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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Yankees President: Dellin Betances’ Arbitration Filing “Had No Bearings In Reality”

“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer,” Levine adds.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that there’s “bad blood” between Betances and the Yankees going back to last season, when the Yankees renewed Betances’ salary for the league minimum of $507K despite Betances’ strong performances to that point.

Stay classy, Randy.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 01:20 PM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arbitration, astronauts, yankees

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   1. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: February 18, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5404331)
How does this idiot still have a job? George brought him in to help build a new stadium. Between him and Lonn Trost, they built a stadium and fan experience that has failed to serve their fans' interests. Now this guy has basically allow the business side of the organization negatively impact the baseball operations side. His rant demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of how baseball bullpen usage will be deployed in the next 3-5 years and overall lack of evolution in his mind set on how baseball players are being valued. He can't hit the curb on 161st Street fast enough.
   2. Leroy Kincaid Posted: February 18, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5404332)
“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer


It's not like that at all.
   3. ESPaul Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5404337)
Have no problem with the Yankees' winning this case. It's the system, after all.

Have a huge problem with Levine's comments. What an ass.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:12 PM (#5404340)
Now this guy has basically allow the business side of the organization negatively impact the baseball operations side.

Levine is being an ass, but I don't think this is true.

IMHO, the Yankees have no intention of keeping Betances long term. He's going to be flipped as soon as they fall out of contention.
   5. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:16 PM (#5404342)
MHO, the Yankees have no intention of keeping Betances long term. He's going to be flipped as soon as they fall out of contention.


Okay, let's say that true. How does Levine publicly undermining Betances' past on-the-field contributions not compromise the pitcher's trade value?

It makes sense to use the saves stats or whatever to win the arbitration hearing behind closed doors. I would do the same thing if I were the Yankees. But what's the upside to denigrating a player after the team has won the hearing?
   6. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5404343)
He's going to be flipped as soon as they fall out of contention.

I agree. Especially since this is Betances' age 29 season. He's not exactly a young kid any more. Cashman would be smart to spin him with Tanaka (if they divine he intends to opt out) to a contending team out on the coast to see if they can keep building up their prospect stash.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:35 PM (#5404344)
But what's the upside to denigrating a player after the team has won the hearing?

That part is stupid. But it's not like any other teams are going to base their evaluation of Betances on Levine's outbursts.

The only real damage is to the relationship between Betances and the Yankees. All I'm saying is tat the Yankees don't particularly care about that relationship.
   8. TomH Posted: February 18, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5404349)
Levine's take on Betances' lawyer was factual; but inept and disillusioning. The system is such that Betances could have an ERA over 2 years of 1.11, but if he wasn't a closer, he wouldn't get $5 mil a year.
   9. Bote Man Posted: February 18, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5404359)
If Betances' filing had no bearings, then why is Levine sounding like the squeaky wheel???
   10. Darren Posted: February 18, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5404364)
'Listen, Betances isn't a closer. If he was a closer, we wouldn't have worked him to death over the past 3 years. Duh.'
   11. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: February 18, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5404367)
Levine is an execrable human being. He says things like this because he is rotten to his core.
   12. WSPanic Posted: February 18, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5404396)
The only real damage is to the relationship between Betances and the Yankees. All I'm saying is tat the Yankees don't particularly care about that relationship.


It may not be a huge effect, but I have to imagine there is some impact among other players/agents (in and out of the organization) watching this idiot spout off like this to the media. Could effect how players approach future arbitration situations. Especially astronauts.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2017 at 05:09 PM (#5404397)
He's going to be flipped as soon as they fall out of contention.

So, he'll be a Yankee for another decade? Or the entire Gary Sanchez era?
   14. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5404410)
Once again the punitive nature of Budshovik economics filters down to impact innocent players. In a world where paying a player an extra $2 million doesn't result in a $1 million fine, perhaps this contentious conflict doesn't happen.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5404411)
So, he'll be a Yankee for another decade? Or the entire Gary Sanchez era?

He's very likely gone in July, along with Tanaka. Or, they might try and extend Tanaka.

But, Betances is gone. They're not spending big money on him and Chapman.

The Yankees have oodles of pitching prospects. They'll be plenty of failed SPs to stock the pen.
   16. DKDC Posted: February 18, 2017 at 06:06 PM (#5404429)
The Yankees have oodles of pitching prospects. They'll be plenty of failed SPs to stock the pen.


You know you haven't rooted for a rebuilding team in a long time when...

I doubt this will have any impact on Betances trade value (which should be quite high at the deadline), but this Levine guy sounds like a real piece of work.
   17. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 06:06 PM (#5404430)
They're not spending big money on him and Chapman


This is sort of why I found the Chapman contract mysterious. Betances is 95% the pitcher that Chapman is and costs a tiny fraction as much. Having them both didn't make them contenders before; why would it in 2017?

I get that they're expecting full seasons from Sanchez and Bird next year, which should improve what was a pretty bad offense last year. But this is still a team with ?s all over, at least until its farm system starts producing more results. What's the point of having Chapman and Betances when what you really need is a decent starter and a DH/COF?
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2017 at 06:46 PM (#5404445)
But, Betances is gone. They're not spending big money on him and Chapman.

Betances still has 2 more years of arbitration ahead. He's not likely to be that expensive given how non-closer relievers do, so there shouldn't be any rush to get rid of him. If a deal like Chapman for Torres (and Adam Warren & more!) comes along, a deal might make sense, but that may not be the only scenario. No need to rush here.
   19. Cargo Cultist Posted: February 18, 2017 at 06:46 PM (#5404447)
I very rarely side with players during these confrontations, but Detances deserves both a $2M raise and an apology from the Yankee front office.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 06:59 PM (#5404458)
What's the point of having Chapman and Betances when what you really need is a decent starter and a DH/COF?

No point. They're going to trade Betances.

Betances still has 2 more years of arbitration ahead. He's not likely to be that expensive given how non-closer relievers do, so there shouldn't be any rush to get rid of him. If a deal like Chapman for Torres (and Adam Warren & more!) comes along, a deal might make sense, but that may not be the only scenario. No need to rush here.

Elite RPs are hugely over-valued by playoff contenders right now. I'd flip him at the deadline even if the Yankees are contenders.

With the volatility of RPs, there's definitely a reason to rush. Look at the value hit David Robertson has taken from one bad season.

The dude's 29. Cash him in now.
   21. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 18, 2017 at 08:55 PM (#5404505)
But Levine is right. Betances isn't a closer. So he shouldn't be paid like one. The system is that closers get paid more, because Saves. It's an absurd system and not based on merit but it is what it is, and Levine is not obligated to pay a reliever like a closer if the team has used the reliever such that the reliever has not piled up saves. Otherwise teams have to double pay for the closer role.

Betances could be a great closer, yes. That's beside the point.

(He's also wildly overrated, as all short relievers are. 1.1 WAR last year.)
   22. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:15 PM (#5404510)
But Levine is right. Betances isn't a closer. So he shouldn't be paid like one. The system is that closers get paid more, because Saves. It's an absurd system and not based on merit but it is what it is, and Levine is not obligated to pay a reliever like a closer if the team has used the reliever such that the reliever has not piled up saves. Otherwise teams have to double pay for the closer role.


Levine is correct on the facts, but there is no reason to have a press conference and mock Betances. It provides no positive value to the Yankees and possibly/likely will have negative value to the club (even if only negative PR or a week or two of distraction).
   23. puck Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:19 PM (#5404511)
“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer


"I'm not an astronaut, I'm much, much more highly paid."
   24. SteveM. Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:32 PM (#5404514)
So when did the Yankees shift George Constanza from being the traveling secretary to President?
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:42 PM (#5404518)
Once again the punitive nature of Budshovik economics filters down to impact innocent players. In a world where paying a player an extra $2 million doesn't result in a $1 million fine, perhaps this contentious conflict doesn't happen.

Drink!

I very rarely side with players during these confrontations,

Drink again!
   26. haven Posted: February 18, 2017 at 09:46 PM (#5404521)
Levine is correct on the facts, but there is no reason to have a press conference and mock Betances.


don't think he was mocking betances in any way......

he was mocking his agent......

while i am not sure of the point of that either, sports management in general seems to like to mock agents in general..... nothing really special about levine in this case......

the idea this affects the yankees in any way is ludicrous..... players want money (don't mean that in a bad way, i want money), if yankees pay free agents will sign regardless of anything levine says about anything........
   27. jingoist Posted: February 18, 2017 at 10:08 PM (#5404526)
“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer,”

And I think its gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
Im not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no Im a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone
   28. Cargo Cultist Posted: February 18, 2017 at 11:09 PM (#5404541)
"Over the last three seasons in total, Betances has been the Yankees’ MVP, posting a 1.93 ERA in 247 innings, averaging 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and often doing more of the heavy lifting than closers David Robertson, Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman." - John Harper
   29. Cargo Cultist Posted: February 18, 2017 at 11:16 PM (#5404545)
Next question: if baseball is really so concerned about domestic violence, then why does Chapman the accused have a fat contract while Detances the innocent is not only underpaid but also gets publicly crapped on by the Yankees?

A decent front office would've quietly paid him the money he asked for, shook his hand, told him what a really good job he had done for the team over the last few years and then bought him lunch.
   30. Bote Man Posted: February 19, 2017 at 06:48 AM (#5404574)
The system is that closers get paid more, because Saves. It's an absurd system and not based on merit but it is what it is

So what would it take for smart teams to wake up and change the system?

There's a money-saving incentive not to pay closers more money simply because they're Closers. OTOH, the maverick team that refuses to overpay for a closer won't be getting one as long as other teams still overpay. Now, I'm not suggesting it would take collusion, but what would it take? Or is this even worth bothering with?

   31. eddieot Posted: February 19, 2017 at 08:32 AM (#5404581)
Levine has been an ass since his days in the Giuliani administration. And he secured that title as the owners' chief negotiator for the 1996 CBA. No one at the MLBPA can stand the guy because he's a self-promoting d*** with a need to be praised for every little victory.

A smart executive would have said something along these lines: "Dellin is an important piece of the Yankees bullpen and, while we didn't agree on his salary parameters, we agree that he helps us win games. The arbitration process played out as it is supposed to and I would hope that Dellin and his agent would have no hard feelings over earning a $3 million salary. We look forward to a great season and continued success by all our pitchers."

Is that so hard?
   32. Captain Supporter Posted: February 19, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5404598)
Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to feel they need Levine for his political contacts. But he is clearly an absolute embarrassment to the organization, and it would be great to see him fired ASAP.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:53 AM (#5404625)
A decent front office would've quietly paid him the money he asked for, shook his hand, told him what a really good job he had done for the team over the last few years and then bought him lunch.

If you pay him $5M this year instead of $3M, then next year you have to pay him $8M rather than $5M, and the following year $12M rather than $8M. No team is going to piss away $9M to b "decent". It also lowers his trade value when they inevitably flip him.

The smart thing to do was to beat him in arbitration, then keep your mouth shut.
   34. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 12:43 PM (#5404645)
No point. They're going to trade Betances.


Yeah, but why drop a lot of money on Chapman when you already have Betances? It's not some universal law that the Yankees are required to trade him.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 01:39 PM (#5404657)
Yeah, but why drop a lot of money on Chapman when you already have Betances? It's not some universal law that the Yankees are required to trade him.

Because Chapman could be had for money only, and Betances can be traded for young talent. Remember, Chapman is the same age as Betances.

If I can pay Chapman $86M for the next 5 years vs. paying Betances $50M (assuming 3/5/8 in arbitration plus $17M/$17M in FA years), and get a top-25 prospect and another top-100 prospect in trade, it's a no brainer for the Yankees.
   36. Jose is an Absurd Kahuna Posted: February 19, 2017 at 05:26 PM (#5404703)
The smart thing to do was to beat him in arbitration, then keep your mouth shut.


This. So much this. Levine needs to #### the hell up. Why is he talking? I can understand a bit if they lost the case but why ##### after you won?
   37. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 19, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5404709)
If I can pay Chapman $86M for the next 5 years vs. paying Betances $50M (assuming 3/5/8 in arbitration plus $17M/$17M in FA years), and get a top-25 prospect and another top-100 prospect in trade, it's a no brainer for the Yankees.


Who is going to give up a Top 25 prospect for Betances when he:
a) costs the Yankees ticket sales; and
b) is not an astronaut?
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: February 19, 2017 at 06:22 PM (#5404723)
And I think its gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
Im not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no Im a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone


Since Repoz and Craig don't come around much, this one's probably not too recognizable.


Dellin’s arbitration case is argued by his "half-baked" rep
He believes he’s worth 5 mill, out there in the Yankee pen
Entering the late innings, he takes the ball from Joey G
Strikeouts piling up at length, but mostly in holds

The loathsome mouthpiece is simply not an astronaut
He oozes from the depths to piss the players off

Aroldis and Miller dumped, he’s thrust into the closer gig
Takes a shine and earns 12 saves, now it's time to cash in big
Having such an awful time, accepting that he’s really lost
But Randy’s there to pound that home, Screw You, Dellin

The loathsome mouthpiece is simply not an astronaut
He oozes from the depths to piss the players off
   39. catomi01 Posted: February 19, 2017 at 06:26 PM (#5404725)
Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to feel they need Levine for his political contacts. But he is clearly an absolute embarrassment to the organization, and it would be great to see him fired ASAP.


If they really think they need him, can't they "promote" him into some role where he doesn't do anything but talk to those political contacts, then get a President who you can actually take out in public?
   40. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 19, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5404731)
If they really think they need him, can't they "promote" him into some role where he doesn't do anything but talk to those political contacts, then get a President who you can actually take out in public?


I think, in the Yankees organization, President is basically the "up-and-out" position. There's no way to prevent a guy from talking to the press, even if he's an idiot, if he's been in the game as long as Levine has.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: February 19, 2017 at 09:06 PM (#5404768)
I'm sure some Yankees fans here are worried that Betances will hold out, intentionally tank this season, maybe retire etc, right?
   42. Walt Davis Posted: February 19, 2017 at 10:05 PM (#5404785)
So what would it take for smart teams to wake up and change the system?

Lots of teams have already "changed" the system with regard to closers ... by doing what many teams have always done of turning to some other reliever when their closer is traded, leaves as an FA or just stops being good. In 2015, there were 28 pitchers with 20+ saves. Of those, only 13 had 20+ saves in 2016. Sometimes that was injury (Street, Perkins), a couple times it was a big, bad closer coming to town (Uehera/Kimbrel), sometimes suckitude (Rosenthal, Tolleson). Or if we looked backward to 2014, 15 of the 28 had 20+ saves.

Over the last 5 seasons, there are only 20 pitchers who have reached the 70-save mark; only 14 have made it to 100. Of those 20:

Probably done: Papelbon
Probably done as closers: Uehara, Grilli, Axford, maybe Rondon (too soon to tell)
Getting old: Street, K-Rod, Casilla (maybe done as closer, on a 2/$11 contract regardless)
Returning from serious injury: Holland, Perkins

"Reliable": Kimbrel, Chapman, Jansen, Melancon, Britton, Allen
Paid more than $10 M: Kimbrel, Chapman, Jansen, Melancon, Britton (2nd year super-2) ... Wade Davis ... probably Allen next year (arb 3)

Now if your question was "when will teams stop having set closer?" then I don't pretend to know. Given pretty much all relievers are limited to one inning, preferably starting the inning, then the only reasons to spread saves around is handedness or sometimes using your best reliever in an earlier high-leverage situation. I don't think "you're my 8th inning guy, you're my 9th inning guy" really has much impact but why risk that it does if there's not that much benefit. I keep expecting some team to do it relatively openly (i.e. not announcing "closer by committee", just running closer by committee then seeing if anybody notices). But nobody seems committed to the notion so I should probably stop expecting it.

   43. The Good Face Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5404898)
The smart thing to do was to beat him in arbitration, then keep your mouth shut.

This. So much this. Levine needs to #### the hell up. Why is he talking? I can understand a bit if they lost the case but why ##### after you won?


Yup. His yapping provides zero benefit to the team and could possibly have a tiny negative effect on potential free agents. Unlikely, but why take on any unnecessary risk, even if it's an infinitesimal amount? Just take your arbitration win and STFU.
   44. Ron J Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5404903)
#31 As Bill James pointed out in his excellent article on arbitration ownership can generally stipulate any given claim is true and add, "that's why we're offering to pay him so much money."

According to James, the presentations themselves have roughly zero to do with who wins. Arbitration is really about finding the most comparable players with similar service time. Every player has a "true" (arbitration) value. The side that files closest to this wins. No exceptions.

   45. dlf Posted: February 20, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5404912)
According to James, the presentations themselves have roughly zero to do with who wins. Arbitration is really about finding the most comparable players with similar service time. Every player has a "true" (arbitration) value. The side that files closest to this wins. No exceptions.


Not sure what you mean by the presentations have nothing to do with who wins Ron. The presentation is an attempt to convince the panel why your number is closer to the "true" value. The team says that the player is closer to comparitors A, B, and C for these reasons while the player says that comparitors D, E, and F are closer for these other reasons; except in very unusual* circumstances, that is the entire presentation.


*I have in mind the Ryan Howard case when the player's agents argued that he was virtually unique historically (they literally were comparing him to Babe Ruth!) and needed to be paid more than even those they argued were closest comparitors.
   46. Ron J Posted: February 20, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5405151)
#45 It's tough to sum up a 27 page article succinctly but James' argument would basically be that the presentations don't change what the "true" number is. Indeed he sounded somewhat vexed by this, giving an example where the team completely botched their presentation and still won because they'd filed a better number.

The point he was making is that no presentation will change who the true comps are.

Speaking of which which, who are the comps for Betances? Age doesn't matter but service time does. If -- as the article seems to say --he'd tried to chain off what the free agent eligible closers are making it was a mistake.

And yeah, if there are no truly good comps that's when things can go off the rails.



   47. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 20, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5405178)
Matt Swartz goes through and picks out the comps for Betances across a variety of metrics in a pretty good review of what data points exist. The problem is that there really weren't any close non-closer comps to him (and he was better than even the closer comps like Kimbrel on things like strikeout rate).

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/02/dellin-betances-arbitration-case-and-the-value-of-closing.html
   48. dlf Posted: February 20, 2017 at 03:23 PM (#5405180)
Are you referring to an article James wrote about 25-30 years ago? I read one like that, but it has been a long, long time ago.

What happens in the written materials and oral presentation is that both sides select a handful of comparitors whose salaries are closer to their side of the mid-point. Then they try to make the panel believe their comparitors are more similar. They'll argue whether it is more relevant to look at K/9 or WHIP, IP or ERA, WAR from just the platform year or WAR from the most recent N years.

A couple of stories: There was one case where the player pointed to excellent ERAs and WAR-like figures and the team pointed to a WPA like metric to show that he rarely was used in high leverage situations and performed very poorly in those so players with similar WAR weren't really similar (the team won that case). There was another case back when more actually went to hearing where the exact same panel heard two cases from the same agent and the same representative of two different teams. (It wasn't him, but Tal Smith used to make nice coin representing multiple teams at arbitration hearings.) The two sides took almost exact opposite positions in the two cases; in the first the agent argued about the importance of AVG and RBI and the team the importance of Defense and Speed while in the second the same agent but for a different player now reversed course while in a lighthearted aside, the team's rep said something like, 'remember what I said in yesterday's case? Ignore it and reverse it completely.'

For most players in arbitration, there are a large number of relatively similar players; the importance of the presentation is convincing the panel that those you've selected are closer than the ones on the other side, not a nominal argument with a single true answer.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 20, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5405201)
The point he was making is that no presentation will change who the true comps are.

I have trouble believing that the presentations don't matter. I've been in the corporate world long enough to see many, many good ideas not move forward because of lousy presentation. It's just human nature that is someone does a terrible job presenting you start to doubt the quality of their insight.

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