Saturday, March 08, 2014
I have a curare solutin’ BB gun at my ready for the first writer that pulls a Killer B’s for Billy Beane/Billy Burns.
Back in the Moneyball Summer, Billy Beane used to say, “whoever hits the most homers usually wins,” and could live without stolen bases. But while the movie was superb, it was, in reality, fiction, or semi-fiction. “All movies are,” Beane said when the film was released. “Thirteen Days” wasn’t the way it really was, either.
“In our market (and a park that brings new meaning to Flushing Meadows) there isn’t one way to do anything,” Beane says. “Trying to compete is about always trying to stay ahead of the curve, always adjusting, always trying to find undervalued ways to win. That’s all.” He also probably wouldn’t have been so open to creating a goofball, laughing gashouse gang and handed them to a manager who is cerebral and exceptionally logical.
“There is no set way to doing anything, in baseball or business,” Beane says. “Hey, I’ve grown to really like stolen bases. I don’t like the concept when guys get thrown out, but when they don’t get thrown out, I like them.” Billy Burns, who is in the Billy Hamilton/Micah Johnson class of speed, in three years in the Nationals organization stole 125 bases and was thrown out 17 times. Going into the weekend spring training games, he had more stolen bases than all but six teams in Arizona. So Billy isn’t as big as Ken Burns? He is a switch-hitter, every infield ground ball turns opposing infields into British roundabouts and he has the range of Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry. “I have to be honest,” said another American League GM. “I’d never heard of him.” One A.L. scout joked that “I thought he was the manger’s kid the first time I saw him in the Nationals organization.
...Beane, like Andrew Friedman in Tampa and some of the other unconventional small market general managers, is forever searching for a different way to look at and approach the business. It has worked, and once again the Athletics are the real team to beat in the American League West, with a jackrabbit named Billy Burns, a $10M closer and the intellectual flexibility to be able to take stock of what doesn’t work and keep searching, as Lewis once wrote, for the new, new thing.
Posted: March 08, 2014 at 10:11 PM | 1 comment(s)
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Dallas, Goodbye Club
Former A’s pitcher Dallas Braden told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday he is retiring from Major League Baseball after multiple surgeries have rendered his left shoulder a “shredded mess.”
The 30-year-old Braden is best known for authoring the 19th perfect game in Major League history on May 9, 2010—Mother’s Day—in a 4-0 Oakland victory over Tampa Bay.
“There is nothing left in there, it’s just a shredded mess,” Braden told the Chronicle. “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I’m OK with that.”
Braden finishes his career 26-36 with a 4.16 ERA in five seasons, all with the A’s. He last pitched in the Majors in 2011.
Braden told the Chronicle he was working out this offseason in hopes of a comeback but suffered a setback. An MRI showed his shoulder was too damaged to fix, he said.
“I wasn’t in a position to repeat my delivery, to pitch with any intention,” Braden told the newspaper. “That’s OK, I understood the odds I was facing. You have to face your mortality one day, and I have been so blessed in this game. If I take 10 minutes to be hacked off about it, it would be nine minutes too long. You can’t ask for more than I’ve been given, coming where my grandmother and I are coming from.”
Posted: January 14, 2014 at 11:09 PM | 20 comment(s)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Corey Brown was designated for assignment by the Nationals last week and today they traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the A’s for cash considerations.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Clorox: A bright way out of a jam.
Imagine AT&T Park flanked by giant shipping cranes - that’s pretty much the vision A’s boosters have for a 38,000-seat ballpark at the Port of Oakland, just west of Jack London Square.
The $500 million waterfront ballpark is being proposed by a team led by Clorox chairman and CEO Don Knauss and former Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream boss T. Gary Rogers - with the blessing of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.
“It’s one of the two sites we promised Major League Baseball we would offer, and it will be available early next year,” Quan told us Friday - the other being the current Coliseum site.
“Trust me, Oakland is hot now,” Quan said, “and a lot of developers would love that (waterfront) site if it doesn’t become a baseball stadium.”
...And though it’s too early to say if public money would be required, there has been talk of the port providing the land for the ballpark at nominal cost in hopes of spurring economic activity in the area.
To call Wolff skeptical of the Howard Terminal idea, however, would be an understatement. “It would be easier to build on Treasure Island,” he told us.
“All I care about is getting a new home for the A’s in the best possible circumstances - and under any circumstances, Howard Terminal would be as close to impossible as anything,” Wolff said.
Posted: December 16, 2013 at 05:45 AM | 18 comment(s)
Monday, November 04, 2013
Bobby Murcer ain’t gonna like this one bit…oh, wait…and wait again.
Major League Baseball would help the Oakland A’s move across the bay and play at rival Giants’ AT&T Park in San Francisco if Coliseum officials don’t come to terms on a new short-term lease for the team, sources tell us.
The A’s two-year home stint at AT&T Park, which would start next season, would probably be the first step toward moving the team out of the Bay Area.
The league’s hardball warning was passed on to Coliseum officials at a closed-door meeting by Jon Streeter, the San Francisco attorney who is representing the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority in the stadium lease negotiations.
We’re told MLB is also demanding that the Coliseum give the A’s just a two-year lease extension - not the five- to eight-year deal the authority has been pushing.
The short-term lease would give the A’s more flexibility should the team’s owners swing a deal to move to San Jose - or beyond.
The sticking point in the Coliseum negotiations hasn’t been the length of the lease so much as the money from food and beverage concessions. Under their old lease, the A’s managed the concessions for all sporting events at the stadium, including for the Raiders, and they got a major share of the revenue - terms the Coliseum Authority wants to change in its favor.
The talks have dragged on for more than two years. Now, however, the Coliseum’s governing board - which includes two Oakland City Council members and two Alameda County supervisors - is definitely feeling the heat.
“Now we have to do this lease quickly because Major League Baseball has injected itself into the conversations,” said one board member, who like our other sources asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Posted: November 04, 2013 at 04:35 AM | 85 comment(s)
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
And I’m related to Faora Hu-Ul…and have the scars to prove it!
Thanks to months of research by genealogical experts, A’s general manager Billy Beane learned over the weekend that he has the ingredients for the wackiest family reunion of all-time.
His relatives include Madonna (10th cousins, one generation removed), Celine Dion (11th cousins, once removed), Hillary Clinton (10thth cousins, three times removed) and Camilla Parker-Bowles (11th cousin, two times removed).
“I wasn’t going to say anything, but now I can: This is the reason Madonna and I have never dated,” Beane joked during a phone interview Monday.
In truth, Beane had no idea about the connection until told on stage Saturday night. Like so many others in the audience, he gasped “What?” and “No way!” as the quirky branches of his family tree were unveiled during a fundraising event for the California Genealogical Society and Library.
Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and heavy-metal drummer Tim Alexander also had their ancestry explored for a presentation called “Their Roots Are Showing” at the Del Valle Theatre.
As it turns out, Beane’s mother’s side is connected to the earliest wave of French settlers in Canada, which explains his link to Madonna and just about everyone else of French-Canadian descent.
Another distant but verifiable cousin is Angelina Jolie, a revelation that prompted Beane to call Brad Pitt after the show to alert him to a belated plot twist in “Moneyball.”
Posted: October 30, 2013 at 04:38 AM | 38 comment(s)
Friday, October 11, 2013
AN JOSE—A federal judge Friday dismissed San Jose’s antitrust claims against Major League Baseball over the Oakland A’s stalled relocation plan but allowed the city to pursue a contract interference case.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Connie Mack might as well be Lonnie Mack.
Yes, that’s the Oakland Athletics Wikipedia page. And it says the owner is Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
After eight dominant innings Thursday night in his Game 5 win, Verlander now owns the following line in his career in Oakland, including both regular season and postseason: 0.30 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 37 strikeouts, six walks, 30 innings pitched. So, yeah, he might as well own O.co Coliseum.
Posted: October 10, 2013 at 10:39 PM | 15 comment(s)
Sunday, October 06, 2013
VOGT: Value Over Glacial Tigers
The A’s didn’t even surrender any players in return for Vogt. They purchased the left-handed-hitting backstop for $125,000 after Vogt was designated for assignment in Tampa Bay on March 31, at which he point he considered putting an end to what had been a largely fruitless professional career.
“It’s our free agency,” Beane said of the midseason acquisition. “It’s when I get to be Steinbrenner.”
And still, not even Beane—perhaps the most famous GM in sports for his “Moneyball” acclaim—could have predicted that Vogt would produce so greatly in the A’s most important game of the season. Not only did Vogt account for Oakland’s lone run of the night; he caught rookie phenom Sonny Gray’s masterful eight-inning performance and threw out Jose Iglesias following Gray’s strikeout of Austin Jackson with runners at the corners in the fifth inning to end the Tigers’ biggest threat of the night.
“That is a huge play in the game,” Melvin said. “Now it gets forgot about a little bit based on the fact that the game went so long and there were zeros. But at the time, that’s as big of a play as ultimately the hit he got.”
Vogt, currently in his second Major League stint, began the season with Triple-A Sacramento. The first pitcher he caught as a member of the A’s organization was Gray, who said his rapport with Vogt provided a calming affect in his first postseason start.
“He just knows my strengths,” Gray said. “He knows what I do well, and that’s why he throws the fingers he throws down.”
Posted: October 06, 2013 at 06:35 AM | 21 comment(s)
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Who cares about post-season baseball? MLB is engaging in exciting legal action this October!
Judge Whyte began the proceedings with questions about the existence and scope of baseball’s antitrust exemption. It was clear from his questions that the judge had read the motion papers and the case law in detail. He was prepared with pointed questions for both sides.
Joe Cotchett, who represents the City, addressed the court first. Cotchett argued that the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have narrowed the exemption significantly, and that it now covers only the “business of baseball.” Cotchett then argued that the “business of baseball” is limited to “the play on the field” and does not include matters relating to team location and relocation.
John Keker argued for MLB. He told the court that the exemption was alive and well and that the “business of baseball” includes — at a minimum — league structure and organization, franchise location, broadcast agreements, and revenue sharing….
If I were a betting woman — and I am not — I would wager that Judge Whyte will dismiss the federal antitrust claims, either based on lack of standing or the antitrust exemption, or both. I’m less sure where his thinking is on the state law claims — both on the question of his jurisdiction to decide them if he dismisses the federal claims and on the merits of the claims. It is unusual for a court to dismiss a case outright on a motion to dismiss, without providing the plaintiff an opportunity to re-state its claims in light of the court’s decision. Unusual, but not unheard of.
Friday, October 04, 2013
YOU BEGIN TO see the future ruins of Oakland’s sports empire as you round the bend and head south on Interstate 880, past the estuary and the warehouses and the seven-days-a-week swap meet that sits in the lot of the old drive-in. The future ruins rise abruptly from the vast asphalt lots, their concrete majesty architectural testaments to the solidity of stark gray concrete and the power of the Cement Masons Local 300.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This reminds me of a song that Scott Hatteberg once sang:
“I was in The Pit.
You were in The Pit.
We all were in The Pit.”
Bud Selig was on John Feinstein’s radio show. Unlike yesterday, today Feinstein left the opinion-offering to others. Good move! Selig was asked about a lot of things. Two of note. First the A’s stadium situation. Here’s what he said about the Colisuem
“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”
When? Well, there’s a lawsuit and that committee’s agenda is about as barren as the Mojave, but he’ll solve it, by gum. I wish I thought the San Jose lawsuit had a better chance of succeeding and thus the antitrust exemption scuttled, but I’m highly skeptical. When it gets dismissed it’ll be back in Selig’s court and I suppose we’ll be waiting around forever again.
It’s not that hard, Barra. Tell him, Primer.
The 2002 Oakland A’s are one of baseball’s legendary teams. A hugely bestselling book by Michael Lewis and a popular, critically acclaimed movie starring Brad Pitt, both named Moneyball, will always be synonymous with those A’s.
Those A’s famously had no superstars; they won 103 games by acquiring bargain-price players who excelled in often overlooked statistics such as on-base percentage. They won the American League West, losing finally in the playoffs to a wealthier, big-market team.
...And they didn’t lose in the playoffs to a bigger-market team; they lost to a smaller one, the Minnesota Twins. According to Forbes, for the 2002 season Oakland’s operating budget was No. 24 at $172 million with an operating income of $6.6 million while the Twins were ranked 27th at $148 million with an operating income of $400,000.
Well, as Maxwell Scott says in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “When fact becomes legend, print the legend,” and there’s no doubt the printed legend surrounding the 2002 A’s will continue to overshadow the facts.
...What is peculiar, though, is that Billy Beane’s A’s this year really are a “moneyball” team. They just clinched the American League West with a .596 win-loss percentage—second in the league only to the Red Sox. During September they are 16-5. And they are doing it with a payroll of $60,664,500—the fourth lowest in the major leagues and less than half of the payroll of their downstate league rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, who currently trail the A’s by 16½ games.
And they’ve done it all without any superstars. The A’s are arguably the most no-celebrity team among the pennant contenders; most of their players are barely household names in their own households.
Posted: September 25, 2013 at 05:14 AM | 36 comment(s)
You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.
: OTP - March 2014: Russia denies calling shots in Ukraine’s Crimea standoff
(664 - 5:13am, Mar 10)Last:
Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in OctoberNewsblog
: Nightengale: Ryan Braun leads the majors in confidence
(1 - 4:59am, Mar 10)
Last: LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series)Newsblog
: Cardinals sign Cuban Aledmys Diaz
(27 - 4:54am, Mar 10)
: Lew Wolff exploring temporary stadium for A's
(13 - 3:02am, Mar 10)
Last: Chone MuellerNewsblog
: Tigers lose on walk-off balk
(8 - 3:00am, Mar 10)
Last: Dale SamsNewsblog
: Brown: How Michael Cuddyer's chase of the NL batting title made him a better player
(28 - 1:30am, Mar 10)
Last: Sunday silenceNewsblog
: Madden: As Robinson Cano asks Mariners for help, it’s like Alex Rodriguez in Texas all over again
(65 - 1:24am, Mar 10)
Last: Sunday silenceNewsblog
: Holmes: Number one pick Mike Ivie battled emotional troubles in career that ended with the Tigers
(11 - 1:07am, Mar 10)
Last: Sunday silenceNewsblog
: Blue Jays To Sign Ervin Santana
(83 - 12:57am, Mar 10)
: OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 2014
(207 - 11:31pm, Mar 09)Last:
Russlan is fond of Dillon GeeNewsblog
: Laurila: Sunday Notes: Mets-Royals, Orioles, Expos, Player X on PEDs
(38 - 10:40pm, Mar 09)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)Newsblog
: The Economist: Babe, Jackie, Jobe
(12 - 9:29pm, Mar 09)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in OctoberNewsblog
: Chelsea Handler Rips A-Rod, Calls Him ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Gross,’ And ‘A Buffoon’
(275 - 9:13pm, Mar 09)Last:
: R.B.I. Baseball 2014 coming to Xbox 360, XBox One, iOS, Android
(193 - 8:33pm, Mar 09)Last:
: OT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(105 - 7:10pm, Mar 09)Last:
I am going to be Frank