Posted on: April 8, 2012 4:21 pm
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Stop the Insanity

At some point in the future baseballs historians will ponder discuss and disagree upon when the 2012 baseball season began.  Some will point to March 28 in a foreign country seven time zones removed from the continental United States.  Opponents will disagree and offer as evidence that the game was aired live only by the Mariners network at 3:00 AM PCT and not shown at all by the A’s Comcast Sportsnet.  

Further discussion will hover about whether MLB should be entertaining baseball fans in a foreign country at the expense of the fans of the country that gave birth, nurtured like a National Treasure and supported the game for over a hundred years.  The answer is absolutely not, especially since the owner of the Mariners for over twenty years, Hiroshi Yamauchi founder of Nintendo, had never seen his own team play.  Not even in 2001 when the team won 116 games.  Make no mistake about it this was not an effort to globalize baseball, not in a country that has played professional organized ball since 1934, a sum of seventy-seven years.  The fans of this country were sold out for money in the form of merchandise sales   The effort to squeeze every dollar or yen by Allan Huber Selig knows no limits.  Besides don’t we have a globalization abortion of a program known as the World Baseball Classic, wink, wink?

The rest of the opening season included a single game one week later between the Cardinals and Marlins.  Upon conclusion of that game the Marlins, who had lost, flew to Cincinnati to face the Reds on day three of the baseball opening day menu which introduced thirteen more teams to the new season.  None of whom had to fly overnight to play a day game other than the Marlins, the Marlins were shutout.  Day four and the final thirteen teams finally reached the beginning of the 162 game marathon.

The engineer of this madness was MLB whose overseer Selig has left no opportunity to earn his flock a dollar.  The beneficiaries of Selig’s zealousness are the owners, the networks, the agents and the players.  My failure to mention the baseball fan was not an error on my part.

Call Selig what you will, but do not call him Commissioner.  President of Merchandising, CFO, Angel of Death all apply.

The true Commissioners were non baseball men, who along with the two league presidents to oversee the “best interests of baseball and serve as arbitrators of the final say were appointed by the Baseball owners.  The positions of League Presidents was eliminated in 1999 by Selig.  Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a US District Court Judge who had been appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt when he became the first Commissioner and served 24 years until his death.  He was followed by Kentucky Senator ‘Happy’ Chandlerwho resigned his seat in the Senate to accept the appointment as Commissioner. Chandler was the second to serve and the first in my lifetime.  Those who followed, Ford Frick, Sports Journalist and NL President.  General William Eckert, West Point Graduate and retired AF General.  Bowie Kuhn, Attorney. Peter Uberroth, Organizer of the LA Olympics.  A. Bartlett Giamatti President of Yale and Fay Vincent, Deputy Commissioner appointed by Giamatti.  All were ardent followers of baseball and proved their judgment to be balanced.

In 1992 Fay Vincent received a vote of no confidence by baseball ownership and resigned.  Leading  ownership was Bud Selig and his followers “The Great Lakes Gang”, the issue was Vincent pointing out to the owners of the distrust of the union created by Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf in the rigging of free agency resulting in the owners being found guilty of collusion and having to pay back 280 M.

“The Union basically doesn’t trust the Ownership because collusion was a $280 million theft by Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf of that money from the players. I mean, they rigged the signing of free agents. They got caught. They paid $280 million to the players. And I think that’s polluted labor relations in baseball ever since it happened. I think it’s the reason Fehr has no trust in Selig."-Fay Vincent

 

 The same distrust was present in the 1994-95 strike which eliminated the 1994 postseason, shortened the 1995 season and before the strike was settled introduced “replacement players”.  Vincent’s words upon his resignation still resonate today after twenty years.

 

“To do the job without angering an owner is impossible. I can't make all twenty-eight of my bosses happy. People have told me I'm the last commissioner. If so, it's a sad thing. I hope they [the owners] learn this lesson before too much damage is done.”

 

I previously suggested that Selig could be called Angel of Death.  If you think that was extreme consider that today you still receive free games on television if you pay for cable or one of the dish networks.  Otherwise you get no coverage or a handful of games on free television.  Major League Baseball will also sell you a package of all games for the entire season for $110 which is less than $20 a month, not a terrible price.  Now look down the road to the point where the cable and satellite providers will take their baseball coverage premium and for that same $20 or more you’ll just get your home team.  Joe Family Guy who has been priced out of taking the kids to a ballgame will now have to pay to tune in to the team he supported before the Angel of Death killed the National Pastime.  

 

 

Posted on: March 19, 2012 11:56 am
 

2012, Gateway to the Future

Vision a beautiful stadium, sun shining, Division Pennants and World Championship banners rippling in the air.  On either side of the field is a door located between the infield and the outfield wall. The LF door leads to the Mets locker room of the past three years, the RF door opens to the Mets farm system.  At the entrance of each door is a threshold, it is the threshold to the playing field of the future and of those who will sweat, ache, bleed and excel in this arena.

We enter the LF door leading to the Mets locker room; it is a gloomy place with the shadows of the past three years hanging in the air.  Yet the some of the future of the team that will compete, succeed and revel on that field in the sun are here.

All players fall into one of three categories; potentials, unclassified, and space keepers.  We will not be spending time with the space keepers who are short time getting the team to the threshold but are not part of the future. 

The unclassified are players whose potential is identified, but may be sliding into a space keeper role.

The potentials are the youth, the younger players who will at some point soon determine if they are crossing that threshold or their replacement is waiting in the wings and they have become space keepers.

The Rotation;   I am defining Johan Santana as an unclassified, he has two years left on his contract and will be 35 when he reaches FA unless he converts the option for 2014 which would pay him another 25 M.  Very unlikely that he will win a Cy Young and finish 2<sup>nd</sup> or 3<sup>rd</sup> in the other year or pitch 420 innings in the next two years or 215 in 2013.  If Santana does perform decently 28-30 GS 170+ inn. ERA of <4.00 he could be a short term pick up at 2yrs 6 M per in 2014. 

R.A. Dickey is also an unclassified, he will be 38 next year and the Mets hold a 5 M option on him that will likely be picked up.

The potentials are Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee, both need to step forward this year or next to consider themselves as part of the future.

On the Field; The only unclassified I will mention is David Wright the longest tenured Met.  Whether he is a space keeper or a potential may likely be the result of his first 250 PA of this year.  A good start could put him on the deadline trading block or ensure that the Mets pick up his option for next year.  A poor start pushes him into space keeper with either a trade of limited value or as a FA next off season.

The potentials in some capacity as a fixture at their position or on the bench are Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, and Justin Turner.  For some, as the economics of arbitration out weight their value they will move in trades.  Other may have a long and indeterminate run at Citi Field.

The Bullpen; Pedro Beato, Bobby Parnell and Chris Schwinden are the only members with potential.  Schwinden, if he goes north it will be as the long man out of the pen and as the heir apparent if injury strikes the rotation.  None has made the first step toward that threshold of the future but time is on their side until it isn’t or they fail expectations.

That door down the RF line controls the overall health and future of the team, as long as that door keeps opening and players continue to step into the sunshine, our future will be secure. 

Category: MLB
Tags: Mets, MLB, NY Mets
 
Posted on: January 7, 2012 11:58 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Sleazy Agent Men

This is a look at three high profile agents and three high profile players. 

 

Agent one and player one are Peter Greenberg, and Jose Reyes.

This past off season Jose Reyes signed a 6 year 106 M dollar contract with the Miami Marlins.  The contract did not contain a no trade clause.  Why do I mention that aspect?  The Marlins do not have a solid fan base in the best of seasons and despite winning the World Series in 1997 and in 2003 have drawn 3 M fans only once.  That was in the Marlins first season 1993, in 1997 when they won the first Championship attendance was 2.4 M.  By the time the Marlins won their second Championship the fan base was jaded.  Owner Wayne Huizenga broke up the 1997 team and with it the fan base.  By the time newest owner Jeff Loria won the second World Series, the attendance in that year was an embarrassing 1.3 M with a payroll of $45 M.  Once again the Marlins sold off the team and by 2006 the opening day payroll was $15 M.  In the last 14 seasons the Marlins payroll has been in the bottom 20% of the League in every year but one.  Loria has been exceptionally fortunate; Allan Huber Selig gave him the opportunity to purchase the Marlins for 158 M including a 38 M no interest loan from MLB by taking the Montreal Expos off his hands.  He stepped into a situation where the Marlins won the World Series the following year.  After he sold off the assets of that team he fielded a team with a payroll of less than MLB was giving him in revenue sharing for a number of years.  He was also the beneficiary of a 500 M taxpayer bond to pay for a new stadium.  That stadium is going to open this year and is the reason why Loria signed Heath Bell to 3 years 27 M, Reyes and Mark Buehrle to a 4 year 58 M $ contract which is only 17 M owed in the first two years.  The Reyes contract of 106 M only pays Reyes 20 M over the first two years leaving an eight-six million dollar balance in the remaining 4 years.  Jeff Loria has been a snake in the past and the handwriting on the wall is that he has his exit strategy already laid out.  New stadium gratis of the taxpayers, big name signings with back loaded contracts equals maximum revenue while the payroll is low and before the stadium allure is over.  The Expos won’t be the only team he dumps on MLB.  Peter Greenberg cannot be that dumb to not see what the future holds, but he can be that greedy to put his percentage of 106 M over the next highest bid of 80 M in front of the well being of his client.  Why not?  It will be Reyes’ last big contract and if Reyes ends up in Kansas City, so be it.

Dan Lozano is the agent for Albert Pujols, and according to rumor recruits new clients with hookers and booze.  I imagine that the other back stabbing sub human species that are also agents are the foundation of this rumor or are annoyed that they didn’t think of it first.  Pujols was courted by three teams; the Cardinals whom he felt low balled him from the very start.  This he regarded as an insult to the man who had been the center of the team for a decade.  The Marlins who either he or Lozano recognized were looking to use Pujols as a marketing tool.  This was apparent by their refusal to give him a no trade clause in the contract which reached 274 M for 10 years.  The Angels did give Pujols the no trade clause and signed him to a contract of 254 M for 10 years.  Arte Morano, owner of the Angels got his wish but will very likely learn the meaning of the saying “be careful of what you wish for”.  Pujols is listed at 32 years of age but is widely believed in baseball circles to be as old as 35.

The final agent is Scott Boras; a piece about sleazy agents couldn’t be complete with out Boras.  Where Boras unsuccessfully tried to steal Reyes last season he was successful in signing K-Rod away from his former agent Peter Kinzer. 

PHOENIX-- Agent Scott Boras confirmed he is now representing New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, 29, is in the final guaranteed season of a deal that pays at least three years, $37 million and was negotiated by former agent Paul Kinzer.  If Rodriguez finishes 55 games this season, a vesting option for $17.5 million kicks in for 2012. Otherwise, K-Rod receives a $3.5 million buyout in addition to his $11.5 million salary for this season.

 "This is something that Sandy and Frankie and I will talk about," Boras said. . Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. 7/11/11

One day later Rodriguez was traded to the Brewers.   What I believe happened, and the senario that makes sense is that Rodriguez, the Mets and the Brewers reached an agreement before the trade, otherwise the Brewers who already have (John Axford 46 Svs) would have been insane to take on Rodriguez with a 17.5 M vesting option pending.  The agreement was reached and the trade took place.  The Brewers bought out his vested option in exchange for a mutual option, Rodriguez got the opportunity to go to a team with playoff ambitions, his agent Boras sold Francisco Rodriguez that it was in his best interest.   

The following is from FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal 7/15/2011.

According to sources, newly acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez has freed Milwaukee from the burden of paying a possible vesting option of $17.5 million, which would have come into effect had K-Rod finished 55 games in 2011.  With Rodriguez needing just 21 more to reach that plateau, the Brewers would have been reticent in letting him close.  Rodriguez, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, has waived the option in exchange for additional compensation, which according to one source is "not a significant amount."

 K-Rod's vesting option is now a mutual option that kicks in with same 55 games finished threshold. It's meaningless, as he would decline and become a free agent. His buyout increases from $3.5M to $4M, which was the inducement. The Mets are paying the original buyout, while the Brewers will pay the additional amount.  The development is a victory for Rodriguez's new agent, Scott Boras, who only began representing the reliever earlier this month. Had the option vested, the commission on next year's salary would have belonged to Rodriguez's former agents at Wasserman Media Group. Instead, now that Rodriguez will be a free agent, Boras will apparently lay claim to the commission on K-Rod's 2012 earnings.

In an ideal trade both sides would benefit and there would be no losers.  This trade produced multiple winners and multiple losers.  Obvious losers are Peter Kinzer and Francisco Rodriguez who has accepted arbitration from the Brewers when the closer market dried up in early Free Agent signings.  The Mets paid 4.5 of Rodriguez 2011 salary and 3.5 of the buy out but still came up winners by avoiding the 14 M remaining on the  vesting option.  The Brewers got Rodriguez for a half season for 1.5 M.  As almost always the case Boras was a winner since he will earn a commission on what ever Rodriguez is awarded in arbitration.  Was this the first time that Boras wrote a check his azz couldn’t cash?  Here are a couple of other Boras clients;

 2009 Jarrod Washburn 35, coming off a 4 yr 35 M contract with the Mariners was offered a 5 M contract by the Twins for the 2010 season he declined.  Washburn has not pitched since 2009.

Johnny Damon won a world Series with the Yankees in 2009 at the end of his 4 yr 56 M contract.  A contract offer of 2 yrs for 19 M was declined.  Damon played 2010 with the Tigers for 8 M and the Rays in 2011 for 5.3 M


Addendum;  Rodriquez who accepted arbitration from the Brewers agreed to a 1 year contract of 8 M.  That added to the 4 M buyout still falls short of the 17.5 option that Rodriquez had almost locked up with the Mets before Boras entered the picture.  Rodriguez loss is 5.5 M.  Boras gets a piece of the 8 M for 2012. 

 

 

Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:43 pm
 

The NFL and Alphabet City Crap on NY

The Giants and Cowboys game which was a 1 PM scheduled game has been hijacked by NBC and will now air at 8:20 PM and will likely conclude in the early hours of Monday January 2.  The rational is that Monday is a Federal holiday and schools are closed.  It seems to me that in order for all those Federal employees sleeping in and those teachers that didn't set the alarm clock there must be someone picking up the tab for all that unproductive time.  There is, it is the tax payers who will get out of bed on January 2nd, it is the tax payers who would have watched the game in its entirety but now will make a call in the third quarter whether to stay with it or go to bed.   Prime time sports (ESPN, CBS, NFL, FOX and NBC) serve the networks, the NFL and it's owners, the players and their agents who can call for more money.  It doesn't serve the fan that picks up the tab and labors the next day on too little sleep.  78,000 Giants fans who hold tickets to a playoff game have just had their plans and possibly their ability to go to the game altered inorder for the NFL and the network brass to line their pockets.
Posted on: December 17, 2011 9:39 am
 

Trapped!

A quality that championship teams have is maturity, maturity not measured in years but in wisdom.  The Giants lack of maturity has caused them to fail in two trap games this season and they face another against the Redskins.  Some would call the first Redskin game a trap game but it doesn’t meet my definition of a trap game. I view a trap game as a game that is not given full attention because of their record, your team’s recent accomplishments and the perceived importance of an upcoming game and finally what happened to both teams in subsequent weeks.  The Washingtong ame was the first of the season and the Giants were not viewed as a serious team due to preseason injuries and players lost to free agency.  Plus they had two games each with “America’s Team” and the “Dream Team” in addition to games against the 49ers, Patriots, Saints, Packers, and Jets.  Third in the division and a record of 8-8 was an often repeated forecast.  Game one of the season was not a trap game.

Week 5; the 3-1 Giants are hosting the 1-3 Seahawks who have a certain quirk, they don’t travel to the East coast and win.  Their frequent flier mile futility could be measured by a zero for nine record.  Perhaps the Giants were looking past the powder puffs to the Patriot game, but they fell into the trap.  The Giants recovered to win their next three including the Patriots game whileSeattlelost their next three.

Week 11; The Giants coming off a victory over the Patriots and a West coast game in which they dominated the 49ers and had a chance to tie in the final minute may have been looking past the Eagles and at the upcoming Saints, Packers, and Cowboys games. The Giants were sitting atop the Eastern Division with a 6-3 record and facing a team that they had already beaten on the road. The Eagles would be bringing their 3-6 record to MetLife Stadium.  Trapped.  The Giants followed with their worst loss of the year against the Saints before recovering.  They followed the Saints loss with a loss to the Packers which culminated with Aaron Rodgers moving the Packers 69 yards in less than one minute and winning on a last second FG.  Last week the Giants leap frogged the Cowboys to take over the top of the Eastern Division.  The Eagles lost two before beating the 4-9 Dolphins who then fired their coach.

Week 15; the table is set and it is a familiar setting.  The Redskins bring their 4-9 record to MetLife and the Giants are in a survival mode.  The Giants just won their first “back against the wall” game and the Redskins have one win in their last nine games.  Following the Redskins are games against the rival Jets which will be a survival game for both teams and the Cowboys on New Years Day, a game that will very likely send one team to the Division Championship and the other home.  This game has Trapped written all over it.

Last week Giants pride beat the Cowboys; this week yogi says that a new found Giants maturity avoids the trap.  Giants 31-16.

 

 

Posted on: October 19, 2011 9:26 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Survivor's Guide

The World Series begins tonight in St Louis where the weather will be 47 degrees at game time with winds at 16 out of the NW.  There is also a 40% chance of rain.  You would have to go all the way back to 1984 to find the last World Series game played outdoors in the sun.  They were games 4 & 5 (Sat. & Sun.) at Tigers Stadium. 
I have prepared a check list for those of you who may have tickets and plan on going to the game.


2 World Series tickets, check.  Bernard will love going to his first game.

Heavy Down Parka, check.

Ski mask, check.

Ski Gloves, check.

Hand Warmers, check

Mets  Blue snuggie in a snuggie., check. 

Brandy Cask for St.Bernard, check

 

The game will be televised by FOX.    Yogi’s advice, scalp the tickets. 

 

 

This check list and advice is not brought to you by the Commissioners office.  If you look carefully you will be able to spot Allan Huber Selig in the heated owners box. 

Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Osi, Shut Up and Play

Football isn't my prime passion, but I am a long time Giants fan and have followed them from Yankees Stadium and Charlie Conerly, Rosey Grier and Sam Huff until today.  This posting is apart from baseball which  goes back further than the football Giants and is my first love (God, Country and Family aside).   

I am tired of Osi Umenyiora and his whining.  In 2005 he signed a 5 year 41 M extention which runs through the 2012 season.  He signed this contract midway through the 4 year deal that paid him 2.5 M.  The 15 M guaranteed was the highest amount ever offered to a player with only three years of service time.  Through the first three years Umenyiora was paid 21 M of the front loaded contract despite missing the entire 2008 season.  This year Umenyiora is earning 3.1 M and may take the field for the first time this season, but not without adding his own brand of distraction.  Osi Umenyiora is “constantly disrespected” as the Giants prepare to play the Cardinals

The Giants and Tom Coughlin have a history with dysfunctional players, remember this was where Plaxico Burress disrespected the Giants structure before shooting himself.  Next year, the last in Umenyiora’s current contract will pay him 4.0 M.  That will offer no comfort to his feelings of bitterness.  I hope he has a great season and I hope the Giants trade him ASAP after the last game and dump this whining player on someone else.  BTW, Osi Umenyiora could have been one the Giants all time greats, if he didn’t have a persecution complex.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 25, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:43 pm
 

A Change for the Worst

In a booth discussion with Gary Cohan and Ron Darling, Sandy Alderson was open and frank about Mets team thoughts going into the 2012 season.  One of these disclosures was that the team was seriously considering a major change to the dimensions of Citifield.

This strikes me as a reactive approach to a problem than can be resolved and create a home field advantage for the team for years to come. 

This week the movie Moneyball opened, Alderson who while not depicted in the movie was a factor in the whole Billy Beane/Athletics story.  Essentially it is about have an edge on the competition, in the Athletics’ case it is information and in the Mets case it could be an 81 game playing field that is not level by any means. 

It has been three years since Citifield and its hitter unfriendly dimensions opened.  In the first year David Wright’s Hrs dropped from the 30 average he had hit in his Mets career to 10.  Year two, we invest 66 M in a left fielder who averaged over 30 Hrs over the 5 previous years before joining the Mets and has hit 18 in the two years since.  In the three years that Wright has played at Citifield he has struck out 392 times in 397 games, his last three years at Shea 346 Ks in 474 games. 

It is pretty clear that home runs at Citifield come with a great cost and no guarantee. 

I look at the elements that do work in a pitchers park.  Of course pitching.  In 2009 we witnessed a mostly mediocre Mets pitching staff finish seventh in ERA in the Majors.  Pitching is a hard to attain commodity, so when a team can elevate less than exceptional pitching into that asset even if only at home they have an edge. 

Power doesn’t work especially well in large ballparks which frees up money for the other elements that do, speed, pitching and defense.  In 2011 the Mets are tied for twenty-eighth in errors.  David Wright represents two areas that do not fit well into the composite of Citifield, he does not play solid defense and strikes out at a higher rate as a result of Citifield.  

Jose Reyes represents speed, he has also altered his game by increasing his OBP and is also the most difficult to strike out in the league.  He is a Citifield type.  Speed is not as costly as power and can be every bit as effective.  The Mets need to make speed top criteria for future additions.   Angel Pagan is arbitration eligible this off season at 3.5 M, he may move to 5 M.  His health has cost him 30 games this year and consequently his runs, SB and RBIs are down.  So is his fielding average, the errors as I see them are primarily throwing errors.  What has not been affected is his range in the outfield and for this speed and his offense speed he is an easy resigning. 

Big power hitters like Fielder and Albert Pujols will cost over 20 M per year for more years than one would want to offer.  Jayson Werth signed for 18 M a yr. and for 7 yrs last year.  These are exactly why the Mets should pursue the elite speed and the elite pitching when it becomes available.  Citifield is fine, just put the right pieces in place and have a home field advantage that few other do.  Besides; pitching, defense, and speed travel well

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com