is a lot of risk involved.
Another thing people hate about arbitration is that it forces a team to essentially poor-mouth their own player right in front of him, or at least his representative. Want to win an arbitration? You have to explain why your guy is nowhere near the player of the three or four comparables his lawyer has up on the PowerPoint. That can't be good for morale.
Finally, there are the lawyers themselves. An arbitration is an adversary proceeding, and that requires lawyers and fees and prep time and all of that, and no matter who is footing the bill, an adversary proceeding can be expensive.
So why then do the Phillies seem to insist upon entering arbitration with their young stars?
Fresh off a campaign in which Hamels established himself as one of the game's most dominant pitchers and became a World Series MVP at age 25, the young lefthander and his agent are prepared to cash in on his early success. But just how big of a payday they will reap remains to be seen. While logic says the Phillies would be prudent to lock up their young ace to a long-term deal, Hamels won't be a free agent until after the 2012 season, meaning the Phillies control his rights for the next four seasons.
I'm really not the right guy to run the numbers -- and maybe there aren't enough numbers to be run at this point -- but I wonder if there is some method to the Phillies madness or if, alternatively, they are simply penny wise and pound foolish. I mean, it's possible that someone has made a reasoned analysis that paying Hamels arbitration awards for the next three or four years and then letting him walk is a more efficient than signing him to a long term deal now. But if such an analysis exists, is it the same kind of analysis that led to the Phillies preferring Raul Ibanez over Pat Burrell? Like I said, I don't have a strong opinion here because this really isn't my area of expertise, but it certainly seems like Philadelphia is doing things differently with their young stars than any other team is.
Maybe they're right to do so -- they are the World Champs, after all -- but I wonder.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:24pm
This has nothing to do with baseball or even sports, but since a lot of sciencey types read THT, I thought it worth noting. From an AP story about the size of our galaxy:
Take that, Andromeda! For decades, astronomers thought when it came to the major galaxies in Earth's cosmic neighborhood, our Milky Way was a weak sister to the larger Andromeda. Not anymore. The Milky Way is considerably larger, bulkier and spinning faster than astronomers once thought, Andromeda's equal.
When was the last time you saw even the most basic science story describe the concept of mass as "like weight"? Mass is mass and weight is weight, and the last I checked, it was a concept that was taught in grade school. Heck, when was the last time you saw a science story that felt it necessary to explain the concept of mass at all?
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I'm tired this morning because I stayed up watching the Fiesta Bowl. But it wasn't the hour, really. After all, the game ended before midnight, and even at the decrepit age of 35 I can handle midnight. No, I am tired because of the stupid emotional gymnastics I once again put myself through for the sake of a bunch of oversized 20 year-olds. I like to think I've grown over the years. That I no longer care all that deeply about a Buckeye game and that, win or lose, my blood pressure won't deviate from the norm. That I'll, you know, behave like every other adult that doesn't live in a town like Columbus, Ohio or Lincoln, Nebraska, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama or wherever bigtime college football reigns supreme.
But it never happens, and it didn't happen last night. No matter how much cynical detachment I tried to cultivate during the third quarter when it looked like Texas would run away with it, I couldn't bring myself to turn it off and wait to read the results in the morning paper. No, I watched. And I got all excited when the Buckeyes scored a couple of touchdowns. More excited than a 35 year-old father of two should ever allow himself to get over a silly game. And then Ohio State decided to cease playing defense on the final drive and allowed Colt McCoy (who the hell names their kid "Colt" anyway?) to go some 80 some-odd yards for a touchdown, and I got depressed. More depressed than a a 35 year-old father of two should ever allow himself to get over a silly game. I feel rather cheap and dirty about the entire business, really. It would have been way easier to get blown out again.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:43am
Death will eventually come to us all, but when I go, I hope it's in my 90s with a couple of billion bucks in the bank.
I've read a few Carl Pohlad retrospectives since yesterday afternoon. Some had nice things to say about his ownership of the Twins, some not so nice. The way I see it, with very rare exceptions, no man is truly good or bad, so as is almost always the case, there's much to fill each side of the ledger when it comes to Pohlad. On the one hand, his stewardship of the Twins coincided with a couple of world titles. Yes, there was an eight year lull from 1993 through 2000 in which Minnesota was awful, but since then they've been very competitive. As things stand now, the Twins are a solid organization poised to compete again this year, and to move into a nice new home next season.
On the other hand, Pohlad first tried to sell the twins off to North Carolina interests, then contract them after years of pocketing revenue sharing money and not spending all that much on talent (that eight year lull came from somewhere). Oh, and that stadium? Paid for by the good people of Minnesota, despite the fact that no matter what the death certificate says, there's a decent chance Pohlad died of krugerrand poisoning.
So yeah, kind of a mixed bag. As we all are.
If you're looking for something more expansive -- and cutting -- check out this remembrance in the Pioneer Press.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:15am
Neate Sager passes along an interesting column from Sports Business Journal offering predictions about the year in sports media. Here's one we can wish for:
Postseason baseball games will start earlier this year.
I'd love to see that. Though, in reality, the stated reason for canceling the pregame show was that it cost too much to produce. After all, to put the thing on, you gotta pay Zelasko and Grace and Kennedy and a bunch of technical people for something people are going to try to ignore in the first place. My guess about the start times is that someone somewhere has made the case that starting later is likely to lead to higher ratings earlier in the game which allows FOX to front-load expensive ads. Unless someone makes an opposite case based on some data of which we peons are not aware, I expect we will still see the later start times, with that first half hour filled with Joe Buck interviewing people or Tim McCarver changing the batteries in his hearing aid or something.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:30am
Peter Gammons has a very detailed piece about J.C. Romero's 50-game suspension for taking, well, something:
Three months after Romero was tested before a Phillies-Mets game on Aug. 26, the players' association sent a Nov. 21 letter to players that stated, "We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S" . . .
This is a pretty messed up situation. Yes, it's apparently a technical violation of the league's substance abuse policy, and yes, Romero -- like anyone else subject to drug testing of any kind -- should take primary responsibility for ensuring that what goes into his system is permitted under the rules rather than rely on the union or trainers who, as this case makes clear, can be mistaken about such things.
But unless Gammons is leaving something major out -- and I'll note that MLB had no comment for the article -- this does not sound like the sort of conduct that should cause a guy to miss nearly a third of the season. Unfortunately, the post BALCO public outcry -- not to mention Congressional grandstanding -- demanded that MLB adopt zero or near-zero tolerance for PED use, backed up with what, in this case anyway, appear to be pretty draconian and apparently anyway, discretion-free penalties.
(thanks to reader Ian Devine for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:30am
I collected baseball cards in my youth and still have tens of thousands of them in my basement. I haven't bought a single card, however, since the 1980s and you can count my purchases of other baseball memorabilia since that time on one hand. A lot of this has to do with growing up. If I have $50 burning a hole in my pocket these days -- wait, since I have kids and bills and stuff I never have $50 burning a hole in my pocket, and that's kind of the point. Another factor is that collecting became far less fun when I became aware of how big a business it was and how seriously so many adults took it. I love my bent-to-hell 1954 Al Kaline more than anything, and I frankly don't need to hear some guy wearing a sweatsuit behind a folding table at a convention hall chastise me for mishandling it when I was ten and telling me that it's now worthless.
But I think the final nail in the collecting coffin came when they started inserting little pieces of stuff -- bats, jerseys, etc. -- into card packs. While I am devout worshiper of the Cardboard Gods, the Gods I believe in aren't into holy relics, mister. I feel compelled to read the backs of the cards and bask in the reflected glory, yes, but I draw the line at genuflecting before their gourds or shoes. Or dirt:
Like so many goods perceived by consumers as pricey, sales of sports memorabilia started slowing well before the rest of the economy. Still, one portion of the domestic sports/celebrity memorabilia market estimated at upward of $1 billion is expanding. Real estate values may have plummeted, but the market for what the industry earnestly terms “game-used dirt” is growing, as demand for higher priced photos and signed, game-used equipment has stalled. Now, some of the biggest memorabilia companies are cleaning up with dirt. While it is difficult to say how much game-used dirt is being sold, a recent Google search for “authenticated dirt” yielded more than 181,000 citations.
I don't care how big a baseball fan you are. If you're online looking to buy dirt that some famous guys walked and spit upon, you probably need to reevaluate your priorities.
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the link; sorry for the subscription only stuff, but the whole gist is in the blockquote)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:41am
Tony Massarotti does a post-mortem on the Red Sox' unsuccessful pursuit of Mark Teixeira. Nothing all that shocking or new here, but then he says something interesting:
5. Can Boras and the Red Sox still do business?
Reader MooseinOhio -- who sent me the link (thanks, Moose!) -- says:
Boras certainly walks a fine line in his dealings (e.g. referencing 'phantom' deals on the table, stretching the process out and affecting a team's ability to have an option B and C still available) and I would be curious what would happen to his efforts if the Sox pulled a Frank Wren and refused to deal with him in the future as one of the big money players took their chips to another table.
I don't know how likely that is. Frank Wren's recent fatwa against Arn Tellem and his crew wasn't an isolated incident in Bravesland, as John Schuerholz all but gave up on Boras clients in 2003 after Greg Maddux's decision to accept arbitration when, allegedly, Boras assured Schuerholz that he wouldn't. In short, the Braves have a history of getting emotional and arguably irrational about this stuff, so their example may not be the best one.
Still, one has to wonder how long Boras can get away with this. The part of me that values professional ethics and people keeping their word often makes me wish that his business would crater. The part of me that understands how the world really works, however, convinces me that Boras, whatever his methods, will continue to be outrageously successful until the exact moment that insanely talented ballplayers stop hiring him.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:30am