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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rosenthal: Sources: Red Sox nearing deal with Smoltz

John Smoltz is leaving Atlanta for the most stunning of destinations.

The Boston Red Sox.

Smoltz, 41, is on the verge of signing a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Red Sox, according to major-league sources.

The deal also will include $4.5 million in incentives, giving Smoltz the chance to earn a total of $10 million, sources said.

With Smoltz, who is coming off shoulder surgery, the Red Sox would have six veteran starters.

The team’s rotation currently includes Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and Brad Penny.

Thanks to Schuck Chilling

Repoz Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:10 AM | 273 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, red sox

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   201. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:03 PM (#3046880)
They argued that NY and Boston are so successful not just because of population and wealth, but because of a concentration of the kinds of businesses that buy full-season tickets.


That's been a huge factor in the long term financial success of the Maple Leafs, and also a decent factor in the slow decline of the Montreal Canadiens, as the Canadian head offices of major companies left Montreal for Toronto (and, more recently, other major Canadian cities). As it stands, a very high percentage of box office revenue for the Leafs comes from various corporations, who can write off the cost as a business expense.
   202. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:05 PM (#3046883)
What they argued was that the most important stat to determine market size was the number of business entities with a size in excess of a certain value (which I forget) in the market.

That is an excellent point. Wish I'd thought of it.
   203. Mike Green Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3046925)
"I believe they used the number of Fortune 500 corps within a 1.5 hr drive as an example; NY has tons and tons"

Sure, Morgan, Stanley, Goldman, Sachs...Oh,wait.

Seriously, it is a pretty good reflection of market size. However, what sport(s) big money puts its promotional and tax-deductible dollars into is sometimes up for grabs. Here in Toronto, we've got plenty of companies with the scratch, but few with the itch, for baseball. Back in the early 90s (recession and all), it was all the rage with the new stadium and all, but the corporate types have by and large returned to hockey and to a lesser degree moved to basketball.
   204. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:29 PM (#3046933)
Their point was that even though Tampa has a fairly large population and is not a poor place , it can never be a large market team because of the absence of big-business--retirees don't buy luxury boxes.


But Tampa/St Pete actually isn't that big and is poor for a Major League area. I mean, that's an interesting way of looking at it, but I wonder how a ranking like this would be different from one based simply on population and income. Tampa-St Pete is 156th by income (between Fayetteville, NC and Fayetteville, Arkansas) and 19th in MSA population. There's no Tampa-St Pete CSA, meaning it's probably functionally smaller than 19th as a baseball market. Big, successful companies should mean higher incomes, which should raw more people, etc.; that's rolled into the other rankings.

I don't doubt that it's a nice analysis they've done, but it seems like it's essentially meaningless in explaining the differences between the Rays and the Yankees - Red Sox - etc. It just tells you the same thing using a different measure.
   205. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3046951)
Actually, as they're owned by a publically traded corporation, I would expect there are some limits on how much money they can lose. And now that they're owned by Liberty instead of Turner, there are fewer opportunities to hide income...


Which is obviously why the Mariners, Red Sox and Cubs have been so frugal...
   206. bfan Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:05 PM (#3046979)
"Actually, as they're owned by a publically traded corporation, I would expect there are some limits on how much money they can lose."

GM; Ford; and Citigroup all say hello, and were wondering if you could perhaps fill themm in on what those limits might be, as they don't seem to be able to reach them.
   207. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3046985)
But Tampa/St Pete actually isn't that big and is poor for a Major League area. I mean, that's an interesting way of looking at it, but I wonder how a ranking like this would be different from one based simply on population and income. Tampa-St Pete is 156th by income (between Fayetteville, NC and Fayetteville, Arkansas) and 19th in MSA population. There's no Tampa-St Pete CSA, meaning it's probably functionally smaller than 19th as a baseball market. Big, successful companies should mean higher incomes, which should raw more people, etc.; that's rolled into the other rankings.


You forget Orlando, sir.
   208. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:21 PM (#3046992)
"Please. Drafted? Yes. Signed? Yes. Developed? No. Smoltz spent all of one year in Detroit's organization."

Ahem.
   209. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:31 PM (#3047003)
"Please. Drafted? Yes. Signed? Yes. Developed? No. Smoltz spent all of one year in Detroit's organization."

Ahem.


That shows that Smoltz spent about 40% of his time in the minors with the Braves, which includes pretty much the only good stretch of his minor league career. While true that he spent more than a year (more like a year and 3/4) in the Detroit system, the greater point is about which team developed him. When the Braves acquired him, Leo Mazzone fixed his mechanics, which the roving Detroit instructors had ruined. It erroneous to say he was "developed" by the Tigers.
   210. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:47 PM (#3047011)
While true that he spent more than a year (more like a year and 3/4) in the Detroit system, the greater point is about which team developed him.

One short season of A+ and 3/4 of a AA season = "all of one year".
   211. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 09, 2009 at 12:00 AM (#3047077)
You forget Orlando, sir.


Orlando is one of those areas that's kind of in-between. St. Pete is too close to make a weekend of it, but it's a pain in the ass to get there for a night game (and IIRC, the Rays play few day games) and get back to Orlando at a reasonable hour of you have to work the next day.

There is no "fast" way to get from Orlando to St. Pete. It's 109 miles, and in order to get there from downtown Orlando for a night game, you'd have to leave town by 3:30pm to avoid rush hour/theme park traffic, and then still run into the teeth of Tampa/St. Pete traffic (highlighted by the aptly named "Malfunction Junction"). As someone who makes this drive on business occasionally, trust me, it's better to watch the game on the telly.

Also, on a couple of occasions I've travelled from southern NH to Fenway, and used public transit all the way (Amtrak from Dover NH to the Boston subway system) and from downtown Atlanta to the ballpark (walked to the MARTA station). I found both very easy.
   212. OCD SS Posted: January 09, 2009 at 01:30 AM (#3047146)
I have not, to date, advocated for any solution. I don't even know what sort of "solution" I'd support. All I'm doing is making the obvious point. There is a notable inequity in the free agent market. Certain teams can afford more luxuries and risks than the majority of teams.


Well, now that the numbers are out, I can't see this as a terrible inequity. It looks to me like the Braves FO basically expected him to come back no matter what and structured their offer accordingly.

Nor do I know that "NFL style socialism" - oh Gods!, when will the jack boots of the NFL enforcers cease to disappear my neighbors and loved ones! - is applicable.


As a point of order is an example of "NFL style facism." Same crappy sport, just the other end of the political spectrum.
   213. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 02:05 AM (#3047169)
And Atlanta's off-season just keeps getting better.

Signing Andruw Jones will help kick-start the healing process.
That is just socruel.

How is a $5.5M flier on an all-time great who's NEVER pitched poorly analogous to spending $180M on a position the Sox have filled now and for the foreseeable future?
I'll say, and talk about second-half surges! Smoltz has pitched at or above his current career ERA+ every year since 1995. I wonder if that's ever happened before, imagining the cut-off half way through a guys career.
   214. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 02:14 AM (#3047177)
I'm not a Sox fan so I guess this flew under my radar, but has Tim Wakefield basically said "Here", to John Henry, with "Here" = c. $50 million?
   215. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3047219)
Silly me, for assuming that if a guy spends two seasons on a team's roster, then he's spent two seasons with the team. This must be that "new math" they've been talking about... And if you don't want to call '87 a full season, then '88 sure as hell isn't, either, in that he had more starts for the Tigers in the former than for the Braves in the latter.

I understand the kind of affection that develops for a star after a long and successful career. But Smoltz wasn't a career-long Brave any more than Bagwell was a career-long Astro, or Clemente was a career-long Pirate. He's done enough great real stuff that people don't need to gild the lily with phony ####.
   216. flournoy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 03:41 AM (#3047221)
When people talk about a "career long whatever," they don't include the minor leagues, because nobody cares about the minor leagues.
   217. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 09, 2009 at 03:56 AM (#3047229)
is there a tippett to the red sox thread yet?
   218. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:00 AM (#3047233)
Boston did sign Matsuzaka, however, and ended up shelling out $100M for five years of service for an untested major league player. More importantly, and what I'm assuming that bfan was commenting on, the Yankees dropped the equivalent of $50M on a pitcher who they've just stuffed in AAA, with no obvious effect on their ability to chase after and sign any other free agent. The number of teams who can afford to do something like that can be counted on one hand.
I have to say, though, I'm delighted to see that Hank is trying to continue George's tradition of being the Yankees very own luxury tax, and I'm looking forward to the $100m or so that will be owed The Rod, Teix, Sabathia, and someBurnettlikesigning as they get old around the same time.

In comparison, how many times a year can Atlanta afford to do that? Boston currently has the major risks of Wakefield, Baldelli, and Penny on their roster, with Smoltz apparently coming shortly. Most teams don't have the ability to invest in that many pricey risks in a single season (which speaks to both the depth of the Boston organization, in terms of internal replacements, as well as their cash reserves).
Do any of you Red Sox fans happen to know what the sum total of those deals is, and why Boston didn't lump that cash together and pick up a good, reliable ballplayer?
   219. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:07 AM (#3047236)
People who watch minor league baseball care about the minor leagues, one would assume. It's not like they're all catatonics who stay in the stands out of inertia.

And I'm sorry, but it's just stupid to call a guy a lifelong Brave if five minutes at the library can get you a photo of him wearing a Tigers cap. A guy isn't a lifelong teetotaler if he stops drinking at 20, or a lifelong Democrat if he changes his registration when he's 20, or a lifelong American if he immigrates when he's 20. This is no different.
   220. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:36 AM (#3047251)
And I'm sorry, but it's just stupid to call a guy a lifelong Brave if five minutes at the library can get you a photo of him wearing a Tigers cap. A guy isn't a lifelong teetotaler if he stops drinking at 20, or a lifelong Democrat if he changes his registration when he's 20, or a lifelong American if he immigrates when he's 20. This is no different.


How pedantic can you get? Is it your contention that Lou Gehrig wasn't a lifelong Yankee because he once wore a Columbia University uni? Robin Yount wasn't a lifelong Brewer because he once played winter ball? George Brett wasn't a lifelong Royal because he didn't come out of his mother's womb wearing a KC cap?

I know you know what the terms mean and you are just being argumentative.
   221. RJ in TO Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:43 AM (#3047255)
Do any of you Red Sox fans happen to know what the sum total of those deals is, and why Boston didn't lump that cash together and pick up a good, reliable ballplayer?


Wakefield is at $4M per season.
Baldelli is at $0.5M base, with $1.75M in roster bonuses, and $5.25M in performance bonuses.
Smoltz is at a base of $5.5M, with up to $4.5M in bonuses (probably based on innings)
Penny is at $5M, plus up to $3M in playing time bonuses

All told, that's a base of $14.5M. I'm not going to bother adding up the bonuses as, if they're achieved, then the players will likely have put in enough value to justify their salaries. I'm not a Boston fan, so I have no idea as to why they did it this way, rather than just throw $14M per year at a single player. My best guess would be that there wasn't a $14M player willing to take a one year deal who also matched their specific needs - other than Catcher, what do they really need?
   222. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:26 AM (#3047265)
Thanks, Ryan. Very helpful info. A very good starting pitcher, perhaps? There's that one year thing, though.
   223. Sam M. Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:37 AM (#3047267)
But Smoltz wasn't a career-long Brave any more than Bagwell was a career-long Astro, or Clemente was a career-long Pirate. He's done enough great real stuff that people don't need to gild the lily with phony ####.

Bagwell was was a career-long Astro, and Clemente, bless him, was the very definition of a career-long Pirate. Indeed, those two guys are pretty good exemplars of precisely the sort of players we hold up, along with the Musials, Kalines and Bretts, as being the one-team, one-career ideal.

I have no idea why you think minor leagues matter in this whatsoever. A player stays his whole major league career with one team, he counts. John Smoltz has pitched 3395 major league innings for one team. If all goes well with his rehab, that will change with inning 3396, with the Red Sox. It sure didn't change with the Tigers, for goodness sakes.

Chipper remains, of course . . . for now.
   224. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 03:47 PM (#3047455)
"I know you know what the terms mean and you are just being argumentative."

I obviously know what the terms mean, because I posted my definitions in the thread. I'm being argumentative because I'm right.

"Is it your contention that Lou Gehrig wasn't a lifelong Yankee because he once wore a Columbia University uni? Robin Yount wasn't a lifelong Brewer because he once played winter ball? George Brett wasn't a lifelong Royal because he didn't come out of his mother's womb wearing a KC cap?"

The clock starts once a guy signs a contract (major or minor) with a ML franchise, and it ends when he retires. This isn't rocket science - don't pretend you don't understand what I mean.

"Indeed, those two guys are pretty good exemplars of precisely the sort of players we hold up, along with the Musials, Kalines and Bretts, as being the one-team, one-career ideal."

Which is wrong, and I complain about it when people do it with those guys, too. Not a particularly popular stand here in Pittsburgh, but such is life. When people forget that Clemente came from the Dodgers, they're crossing out a big part of his life - and he was important enough that I think he deserves accuracy rather than facile myth-building.
   225. flournoy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:10 PM (#3047492)
Everybody knows that Smoltz came from the Tigers and that Clemente came from the Dodgers. Nobody is interested in that in this context. Thus far, Smoltz has been a one-team player, and that team is the Atlanta Braves. He played for several minor league teams, some of them in the Braves' organization, some of them not, but we're talking big leagues here.
   226. bunyon Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:21 PM (#3047511)
You can do this with anything. If you choose to define something only the way you want but in a way that no one (or very, very few) agrees with, most will think you're wrong. For better or worse, no one considers a player's minor league career when considering their major league career.

You may be right in a very technical way but you're also an idiot. Happens frequently, actually.
   227. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3047542)
"Everybody knows that Smoltz came from the Tigers and that Clemente came from the Dodgers."

Everybody? Really?

Come to Pittsburgh some time, and ask people on the street what team signed Clemente. I doubt you get even a simple majority for the Dodgers, and that's in the city that should theoretically know him the best.

"For better or worse, no one considers a player's minor league career when considering their major league career."

It's worse. And just because a lot of people do it, doesn't mean that they're right. A lot of people write "RBIs" instead of "RBI", too. They aren't any less wrong just because there are other wrong people doing the same thing.

Talking about a non-one-team player as a one-team player is just another way of saying that things were better in the old days, aspiring to something that didn't exist in the first place. We're supposed to get all weepy because the Braves are envisioning life without Smoltz. Well, they must've envisioned life without him at some point, because he lasted for 22 rounds in the draft and they chose a whole bunch of other people that year instead. So now he's leaving a team that didn't want him all that much in the first place. Big whoop. It's not a sad commentary on the loyalty and honor of modern times - it's just a guy changing teams. Again.
   228. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3047543)
I guess Vlad is right; in a narrow way.
   229. OCD SS Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:44 PM (#3047551)
Do any of you Red Sox fans happen to know what the sum total of those deals is, and why Boston didn't lump that cash together and pick up a good, reliable ballplayer?


The other thing to consider is the length of the deals; they're not on the hook for an extended period of time if any of these guys don't work out. Other than Teixeira or CC, who was available that you'd want to lock up to a long contract (who also fills a need)?
   230. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:47 PM (#3047558)
Do any of you Red Sox fans happen to know what the sum total of those deals is, and why Boston didn't lump that cash together and pick up a good, reliable ballplayer?


The Red Sox didn't pick up a good, reliable ballplayer because they're highly risk-averse in the long term, and very risk friendly in the short term. Getting a good player who is reliable would just be too easy.
   231. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3047572)
...they must've envisioned life without him at some point, because he lasted for 22 rounds in the draft and they chose a whole bunch of other people that year instead. So now he's leaving a team that didn't want him all that much in the first place.


I wouldn't say the Braves (or a great many other teams for that matter) "didn't want him all that much". A lot of teams passed on Smoltz - who was considered borderline first round talent - because it was assumed he was unsignable since he had a full ride basketball scholarship to Michigan State.

It was only when his home town Detroit Tigers took a flyer on him in the 22nd round, that he signed. I haven't been able to find out what his signing bonus was with Detroit, but I'll wager it was a great deal more than the typical 22nd rounder got...
   232. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3047576)
Come to Pittsburgh some time, and ask people on the street what team signed Clemente.

They might be wrong because no one had ever asked them before - it's a minor (ahem) distinction.

Talking about a non-one-team player as a one-team player is just another way of saying that things were better in the old days, aspiring to something that didn't exist in the first place.

It's more than that - it;s a guy leaving the organization he'd been in for two decades, for which he was one of the most public faces. I don't begrudge Smoltz leaving, or the Braves for not keeping him* - but I understand the emotional response.

* though they have been a little whiny this offseason in general.
   233. BDC Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3047586)
This "life-long" concept is pretty subjective, because it has so much to do with public perception. Ryne Sandberg was almost as closely identified with the Cubs as Ernie Banks, and he actually played in the majors for the Phillies. Even a player with substantial early years in another organization can become strongly identified with a team and city (I'm thinking of Garry Maddox in Philadelphia). The question would really be whether a player has the Sandberg kind of profile, where he's the ubiquitous face of his team in his city. Bernie Williams wasn't that kind of figure in New York – if he'd played out the string with Seattle or something, I don't know that anyone would have mourned, though he is respected and a class act in NYC. But Jeter, now ...

Now, I have no idea how Smoltz is revered, or the reverse, in Atlanta ...
   234. RJ in TO Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3047590)
Bernie Williams wasn't that kind of figure in New York – if he'd played out the string with Seattle or something, I don't know that anyone would have mourned, though he is respected and a class act in NYC.


I don't remember the exact details, but wasn't there a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the New York media when it looked like Bernie was going to sign with the Red Sox? It seems to me that he was about as heavily identified with a team as someone could possibly be.
   235. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3047594)
"I understand the emotional response."

Oh, I do as well. I think it's normal and natural and understandable for fans to be sad when a longtime contributor leaves. Those fans all have a lot of good memories of Smoltz in red and blue. I don't object to their sentiment at all. But I don't think that there's any purpose in trying to draw a distinction between Smoltz and a longtime contributor like Maddux.

Honestly, I have kind of an issue with even legitimate one-team players. A lot of those one-team players in the olden days were effectively slaves, shackled to their teams by the Reserve Clause whether they wanted to stay or not. And nowadays we like to retroactively imagine this deep and abiding respect between the team and the player and the city, when in fact a lot of those players resented being trapped and lowballed, and would've been out the door for an extra five dollars if they'd had the opportunity. There's really kind of an uncomfortable power dynamic below the surface there, if you think about it, a desire to totally elminate the possibility of rejection by the player. Like an abusive boyfriend who pines for the days before restraining orders.
   236. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:26 PM (#3047595)
Re: "lifelong" players. A lot of people are mostly correct, but only one person is entirely correct here, and that's Misirlou in #220.

And even he might only be 99% there. It's not clear whether Vlad is just being argumentative or if he's in fact semantically illiterate.
   237. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3047608)
"It's not clear whether Vlad is just being argumentative or if he's in fact semantically illiterate."

Kisses to you too, booboo.
   238. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:41 PM (#3047615)
well?
   239. Mushroy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3047625)
I don't actually comment very much at all, so I say this with zero authority, but I've been lurking here for years now, and if I've ever read a Primey-worthy post, it's this:

You may be right in a very technical way but you're also an idiot. Happens frequently, actually.


I dare say that half the time a thread at this site turns sour, it could be because this line wasn't used earlier.
   240. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3047627)
"well?"

My position is perfectly clear. If you claim not to understand what I'm saying, you're either dumb or trolling.
   241. BDC Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:50 PM (#3047631)
nowadays we like to retroactively imagine this deep and abiding respect between the team and the player and the city, when in fact a lot of those players resented being trapped and lowballed, and would've been out the door for an extra five dollars if they'd had the opportunity

Do you have some examples, Vlad? A lot of the one-team guys who were very highly respected developed business and civic connections with their cities: Ernie Banks in Chicago, Stan Musial in St. Louis. Charlie Gehringer (from rural Michigan) became a very successful businessman in the auto industry in Detroit. Yaz loved Tom Yawkey, if not always Boston fans. Clemente was very important to the Pittsburgh community. By contrast, guys who were pains in the rear, like Rogers Hornsby or Joe Medwick, tended to make the rounds of various cities. The best example of somebody chained to one city that he was usually at odds with would be Ted Williams in Boston, and he is not really what people think of when they get nostalgic for the one-team star.
   242. Mushroy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3047645)
And then there's the Anti-Primey (as I choose to understand it):

My position is perfectly clear. If you claim not to understand what I'm saying, you're either dumb or trolling.
   243. Mushroy Posted: January 09, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3047646)
double post
   244. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3047658)
My position is perfectly clear. If you claim not to understand what I'm saying, you're either dumb or trolling.

Or using plain English. Most people do not consider the minor leagues to be part of a MLB player's "career."
   245. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:15 PM (#3047671)
"Do you have some examples, Vlad?"

To tell the truth, I wasn't too successful in the famous Koufax-Drysdale double holdout in 1966. I mean, when the smoke had cleared they stood together on the battlefield with $235,000 between them, and I stood there With a blood-stained cashbox. Well, they had a gimmick and it worked; I'm not denying it. They said that one wouldn't sign unless the other signed. Since one of the two was the greatest pitcher I've ever seen (and possibly the greatest anybody has ever seen), the gimmick worked. But be sure to stick around for the fun the next time somebody tries that gimmick. I don't care if the whole infield comes in as a package; the next year the whole infield will be wondering what it is doing playing for the Nankai Hawks - Buzzie Bavasi, in Sports Illustrated
   246. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3047672)
"Or using plain English. Most people do not consider the minor leagues to be part of a MLB player's 'career.'"

Most people also think that one plus one equals two.

So much for "plain English".
   247. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:26 PM (#3047690)
"Do you have some examples, Vlad?"

Yankees’ general manager George Weiss wanted to slash Mickey’s $75,000 salary by $15,000. From his home in Dallas, Mantle agreed that his 1959 season “wasn’t so good,” but he felt that the New York Yankees “cut my salary too much.”

One of Mickey’s friends revealed that Mickey would accept a salary cut of $2,000, but not more. The friend went on to say that Mickey made $72,000, not the reported $75,000, and that the Yankees’ original offer of $55,000, made Mickey livid.

A lot of bitterness existed between Mickey and Weiss, and after a few days of waiting for the Yankees to contact him again, in a television interview, Mickey said, “I’ve been waiting on them to call me. I thought they might have traded me last year for Herb Score and Rocky Colavito and a little bit of money to the Indians. At the time it made me feel a little bit bad. But I don’t even know if I’d mind getting traded now or not.” -Link
   248. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:26 PM (#3047692)
It's not clear ... if he's in fact semantically illiterate.

That depends. Do you mean illiterate in a semantic sense, or illiterate about semantics?

See, if you try hard enough, there's really no such thing as plain English.
   249. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3047702)
"Do you have some examples, Vlad?"

Too long to quote the whole thing, but here's a good article about Joe DiMaggio's holdout, with both sides playing hardball.

That's all I feel like pulling out now, because I'm hungry and I want some lunch, but there are a lot more just like them. Hell, even Saint Stan himself had a moderately acrimonious holdout in 1946.
   250. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:46 PM (#3047727)
#248

I mean, unaware of the processes by which words and phrases acquire meaning, and thus unable to correctly use terms that have acquired meanings which are not perfectly aligned with their component words and his own (to some degree arbitrary) definitions. In short, usage determines meaning. Vlad, no matter how strong his protestations to the contrary, does not.
   251. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3047737)
And correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that one plus one *does* equal two. Chalk up another win for "most people."
   252. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:52 PM (#3047744)
"In short, usage determines meaning."

`I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

`Would you tell me please,' said Alice, `what that means?'

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.' -Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass"
   253. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 06:53 PM (#3047746)
"And correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that one plus one *does* equal two."

You may think that, but Sam doesn't. Read #210.
   254. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:03 PM (#3047762)
No, you don't understand Sam. He's saying that neither of the things he's adding have a value of 1. The second clearly has a value of 3/4, and the other clearly has a value of less than 1. If the first has a value of, say, 1/2, then the total would be 5/4, which is close enough to 1 to be rounded to such in a non-rigorous discussion.
   255. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3047768)
No, you don't understand Sam.

Does anyone, really?

He's saying that neither of things he's adding have a value of 1. The second clearly has a value of 3/4, and the other clearly has a value of less than 1. If the first has a value of, say, 1/2, then the total would be 5/4, which is close enough to 1 to be rounded to such in a non-rigorous discussion.

Thank you. To be more precise, I think "one year" of baseball (for a starting pitcher) = +/- 200 innings or +/- 30 starts.
   256. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:13 PM (#3047780)
Thank you. To be more precise, I think "one year" of baseball (for a starting pitcher) = +/- 200 innings or +/- 30 starts.

The minor league season is shorter -- you rarely see minor league pitchers with this workload. Starts generally max out in the high 20's, and IP/G is pretty low, it's unusual to see more than 180 IP. Although that's in the current decade, back when Smoltz was a tyke and men were men, things may have been different.

EDIT: Looking at the numbers now, for the first time, I would tend to agree that Smoltz had two seasons in the Tigers system, if the only other choice were one season. I'd probably say "most of 2 seasons" if I had unlimited options. However, I think to characterize Sam's statement as 1 + 1 = 1 is to not understand it.
   257. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3047782)
I'm with Vlad here. He spent the better part of two seasons in the Tiger system. That's not the same as all of one year.
   258. Baldrick Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3047789)
You may be right in a very technical way but you're also an idiot. Happens frequently, actually.

It's my theory that any Primer thread that makes it into its third page should be required to include this statement.

As for 1+1=2. That's always true as long as you work within our accepted mathematical forms. However, there's no intrinsic reason why that should be done. Non-Euclidean geometries work and are perfectly internally consistent. It's certainly possible to construct a mathematics where 1+1 doesn't =2. The only reason why we don't speak with such possibilities in mind is that our lived experience utterly contradicts that idea. Heck, multiverse theory suggests there may be other places in existence at this moment where all of our assumptions about physics and the laws of the universe totally break down. And then there's relativity which means that numbers need not add up.

Any time you start assuming that there is an absolute and perfectly secure objective nature at work, you're probably going to be wrong. The reason this doesn't cause total breakdown of communication is because people recognize that you can construct shared understandings of terms and ideas. In this instance, 99% of baseball fans consider actual MLB games played. Vlad disagrees. Fine, whatever. But don't pretend like you're "right" and the whole world is "wrong."
   259. DCA Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:30 PM (#3047801)
As for 1+1=2. That's always true as long as you work within our accepted mathematical forms. However, there's no intrinsic reason why that should be done.

I'm a math person, but I don't go very abstract. Is this really true?

I would start here:

+ is an commutative, associative, and invertible operation

0 is an identity element for +

Z is a set of cardinality at least 3 that is closed under +

1 is the smallest magnitude non-identity element of Z

If we accept these, then it seems to me that 1 + 1 is a pretty good definition of 2. So to have 1 + 1 =/= 2 you have to assign a different meaning to at least one of {+, 0, 1, Z} and these seem to be pretty basic definitions, so that you'd want to use a different symbol if you want to change any of these, otherwise you're just saying something like 1 + 1 = 1 where + means multiplication.

EDIT: a couple clarifications
   260. BDC Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3047808)
Fair enough examples, Vlad. I won't demur; it's just that there are many counter-examples.
   261. Baldrick Posted: January 09, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3047838)
I'm not a math guy, by any stretch. I did have a math friend who purely does this kind of abstract stuff talk with me about this at length a year or two ago and it was one of those experiences where something totally makes sense while the expert is talking about it but afterward you realize you really can't explain anything. Something to do with scalars and hyperbolics and the possibility of dozens of dimensions.

I'll admit to being fully out of my league on this point, though. Still, being a social scientist, I'm more than willing to fall back on Bertrand Russell or Mill or Dewey, who all offer variations on the idea that numbers are purely abstract inventions. Well maybe not Russell since he simply replaces the abstraction of numbers with the abstraction of logic.

Also, there's the more prosaic example of binary, where 1+1 doesn't equal 2 but instead is 10. That one's a bit of a cop-out of course, but still...
   262. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:06 PM (#3047852)
I love Vlad as a poster, but Jesus Christ on a shoestring is he ever being mind-numbingly pedantic here. ROBERTO CLEMENTE WAS A LIFELONG PIRATE. JOHN SMOLTZ WAS, UP UNTIL THIS MOMENT, A LIFELONG BRAVE. THE SEMANTIC CLOCK FOR THESE SORTS OF THINGS IS AGREED BY MASSIVE INFORMAL CONSENSUS TO BEGIN WITH A PLAYER'S MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER. ANYTHING ELSE IS THE SORT OF HAIR-SPLITTING THAT DEGRADES THE PERSON CONTENDING THE POINT INTO A SIMPSONESQUE "COMIC BOOK GUY" FIGURE.

Seriously, Vlad, the percentage of people who would start the clock with a player's minor league career for this question is ridiculously small. That you happen to be part of this percentage is no excuse for your failure to acknowledge your functional wrongness.
   263. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3047862)
"I love Vlad as a poster, but Jesus Christ on a shoestring is he ever being mind-numbingly pedantic here."

What can I say? I'm pedauntless.
   264. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:16 PM (#3047864)
What can I say? I'm pedauntless.
Well-played.
   265. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:30 PM (#3047879)
We're supposed to get all weepy because the Braves are envisioning life without Smoltz. Well, they must've envisioned life without him at some point, because he lasted for 22 rounds in the draft and they chose a whole bunch of other people that year instead. So now he's leaving a team that didn't want him all that much in the first place. Big whoop. It's not a sad commentary on the loyalty and honor of modern times - it's just a guy changing teams. Again.

Worst post ever.

We're supposed to get all weepy because Vlad is envisioning life without his wife. Well, he must've envisioned life without her at some point, because he lived for x years and dated a whole bunch of other people before he met her. So now she's leaving a guy that didn't even know who she was in the first place. Big whoop. It's not a sad commentary on the loyalty and honor of modern times - it's just some whore screwing the neighbor. Again.
   266. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3047881)
I had a MASSIVE INFORMAL CONSENSUS once, but I got better.
   267. BDC Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3047888)
One foul ball plus one foul ball plus one foul ball equals two strikes.
   268. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:38 PM (#3047889)
"We're supposed to get all weepy because Vlad is envisioning life without his wife. Well, he must've envisioned life without her at some point, because he lived for x years and dated a whole bunch of other people before he met her. So now she's leaving a guy that didn't even know who she was in the first place. Big whoop. It's not a sad commentary on the loyalty and honor of modern times - it's just some whore screwing the neighbor. Again."

Since when did I get married? And to a whore, at that?

Do I at least get a discount rate?
   269. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3047896)
We're sorry, but discounts may not be applied to previous purchases.
   270. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:43 PM (#3047898)
Or, to address the substance of that last bit (to the extent that there is substance): Why should it be any sadder now that Smoltz is leaving the Braves than it was when Maddux left them?

If you're sad about Smoltz leaving, it's because he was a good player for the franchise for a long time, and you have a lot of happy memories from his career. It doesn't magically become any sadder just because his first ML game came in a Braves uni. Cubs fans weren't any less sad when Sandberg retired because he broke in with the Phillies. It's the memories and the emotional connection that resonate, not the ####### laundry.
   271. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 09, 2009 at 08:52 PM (#3047903)
Since when did I get married?

Consider it a message...from the FUTURE!

(and they're all whores)
   272. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3047953)
"(and they're all whores)"

Frank Miller, is that you?
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