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Tag:Dodgers
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: 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

Posted on: September 12, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Absolutely Clueless

No one should have been surprised that the worst Commissioner in the history of baseball made another bad decision yesterday on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country.  The two cities that bore the brunt of those attacks New York and Washington DC were told by MLB not to wear the caps of the first responders for the Mets or the Navy Seals for the Nationals.  Joe Torre, formerly the Yankees manager in 2001 was the messenger, but there can be no doubt that the author of that edict was Allan Huber Selig. 

What profit would baseball garner by having the nation watch a game with the players wearing the unauthorized caps of the NYPD, the FDNY, the Port Authority of NY ?  None. This on Selig’s watch is unacceptable.

Selig as owner of the Brewers with help of the gang of 6 forced Fay Vincent, the last independent Commissioner, out and assumed the role of acting commissioner himself.  For the next six years Selig wore two hats, baseball owner and commissioner until in 1998 baseball confirmed him as commissioner and he turned the Brewers over to his daughter and son-in-law.  Six years after that the Brewers were sold and Selig’s son-in-law Laurel Prieb was hired as an executive by MLB.  In the 35 years that Selig and family owned the Brewers they made the playoffs twice and in the final twelve years finished under .500 every year.  An argument could be made either way as to whether Selig was as bad a commissioner as he was a baseball executive.  Both sides would be right.

September eleventh resonates with  everyone.  But for some the scars are still visible in the unfinished resurrection of the fallen World Trade Center, in the tears of loved one left behind and in the children.  The NY Mets wore the caps of the first responders in the first game after 9/11/01 against the Braves at Shea Stadium on Sept. 21/ 2001.

On September 11, 2001, 3,051 innocent people died at the hands of Osama bin Laden and his death squad.  403 of them were first responders who died trying to save lives.  184 died in a field in Shanksville, PA., the final resting place of Flight 93, where the final words were “Lets Roll”.  The courage and patriotism on that plane destined to hit the Capital Building can never be surpassed.  I think of that day and I get a knot in my chest, and Selig sees dollar signs.  Not only the worst commissioner, but a soulless commissioner.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:46 pm
 

Victory

There is a settlement and the NFL is in business again.  Most baseball fans will now devote a growing proportion of attention on their football teams as the start of the NFL season begins and the baseball season draws to close. Every columnist I read Bob Glauber (Newsday), Mike Lupica and Gary Myers (Daily News) were all complimentary on the fairness of the CBA and the part that Jeff Saturday played in the negotiations.  It amounts to 10 more years without having to revisit lockouts, decertification and a work stoppage.   If only the MLB had a Players Association and a Commissioner who did not more resemble the Allied Forces and the Axis Forces facing each other on a battlefield than the NFL joint leadership. 

MLB and the Players association have had eight labor stoppages since 1972 with a significant loss of games (712) in 1981 that resulted in two half seasons.  The 1994 work stoppage was far more costly when baseball shut down and the rest of the season and post season were lost.  The contention was over the subjects of a salary cap and revenue sharing, but the adversarial relationship had been brewing for years.

In an interview with the Biz of Baseball in 2005 former Commissioner Fay Vincent was quoted “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.”  This referred back to the 1990 settlement of three cases of collusion brought by the MLBPA against the owners 1986-88.

 

At that time, then-commissioner Fay Vincent told the owners:

“The single biggest reality you guys have to face up to is collusion. You stole $280 million from the players, and the players are unified to a man around that issue, because you got caught and many of you are still involved.”

 

A little more than a year later a 18-9 no confidence vote led by the ‘Gang of Six’ which included Allan Huber Selig and Reinsdorf cost the last independent Commissioner his job and Brewers owner Selig became Commissioner.

We have seen what can happen when men of reason and character like Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith sit down to resolve an issue.  This will never happen in MLB as long as the commissioner is a stooge of the owners and lacks the moral fiber to command the trust of the MLBPA.

 

I entitled this entry ‘Victory’ for the NFL CBA.  For baseball fans titles like Defeated, Disillusioned or Disenfranchised might better describe baseball’s relationship with the fan.  The game has been sold to the media and Corporate America.  If you want to watch a game with your son during the school year, plan on writing him a note for missing school the next day.  Unless you are of more than ample means don’t expect to be going to many games.  The owners have sold America’s Pastime and with every dollar squeezed out are bring the game closer to the end of the glory that once was baseball.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:47 pm
 

Here's a Thought

I understand that this entry will raise the BP of fans in a number of cities.  But it shouldn’t be too many since these fans are pretty much alone without a large fan base to share the victories and loses of their teams.  This thought came to me as I watched the FOX Game of the Week featuring the Phillies and the Padres.  Despite a game effort bySan Diegothey were a team overmatched and predictably lost.

Divide the major leagues into three pieces, National, American and Freedom.  The National and American leagues would conduct business as usual and playing for the Commissioners Trophy after some restructuring into two five team divisions (East & West).  If necessary they could even continue the distracting practice of interleague play.  The Freedom League, free from competing against 100 & 200 Million payrolls would also divide into two 5 team divisions and would conduct its own postseason.  All leagues would send its top two finishers onto the post season.  The Freedom League would participate in all major league activities; free agency, the draft, trading deadline, and revenue sharing.

Since revenue sharing is a ‘gift’ from the major leagues, the Commissioners office would oversee the budgets of Freedom League teams.  All revenue sources would be spent on organization operations to improve the product on the field at all levels.  Owners would not take any earnings while the team remains in the Freedom League, this will not be well received by Jeff Loria of the soon to be Miami Marlins which are moving into a new Stadium built with public money.  In 2008 the Marlins had an opening day payroll of 21.8 Million, they finished last in attendance and Jeff Loria finished with a 39.2 Million dollar operating profit and a net profit of 29.4 M.  The 2008 Marlins received 48 Million in revenue sharing.  2009 the payroll was still the lowest in baseball, and Jeff Loria collected another 44 M in revenue sharing and turned another net profit. 

A MLB commission would decide after each season; based on attendance, payroll and performance whether a team would move up to either the AL or NL and who would move down.  The ‘graduation’ would not be guaranteed and would also depend on an existing AL/NL team floundering.  Freedom League teams would retain their former AL/NL affiliation. To accomplish this six of the ten teams comprising the Freedom League would come from the ranks of the National League.  The following are the 7 NL teams with the lowest payroll and attendance followed by 5 candidates from the American League.

National League Payroll          2011             Attendance
Padres                                                              Marlins
Pirates                                                            Nationals
Diamondbacks                                                  Pirates 
Marlins                                                         Diamondbacks 
Nationals                                                          Padres
Astros                                                                Reds
Reds                                                                 Astros


American League Payroll                             Attendance
Royals                                                            Athletics
Rays                                                                Indians
Indians                                                              Rays
Blue Jays                                                          Royals
Athletics                                                         Blue Jays

Some of these teams have .500 or better records as we reach the 100 game mark in the season.  The Pirates and the Indians have surprised their fans with their play and both are in contention for their division championship.  Contrary to the theme of my favorite baseball movie "Field of Dreams", if you build it they may not come.   The formula IMHO is payroll drives attendance and attendance provides sustainability to produce on the field.   We could of course continue with the haves beating up on the have nots, an unbalanced schedule and millions of disenfranchised fans who pay to watch an inferior product while ownership short changes them and the league.  Separate out the teams that are not competeing, ensure that ownership is investing in that team.  And allow it to have success, and engage their fanbase before stepping up the NL or AL  


                 

Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Mama don't let your Babies

grow up to Allan Huber Selig, Commissioner of Baseball.  aka, former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, owners lackey, leader of the Great Lakes Gang which ousted Fay Vincent.  Selig, could also be found cowering beneath his desk if the Players Association’s Gene Orza or Donald Fehr showed up to see him.

This is the week that the Major Leagues pause to conduct the   Midsummer Classic, the All-Star Game.  First played as part of the 1933 Chicago Expo, the game provided a tableau for the best players of the American and National leagues to face each other and also given national coverage it gave baseball fans in remote areas and in cities with only one team to listen to the broadcast of the game and to hear the exploits of players they had only heard about.  In 1933 and until the early 1950s eleven of the sixteen major league teams were located in just five cities. New York had three, Boston; the Red Sox and Braves, the Athletics were in Philadelphia, the Browns in St. Louis and Chicago had two. Each of these cities had players of both leagues ready available to see play. Cincinnati, D.C., Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh had one team.  Prior to the mid 50’s less than 50% of families owned automobiles, so travel to see a game was somewhat restricted.  The spread of television ownership in the early 50’s gave the All-Star game a boost and increased fan interest.  That interest continued through the 70’s. During the 1980’s we started to see a change in the player’s commitment to the game.  Players began passing on attending, others limited themselves to three innings before that became more the norm, and some who had played three left before the game was over, with this player attitude, fan interest also waned.  The Home Run Derby was created to regenerate interest and to produce revenue for the media as well as baseball.  Perhaps the fans in the park get a kick out of it, but it is three labored hours of batting practice and Chris Berman.  It may be the singular reason that remotes have ‘off buttons’.  Another blow to the game was struck in 2002 when the team mismanagers ran out of players in the eleventh inning and the commissioner (Selig) called the game a tie. 

Baseballs response was swift and profitable, partnered with FOX, Selig announced that “This One Counts.  Going forward the league winning the AS game would have home field advantage in the World Series and to insure that the rosters were sufficient to avoid mismanagers they were expanded, a reentry provision was created, and managers were advised to withhold players for emergencies.  Everything that could be done, outside of penalty kicks was done to keep the egg off the commissioners (Selig) face.

Perhaps the death knell was sounded in 1997 and wasn’t heard.  1997 was the beginning of regular season inter-league play (Selig) which involves eighteen games a year.  Besides the unbalanced regular season intra-league schedule and games now scheduled against teams that you may see every fourth year, it also removed the cachet of the All Star game which was to that point the only time that AL and NL players faced each other than the World Series.

It has not been surprising that manager, players and journalists are disenchanted with the Midsummer Classic.  Despite the value now placed on the exhibition game more than twenty percent of the players elected by the fans or selected by the manager opted out, some due to injury, some for personal reasons.  The value of “This One Counts”, zero.  Not one World Series in the past eight years dating to 2003 has gone seven games.

It has been on the watch this commissioner that the All-Star game has suffered its greatest loss of esteem.  This is the reign of the Worst Baseball Commissioner who also gave rise to another WBC, an abomination known as the World Baseball Classic.

 

 

Posted on: June 18, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Getting it all Wrong

Not able to fix the problems that plague baseball such as lack of a salary cap, suspected use of HGH, the slippage of baseball’s standing amongst other sports, the DH, and the over exposure of inter-league that has limited the more critical intra-league component, Allan Huber Selig has taken it upon himself to create a new twist that should never see the light of day.

Under pressure from the owners of teams in the NL Central Major League Baseball is looking at a two league 15 team format which would advance three teams each into the playoffs and have the fourth and fifth place teams play a post season series for the wildcard. 
  The NL Central is the only 6 team division in baseball, hence making the competition for the playoffs more difficult.  This can be traced back to 1998, when baseball’s AL and NL were both 14 team 3 division leagues. 1998 is when baseball expanded once again adding the Devil Rays to the AL and the Diamondbacks to the NL, realizing that 15 team leagues wouldn’t work Selig had his former franchise the Brewers moved from the AL to the NL creating a six team division.  Now in the chase for the last dollar MLB wants a fifth playoff team from both the AL and NL, hence formats that will give us inter-league play from day one until day last. There are two other configurations possible assuming that Selig wants to pursue fixing that which wasn’t that badly broken.  Contract two teams and return to the 1997 balance of that day and as long as we traveled back to 1997 delete inter-league all together or limit it to one 4 game series per year between geographical or historical rivalries.  I confess that I don’t know whether the concept of contraction falls under the CBA or not, if it does the Players Assoc. will never agree to the loss of jobs.  For the sake of this discussion, it does not.  My parameters for contraction would be attendance and I would grandfather all teams that made up the Major Leagues prior to the 1961 expansion which added the Angels and the Senators which replaced the team that became the Twins and later moved from Washington to Texas and became the Rangers.  Safe among low attendance teams (2008-date) would be the Athletics, Indians, Orioles, and Pirates.   The first contraction team should be the Marlins who have never received fan support and have finished last in attendance in two of the last three years and are currently last as we speak.  The problem, the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County are on the hook for 500 M on the 634 M dollar stadium.  Jeff Loria, team owner, and David Samson (son-in-law) team president have threatened to move the team repeatedly and have claimed poverty despite a 38 M operating profit in 2008.  Miami Mayor Carlos Alverez who engineered the stadium deal was later voted out of office 88%-12%.  The next expansion team that consistently appeared on the list low attendance is the Kansas City Royals, followed by the Blue Jays.  Should the Marlins get a pass and avoid contraction?  I would vote no, but with Selig’s finger prints all over the purchase of the Marlins by Loria they would be safe.   When 2002 dawned, John Henry owned the Marlins having bought the team from Wayne Huizenga.  The Boston Red Sox were on the market and Jeff Loria was unhappy in Montreal.  Selig brokered a deal in which MLB bought the Expos for 120 M, Loria bought the Marlins for 160 M and John Henry bought the Red Sox from the Tom Yawkey Estate.  The Expos ultimately moved to Washington and were bought from MLB in 2006 by Ted Lerner.

Another option would be another round of expansion adding two more teams to the mix and creating two 16 team leagues with four 4 team divisions.  Based on the 2010 census there are eleven population centers that are larger than 9 current major league teams including Atlanta, Minneapolis, St Louis, and Cincinnati.  San Antonio, Indianapolis, Austin,TX, Charlotte N.C., and Memphis are all top 20 cities.  Others include Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque NM.  Whether it is contraction or expansion both would save baseball from first to last inter-league and from the continued meddling of Allan Huber Selig, baseballs worst commissioner beyond question.

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