Sunday, April 30, 2006

Even an ESPN/DISNEY employee wonders about the stealing of money & effort of others by members of the boys' club

"At least four teams -- the Marlins, Devil Rays, Pirates and Royals -- are getting more money through revenue-sharing than they're spending on their entire payroll. And this is before they even sell one ticket, writes Jayson Stark." !!! These sentences actually appeared on the ESPN website. Now, will anyone investigate & immediately stop this fraud? NO.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Totalitarian State of Baseball--Esteban Loaiza case in point

Says Loaiza about the effects of WBC on his pitching for the Oakland Athletics: "I'm still behind," said Oakland starter Esteban Loaiza, whose velocity has stayed in the mid-80 mph range since pitching for Mexico. "You look around baseball, and it's the same for a lot of the guys who pitched in the WBC. Their velocity is down." and...
  • "It made it harder," Loaiza said of pitching in the WBC. "But I'd do it again. It was a great thing for baseball around the world."
Right. HE'D do it again. I read these comments in a piece by Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News reporter, April 22 of this year. Something's happened--the State (MLB) has taken control of all businesses AND the flow of all information.
  • ONLY ONE POINT OF VIEW IS PERMITTED IN A TOTALITARIAN STATE, & you learn to shut up or you'll be slandered & attacked relentlessly, morning til night in all media by the many useful idiot sports reporters.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

David Wright insists on playing hurt

I think this guy's fantastic, but sometimes injuries can multiply if not allowed to heal--that's just an observation. I wish him a speedy recovery. Others bring up the Carlos Beltran situation. I've no doubt of his physical injuries, but my thought about any player with any other kind of drawback is not to hire Scott Boras nor even think about it. There are consequences to every action in life--players who have insecurities often see them getting worse if they've taken more of the fans' money than they deserve.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Red Sox may move radio games from WEEI to WBOS FM

The Red Sox have been looking into at least partial ownership of their own radio station, & latest word says they're close to a deal with Greater Media's WBOS FM to broadcast Red Sox games. There could be a new face is the play by play booth as well. The report is from callofthegame.com via The Boston Herald.

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RICK MONDAY ON WITH CHARLEY STEINER on 30-year anniversary of his saving the flag at Dodger Stadium

Rick Monday rescues American flag 30 years ago. After Charley talks with Rick, XM plays the actual audio of VIN SCULLY announcing the 'animals' coming onto the field, appearing to start burning the flag, Rick's running up & grabbing the flag, & the fans cheering for Monday. Is radio great or what?

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Jim Leyland says DH has big effect on pitchers

Leyland, in his first season as an American League manager, sounds shocked at how much difference the designated hitter makes. He's had the 3 weeks of the season so far to experience how the DH makes the bottom of a lineup so much stronger in the AL than in the National League. He's already realized how much of a physical and mental toll that can take on Verlander or any starting pitcher over the season. He said Monday that in the NL, where he'd done all his prior managing, "a lot of times you have the eighth hitter and pitcher coming up, and you had two or three innings in the game where you could enjoy your cigarette. "Here, guys hitting ninth are hitting 20 homers and knocking in 80 runs. It's scary. I noticed this for a few reasons-- ***Many watchers respect Leyland & are very interested in what he does this year. ***Pundits with an agenda often don't acknowledge the difference it makes for an American League pitcher. ***Yesterday a pundit ran an article with an opposing view to Leyland's, clearly just desperate to create controversy or promote a favorite player's situation.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

MLB Umpires joining minor league umps on picket line

You remember them--the minor league umps were the ones who worked the WBC. And the reason for that was the MLB umps couldn't get an agreement they liked.

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Perry Van Hook of Fantasyball.com with Jeff Erickson on XM

Looking like Jeff DaVanon will get more playing time as Shawn Green's problems at the plate continue especially against LHP's. Chris Young is still in the minors, but could also help in that area. Van Hook very high on pitcher Juan Cruz in any role--starter or closer. For the Indians, likes Eduardo Perez off the bench, esp. good against LHP's. Believes he'll come in very handy in interleague play. Perry has a recent article at his site called "Shopping Cart."

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

WOW! Alfonso Soriano has an 8-pitch at bat!!! AND,

HE WALKS!!! What a temptation--here he is in the leadoff spot, probably dying to hit another homerun, & he sticks it out for 8 pitches & WALKS! It's only 1 at-bat, but it's still pretty remarkable considering.

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A Reds fan recalls when baseball was free on the internet

Less than 10 years ago, Washington Post reporter Frank Ahrens recalls listening to games free via Yahoo, a move MLB had coralled, believe it or not. He concedes it's nice to have all the games on MLB TV even if you have to pay. What Frank doesn't know yet is that many games are blacked out on MLB TV for no apparent reason. He calls it watching baseball's 'pay-by-pay.' Of course, I'm eternally grateful for XM myself--I just have to have baseball.

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4 stolen bases off Piazza

Aye yi yi.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Brewers tie ML record, hit 5 homers in 1 inning

Meanwhile, I'm listening to the Arizona-LA game on XM & Vin Scully is doing the play by play. Do the Dodgers just run the tv audio on radio when Vin does the announcing? I thought Charley Steiner did radio play by play. Jae Seo saw better days when he pitched for the profiteers in the WBC which NO ONE SAYS WASN'T thrilling, Kevin Kennedy. That's not the point. Back to the Brewers--Brandon Claussen didn't deserve such a night--but the Reds had had a good patch, & the Brewers needed a good night. The 5 Brewers who hit homers in the 4th inning: BILL HALL, DAMIAN MILLER, BRADY CLARK, JJ HARDY, & PRINCE FIELDER. Last team to hit 5 homers in 1 inning was the Twins in 1966.

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Nats numbers seem right: Washington Business Journal

The Washington Nationals are estimated by Forbes to be worth about $440 million. If you're checking accuracy of their numbers, here's one validation: the 7 groups vying for Nats' ownership have all offered within $10M of this figure.

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Walk-off homeruns are great, but so are lead-off homers. Alfonso Soriano set a record in 2003 with:
Few will remember this aside from Yankee fans. Soriano hit another one tonight for the Nats. Of course, if Mr. Robinson, 1000 game winner, keeps Alfonso in the leadoff spot, that greatly enhances the chances of building this stat....(Report in Wash. Times says his leadoff spot isn't permanent, but we'll see). Then again, it didn't help the team in the post season...

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Friday, April 21, 2006


The latest Forbes report shows many things, including that small market teams took Yankee revenue sharing money & put it in their own pockets. But, MLB chooses 1 headline to highlight on their web page referring to the Yankees estimated net worth. And, the AP eagerly took the bait, made that their headline, & included the predictable word, "HATE" therein, encouraging hatred toward the Yankees, their players, their fans, all their employees & their families. HOW PREDICTABLE, HOW LAZY THESE REPORTERS ARE. But, the billionaires raking in all the money at MLB are thrilled. No one in this country cares about the truth, & they know it. JUST KEEP SELLING HATE, MLB, & KEEP THE FACTS QUIET. GREAT JOB. HATE SELLS. ALL ABOARD THE SCAM ARTISTS' GRAVY TRAIN.

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Kaz Matsui homers in 1st AB for 3rd straight year

This guy has to get some props for coming up with this; unfortunately for Mike Piazza, it was an inside the park homer with Kaz sliding safely into home as Piazza dropped the relay. I wish all baseball players the best & think each one has great accomplishments. But, I never thought Mike merited any big contract anywhere after leaving the Mets, whether for catching, hitting, or just being on the premises.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

MLB WANTS YOU TO STAY BAREFOOT & PREGNANT--ie uninformed, stumbling around, & believing it's all the Yankees' fault

  • Why are Devil Rays games blacked out on MLB TV and all tv 5 hours away from Tampa Bay? MLB DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW. THEY WANT TO FOCUS ON CLASS ENVY & HATRED, WHILE THEY WALK AWAY WITH ALL THE MONEY.

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The Business of Baseball--Forbes--Pirates, Royals, & Devil Rays EACH EARNED MORE THAN $20Million

But the biggest story is the effect revenue sharing is having on the league's economic landscape. Most of the money comes courtesy of the New York Yankees, which paid a record $77 million toward baseball's revenue sharing system. The Boston Red Sox, baseball's No. 2 revenue sharer, paid only $51 million. Such generosity by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, required by the league's rule that teams pay 34% of their net local revenue to help make poorer teams more competitive, is the reason why the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals increased in value by more than 20%.

Revenue sharing also had a profound impact on operating income. The Yankees and the Red Sox lost $50 million and $18.5 million, respectively, before interest, income taxes and depreciation. By not using their subsidies to boost player payroll (which was the intent of revenue sharing), the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Royals and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays each earned more than $20 million.

This doesn't include an additional $34Million paid by Yankee fans to MLB & its owners for 'luxury tax...'

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Baseball field becomes classroom for 2000 kids

Kids in Florida learn lessons in math, science, & everything else from baseball. They learn how to calculate park factors!
  • An elementary and middle school baseball curriculum, revised this year, uses the game as a backdrop for lessons in science, mathematics, language arts and social studies.
  • Teachers use the curriculum before and after their visit to the ballpark. But Wednesday's outing was just to enjoy the game.
Before the field trip, second-grade teacher Jillian Price of Heritage Elementary in Greenacres had her class pretend to operate a concession stand by selecting foods and setting prices. Fifth-grade teacher Mark Golzbein of Grassy Waters Elementary in West Palm Beach asked his students to conduct online research on how weather can affect the game. "We looked at how the ball travels at different fields depending on the temperature," said Golzbein, helping to chaperone 140 fifth-graders, including Joseph Lippi. Man, is this great or what!

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The Lion in Winter--a newspaper writer preaches, dreams, grasps

The old purveyor of public service angle dies hard--that you need him because you wouldn't otherwise be informed. Mr. Rosenberg says in reference to baseball writing of past & present: "A basic difference between now and then is that while box scores today generally contain a lot more detail, the prose that accompanies them is often a lot less devoted to the various plays in the game. One explanation for the change is that fielding is now so much more reliable (look how big the gloves are!), so that descriptions of plays might seem especially trite. By contrast, fielding in the early days was often done with no gloves or flimsy ones. In addition, the games were often umpired by just one person. So, the games themselves had a lot more variety, for colorful description, than those of today." He's a Knight Ridder service writer, this report from the Mercury News. (We have prose, too).

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Reds send Burns to minors, tap LHR Gosling; now sending Gosling down to bring up Shackelford

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Struggling right-handed reliever Mike Burns was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday before the Cincinnati Reds' 9-8 victory over the Florida Marlins. The Reds called up left-hander Michael Gosling to temporarily take his spot. Gosling gave up two runs in 1 1-3 innings, then was sent back to Louisville. Cincinnati plans to bring up left-hander Brian Shackelford from Louisville on Thursday. Shackelford was 1-0 with one save and a 1.29 ERA in seven relief appearances at Triple-A. Burns had a 7.56 ERA in seven appearances, and had given up at least one run in each of his last three outings. Former Reds general manager Dan O'Brien claimed Burns off waivers from Houston in November. Opponents are hitting .339 off the Reds' bullpen.

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Zack Greinke reports to extended spring training

Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, who left the team in spring training to go home where reports say he was seeing a sports psychologist, has reported to the team's extended spring training in Surprise, Ariz. When he could return to the Royals is not certain. "There is no timetable," David Witty, the team's vice president of communications, said before Wednesday's game against the White Sox. After getting in shape during extended spring training, Greinke will probably go on a rehab assignment with one of Kansas City's minor league affiliates. AP report.

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NEW YORK -- Marketing results for the first World Baseball Classic tournament in which many of the league's top players participated last month have just been tallied. According to Shawn Lawson-Cummings, MLB’s international vp of sponsorships and licensing, the event was a success that "exceeded all of our expectations." According to the New York-based client, the event sold about 740,000 tickets at 7 venues over 18 days. The event posted higher ratings on ESPN than regular-season NBA games in the last year, and drew the third-best TV ratings for broadcast baseball in Japan. Its Web site, worldbaseballclassic.com, had more than one billion hits from July 2005 through March 2006. Ticket sales accounted for most of the nearly $15 million in profits for World Baseball Classic Inc., Lawson-Cummings said. Proceeds will be distributed among the teams that participated, except the Cuba team, which knew that before participating, she added.

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Jason Grey with Jeff Erickson on XM says, "It's too early to panic"

If you chose a pitcher like Santana or a base stealer like Figgins, no need to panic says Grey, til at least May 1st. Many greats have started off slowly. On the D-backs, says Luis Gonzalez will improve, wasn't able to work out much over the winter; Conor Jackson is the real deal as is Chad Tracy who's added muscle mass via workouts. Appears Eric Byrnes & Jeff DaVanon are platooning in CF which both Jeff & Jason think is fine, as both play hard & eventually need relief. Is it time enough to worry about anyone? Jason says yes about Rondell White & Shawn Green as bat speed of both is weak.

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Forbes--Baseball's already out of the free market, why not make it 1 store with 30 locations?

Imagine a group of wealthy businessmen walking down the street of a major American city, when they stumble upon a baseball game being played in a local park. Taken with the intensity of the players and with the passion of the spectators, an idea is hatched. Afterward, the men make their pitch. People love watching what you do, they tell the players; we're certain they'll pay for it. Why not take this all over country? We will underwrite a league and own the franchises, covering all of the costs for the best equipment, big stadiums and first class travel. We'll hire staffs to sell tickets and negotiate television, radio and Internet deals. We'll sell food and merchandise, charge for parking and sell advertising on the outfield walls. Heck, we'll even sell corporations the naming rights to the whole stadium. The revenue streams are endless; probably well into the billions. You guys are the show--just play the game and leave the rest to us. At the end of the season, we'll split the money 50-50. Of course, New York and Chicago will bring in a lot more television dough than Pittsburgh and Kansas City. So we'll have to spread the wealth around to have a competitive league. But count on some $2 billion a year, which comes to almost $3 million a man. And you get five months a year off. Deal? There was a time when the players would have jumped at such an offer. Unfortunately, the original owners weren't clever enough to go about it that way. Intent on maximizing their own cut, early owners implemented a system that bound a player for life to the team he originally signed with. Without the leverage that would have come from multiple teams bidding for their services, player salaries were artificially suppressed. Multi-year contracts were unheard of; players signed for a year at a time for an incremental pay raise--or cut--at the owner's discretion.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Players told: Get a haircut, & tidy yourself up

You might wonder which team gave these instructions this week to its players--Pierzynski and Crede got the word from owner Jerry Reinsdorf relayed to them by Williams that he'd like a neater appearance. Both have long blond hair sticking out from their caps, a style Crede started last season when the team was winning or he was hitting well. "Jerry Reinsdorf asked me to tell them to get a haircut and look more presentable. So I asked them to get a haircut and look more presentable," Williams said Monday. This report from Rick Gano, AP Sports writer via SF Gate. Very interesting.

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He who controls the language controls the culture

I'm glad the XM MLB channel exists--it's certainly better than not having it. I started listening last fall, became upset at the way information was slanted & started this blog as a result. I never dreamed I'd be the only human being to notice the bias & say anything about it, including sending email to XM. But, no one else shares my views. XM is run by human beings with their own biases--with their own radio channel, they get to broadcast them, & much of what's said will become "conventional wisdom," used as background by voting members of BBWAA, etc. Dibble is a great radio personality, knows a lot, but his main point in life is to put Mariano Rivera in a diminished or negative light. Kevin Kennedy adds a lot, though isn't a great radio personality. He works in great tandem with Dibble to put down Mariano, last hour actually lying about his performance last weekend in a very all-knowing tone of voice. I don't care what they say about the Yankees in general--it's usually accurate. For the record, Mariano came in in the 8th inning with 1 out & a man on base. He got the next hitter to GIDP. He gave up some hits in the 9th inning along with some strike-outs; there were other issues in that inning, but that was the result. He didn't come in in the 9th inning with a 4 run lead. He came in in the 8th because AS USUAL the Yankees don't have any middle relief, & they have to rely on Rivera to do 2 jobs.

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San Antonio judge wants to set deadline for Marlins relocation

A judge in San Antonio seeks answers as taxpayers will vote on paying for a new stadium with increased hotel & car rental taxes. Bob DuPuy says they're not on the verge of a decision, but Judge Nelson Wolff said DuPuy offered an answer by mid-May. San Antonio must prepare for a ballot question in the November election pertaining to the stadium.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

NY Times shows bias against Yankee tv programming

It's a worthwhile enough subject for Richard Sandomir to write about today, but he ridicules the Yankees for most of the article, then throws in at the end the Red Sox do the same kind of programming but offers no judgement of it. Sandomir also mentions the Mets new tv channel's programming, but says its studio shows make more sense, are more in line with what other sports nets do. What? First, has he ever had to sit through one of those goofy, uncomfortable shows? 2nd, he brings no substance to his criticism of Yankee peripheral programming except that he doesn't like it. I just like these things to be out in the open. I realize the NYT is part owner of the Red Sox.

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Umpires' Labor Union drop-out

"31-year veteran umpire, Ed Montague resigned from the World Umpires Association. No media comment has been issued by the World Umpires Association or Mr. Montague." This note appears on the Major League Umpires website undated, listed after a note about umpire pay disputes over the World Baseball Classic (not mentioning Montague or connecting him with the 2 items). I'll keep looking, but so far this Umpire group seems to be as secretive & all powerful as the BBWAA. The World Umpires Assn. is the umpires labor union, having been renamed from the Major League Umpires Assn. after the 1999 resignations.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

This day in baseball

1947 -- Jackie Robinson played his first major league game, for the Dodgers. He scored the deciding run in a 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves in Brooklyn. He was the first black to appear in the majors since 1884. 1957 -- President Eisenhower officially opened the season by tossing out the first ball at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. The ball was the 10 millionth Spalding baseball to be used in major-league play. 1958 -- Major League Baseball came to California as the transplanted Giants and Dodgers played the first game on the Pacific Coast. Playing in Seals Stadium in San Francisco, Ruben Gomez blanked Los Angeles 8-0. From kentucky.com

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Is Las Vegas ready for baseball?

Their mayor thinks so. You need people with enough time---baseball takes time, and the demos favor Vegas (although the Sac Bee writer says the mayor is a former mob lawyer). As so often happens in baseball, it will just be an issue perhaps to be discussed when the winter meetings are held there in 2008.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Sometimes if you don't have XM, you don't have baseball

"Patterson noted that since XM and Major League Ball announced their exclusive contract in the fall of 2004, about 23% of new subscribers have cited baseball as a factor in their decision to get XM."
  • Chance Patterson, VP Corp. Affairs, XM, in Jan. 2006, physorg.com news
I heard a listener call in to XM the other day from Jacksonville, Florida. He'd wanted to see or hear the Tampa Bay v Baltimore game, but:
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GLOBAL GAME OF BASEBALL? Fine, what about complaining that the New York market has all the media money, & how can small markets like Tampa Bay survive? ANSWER:

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Wondering about Arbitron ratings for MLB channel & satellite radio in general

Found this article from Mediaweek from 11/05 saying ARB will survey satellite radio beginning summer 2006. Why the delay? The info would be useful. The broadcast/terrestrial operators protested the tallies, fearing positive results for satellite (naturally). It will be interesting to note values such as TSL (time spent listening, often denoting listener loyalty=will buy advertiser's product), age, in-car vs at-home, other habits. The non- music stations on satellite sell commercials, so this info will be valuable.

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Teaming up might be the ticket for Nats' new owners

An ownership deal is in the final stages, and it appears the family of local real-estate magnate, Ted Lerner, is close to teaming up with former Atlanta sports executive Stan Kasten. The Lerner group has been seen as Major League Baseball's favorite to aquire the Nationals, but was criticized last week by MLB for not having more minorities. Kasten, however, would bring several minority investors to the table, were he to sign on. From WTOP NEWS

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Baseball ticket prices--supply, not millionaires

Baseball fans love to blame players' multi-million dollar salaries for rising ticket prices. They're wrong. Sure, the average pay of a major league player is now $2.9 million, up about 25 percent in the last five years. At first blush it would seem to correspond quite nicely to ticket prices, which are up 26 percent over the same period, or about twice the rate of inflation. The closing of the upper deck in Oakland has helped the Athletics raise ticket prices and may actually increase rather than decrease ticket sales. But cost of labor has very little to do with the cost a company can command in the market place. If it did, the General Motors, Ford and the U.S. airline industry wouldn't be in the shape they're in. No, what's at work here is supply and demand. From CNN/Money

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Proud Dad, Tim Russert--son Luke co-hosting XM sports show

"A new satellite radio sports show hosted by former Bill Clinton strategist James Carville and his collegian sidekick Luke Russert, son of NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, is cause for a cocktail reception this Thursday evening in the studios of XM Satellite Radio overlooking New York Avenue NE.

Promotion of the reception, co-hosted by Capitol File magazine, and the show is best left to XM's executive vice president Eric Logan, who draws attention to the unlikely radio pairing's "amazing chemistry and energy."

Earlier this year, Tim Russert came under fire for his "ethical lapse" in promoting his son's show while hosting his otherwise hard-hitting NBC Sunday news program. Or as blogger Arianna Huffington sharply critiqued the plug: Mr. Russert's "unseemly use of 'Meet the Press' to promote James Carville's new XM radio sports show while refusing to come clean about the fact that Carville's co-host is Russert's college-age son."

Carville and the younger Russert, a sophomore at Boston College, came up with the idea of hosting the show as their two families sat together at Washington Nationals baseball games. A graduate of St. Albans in Washington, Russert's resume supplied by XM reads like that of any privileged son with access to major sporting events:

"An avid sports fan, by the time he was 16 he had attended two Super Bowls, a World Series, five Major League Baseball All-Star Games, an NBA final, four NBA All- Star Games, two NCAA Final Fours, an NHL Stanley Cup Final, a U.S. Open and The Preakness Stakes." " By John McCaslin, Townhall.com

  • Tim Russert is on the Board of Directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame, in case you're looking for a connection.

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Gerut defies Pirates by seeking knee operation

Jody Gerut was placed on the minor-league restricted list Thursday by the Pittsburgh Pirates after the outfielder decided to have right knee surgery that the team doesn't think is necessary. The move means that Gerut, who was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis during the Pirates' final spring training cutdown last month, won't be paid his $875,000 salary. He also must pay any travel costs associated with the operation, which Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said is likely to be performed soon. Gerut, who hit 22 homers as a rookie with the Indians in 2003, was limited to 170 at-bats with the Indians, Cubs and Pirates last season after undergoing reconstructive right knee surgery. He also was traded twice in a span of two weeks.
  • The article said the MRI didn't show any appreciable changes, but I wondered what that meant. Changes from what, were there problems in the previous MRI?

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Spring training attendance in Florida breaks records this year

Very good news, weather was great, especially good to hear since Arizona experienced declines this spring.

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Kansas City Royals rushing up pitchers too young harms them--Mark Haverty

Mark Haverty was on with Jeff Erickson today & mentioned the Royals' harming young pitchers by bringing them up too soon. Mark suggests they should've signed some so-so older pitchers rather than wrecking young guys. David Glass is in charge of this unethical practice, so I put his picture here. WHY IS GLASS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME? WHY IS GLASS ON THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF MLB? WHY ISN'T HE CHARGED WITH ABUSE OR AT LEAST REMOVED FROM OFFICE?

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Baxter, Miami Herald: Perez provides social conscience for Dominican prospects

"Shortly after Rafael Perez joined the New York Mets as director of international development in March 2005, he noticed the club's Dominican prospects seemed uncomfortable and out of sorts at the team's rookie league camp in Port St. Lucie.

And the problem, he quickly determined, wasn't on the field. It was in the cafeteria.

``Half the players and staff were Latin,'' he says ``and the menu had no Latin dishes.''

So Perez sent the Mets' chefs to a local restaurant to learn how to cook Dominican food and two weeks later rice, beans, yucca and fried plantains started appearing on the daily menu.

``We have to understand their background. And sometimes you have to go one step better to understand them,'' Perez says of the Mets' Latin players. ``If you have 30 percent Latin players, then your meals should reflect that and 30 percent of it should be geared to Latin players.''

But spicing up lunch isn't the only thing Perez has done to help ease the transition from the Dominican to the U.S. Since joining the team a year ago, Perez has also:

_Overseen the move of the Mets' Dominican training facility from the smog-choked Olympic Park in central Santo Domingo to a modern three-field complex hidden among laurel and mango trees not far from the Caribbean.

_Begun expanding a program in which the team brings as many as five of its top U.S. prospects to its Dominican academy each winter to train and bond with their future teammates.

_Proposed cultural diversity classes for coaches and players in the Mets' system.

_Followed the Cleveland Indians' example by joining a revolutionary educational program that will allow his players, most of whom dropped out of school to play ball, a chance to finish their elementary or high school studies at the Mets' expense.

``What Cleveland started two years ago was extremely important,'' Perez says. ``I believe that a better-educated player will develop and have a better chance at making it to the big leagues. Cleveland is a visionary. But at the same time it's the right thing to do. To me, there has to be a social conscience.''

Perez has been Major League Baseball's social conscience in the Dominican since 2000, when the commissioner's office appointed him to oversee operations of the 30 big-league clubs in Latin America. Family pressures led him to leave that job last winter but not before he went a long way toward cleaning up baseball's image on the island, forcing clubs to adhere to certain minimum standards at their developmental academies by establishing rules for everything from food and field conditions to the thickness of the mattresses in the dorms.

Now Perez wants to take Cleveland's vision a step further, teaching players basic administrative skills such as how to open a bank account and balance a checkbook.

``Forget the academies. Take the academies away,'' says Perez, a Dominican native who played baseball at South Alabama and worked as a global project manager for a financial software company before returning to baseball. ``You sign 100 players, 95 of them won't make it. That's just the reality.

``I'm not focusing on that 5 percent that are going to make it. I'm concentrating on those players that don't. Not all clubs are doing that. But I can tell you the Mets are going to do it.''

However, they won't be doing it long if Perez doesn't produce enough baseball players to justify the costs, which are nearly $800 a player for the school classes alone.

``All of this is to produce players,'' he says. ``Now, as a consequence is it also good for society? Yes. That's a positive. That's always a good second point. But if I wouldn't be able to prove that this is going to help produce better players, it would have been a tougher sell.''"

The thought of young kids having to play in smog & sleep on lumpy mattresses is not good. I'm glad someone is attending to these things.

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Hal Richman, founder of Strat-o-Matic with Jeff Erickson on XM

Hal started the company in 1961, with growth not experienced til 1963 when he took the risk of taking out a loan to finance the expansion. Board game is still very popular but has partnered with Sporting News for internet game. Of interest, Richman says there are no reliable defensive stats in existence! Credits John Dewan's book as coming closest & one he uses, says his staff looks very closely at all range ratings, but finds them "to be very inaccurate." Hal's measurements come from examining all written accounts of every player of every game across the country, dropping the extremes & taking the middle results. Strat puts more emphasis on defense than roto.

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Excellent points made by Art Thiel in Seattle PI

A smaller item for which I'd been seeking proof on paper showed up today in Art's article: "At one point, John Henry simultaneously owned the Marlins, had a deal to buy the Red Sox and held 1 percent of the Yankees. And you thought the old Soviet Union was dead." I'd heard that George Steinbrenner & John Henry had been partners at one time, or co-owners, etc., but here it is. The rest of Art's article makes excellent points about the Selig-Mitchell deal, what Mitchell cannot legally do, & what his Red Sox co-owners predict he won't have the heart to do.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fausto Carmona, another rising star from the Dominican Republic to start for Indians

Fausto Carmona only began the season in the minor leagues because the Indians didn't have room on their roster for the right-hander. There's a vacancy now. The 22-year-old Carmona, who was impressive as any Cleveland pitcher during spring training, will make his major league debut Saturday in a start against the Detroit Tigers. Report from wkyc.com. Among the many interesting names of baseball players came this one, Fausto Carmona. (From what I've read so far, he's not from Italy, which fooled me).

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Halladay has forearm injury

Ricciardi noted that the source of the injury could be from throwing a lot of cut fastballs, which can take a toll on a pitcher's forearm. No timetable has been set for when Halladay will resume throwing this week.

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Chad Cordero--Frank Robinson says WBC adversely affected him

The Washington Post reports that Nationals manager Frank Robinson believes Cordero'’s time away playing for the United States in the World Baseball Classic is costing him.

"“He'’s not there yet, believe me," Robinson said. "“He'’s throwing 85, 86 miles per hour. His location is not there. He's just not in game shape."

Cordero, who led the majors last year with 47 saves, finally got his first save opportunity yesterday in the Nationals' 7th game of the season, but Morgan Ensberg prevented him from recording his first save of 2006 by blasting a solo home run off him in the 10th inning. This came just a day after Chris Burke took him deep in a meaningless situation in Sunday'’s contest.

Report via St. Louistoday.com

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JP Kastner from Creativesports.com with Jeff Erickson on XM

How to fill your Strat-o-Matic teams, Jeff first mentions Chipper Jones & Coco Crisp going on the DL, with Adam Stern looking to fill in for Crisp. Strato being full simulation, defense much more important than with Roto, high value on BB including HBP's, but values are from last year's numbers so you must guess on future values. Uses system of cards, & much to my surprise, JP says they also measure ability to hit in the 'clutch,' which he calculates on ab's & runs. He has an arm rating system with 0=average, -2=great, +2= poor, giving example of Jeff Francoeur someone he wouldn't draft, as he doesn't walk much or have a good arm; he loves Sal Fasano as others might pass by as 'not young & flashy,' but has everything else. Notes many Milwaukee Brewers came up in his drafts & especially JJ Hardy, a good defensive player at a key position. Jeff still feels the Braves will trade by mid-season for help in the bullpen. Wednesday's guest is the founder of Strat-o-Matic.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Red Sox owners defend choice of co-owner Mitchell for inquiry

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry defended the choice of club director George Mitchell to head baseball's steroids investigation, saying Monday he wants to know if any players - including his own - used banned substances.
  • "I think people who took a shot at George because he might have a conflict of interest, that's really unfair," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said.
Henry was the owner of the Florida Marlins, and Mitchell was on their board of directors, before Henry took over the Red Sox in 2002.
  • Above from the AP article. Fine, but any judge in a normal situation would recuse himself.
These men are at the very least among the best salesmen in the world, which is how they made their money to begin with.
I'm paying attention to this, even if no one else is.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fine for you pal, but not for me

Now Bob Watson will tell the Mets & the Nats to just forget about everything & play ball? Why would anyone want to play pro baseball if they give you no protection from someone trying to murder you or maybe just maim you? The fact that Petey was allowed to go on without warning the other day shows you how dangerous the situation is for players, especially the Nationals. It's never been right to let bullies on the same playing field with normal guys. And Bannister hit Soriano on the helmet? He could be dead & this is all that happens, everyone be nice? Of course, the bullies are also the cowards.

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What a coincidence! Musicians ready to play ball with MLB!

How many millions in free advertising were just obtained by a certain rock band & a slight association with 1 or 2 baseball players (who may or may not've been familiar with the group)? No one's saying MLB ADVANCED MEDIA & MLB.COM haven't been working on this for years, but it's now formally announced: a 50-50 marketing agreement with the music merchandising & licensing firm Signatures Network. Our MLB will somehow be involved (according to USA Today) with groups like the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, Kiss, Ozzie Osbourne & others. Pretty soon we'll be able to order a carton of milk from MLB---just hold the cookies, please.

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Another Barfield--Jeremy, coming up in June draft

Former major-leaguer Jesse Barfield's cell phone was busy at Petco Park on Monday as he watched his oldest son, Josh, make his major-league debut with the San Diego Padres.

While watching Josh, Jesse was getting updates on his cell phone as Josh's younger brother, Jeremy, hit a three-run home run to lead Klein High to a 4-3 victory. Major-league scouts have been busy following Jeremy, a 6-5, 235-pound slugger who will likely be taken early in the June draft.

"If there's a better high school hitter in Texas, I haven't seen him," Jesse told the Union-Tribune.

"Jeremy embarrasses me," added Josh. "He's more of pro-type player than me. And he puts on an impressive show." from the Houston Chronicle.

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Bob Raissman notes Julio's influence in the Mets' dugout:


For convincing Carlos Beltran to take a curtain call Thursday night. In the scheme of a long season, this is small potatoes, but it shows what baseball's Methuselah is all about - leadership. Something the Mets, and many other teams, have been lacking. This is not about some old guy teaching skills. No, it's about someone who can teach respect. Franco told Beltran: "Embrace it ... You don't want to be at odds with the fans. I guess they have booed him a couple of times, but that's how fans are." Wow! A player concerned about fans. Now, that's different. Bravo Franco.

  • Nevertheless, I'd much rather see what Brewers fans do for a struggling player---I hear when Prince Fielder came to bat recently after 8 or 9 strike outs, they cheered for him wildly. Soon thereafter he did get a great hit & the team is undefeated.

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Dibble has complex about Mariano Rivera---makes comment about 'ego'

I try to avoid this subject as it's constant, but Dibs had to bring up out of thin air a comment about Mariano Rivera's ego-- nothing to back up his assertion whatsoever. Very few in mass media are really familiar with Mariano Rivera except Charley Steiner. Dibs is a great radio talent, one of the few, but I doubt he'll ever be able to see Rivera realistically. Here's a recent report about Rivera entitled "EGO FREE:" (Dibs will understand the Metallica reference):
  • "EGO FREE: Just when the New York media tried to whip up a pseudo-controversy over new Mets closer Billy Wagner using the same entrance anthem as Mariano Rivera - Metallica's Enter Sandman - the Yankees closer defused it by saying he likes Wagner and doesn't mind. Both closers started using the song in 1999, although Rivera had never heard it before and still prefers Christian music. Said Rivera: "I think it's funny. ... If the guy feels comfortable using the song, let him be."

This was in the San Jose Mercury News. (I'm just guessing the writer of the above paragraph was using license with the word 'defused.') (8/08, re-reading this post, I modified it so as to be mainly factual without so much assertion, as was my habit in the early days of this blog.

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In slashing their payroll by nearly 75% this winter, the Marlins haven't just set themselves up for a last-place finish and an estimated single-season profit of at least $30 million.
  • They also most likely put the issue of a minimum payroll back on the table for owners and players as they hash out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this summer.

    Donald Fehr, executive director of the MLB Players Association, recently said a minimum payroll would be "one of the things to look at in bargaining." Fehr also was troubled by the second player sell-off in South Florida in 8 years.

    He said, "We need to examine the uses to which revenue sharing funds are put. That's a fairly significant issue, and it's not just Florida."

  • Any NBA team that doesn't spend at least 75% of the salary cap is surcharged at the end of the season, with the difference put into a pool for the players.

Amazing story suggesting baseball teams consider luxury tax threshold as salary cap but FINALLY considering consequences for dilettantes who disrespect everyone else by not spending enough.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Guillen is restrained after Pedro hit him for 2nd time. Photo from NY Times

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SPRING TRAINING BASEBALL ATTENDANCE DROPS IN ARIZONA DUE TO WBC--towns lost revenue, jobs, possibly children starved

Spring baseball tickets below 2005 levels
Officials blame weather, classic "WHEN THE CHICAGO CUBS DROP, THAT'S A WAKE-UP CALL FOR ALL OF US."

Scott Wong The Arizona Republic Apr. 8, 2006 12:00 AM

Ticket sales for West Valley spring training games this season fell sharply from last year's highs, with officials blaming inclement weather and competition from the inaugural World Baseball Classic for less-than-stellar turnouts. At Peoria Stadium, where the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres play, fans purchased about 200,000 tickets during the monthlong season, an 11 percent drop from last year. Meanwhile, at Surprise Stadium, which hosts the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, fans bought 153,700 tickets, a 7 percent decline. But waning sales weren't specific to just the west side. It was the same story across the Cactus League, which saw 1.16 million tickets sold this year, a nearly 9 percent decrease from 2005. Hohokam Stadium, where the Chicago Cubs play, saw about 11,070 fans each game, more than 1,000 fewer than last season's figure. "When the Chicago Cubs drop, that's a wake-up call for all of us," said Mark Coronado, who oversees operations at Surprise Stadium just off Bell Road. Reports of declining ticket sales come as a debate heats up over the financial viability of spring training stadiums. A recent Arizona Republic story pointed out that of the eight municipalities that host Cactus League teams, all but one loses money maintaining the stadiums. Although Surprise pulls in about $3.3 million in revenues each year from things such as ticket sales, concessions and souvenirs, the city operates at a loss of about $300,000 during spring training. Peoria pulled in nearly $5.2 million in revenues this year but typically loses about $750,000 in running the Peoria Sports Complex. Peoria Vice Mayor Bob Barrett, however, said cities take in far more in sales taxes from restaurants, hotels, shops and other local businesses than they lose from running the stadiums. If you look at any of these facilities in isolation, the answer is, {grave}Yeah, they lose money,' " said Barrett, whose Ironwood District includes many restaurants and businesses near the ballpark. "But the stadium and baseball facility are the generators of an awful lot of income from venues that surround them." Unusual weather was partly to blame for the lower-than-expected attendance counts. Peoria Stadium had not seen a cancellation due to rain in the previous three years. But a sold-out Saturday game between the 2005 champion Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres was rained out. Later that night, a Seattle Mariners game also was called. And other games at the stadium were delayed because of bad weather. "That hurts the walk-up sales," said Cactus League President J.P. de la Montaigne, Peoria's community development director. Both de la Montaigne, who heads operations at Peoria Sports Complex, and Coronado said they believe the Baseball Classic, which held games at Chase Field and Scottsdale Stadium, had a positive impact on the sport. But they were split about whether the international tournament was good for business. De la Montaigne said the classic "brought attention to the game overall, so people got more interested in spring training earlier than normal." Coronado, however, said the classic created a logistical nightmare, as teams from South Korea and Japan took over the two West Valley stadiums one week for workouts and exhibition games. When a reporter pointed out the tournament would come around only once every four years, Coronado responded, "Thank God."

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TV and Radio add more baseball talk (which is better)

Interesting tidbits today--
  • Fox Sports NY is starting a nightly show in NY originating in its New England branch. It will be speaking to NY area Red Sox fans (as well as the other sports teams in NE). Not a bad idea, as there are plenty of them.
  • WFAN radio (NY) will finally begin streaming on Tuesday, April 11. Reports say it'll be all day, including Chris Russo & Mike Francesa. Chris & Mike both love baseball, & talk about it a lot more & for more months out of the year than most other sports radio shows--whether in the NY area or outside. For the past few years, I've been out of town for periods of time without access to WFAN, & there are just times when there's no substitute. And, if you've gotten the YES Network's limited out of market menu, which includes Mike & Chris, you've been robbed & beaten by Direct TV. No more.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

John Sickels with Jeff Erickson on XM

John talks of his upcoming trip to the midwest for a close look at great Angels' prospect Brandon Wood & others...checking out his progress at handling breaking balls, etc. Thinks Tigers' pitcher Justin Verlander is best young pitcher in the league; is high on Snell, while others have slight reservations about him. John says BJ Upton is more than ready offensively, wonders why the D-Rays don't bring him up to the show. Jeff shares it might be a question of number of options team still has on him--the Rays want to bring him up for good next time. Jeff uses the word "fungible," which I looked up--it means something than can be used interchangeably. I always like new words.

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Hearing Gene McCaffery with Jeff Erickson today on XM

Here was yet another extremely smart guy---I mean one of them is a physician, others are financial gurus or just geniuses who for some reason gravitate not only to baseball but to spending large amounts of time putting together teams on paper--ie fantasy teams. I've been on the road today, but suffice to say Gene McCaffery was a high point of the day--I think his site is wiseguybaseball.com. He's a stat guy who sounds sure of himself, but not quite above it all as some of the others do. Anyhow, he has individuality & personality. He made 1 absolute statement which I'm going to check on--that players always play 10% better in their home park. It may well be that most do, but I'd like to check if it's all of them.

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Gagne to have second elbow surgery

Dodgers closer Eric Gagne will undergo another operation on his right elbow, this one to remove the nerve that was repositioned in his 2005 surgery, the Dodgers announced Thursday. Gagne, who pitched in just 14 games last season, will have the operation performed Friday morning at the Kerwin-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. Dr. Ralph Gambarella and Dr. Frank Jobe will perform the surgery. There is no timetable for Gagne's return, a club spokesman said. The Dodgers begin a three-game series at Philadelphia on Friday. The Dodgers will purchase contract of right-hander Takashi Saito on Friday to take Gagne's place on the roster. By John Schlegel, Executive Editor/West Divisions for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Steve Moyer, Baseball Info Solutions with Jeff Erickson on XM

I must correct Steve on his opening remark--Mariano Rivera is not fighting about a theme song--he was asked about it, & he doesn't care at all, but appreciates the fans' concerns. Mariano didn't select the theme music to begin with. Steve opened by saying Mariano & Billy Wagner were fighting about their theme music.

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Remembering Gene Pitney

Gene Pitney, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose hits included "Town Without Pity" and "Only Love Can Break a Heart," died Wednesday at a hotel in Wales after playing a show, his agent said. He was 65. Pitney was found dead in his hotel room in Cardiff, Wales. Police said the death did not appear suspicious. Born in Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 17, 1941, Pitney had his first success as a songwriter with "Rubber Ball," a Top 10 hit for Bobby Vee in 1961. Later that year, Ricky Nelson had a hit with Pitney's "Hello Mary Lou." Pitney was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. From Forbes.com

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Angelos invited to congress on Friday re Comcast deal

(AP) WASHINGTON Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos has been invited to testify before Congress on Friday on problems with the Washington Nationals' television deal. Angelos tells The Baltimore Sun he plans to give his version of the dispute that prevents Comcast cable customers from seeing most Nationals games. The House Government Reform Committee hearing is set for Friday afternoon. Angelos says Comcast has repeatedly been offered the chance to carry Nationals games. DirecTV and Cox cable both have deals to carry the Nationals over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Officials from Comcast, Cox and Major League Baseball are also invited to testify at Friday's hearing, as well as D-C Mayor Tony Williams.

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Washington Nationals fans just don't give up

Luckily for the region's 1.3 million Comcast viewers, the Washington Nationals' season opener Monday was televised on ESPN, so the spectacle of most of a major metropolitan area being unable to view its team's first game in 2006 was averted. But since only 40 of this season's 162 matchups will appear on national broadcasts by ESPN and Fox or locally on WDCA-Channel 20 because Comcast and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos still haven't solved their television-rights dispute, the Washington area is in danger of repeating last year's blackout debacle. Right NOW, another team's owner can earn revenue from your team's telecast. Why is this allowed to go on? It's like a crime family, who exists to get into the next guy's territory with nobody asking big questions. It must violate something.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fay Vincent with Charley Steiner on XM

The former Commissioner estimates George Mitchell's job will take 1-2 years to complete & that he himself will be getting a call at some point. Vincent says without rules, there is no game. The punishment issue is not as important to him as rules & discovery. Both Fay & Charley agree that at least 1 player involved in the investigation would have been plenty good enough without any enhancements. It sure is good to have Charley Steiner back on The Beat--now I can listen again.

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Does Baseball need Wi-Fi?

FORBES says stadium attendance faces a major threat from broadband Internet streams. The New York Times, meanwhile, notes that the source of this streaming--MLB.com--is "big business" for baseball. What does this mean? If baseball teams want to keep from being fleeced, they need to embrace technology themselves, with everything from free wireless connections in the stands to virtual tours of seats that are up for sale. When some stadiums began offering free Wi-Fi connections a few years ago, such as AT&T Park in San Francisco, some people wondered why anyone would want to use their computers while at a ballgame. But anyone familiar with baseball fanaticism knows that statistics are its lifeblood, as well as the ability to keep track of multiple games simultaneously--all of which can be accomplished in real-time only with some form of portable device connected to the Internet. From C-Net News.com 4/3/06

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Meet the Press...and a board member of your Hall of Fame

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2003, TIM RUSSERT is the managing editor and moderator of Meet the Press, and political analyst for NBC's Nightly News and the Today program. Russert also serves as senior vice president and Washington bureau chief for NBC News. Russert has received 29 honorary doctorate degrees from American colleges and universities, and has lectured at the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraries. In 2001, Washingtonian magazine named Tim Russert the best and most influential journalist in Washington, D.C. Tim's 20 year old son, Luke, has just been given a sports talk show on XM. I've heard Tim say his son is a Red Sox fan. Most of the announcers on XM are Red Sox fans and/or have had working affiliations with them. Which is just something important to know. Everyone has a personal bias--once I know what it is, I can move on & enjoy the discussion.

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David Glass is on the board of the Hall of Fame--FYI

David Glass was elected to the Board of Directors in 2000 and serves as a member of its Pension Committee. He was appointed interim chairman and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Royals upon the death of Ewing Kauffman, and in April 2000, his family acquired the Royals organization, where he continues to serve in the same capacity. Glass is also a member of the Executive Council for Major League Baseball. He spent 25 years with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., serving as president and chief executive officer for 12 years, and is credited with leading the company through a period of unprecedented growth and international expansion with annual revenues reaching $165 billion. I laughed upon reading that this man is obviously very much the hierarchy of baseball--I mean, once in a blue moon someone will mention how rich he is but that he won't spend anything on his "family's" team, the Royals. But, he's not just some rich renegade out there--he IS baseball, & we're all fools for not realizing it.

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Brewers sell 1.3 million tickets by opening day

The Milwaukee Brewers have already sold 1.3 million tickets for the 2006 season, a 30 percent increase compared with the same point in 2005. Sparked by an increased interest in the team, the Brewers will likely exceed the team's 2005 attendance of 2.2 million, which was the second highest since Miller Park opened in 2001, said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers' executive vice president of business operations. The Brewers finished the 2005 season with its first non-losing season in more than a decade. The team drew more than 45,000 fans for its season opener Monday, the third largest crowd in Miller Park history and the largest for a home opener at Miller Park.

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Joe Sheehan joins Jeff Erickson on XM

Joe's very high on Oakland; on Chicago's success, Jeff asks him to what he attributes the turnaround of Jose Contreras, ie what went wrong at the Yankees? Joe mentions the help of the now departed El Duque, but mainly attributes a pitching coach in Chicago also named Contreras. I'm aware of pitching coach Don Cooper at the Sox, but couldn't find the scoop on the one Joe mentioned. Anyhow, they've done a great job.

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Protrade.com fantasy league signs license deal with MLBAM

That's MLB Advanced Media, or MLB.com. News is protrade.com buys & sells players as Wall St.-like commodities. Sounds like a bit of money is involved. Details to follow.

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More detail on the mutinous ESPNer's meeting last week--NY Post

Phil Mushnick elaborates on his NY Post story last week about an ESPN staff meeting that revealed some out of touch managers. Part of the meeting included words from Mike Wallace, which he clarifies, using a transcript of some of the meeting. (The meeting was not mainly about Bonds as some have chosen to mischaracterize it--the problem is systemic, the handling of the Bonds show & coverage is only 1 example). MUSHNICK'S REPORT ON THE PART INVOLVING MIKE WALLACE AT THE ESPN MEETING: "After much thought (and debate) I did Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley wrong, Friday, when I wrote that Wallace, before a gathering of ESPN personnel, acknowledged that Bradley's "60 Minutes" piece on Tiger Woods, the previous day, was a "tank job." While I didn't quote Wallace using the phrase, my use of "tank job," was excessive. I apologize. However, Wallace and Bradley insist that Wallace said nothing to even suggest that "60 Minutes" was in any way compromised. As proof, Wallace provided a transcript. But you decide: WALLACE, LAST MONDAY, WAS ESPN's GUEST SPEAKER WHEN TALK MOVED TO THE ETHICS OF ALLOWING BONDS CONTENT CONTROL OVER AN ESPN series about Bonds. Wallace criticized ESPN's decision to do such business with a news figure. According to the transcript, Wallace was then asked, "How many tough questions were asked in the Tiger Woods piece, last night?" Wallace replied, "There was an understanding going in." The audience responded with, "Ahhhh." After noting that Woods is a very private person, Wallace further explained: "And I think probably some concessions were made. You didn't see a heck of a lot of his wife, last night. The concession was, look, 'I'm going to be more candid with you, Ed Bradley, than I've ever been in public before. Why? Because I'm going to get an opportunity to tell about my [charity] foundation.' I think that's fine." Regardless, the "60 Minutes" two-parter, promoted for two weeks (just in time for The Masters, on CBS) as "Tiger, as you've never seen him," was nonsense. It was the long version of Woods as we always see him - in the company of a gushing reporter." This part is more about Wallace than ESPN, but you see that the focus of the meeting was more than 1 baseball player.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lou's crazy like a FOX

It looks like Lou Piniella won't be going totally underground for the 2006 season. Spies say Sweet Luigi will be working for Fox Sports as an analyst on one of the network's Saturday "Game of the Week" broadcast teams. Looks like Fox also might have inked Piniella at a very reasonable rate. With the fate of MLB's national TV deal still in the balance, the Foxies are not going to bust their baseball broadcast budget. Still, sources close to Piniella said he wants to maintain his visibility with the intent of a possible return to the managerial ranks in 2007. Working for Fox will give him plenty of face-time. Look for Piniella to also have a role on Fox's 2006 MLB postseason telecasts. From Bob Raissman, NY Daily News

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MLB website is big business--N.Y. TIMES

I didn't realize MLB.com did all the live streaming for March Madness NCAA basketball. They also run a website for LL Cool J, not to mention the Players Union, various individual players, plus the YES Network. I'm so happy to know they'll soon be in charge of the Hall of Fame's website. Article by Richard Sandomir.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sounds like Bobby Kielty sent to minors to make room for Halsey

Suzyn Waldman was discussing Halsey's arrival in Oakland, & seems like Bobby Kielty will have to go to the minors for about 10 days to accommodate roster moves. Everyone looks forward to Kielty's swift return.

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D-Rays place Baldelli on DL

This time with a strained hamstring. I'm starting to wonder if this guy shouldn't have 24-hour guard. It's one thing after another with Baldelli, but, unlike Pavano, I believe he actually does want to play baseball.

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David Wells & Hee-Seop Choi placed on DL

The Boston Red Sox placed pitcher David Wells and first baseman Hee-Seop Choi on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.Wells, who is recovering from right knee surgery, was placed on the DL retroactive to March 28. Last season, the 42-year-old lefty went 15-7 with a 4.45 earned run average in his first season with Boston. Wells will most likely not miss any starts as Boston was not planning to use him in the rotation until mid-April. Choi has a strained hamstring and was placed on the DL retroactive to March 29. The Red Sox claimed Choi off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 24. He finished last season with 15 home runs, 42 RBI and a .253 batting average in 133 games. From Sports Network, Boston, Mass.

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Jeff Erickson's Fantasy Focus on with Grant Paulsen on XM

He's taking calls now, discussing last minute draft tips--some like to wait til the last possible moment to draft their players. Howie Kendrick on Angels, Craig Hansen, Chad Billingsley are names Jeff suggests, noting Dodgers are loaded with prospects.

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Baseball Films run at Museum of Modern Art, 4/3-4/30

The game has always been a sore temptation to those of the literary and artistic persuasion, a big, fat metaphor floating out over the middle of the plate and waiting to be knocked out of the park. The result, as it so often is on the diamond itself, is generally a mighty swing and an embarrassing miss, as if the ball — i.e. the huge, all-encompassing truth about America and/or life — had been treated with the mysterious bat-repellent substance Ray Milland discovered in "It Happens Every Spring" (1949).

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"Rivera is the definition of reliability in an unreliable role, the model of stability in a volatile era, the picture of modest distinction in an exhibitionist era and the most important player on the dominant team of the era. He, not Bonds or any other slugger, deserves serious consideration as the poster boy of this era."
  • This is from Mr. Gammons' latest blog. While I appreciate his courage for stating the obvious, he didn't vote for Mariano for Cy Young last year nor did he enlighten enough others, if any, to this marvel of history who will soon slip from our view.
    • The truth is, ONLY 28 PEOPLE VOTE ON THE CY YOUNG AWARD--I'm guessing it's 28 for each league. I don't know if Gammons was 1 of the 28 this year, but on the espn guy website, the fellas gave their opinions.
    • If anyone knows who appoints these 28 people, the criteria used in choosing them, & criteria voters then use in making their picks, I'd like to know. Thanks for any help on this.

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Referees allowed to take bribes in Nigeria

FOOTBALL referees in Nigeria can take bribes from clubs - but that should not influence their decisions on the pitch, a football official insisted yesterday. Fanny Amun, the acting secretary-general of the Nigerian Football Association, said that bribery was common in the Nigerian game, but that it should be allowed. "We know match officials are offered money or anything to influence matches and they can accept it," Mr Amun said. (Is this one of the 'lessons' the US is supposed to learn from other countries?)

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"Joe Torre bought his first automobile in 1960 from a used car dealer in Milwaukee named

Allen Bud Selig," per MSNBC discussing Keith Olberman interview with Torre. Life is funny.

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Teaching young players

Friday, March 31, 2006 By PETE CALDERA The Record Photo by Danielle P. Richards TAMPA, Fla. -- Seated at his locker, Mariano Rivera carefully removes baseball cards sent to him in plastic sheets, and he signs his name. He repeats the process with an even hand. Each signature is a perfect copy of the one before. Rivera neatly tucks the signed cards into envelopes addressed to people he's likely never to meet. And as he patiently satisfies these requests from strangers, Rivera pauses. He is no different from anyone else, he says. "I came from nothing. Why was I chosen? Why me?" Beyond the burden of finishing the tightest of games, and moving the Yankees toward another October, Rivera believes he has a greater responsibility. "As long as I can help somebody, I'll be happy," Rivera said. Every Saturday afternoon during spring training, Rivera invited a handful of young, Latin teammates to his home. As they sampled the fantastic dishes made by his wife, Clara, the Yankees' closer led discussions about baseball, life in New York and the Bible. "We talk a little about everything," said catcher Wil Nieves, who was amazed when the closer he'd watched on TV for years introduced himself at last year's camp. "I think he's a better human being than he is a pitcher." These sessions will continue in New York, as time allows. "First of all, I listen," Rivera said. "I want to know what they're thinking." At age 36, Rivera has shattered through the longevity ceiling of most elite relievers. But when his playing career is over, Rivera sees himself as a coach, or a consultant, or even opening a church. On the mound, Rivera finds strength from a Bible passage written in his glove: "I can do all things through Christ." For Rivera, "everything relates to the Lord." Whatever future he chooses, he'll mentor the young. "I'll talk to them about baseball, about life. Tell them my stories, my career." With the young, Latin Yankees, Rivera stresses two things. "Learn the language," Rivera said. "That's major." And, "Don't get caught up with New York City. Because New York City will stand and you will go." And when he speaks these reminders, sometimes Rivera hears his own father's voice. "My father was tough on me. He wanted me to do things right," Rivera said. "As the oldest boy in the house, he was asking for perfection. To always give respect. Always, always." Like Joe DiMaggio, Rivera's father was a fisherman. Growing up in Panama, the greatest relief pitcher in Yankees' history used to fashion baseball gloves out of cardboard and dream of being a car mechanic. "It's a tough life," Rivera said of his father's profession. "I wanted something better than that." But when baseball became a passion, and Rivera's whip of an arm matured, his father never discouraged or encouraged him. Now, in the ninth inning, the fans replace Rivera's father, demanding his perfection. "Everyone always says, 'How do you make it look so easy?' "It's not so easy to maintain yourself and keep that going all year. It's dedication. It's hard work," Rivera said. "If I didn't keep fighting, I wouldn't be here." From the locker next to Rivera's at Legends Field, Octavio Dotel -- rehabbing form Tommy John surgery -- constantly hears the same themes about working and fighting. And once the season begins, "I know he's going to be all over me," Dotel said. "He's been all over me already, talking about how to handle the pressure of pitching in New York." Early during last year's rookie season for Robinson Cano, when he made a handful of errors and was accused of showboating, Rivera would quietly seek out the second baseman. "Let people talk," Rivera said, according to Cano. "The next day, you forget it." But with the soothing talk, Rivera never paints over reality. "He's always on me to stay out of trouble," Cano said. "If there's something that needs to be said, "he tells me right to my face." These are not his father's sermons about perfection. "I made a lot of mistakes," Rivera said. "But I always try to battle." Into locked drawers in his mind, Rivera has placed items such as the 1997 Division Series-changing homer to Sandy Alomar Jr., and Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. "I fall and I get up again," Rivera said. "It's easy to stay down there. But I learned from being in the valley. And I enjoy being on top." Rivera was on the mound in 2000, when the Yankees celebrated their last world championship. Six years later, Rivera is coming off possibly his best season, second in the AL Cy Young balloting, carrying the same urgency. "Tomorrow is no promise," Rivera said. "There's only today. And today, we make the best of it. Guarantees in life? There's no such a thing." P.S. I guarantee you Rob Dibble isn't reading this article

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