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Monday, March 02, 2009
Neyer today shoots down the contraction whispers re: the A's and Marlins. His basis: lack of necessity and politics:
What's more, even if both franchises were utter wrecks they still wouldn't be serious candidates for contraction. No franchise would be. It was, what, eight years ago when this spectre was first raised, regarding the Twins and the Expos? I said then that it would never happen; that Congress (among others) wouldn't allow it, and that the owners were simply floating the notion as leverage in their negotiations with the union.
Well, I think he's right again here. But even if those obstacles were hurdled, wouldn't it make more sense for the owners to sit around a table and figure out how to help ailing franchises rather than kill them? My assumption is that the Marlins' and A's owners would demand something akin to the market price + hassle charge in order to give up their franchises. I'm also assuming that, since Bud has cultivated a very chummy ownership group, they'd get at least that much. So we're talking in the hundreds of millions here.
Here's an idea: if the owners were seriously considering pooling hundreds of millions to throw at Oakland or Miami, wouldn't it make much more sense for them to throw it at HOK and a general contractor to build stadiums or make improvements that the their home cities don't want to do? Rather than a public black eye and a baseball black hole, such a move would result in a nice little revenue-generator for both the home team and the rest of the league, wouldn't it?
Or is that crazy talk?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:58pm
Arbitration season is over, but it's never too late to learn neat things. To that end, Squawking Baseball has an interview with John Coppolella, the Director of Baseball Administration for the Atlanta Braves, who holds forth on everything you wanted to know about arbitration but were afraid to ask. Among other interesting tidbits:
Once the numbers are filed, how relevant do they become in negotiations (assuming both sides want to avoid a hearing)?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:50pm
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Things to read while taking full advantage of the extra three days the Civil Rules give you for responding to a brief that was served by regular mail:
Ah, screw it. I'm just going to move for an extension. It's the cornerstone of my legal practice.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:38am
Remember back in January when I told you about the tell-all memoir by former Angels farm hand Matt McCarthy? Yeah, it seems like there may be less there than meets the eye:
Matt McCarthy, a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York, has gained national attention in recent weeks for “Odd Man Out,” his salacious memoir of his summer as an obscure minor league pitcher. He writes about playing with racist, steroids-taking teammates, pitching for a profane, unbalanced manager and observing obscene behavior and speech that in some ways reinforce the popular image of wild professional ballplayers.
McCarthy is standing by his story. Well, sort of:
During the interview Monday, McCarthy said that the notebooks in which he wrote most nights that summer were very specific and “extremely detailed with regards to dialogue.” After being told of the many errors, he said several times that he strived to recollect events six years afterward.
That, my friends, is stage 1 of a classic backpedal. I'm not entirely sure what the next stage will be, but you can bet that the final stage will be a teary interview on "Outside the Lines" or "Oprah" or something.
(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:30am
The prosecutions' appeal in the Barry Bonds case is on the accelerated calendar:
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a filing today it’s expediting the government’s appeal of the ruling. The judge barred positive drug tests and other evidence unless they are supported by testimony from Greg Anderson, Bonds’s former trainer, who has refused to be a witness.
Not too much to read into this other than the notion that the issues on appeal are pretty straightforward. This is fabulous for bloggers, though, because the accelerated calendar means shorter briefs, thereby allowing us to more easily pretend to be experts.
Like white people all over this country, I really love the idea of soccer. So do folks in Seattle:
The Seattle Sounders FC may be the upstarts on the local sports scene, but the new pro soccer team appears to be having little trouble attracting sponsors and ticket buyers . . . The Sounders have sold about 20,000 season tickets, which eclipses the number sold by the 32-year-old Mariners team, which estimates it will sell about 14,000 by the start of the season.
Apples and oranges, sure. There are way more baseball games, the cost structure is totally different, the recession may be sending would-be baseball fans to the cheaper option of soccer, and of course, Major League Soccer is a novelty in Seattle. But I have to ask: are MLS teams outselling baseball teams in any other cities? This is one of those things I'd look up this morning if I didn't have a day job, but I'm going to guess that the answer is no.
(thanks to Pete Toms and Ballpark Digest)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:45am
Apparently Rangers' hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
"You know all this [bleep] that’s going on around the world, weather-wise, well, we’re seeing it in Arlington. The jet stream at The Ballpark ain’t what it used to be. That’s changing. I think it’ll help our arms. It's true."
I'll admit that I have relied on news summaries and have not actually read any of the IPCC's reports. Thanks to Jaramillo, however, now I can just flip to the index and look under "bleep."
(thanks to Pete Toms and Ballpark Digest)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:20am
Each year, Geoff Young blows his whole winter (and then some) putting together the single most comprehensive single-team book you're ever going to find. It's called Ducksnorts, and it has everything you ever wanted to know about the San Diego Padres. It's so detailed that I'm putting even odds on Geoff being called as a witness in John and Becky Moores' divorce case.
Well, it's that time of year again: Geoff has finished Ducksnorts 2009. Free excerpts can be read here. The whole kit-and-caboodle can be purchased here, in either paperback or downloadable form. Sorry, if you buy a kit, you must purchase a caboodle too. No exceptions.
Now that the book is out, you're officially on notice: if you can't name any Padres other than Adrian Gonzales and Jake Peavy, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:24pm
Pedro wants a bit more than the going rate for his services:
Pedro Martinez wants to pitch in the majors this season, but the three-time Cy Young winner prefers retiring to his fishing boat if the alternative is accepting a Tom Glavine-like contract. Glavine, Martinez's former teammate with the Mets, signed with the Braves for a base salary of $1 million.
As Jason noted earlier today, Pedro isn't exactly in the position to be demanding anything in this market. I find the Tom Glavine analogy particularly instructive. Last year, Glavine threw something like 60 innings with an ERA+ in the mid 70s. Last year Pedro threw something like 100 innings with an ERA+ in the mid 70s. Yes, I suppose 40 innings means something, but I don't think it means nearly as much as Pedro has in mind.
That said, I'm not going to pile on here, because I kind of like his overall attitude about all of this:
Martinez said he isn't annoyed that he's unemployed.
Athletes are different from you and me in that they spend a huge portion of their life in competition. Many of them gear up for such competition by building their enemies up to greater threats than they actually are. This is understandable and probably even useful as they ride into battle. Unfortunately, such a posture usually spills over into the business side of things, with players finding enemies and disrespect in places where, quite frankly, they don't exist.
It's good to see Pedro eschewing that game. He knows he isn't the pitcher he once was. He knows that if he were, people would be beating down his door to sign him. They're not, and that's cool with him, even if he thinks they're making a mistake.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:57pm
Scott Herhold of the Merc lives near one of the possible landing pads for the A's in San Jose, and while he's a fan of the prospect, his neighbors aren't:
You see, I live in the Hanchett Park neighborhood of San Jose, about a mile as a City Hall falcon flies, from the potential site of an A's ballpark next to the main Caltrain station.
Leaving the question of finances aside -- you all know where I stand on that -- I am struck by the initial responses, even if they're the mere anecdotal ramblings of a columnist's neighbors. I'm curious: is there a Major League ballpark anywhere that brings with it the kinds of negatives described by Herhold's neighbors?
I'm not asking this rhetorically. I really don't know. Are there any ballparks, particularly new-builds, that truly antagonize their immediate neighbors? The only example I can think of at the moment is Wrigley Field, which seems to kick up problems in connection with night games and traffic issues and stuff. Of course Wrigley is a special case in that (a) it's literally smack dab in the middle of a residential area; and (b) it probably does more to enhance the lives of its neighbors than detract. At any rate, unless you're 95, it was there first, so complainers don't get a lot of sympathy from me.
Anyone have any real life horror stories of living near the ballpark?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:35pm