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Wednesday, January 07, 2009
When a political scandal hits, you can always expect things to happen in this order:
1. Denials that anything happened;
2. Denials that that which happened was inappropriate;
3. Admissions, either tacit or explicit, that that which happened was inappropriate in an effort to minimize the damage; and
4. Heads rolling.
We're now at step three in connection with the Bloomberg administration finagling a luxury box, food, and parking spaces out of the Yankees.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:30am
Most keen observers realize that you can't put much stock in the numbers painted on the outfield walls, as "330" in one park can be radically different in another park. The problem is that there really isn't much uniformity in terms of how the measurements are made, and I'm willing to be that there's zero enforcement of the outfield wall distances Major League Baseball claims to require.
Against this backdrop is an interesting interview of Hit Tracker's Greg Rybarczyk over at Amazin' Avenue. Rybarczyk -- who, like some other brilliant guys, has a piece in this year's Hardball Times Annual -- expands on a point he made in the Annual about how he thinks the Mets' new park is going to kill home runs. It's not just speculation based on published distances on his part. He uses satellite images and everything, so it's like science and stuff.
I hope he's right, because I kind of like pitchers' parks. The fact is, however, that one really never knows how a park is going to play until someone plays in the park.
(link via BTF)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:12pm
Thursday, January 08, 2009
When there isn't a lot of baseball news, I try to find non-baseball articles with which I can find fault. For example, here is an article about presidential aging that does not account for the fact that William Henry Harrison had every bit as youthful a countenance on his deathbed as he did the day he took office. Just because you didn't include it in your data set doesn't mean it didn't happen, people.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:42am
The other day I was struggling to think how the Braves' offseason could get any worse. I'll admit that this development hadn't occurred to me:
John Smoltz is leaving Atlanta for the most stunning of destinations.
If anyone needs me I'll be over in the corner wishing it was 1995 again.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:30am
Baseball Prospectus' Derek Jacques has been watching the MLB Network and believes he's found evidence that the on-air talent is whitewashing history:
However, there was a stray phrase in one segment of Tuesday’s Hot Stove that made me do a double-take, and risks dampening my enthusiasm for the network as a whole. The segment was about the Yankees‘ history of spending on high-profile free agents. In it, reporter Greg Amsinger divided the Steinbrenner era into four parts–1973-1981, when the team spent on premier free agents like Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage and Dave Winfield, and won championships; 1982-1995, when the team “join[ed] other franchises in self-restraint and a change of philosophy that led to a title drought in the 80s;” 1996-2000, when the team built from within and used mid-market signings to become a champion again; and 2001-present, when the Yankees have been on a fruitless spending spree with no end in sight.
Just because this was inevitable doesn't mean that it isn't disappointing. No, I don't expect MLB Network people to sling crap at the people who pay their salaries on a regular basis, but as Jacques notes, the refusal to reference stuff that happened two decades ago is inexcusable. Are Amsinger and the talking heads permitted to mention baseball's color barrier? The Black Sox scandal?
(link via BTF)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:10am
There's a point in every offseason when people stop looking back at last year and start looking forward to the next. When fans of any given team start to employ some mental spackle to make all of those holes in the roster disappear. That point where hope starts to spring eternal. We have officially reached that point:
OK, no more negatives. No more whining about how the Astros have taken a step back in the off-season.
The assumptions upon which the author's conclusion rests are only slightly more plausible than those which must occur before me being asked to replace Christian Bale in the next Batman movie. And for that matter, they're only slightly more plausible than the next Batman Movie being called "Batman 3: Wrath of Kahn."
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:55am
If you like a little Kabbalah with your baseball and your artwork, do I have the product for you! Click through for the print. From the artist's statement:
The uncanny similarity in shape between the baseball diamond and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, which has been pointed out before, is what sparked the idea for this work, but the similarities do not end only in form.
Or, if you want beauty, splendor, strength, and wisdom all in the same picture without buying this thing, you can snap a photo of Erin Andrews doing a standup interview of Albert Pujols and Bill James before an interleague game on some glorious summer evening at Fenway Park. I'll let you guys figure out who represents what.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:36am
Hey Boston! You take our old pitcher, we'll take your old pitcher!
With the news that John Smoltz may be headed to the Red Sox, it should come as a no surprise that the Braves appear to be intensifying their pursuit of another free-agent pitcher: Derek Lowe.
OK, so he hasn't been in Boston for a while and you probably don't want him back anyway. Let me have this, though. It's been a rough offseason for Braves fans.
For what it's worth, given how much salary has come off the books in Atlanta, and given the reports that Liberty Media truly wants to spend more money, I can't imagine that the Braves couldn't substantially top the Mets' 3/$36M offer to Lowe. Of course, given that Lowe reportedly wants to be in the northeast and given that Boras is involved, I can't imagine that this is anything other than a ploy to get New York to go higher.
Can you remember the last time a team was as used and abused as the Braves have been these past couple of months?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:15am
Get your hankies, folks:
Andy Pettitte is extremely unhappy with how his negotiations have gone with the Yankees, and the lefthander might be softening on his opposition to rejoining the Astros . . . Pettitte believes that the Yankees should display more appreciation for all that he has done for them . . . Though Pettitte is popular among teammates, fans and media, emotional breakups play a significant role in his biography. He left the Yankees for Houston after the 2003 season, feeling jilted by the team that drafted him. And he returned to the Yankees after the 2006 campaign, feeling that the Astros didn't display much interest in bringing him back.
If Pettitte were a woman any right-thinking man would have dumped his emotional, high-maintenance butt by now. Because he's a nearly 37 year-old .500 pitcher with a 4.54 ERA who is demanding north of $10 million a year, the Yankees should do the same.
Oh, and by the way, Newsday's Ken Davidoff -- the guy who wrote the linked story -- will turn 38 years-old on January 19th. I offer this because he said this at the end of another piece today:
Congratulations to Eric Mangini, whom I've never met but with whom I feel a kinship because he, Jeff Juden and I were born on the exact same day. I'd tell you the day, but like Mangini, I like to play things close to the vest. I will throw you a bone and tell you that it was sometime between Copernicus' death and yesterday.
Coy doesn't work on the Internet, Ken.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:00am
Alyssa Milano is engaged. After going through Carl Pavano, Barry Zito, and Brad Penny -- each of whom left her company a worse and more injured pitcher than when they entered it -- pitching coaches and trainers across baseball are rejoicing that the lucky groom-to-be is not a ballplayer.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:03pm