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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Biz of Baseball: How Did Jim Crane Slip By?

“An Astro-nomical slip up!”

But, the media, and possibly MLB, slipped on Crane’s background. After all, he was on the precipice of owning the Astros in 2008 when he backed out of the deal with McLane. He was part of number of suitors for the Chicago Cubs in 2009. And, last year, he quickly married up with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to be part of the bankruptcy auction process that had them pitted against a group assembled by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg to own the Texas Rangers.

The media failed.

I’m as guilty as the next. Crane was simply referred to as a “Houston businessman”. No due-diligence was done by the media that would have brought some of the unsavory aspects of Crane and his company to light. His company not ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 09:02 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Keith Hernandez Harassed For Crossing Picket Line

KEITH: [mindless] I’m Keith Hernandez.

The former Met (and current broadcaster) was eating at the Central Park Boathouse with a female friend when he received some harsh criticism on his way out of the establishment.

Hernandez, who helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series, left through a side door and walked right past striking workers from the restaurant.

One Boathouse worker, after berating Hernandez for crossing the picket line to have his meal, shouted, “Mark Teixeira is a better fielder.” Ouch.

That didn’t sit well with the proud retired first baseman who won 11 consecutive Gold Gloves with the Mets and Cardinals from 1978 to 1988, a Major League record for the position that still stands.

The New York Daily News reports ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 08:39 PM | 464 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, media, mets

L.A. Times: Frank McCourt is offered $1.2 billion for Dodgers

Frank McCourt has been offered $1.2 billion to sell the Dodgers, The Times has learned.

The bid is headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke and funded in part by Chinese investors, according to a letter sent to McCourt on Tuesday. The letter was disclosed to The Times by two people familiar with its content but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The proposed sale price would set a record for a Major League Baseball team.

In a brief telephone interview, Burke declined to discuss the bid.

“I have no comment at this time,” Burke said.

It is uncertain whether the embattled Dodgers owner is receptive to the offer. McCourt has said that he had no interest in selling the Dodgers and that he intended to remain the owner after the ...

Read More...
Tripon Posted: September 01, 2011 at 08:18 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rumors

OT: The Soccer Thread: September 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football!

Notable European Matches:

Barcelona vs. Milan (Sept. 13)
Birmingham City vs. Braga (Sept. 15)*
Bayern Munich vs. Man City (Sept. 27)

*This notable for being, I think, the first team a Championship side has played in Europe since Millwall in 2004-05

And of course, let’s not forget that West Ham looks to continue their strong start to the season, hosting Portsmouth (Sept. 10), Peterborough (Sept. 24) and Ipswich Town (Sept. 27). Hammers should be hoping for seven points from those matches.

Also, they will having a football game and/or riot at Millwall on Sept. 17; Hammers should be hoping for none of their players to be stabbed during the course of that match.

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 01, 2011 at 04:02 PM | 991 comment(s)
  Beats: general

David Einhorn Reacts To Dissolution Of Potential Mets Ownership Deal

“I am disappointed to announce that I will not be purchasing an ownership interest in the New York Mets baseball team at this time. It is clear that it will not be possible for me to consummate the transaction on the terms that the Sterling-Mets organization and I originally agreed to several months ago. The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible.

  “I want to thank the entire Mets organization and Major League Baseball for their efforts. This experience will always be a happy memory for me because of the Mets’ fans. A good number of you have reached out to offer me encouragement. I will always be touched by the warmth that you showed me.”

Boo. We have ...

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Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 03:00 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, mets

Pitchers & Poets: In Defense of Outliers

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

But was Brady Anderson’s 1996 a miracle?  Is Jose Bautista’s ascension?  Voltaire wrote on the subject of miracles in his Dictionnaire Philosophique, defining a miracle as “the violation of those divine and eternal laws.  If there is an eclipse of the sun at full moon, or if a dead man walks two leagues carrying his head in his arms, we call that a miracle.”  This is the ultimate condemnation of Brady Anderson and Jose Bautista: what they did doesn’t make sense.  A man doesn’t go from hitting fifteen home runs to fifty.  He doesn’t go from being cut by losing teams to being an MVP candidate.  These things aren’t independently possible, and so there must be ...

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Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 01:11 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: history, orioles, sabermetrics, steroids

Malcolm: FIXING THE AL MVP RACE

Co-starring Don Malcolm as Grantland Rice!

image

Bautista (home runs, OBP, SLG, OPS+)
Gonzalez (RBI, batting average, doubles, OBP, playoff team)
Granderson (home runs, triples, XBH, runs scored, RBI, stolen bases, playoff team)

...At this moment, they are each MVPs.

The best thing we can tell the writers to do is to rig the vote. That’s right, rig it.

...Anyway—we’ve grown up a lot since 1979. We know better now. So we should just agree right now that the MVP candidate pool is too big to fail and we should just rig it.

Just throw a blanket over the whole thing and give the Three Amigos their diamond-studded earrings and free Range Rovers from Bud’s car lot.

Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 12:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, history

Feds drop remaining charges against Bonds

3-Drop Lounge: Tejada, Rowand Bonds.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all the remaining charges against Barry Bonds, days after a judge upheld the slugger’s conviction on an obstruction of justice count.

The U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco filed court papers informing U.S. District Judge Susan Illston it was dismissing the three charges of making false statements still pending against Bonds, Major League Baseball’s all-time home runs leader. A jury deadlocked on the three counts at Bonds’ trial in April.

The deadline for prosecutors to start the process for a retrial on those charges was about 30 days away. Now, Bonds won’t face a new trial on accusations that he lied to a grand jury back in 2003 when he testified that ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 11:42 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, special topics, steroids

NYT: Four-Hour Games? At Least One Yankee Sympathizes

Blowfish, blow!

image

If you feel guilty for falling asleep on your couch as you watch the Yankees play the Boston Red Sox, don’t. Mark Teixeira forgives you.

“It’s brutal,” said Teixeira, the Yankees’ first baseman. “I can’t stand playing a nine-inning game in four hours. It’s not baseball. I don’t even know how to describe it. If I was a fan, why would I want to come watch people sitting around and talking back and forth, going to the mound, 2-0 sliders in the dirt? Four-hour games can’t be fun for a fan, either.”

...“I love baseball, but I also love the National League,” Teixeira said. “If it was a three-hour game, you were like, ‘Man, this game is long.’ Crisp games, pitchers throw strikes, go after ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 11:21 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: history, red sox, sabermetrics, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-1-2011

New York Times, September 1, 1911:

The National Baseball Commission to-day not only rejected every demand made upon it by the American Association, but went further in stating that if the American Association decided not to operate under the rules of organized baseball teams would be placed in every city on that circuit.  While no mention of a league to do battle with the American Association was made, it was implied to an extend that could not be misunderstood.

Oh snap!

The AA wanted more money from the AL and NL when its players got drafted, and also wanted the right to draft players from lower leagues.  The proposal essentially would have made it a quasi-major league.

Meanwhile, the Toledo News-Bee made clear where it stood on the ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 01, 2011 at 08:43 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fantasy baseball, history, minor leagues

D Backs Win 9th in a row, 12th straight at home

But did you hear what happens if the Diamondbacks win their 10th game in a row when they resume play Friday night to start a three-game series in San Francisco?

The last time the Diamondbacks were there, team President Derrick Hall and General Manager Kevin Towers apparently made a little pact with manager Kirk Gibson.

Hall shared it publicly with a post on his Twitter account Monday:

“KT and I promised Gibby in SF that we would shave our heads if we ever win 10-straight this year.”

Yeah, but will they follow through should it happen?

“I know they are,” Gibson said, adding he already has the barber picked out and readily available. “It’s not going to be me, but the team will witness it.”

Gibson then caught himself, saying, “I hate ...

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Jack Sommers Posted: September 01, 2011 at 07:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, rockies

N.Y. Times: Humility by the Pack

In this tradition-bound sport, in which managers wear the same uniforms as the players and Cracker Jack can still be bought at concession stands, a hazing ritual that has gone on for years seems to have reached a new level of absurdity at major league ballparks: rookie relievers are being forced to wear schoolgirl backpacks — gaudy in color, utterly unmanly — to transport gear.

“Everybody laughs at me,” said Bryan Shaw, a 23-year-old rookie reliever for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Before each game, he makes the long, painful walk to the bullpen toting a pink bag adorned with an image of a white unicorn. “They all yell, ‘Cute bag!’ ” he said.

The most junior reliever on each major league team is in charge of carrying the ...

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bobm Posted: September 01, 2011 at 06:20 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, braves, mets, padres, phillies

A’s trade Conor Jackson to Boston

The A’s have traded Conor Jackson and cash to Boston for Jason Rice. The team announced the move via Twitter after Wednesday night’s game against the Indians.

Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 04:29 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, red sox

al.com: Former Olympic baseball player charged with making meth near Loxley school

It’s B.J. Wallace.

Billy Lyle “BJ” Wallace Jr., 40, and Amber Sheree McKenzie, 29, were being held in Baldwin County Corrections Center as of Wednesday, both charged with first-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Wallace, a Monroeville native, pitched for the U.S. team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and the Montreal Expos picked him third in that year’s amateur draft, signing the left-hander for $550,000, according to baseball-reference.com and Press-Register archives.

He set an Olympic record for strikeouts in a game by fanning 14 in a win over Italy, but he never reached the major leagues. ...

While his professional baseball career ...

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Greg Franklin Posted: September 01, 2011 at 04:03 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: college, expos, olympics

Kimbrel becomes all-time rookie saves leader

A record they said would never be

Craig Kimbrel does not close like a rookie.

In fact, no rookie closer has ever closed like Kimbrel. Certainly none have ever done it better.

When the Braves’ 23-year-old fireballer closed out Atlanta’s 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday at Turner Field, he recorded his 41st save of the season, setting the major league rookie saves record.

The previous mark of 40 had been set only last season by the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, coincidentally, a former Braves farmhand.

“It was fun,” Kimbrel said afterward. “I have to thank my team for the whole year, playing so many close games. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even have the chance. I’m grateful and happy at the same time right now.”

...Read More...
Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 03:25 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history, sabermetrics

NP: Jays looking to future with Latin American additions

Maybe even including some of those real emotional ones!

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos continued shaping the future of the franchise on Tuesday by acquiring seven international free agents from Central and South America.

“Our commitment to Latin America, our commitment to get the best available players in Latin America, has been in existence now for quite some time,” Marco Paddy, Toronto’s director of Latin America operations, said on an afternoon conference call.

The new arrivals include five 16year-olds (Mexican pitcher Roberto Osuna, pitcher Manuel Cordova and outfielders Wuilmer Becerra Jesus Gonzalez, all from Venezuela, pitcher Alberto Tirado from the Dominican Republic) and two 17-year-olds (Dominican pitchers ...

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Repoz Posted: September 01, 2011 at 03:14 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, international, prospect reports, scouting

Fitch Rates MLB Club Trust Securitization Notes ‘A-’; Outlook Stable

- Fitch Ratings has assigned an ‘A-’ to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Club Trust Securitization consisting of $70 million series 5 term notes (due 2019), $83.1 million series 6 term notes (due 2021) and $46.9 million series 7 term notes (due 2021). Additionally, Fitch has affirmed the ‘A-’ rating to the outstanding $645 million term notes (series 1 - 4) and the outstanding $200 million syndicated revolving credit facility. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

KEY RATING DRIVERS:

—MLB’s premier status as a professional sports league in the U.S. and Canada, having operated for over 100 years and exhibited stable attendance and viewership as well as popularity and international growth initiatives.

—Structural aspects of the transaction that ...

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Gamingboy Posted: September 01, 2011 at 03:07 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Yahoo: Braves acquire IF Jack Wilson from Seattle

The Atlanta Braves have added middle infield depth for the final month of the regular season, acquiring Jack Wilson from the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night for a player to be named.

The Braves, who acquired outfielder Matt Diaz earlier Wednesday, also obtained cash from Seattle in the deal.

Wilson was hitting .249 in 62 games for Seattle and has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 19 because of a bruised left heel.

NTNgod Posted: September 01, 2011 at 02:17 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mariners

Girardi eager to see what [Jesus] Montero can offer

Jesus Montero could break into the big leagues with a crash course on the Yankees’ rivalry with the Red Sox, as the power-hitting catcher is expected to headline New York’s first callups from the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Montero, ranked as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, would join the Yankees as a reserve catcher and another option at designated hitter as rosters expand from 25 players to 40…

Montero is hitting .288 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 109 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre… Since the All-Star break, Montero has been hitting .286 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 39 games at Triple-A, owning a .352 on-base percentage and a .558 slugging percentage.

“I could DH him, and I ...

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The District Attorney Posted: September 01, 2011 at 12:27 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, yankees

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seattle Times: Mariners announce multi-year extension for GM Jack Zduriencik

The Mariners like what they’ve seen from GM Jack Zduriencik thus far and today rewarded him with a multi-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s for more than one year—not one year plus and option as some rumors out there now have it.
...
“When I took this job three years ago, the thing that we said we were going to do is try to build this thing from the ground up and try to accumulate talent in every way we can. I think if you look at what’s on the field here, I think we’re starting to see that. It’s starting to come to fruition. And I think the fact I’ve been asked to stay on is important. It’s important, I think, to the whole process. It certainly means a lot to me and I’m excited to have the opportunity to remain ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 31, 2011 at 11:55 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Francona: Won’t ‘hurry Beckett’ in games

Payback time! No-shows for Bobby Valentine’s bluster.

Red Sox manager said he isn’t about to tell Wednesday’s starting pitcher Josh Beckett to do something that will make him feel uncomfortable. Beckett was criticized by former Mets manager Bobby Valentine on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball during his start on Aug. 7 for taking as much as 45 seconds between pitches to deliver the baseball. 

“That’s not going to make me lose sleep,” Francona said of Valentine’s critique.

Francona acknowledged that major league baseball will occasionally inform teams when they believe pitchers are being too deliberate and slowing the pace of the game.

“They could,” Francona said. “From our standpoint, we always want our pitchers to work quick, just because ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: August 31, 2011 at 10:01 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, media, red sox, sabermetrics, television

Grantland—Why the Philadelphia Phillies won’t be great for long

There’s never been a better time to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan.

that’s all that needs to be said.  there’s 2300+ other words in the article, but they’re mostly unnecessary.

calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 31, 2011 at 09:40 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Royals trade Treanor back to Texas

Goodbye Mr. Misty May.

The Royals have sent veteran catcher Matt Treanor back to Texas in a cash transaction.

Treanor, 35, spent the last 15 days at Class AA Northwest Arkansas on a rehab playing assignment after suffering a concussion July 30 on a collision at the plate in Cleveland. He was five for 19 with five RBIs in seven games.

The Royals acquired Treanor from the Rangers in a March 28 cash transaction after learning veteran Jason Kendall would not be sufficiently recovered from shoulder surgery to open the season.

Treanor batted .226 this season with three homers and 21 RBIs in 65 games. He will be a free agent after the season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2011 at 07:34 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, royals

Giant shakeup: Tejada, Rowand sent packing by SF

Outfielder Aaron Rowand and infielder Miguel Tejada were designated for assignment Wednesday by the San Francisco Giants, a major shake-up for the stumbling defending World Series champions.

The Giants began the day trailing first-place Arizona by a season-high six games in the NL West race.

“We’re at a spot in the season where we have to do some damage control with the roster,” general manager Brian Sabean said. “A couple things played into it. In both cases, there was diminished playing time, diminished roles.”

Sabean said he was working to try to move both players to other clubs within the day so they could “continue their careers.” The Giants have 10 days to trade or release both players, but would have to trade them to a contender ...

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Repoz Posted: August 31, 2011 at 07:07 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

Pirates trade Matt Diaz to Braves

The Pirates traded outfielder Matt Diaz to the Atlanta Braves Wednesday for a player to be named later or cash.

Diaz, 33, hit .259 in 100 games for the Pirates this season, mostly against left-handed pitchers. He hit .295 in 105 at-bats against lefties.

The Pirates signed Diaz to a two-year, $4.25 million contract as a free agent in the off-season. He spent the previous five seasons with the Braves.

The return of Alex Presley and Jose Tabata from the disabled list made playing time in the outfield difficult to come by. Presley, Tabata and Andrew McCutchen generally start, and Xavier Paul and Garrett Jones sometimes work in as well. Ryan Ludwick will also rejoin the outfield when he comes off the DL.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2011 at 04:31 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, pirates

Netherlands to present bid to host MLB games

Just before play-off game 8 of his Hoofdklasse team Vaessen Pioniers on Monday night, acting president Ilja Schinkel of Hoofddorp Pioniers replied positively about realization and schedule of the construction of the new Pioniers stadium and complex south of Hoofddorp.

In March this year the municipality hosted a press conference about the newly to be built stadium and the ambition to open it ceremonially in 2014 with the first official MLB games in Europe. MLB delegate in Europe Clive Russell came from his office in London to the Netherlands, in order to describe the plans in cooperation between Amsterdam and Hoofddorp as “pole position for the Netherlands”.

Yesterday Mr Schinkel announced to Mister Baseball that the Dutch delegation ...

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Gamingboy Posted: August 31, 2011 at 04:17 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: international

NPB/ Get ready for an MLB arms race

This offseason could see some high-profile Japanese ballplayers make the move overseas to the major leagues. It’s a “bumper crop,” and the jewel in this class of potential exports is Nippon-Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish.

Shortstops Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions and Munenori Kawasaki of the Softbank Hawks, and Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki are candidates to leave Japan in the coming months-Nakajima and Aoki through the posting system and Kawasaki as a free agent. But it’s Japan’s pitchers who seem to be the most sought-after commodity.

Here, then, is a look at five NPB pitchers who may be wearing the uniforms of American League or National League clubs in 2012.

Darvish (obivously) is expected to be posted by the Nippon ...

Read More...
Gamingboy Posted: August 31, 2011 at 04:12 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: japan

OC Register - Plunkett: Dream Team Prospect Pairing in the AFL

Angels rookie Mike Trout was already making plans to head to the Arizona Fall League after the Angels’ season ends. But he got the word Tuesday that both he and Nationals prospect Bryce Harper had been assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions.

“It’s awesome,” Trout said. “I finally get to meet him.”

Harper and Trout — or Trout and Harper — have been linked together as the top two prospects in baseball for the past year. But Trout said he only knows Harper (about 14 months younger) from what he’s read and seen on the internet. The two have never played against each other or together.

“I’ve heard a lot about him,” Trout said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

This assumes that Harper is healthy and Trout isn’t in ...

Read More...
Shredder Posted: August 31, 2011 at 02:47 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, nationals, prospect reports

Deford: Too Many Days Hath September (And Baseball)

You Name It! Deford’s Had It! Test Drive An 80’s Deford Today!

Hello, baseball: The culture has changed. It’s time to adapt. September begins tomorrow, and even though most teams have no chance, and the kids are back to school, and football is starting, baseball is still going to limp along for another month before crowds where, as the old saying goes, “A lot of fans came dressed up as empty seats.”

Stop it, baseball. Do two contradictory things:

First, end the season on Labor Day. A 140-game season will do just fine. Other sports are not prisoners to old records.

But second, as you reduce the regular season, add teams to the playoffs. There are only eight now, and talk of adding two more. No — double the qualifiers: 16 playoff ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: August 31, 2011 at 01:39 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, fantasy baseball, history, media, television

Bruce Jenkins: Titanic HR puts S.F. in deep trouble

It’s really just a joke at this point - and by the way, that NL West deficit is six games, thanks to Arizona’s win against Colorado. On any given night, your favorite Giant goes 0-for-4 against a team long dismissed from relevance. And every night, without fail, the park is filled with enthusiastic patrons, still wrapped in the comfort of last year’s world championship and getting only mildly upset with the proceedings.

No, it’s not Boston or Philadelphia, where the folks would be hurling insults, obscenities and Double-A batteries. And that’s just fine. If for some reason, this season does turn out well, a lot of people will say “we had ‘em all the way” and absolutely mean it. The talk shows might be filled with vitriolic nonsense ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: August 31, 2011 at 01:27 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, giants

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