Posted on: March 1, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 9:11 pm

Henry fined $500,000 for revenue-sharing comments

HenryBy Evan Brunell

John Henry has long been an outspoken opponent of revenue sharing, one of very few things that the Red Sox agree with the Yankees on, as Hank Steinbrenner had some choice words on the subject in February. In a radio interview with WEEI out of Boston Tuesday, Henry revealed he was fined $500,000 for comments related to revenue sharing made in 2009, as quoted in the Boston Globe.

"Change is needed and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars have been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits," Henry says in the article. "Who, except these teams, can think this is a good idea?" 

Over a year later, Henry (photo, flanked by president Larry Lucchino on left and chairan Tom Werner on right) said "I made statements which turned out to be true, or at least there were various documents that were leaked after that." He is referring to the financial documents of a few baseball clubs that were leaked and showed high operating profits for certain clubs that publicly cried poor.

Henry also revealed the team received a letter after Steinbrenner's comments, warning them to keep their mouth shut.

"The large markets are not allowed to give their opinions," he said, saying baseball encourages small-market teams to do so. He declined to say why, but declined to say why although the answer seems clear: small-market clubs will promote the system as it directly benefits them.

Henry confirmed earlier revelations that Boston paid $85 million in revenue sharing, and this is on top of losing other assets that baseball draws into its general fund. Henry earlier purchased an English soccer club, Liverpool, and noted certain differences that can impact operating revenues of each respective club.

"There are a lot of other forms of revenue sharing that we don’t generally think about," Henry said. "Like with Liverpool, we own our hats and our jerseys and our marks and our stadium. But baseball, essentially, has all those rights. It’s another reason why we have been investing outside."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 20, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm

College baseball undergoing major change in bats

FeatherstoneAh, the sweet sounds of baseball... the ball smacking in the glove, the ping off the bat...

Yep, college baseball is gearing up for its season amid the trademark ping of its aluminum bats.

However, the bats players will use this season are drastically different from previous bats, ones that scorched line drives, struck mortal fear in infielders and launched moon shots. A new rule has been instituted which could change college baseball forever -- but figures to improve scouting on a MLB level.

The NCAA has decreed all new bats must meet the .50 figure submitted by the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR), using bats made of aluminum alloy, solid wood, solid wood laminate, solid bamboo laminate, hollow fiber composite and multiple-material composites. 

That's a mouthful, so let's make it simple: NCAA has deadened the aluminum bats, so the days of an off-balance flailing of a pitch down and away turning into a home run are gone. Indeed, as mentioned in a recent Baseball America article, Texas coach Augie Garrido noted home-run numbers in batting practices have dropped from 15 to 20 all the way down to five or six. Similarly, LSU coch Paul Mainieri says home runs dropped from 36 in 2008 to only six in fall intrasquad games.

"The new bats don't have the same pop, that same trampoline feel, and my first hits didn't go as far, maybe like 30 feet less," UCLA sophomore Beau Amaral told the Orange County Register. It's tough on everybody. Our coach even made a rule that we can't complain about the bats anymore."

Despite the precipitous home-run drop, professional scouts have indicated the new setup is far more accurate at predicting success on a big league level. The impact of this can't be understated, as players that may have otherwise flown under the radar, not been drafted and went home could morph into baseball stars while those whose games were all about aluminum will see their luster fall. For all the money poured into the draft and scouting, this could represent major cost-savings while boosting the quality of pro ball.

"The new bats are doing what they are supposed to do, which is act like wood," UC Irvine coach Mike Gillespie confirmed. "They take like five percent of the flight off the ball from last year. ... I still see hard hit line drives. I see doubles. I just think that the flyball that used to loft over the fence isn't doing it now."

This is all a positive, but there's one negative, which comes at the college baseball level. Players and coaches alike believe college teams will start promoting small-ball tendencies such as bunting, steals and baserunning. That could in turn affect recruiting with coaches going after fast, contact hitters instead of sluggers.

The new rule also has a chance of influencing professional baseball as the pool of available college hitters drops in power potential. After all, you can't draft a potential 40-home run hitter if the player can't get a scholarship in favor of someone who can swipe 40 bases. Given power often develops late, however, this may end up a non-factor. In addition, only the stars at the college level tend to get noticed and drafted, so this will likely only affect those in which college is their last stop in playing baseball. The stars should remain in the game, just with lesser offensive numbers -- but, again, their statistics will be more translatable to pro ball.

-- Evan Brunell

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PHOTO: TCU Horned Frogs infielder Taylor Featherston (12) hits a home run against the UCLA Bruins in the ninth inning during game 11 of the 2010 College World Series championships at Rosenblatt Stadium. TCU defeated UCLA 6-2.

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 17, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 9:46 pm

MLB to host baseball camp in Brazil

Baseball is growing.

For the first time, a baseball camp sponsored by MLB will be held in Brazil in conjunction with the Confederation of Brazilian Baseball & Softball (CBBS) in late February. This will allow the best junior-baseball players from Brazil along with representatives from Argentina, Ecuador, Panama and Peru to learn baseball at the hands of ex-major leaguers in Ibiuna and Sao Paulo.

Barry Larkin and Wally Joyner will head up the coaches who will talk about every facet of playing baseball alongside other coaches from South America. The other ex-MLBers will be Bob Didier, Bruce Hurst and Elias Sosa.

"The 2011 MLB Elite Camp will provide its intensive, high-level training to some of the most talented players from Brazil," Paul Archey, senior vice-president of MLB's international business operations said according to BizofBaseball.com. "We are privileged to have a Major League coaching staff represent MLB in the region and assist these young athletes in taking the next steps in their development as elite baseball players."

These players will be scouted by MLB's scouting bureau along with scouts from baseball clubs.

MLB is determined to grow the sport of baseball across the globe and has taken major steps forward by creating the World Baseball Classic and promoting baseball in multiple countries, especially with the backing of MLB International which has done similar camps in Canada, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Europe. MLBI has three international academies -- one in Australia, China and Italy. Of the South American countries participating, it is a growing market with 108 players currently signed to MLB clubs.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: MLB
Posted on: February 15, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 2:12 pm

Senate urging baseball to ban tobacco

DykstraThe pressure on baseball to outlaw tobacco has increased, with two Senate Democrats writing commissioner Bud Selig with a request to outlaw tobacco as Politico.com reports.

"We now know conclusively that smokeless tobacco endangers the health of baseball players who use it, but it also affects millions of young people who watch baseball," the letter to Selig and the MLB players' union reads. "The use of smokeless tobacco by baseball players undermines the positive image of the sport and sends a dangerous message to young fans, who may be influenced by the players they look up to as role models."

Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey) cited minor league baseball banning tobacco 30 years ago as all the more reason why baseball needs to ban the products at the major league level.

One problem with this is that changes at the minor league level do not need to be collectively bargained, while at the major league level, virtually all machinations -- even if technically not required -- tend to be bargained.

However, tobacco is well known to be linked to many different types of cancer, and smokeless tobacco causes cancers in the mouth and jaw. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn recently quit dipping once he was diagnosed with cancer. In the letter, the senators revealed that tobacco-related products kill 443,000 Americans a year with 1,000 children per day becoming addicted.

In a separate letter, the senators hailed the efforts of Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, who publicly quit his addiction to chewing tobacco.

"Your individual decision to quit smokeless tobacco, not only for your health, but to set a positive image for the young people who look up to you and watch baseball, is laudable," they wrote. "We want to encourage you to stick with it. Baseball fans will notice. Your example could prevent disease and disability and save a few lives."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Photo: Lenny Dykstra

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 19, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:18 pm

Study: 8% of fans leave game legally drunk

One of the advantages of going to big-league games as a working member of the press is that not only do I get to the ballpark before most everyone else, I also leave well after most.

Now, usually I think of that as advantage in terms of traffic, but it may be a more important safety measure. According to a study at the University of Minnesota found eight percent of the fans leaving 13 Major League Baseball and three NFL games were legally drunk.

Eight percent may not sound like a lot, but eight percent of 35,000 is 2,800. Even if only one in four is driving, that's still 700 drunk drivers on the road. Add to that, traffic, road rage and increased testosterone following a sporting event, I'm glad I'm nowhere near the majority of fans after the game.

The study also showed that fans younger than 35 were nearly eight times more likely to be drunk than fans 36 and older.

(Tip of the ol' ballcap to Darren Rovell at CNBC .)

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Tags: MLB
Posted on: January 13, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 7:10 pm

Bud Selig optimistic about labor negotiations

Commissioner Bud Selig was part of the owners meetings that wrapped up Thursday and spoke about the looming labor negotiations to take place.

Baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire Dec. 11, but unlike all the other sports, there has been no whispers of a potential work stoppage. And that's how Bud likes it.

"Look, the thing that I've said all along is that there's a constructive relationship now," Selig told the media, according to MLB.com. "Negotiations are always tough. [The players' association has] their players to represent, and I understand that. Rob and his people will do the same thing.

Negotiations are expected to take place in a few weeks, and this time it will be with the input of general managers, who have offered their opinions on various things such as instant replay, the postseason and the draft.

"It was a benefit, I think, especially at the front end of these meetings," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman of the inclusion of the GMs. "It gave the Commissioner a good chance to find out just what the general managers think. It's been great, healthy."

Where the NBA, NFL and NHL are tinged with rancor over labor agreements, all is smelling roses in baseball land -- and Selig believes things will only get better.

"There's no question that nobody could've believed -- starting with me -- that we'd have 16 years of labor peace in a sport that had eight work stoppages," he said. "That's really remarkable. ... The last six years are the best six years we've ever had and I think this will move up a little. That's how good I feel about it."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Tags: Bud Selig, MLB
Posted on: January 8, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 2:00 pm

Torre could become MLB executive

Torre Joe Torre's future might be as a MLB executive.

The New York Daily News reveals that Torre is speaking to commissioner Bud Selig about assuming a position as executive vice president of operations, as sources report.

Torre would fill the spot vacated by current Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who had a heavy hand in cleaning up the Dominican Republic before leaving to the Mets. The job would also oversees the position of vice president of rules and on-field operations, currently vacant after Bob Watson stepped down due to health issues.

Torre reportedly does not want a job that would be "highly structured" or force him to move from his current resident in Los Angeles. While Alderson's job isn't thought to be highly structured, Watson's is in a department responsible for umpires and sanctioning players for on-field actions.

Selig is discussing the job with other candidates, but is focused on a high-profile person in baseball to fill the spot, which Torre certainly is.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: Joe Torre, MLB
Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:52 pm

Baseball releases drug testing numbers

MLB and the players union today released an assessment performed by an independent third party on the state of baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

In it, Dr. Bryan W. Smith, the independent program administrator, noted the number of drug tests taken as numbering 3,747 tests. Of those, 17 tests were reported for findings that later warranted discipline.

There were two positive tests for performance enhancing drugs, those being of Clomiphene and Oxandrolone. The other 15 substances were of the stimulant variety, including 13 tests for Adderall. The remaining tests came on Clobenzorex and Phentermine.

Edinson Volquez and Ronny Paulino were the only major leaguers to test positive and be suspended.

However, quite a few exemptions were granted. They are:
  • Attention Deficit Disorder: 105
  • Hypertension: 2
  • Hypogonadism: 1
  • Narcolepsy: 1
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome: 1 
The one that jumps out is for ADD. Assuming that the 13 failed tests came from those who were not granted exemptions, that pushes the full total to 118. So how much of a percentage of baseball is that?

There were 1,132 players to either hit or pitch in the major leagues in 2010. The drug test program, however, applies to all those on the 40-man roster. If one assumes over the course of the season that five never sniff the majors, an additional five are players that weren't on the 40-man to begin with (either out of organization or in the farm) and the last five do indeed contribute to the list above, that's 10 additional players subject to the program per team, 300 total. That churns the final mark to 1,432. There are multiple tests per player involved, so that number and the 3,737 total tests seem to jive.

That means that eight percent of all baseball players who were tested have ADHD. Compare that with 4.7 percent of all Americans.

Now, that doesn't mean that all players are greasing the skids to get supplements that can help them stay focused (although at least 13 tests were trying to grease the skids). After all, a fair amount of Americans may have the symptoms that go untreated, but are found for the athlete, both due to better available care and more of a willingness to do anything to improve at the game of baseball.

Still, the ADHD issue has been a thorn in the side of baseball for a while, and it won't go away now.

-- Evan Brunell

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