Friday, November 30, 2007

Hank, please ignore this media hype which seems to be working as usual

NY Times, Tyler Kepner: "The Yankees’ chance of dealing for Johan Santana depends on their willingness to include Phil Hughes in a trade offer. So far, the Yankees have resisted doing that, but their stance may change soon." (Please, Hank, forget this deal. Take a gander at Santana's post season record. He won't win you the World Series. He won't even get you out of the ALDS. You did say you wanted to get out of the first round?) SM
Dear Santana:
  • Don't come here. You'll be very unhappy. Your life will be a living hell and you'll pray to be anywhere else. SM.
PROOF IF YOU NEED IT THAT 'THE MEDIA' IS IN CHARGE, from 10/13/07 in Rotoworld, posted here: "The Media Will Push for Chamberlain to be Placed in the Closer's Role." THE MEDIA? WHO GIVES A CRAP?

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Middle East money fund targets US media

  • Certain media "define the daily discourse" and don't like it when certain others tell the truth instead. Enter Dubai, et al:
From the Street.com: "Middle Eastern investors are interested in more than just plowing money into U.S. financial firms such as Citigroup. They're looking to break into the U.S. media arena, normally the domain of heavy hitters including Rupert Murdoch.

The fund, for which CEO Philip Blumberg says there is interest amounting to at least $500 million, would target newspapers as well as Hollywood movie studios, online media outfits, broadcast news and possibly radio businesses. Including the use of leverage, the fund will have buying power of approximately $1.5 billion and could kick off by the second quarter next year, Blumberg says.....

(The following paragraph would not have been possible without radio host MICHAEL SAVAGE:) sm

TheStreet.com: "There is a much higher degree of awareness there that U.S. media can affect non-U.S. interests in a direct way," Blumberg said,

  • referring to some of his contacts' and clients' unfavorable perception of the U.S. media's coverage of the botched deal for Dubai to buy U.S. ports in 2006."

(Savage wants you to know when you're being sold out. That makes the honchos indignant). P.S. This will all take place without a peep from Americans who are asleep at the wheel and too pacified to defend themselves. (sm)

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Ken Rosenthal on board with Yankee bashing

The harsh language used by Ken Rosenthal to open his Yankee bashing does the following:
  • Gets people to read his article because it bashes the Yankees.
  • Gets Bud Selig and other owners to like Ken Rosenthal more. Instead of an itemized list of how the Yankee fans' money has been spent, focus hatred on the Yankees.
  • Once again tells the Yankee fan to avoid baseball media because it takes this cheap hateful road year in and year out.
  • Waits til the very end of the long article to tell you the Yankees are actually good for baseball. Whether they are or not, this was a an obvious device since many will have stopped reading before that apparent good part about the Yankees.
I'm tired of the tone, subject matter, presentation, and timing of this kind of article.
  • These characterizations of Yankee spending also involve the fan. If the spending really bothers you, Mr. Rosenthal, why not write an article enlisting the help of fans by not buying tickets? That would help if it really concerns you.
Rosenthal's stunning revelations in his article: "Yanks Deep Pockets Set Them Apart," 11/30/07 from FoxSports.com.
  • P.S. I'm a Yankee fan and I do not want Santana, want to keep all our young players, and don't mind being the underdog. I'm sick of this team being used by the media and I'm sick of the passivity of fans in not objecting to it. I don't like anything "brazen" or "gaudy."

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Pirates don't raise tix prices (even for Yankee games). Indians up 38% on 31 home games...

"For the sixth consecutive year, team president Frank Coonelly confirmed yesterday when asked, a dugout box seat will cost $35, an infield box seat $27, the bleachers from $14 to $9, and the upper deck from $16 to $9. Season tickets, as the team had already announced, will remain the same, too.

  • No other team in Major League Baseball has gone so long without a price increase. Detroit has kept prices level since 2002, the last year the Pirates had a price hike, but the Tigers announced last month that most of their seats would cost $2 more across the board in 2008.

The Pirates also are steering clear of an industry trend to raise prices for select games, a practice known as premium pricing. The Cleveland Indians, for example, are raising prices 38 percent on 31 home games, including opening day, visits from the high-profile New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and all weekend games beginning in mid-June.

  • With the Yankees visiting PNC Park June 24-26, their first trip to Pittsburgh since the 1960 World Series, the Pirates might have seized on the opportunity to begin premium pricing for what are sure to be three sellouts."....

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Dejan Kovacevic, "Pirates Ticket Prices Staying Same Again," 11/30/07

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What this Washington Post article says in full frenzy mode...

  • 1. There's nothing to talk about so pile on the Yankees-Red Sox hype.
  • 2. The Red Sox needed a few laughs.
  • 3. A 'major league source' sits around like at Pravda and hands out propaganda.
  • 4. Santana, his agent, and the Twins are happy to be the recipients of hype at the expense of the Yankees and their fans--the ones who actually pay.
  • 5. Just because a bad deal was made for Barry Zito, it's written in stone that a much worse deal should be made for Santana, who would require double the bullpen the Yankees have to carry his low pitch count especially in the post season assuming he doesn't break down first.
  • (Not that he isn't the best pitcher in baseball, but adding him even without giving anything up won't make the difference at this point for the Yankees).
From WaPo's Dave Sheinin: "The Minnesota Twins were discussing trade options for ace left-hander Johan Santana with both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, according to a major league source, pitting baseball's two richest teams and fiercest rivals against each other for the services of the pitcher widely considered to be the best in the game.
  • An agreement on the trade could be completed at any time, the source said, but would be held up while the winning bidder is given a 72-hour window in which to try to sign Santana to a long-term contract. Santana, who has full no-trade privileges, is expected to insist on an extension before agreeing to a trade and reportedly is using Barry Zito's seven-year, $126 million contract signed last winter as a starting point for contract discussions."
From Washington Post article by Dave Sheinin, "Red Sox, Yankees, each in Trade Talks for Santana," 11/30/07

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Imus to be on 20/20 with Barbara Walters Friday night

  • UPDATE: I just sat through this show, no Imus. It looks like he'll be on next Thursday night on Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People show.
Alerted by Neil Best's Watchdog, then went to article from USA Today. Looking forward to the I-man on WABC radio on Monday, Dec. 3. One correction to USA Today and others' story: Imus wasn't fired for racist remarks. He was fired because of poor to non-existent management at the time at CBS Radio which owns WFAN. (Watchdog post mainly notes Warner Wolf's move from WABC radio to 1050AM Espn radio in NYC).
  • (Oh, good, none of the Newsweek creeps will be back on Imus per James Brady in "Waiting for Imus," on Forbes.com, via Poynter.org/Romenesko, 11/29/07."None of the Newsweek people will. The magazine's ruling, not that of the individual writers and editors." Brady said Russert's still not sure.)

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Hank, don't believe the hype from the Star-Ledger et al.

The Star-Ledger's headline: "Posada: Yanks Must Sign Santana, Re-sign Pettitte," but nowhere in the article does he say that. His quote:
  • "We need a No. 1," Posada said. "We certainly need a No. 1, and I think that's the reason we're going after Santana." Posada stressed that the Yankees need an ace pitcher in the playoffs."
(Continuing): "It is a need in October, no question about it," Posada said. "I think when you look at the past World Series champions they were able to have a No. 1 throwing three games, or at least two games, to win the title."
  • (P.S. Santana doesn't have a great record in the post season. See his performance in the must-win game for the Twins, Game 4, 2004 ALDS. He left after 5 innings to a cheering crowd, Twins leading 5-1. The Yankees ended up winning 6-5 in 11 innings. The winning pitcher? Mariano Rivera. Santana has never shown the stamina needed to make it through 2 or 3 levels of post season play. In the 2004 ALDS, he couldn't get his team out of the first round. I'm not saying he isn't a great pitcher, but he's not a magician). sm
Baseball-Reference Santana's post season record.

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An example of media hype about Santana

Jon Heyman on WFAN with Mike and Chris says, "The Yankees can't let the Red Sox get him!" This angle is hype and has been said and written other places. It only serves the Red Sox, Santana, his agent, and the Twins. Not the Yankees. Besides, I agree with Mike Francesa who earlier said on this topic, "I'm enjoying being in the underdog role now." It's something different, nothing wrong with it and it's much more acceptable to me than shipping out our young players. Otherwise, I enjoy listening to Heyman's reports.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mariano Rivera

Baseball-Reference lists his birthday as November 29. Two years ago I posted on this blog that Bill Madden said it's really November 27th.
  • Thanks also to HERB RAYBOURN, the Yankee scout who discovered Mariano in Panama, where he was actually a shortstop. He fooled around with pitching, & Raybourn noticed his now unrivaled smooth delivery.
  • Mo's "signing bonus?" $2000.

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Umpire strike zone study from Hardball Times

They vary. No one has the courage or desire to manage the umpires. They should all be replaced with machines in the first place. Allen H. "Bud" Selig talks about fan "love" overlooking all baseball's problems. He's giving you your excuse for not questioning anything he does including endorsing the umpires. This study from Hardball Times, "A Zone of Their Own," by Jonathan Hale, 11/28/07, via PinstripeAlley.com.

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Take virtual tour of new Tampa Bay Rays waterfront stadium

MajorleagueDowntown.com is the site, here for the mobile tour, very nice, I heard about it on 1010AM in Tampa (during a local break on the Mike and Mad Dog show). The Rays owners had a big announcement of their plans today. There are so many people in this area with the available time to enjoy baseball at a beautiful spot like this. As I suggested earlier, start by getting all the sports bars to put on more baseball games.
  • Photo from majorleaguedowntown.com, shows sailboat-like partial cover against weather.

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You could have it worse. You could be a Knicks beat writer--NY Observer

  • (What you say is monitored, recorded on Blackberry, and sent upstairs).
"What really separates the complaints of Knicks writers from those of every other browbeaten city reporter—and reporters are definitely a whiny lot—are their unironic, and apparently accurate, tales of systematic repression.

“It’s the gulag,” said Mike Vaccaro, a columnist for the New York Post.

“We all know what it’s like to cover a normal team,” said Mr. Beck, who previously reported on the Lakers for the L.A. Daily News. “Covering the Knicks is so much worse.”

“Some of the things they practice here are completely against what you’d expect a normal team to do,” said Mr. Hahn, a second-year reporter on the beat who said that he now misses his old job as a hockey reporter covering the provincial New York Islanders. “They come up with things all the time. There’s zero access to players. They would rather you don’t even write.”

  • The stories from the reporters are endless: layers of institutional paranoia; public relations officials who openly eavesdrop on private conversations with executives and players; the threat—and implementation—of cutting off reporters who are perceived to be critical of the team.

“Everyone is so worried about upsetting Jim Dolan, or getting fired, and as a result people aren’t themselves,” said Mr. Beck. “If you transplanted the same individuals and put them in another city, then they’d be far more interesting. They’d be themselves.”

To their credit, the Knicks’ press officials don’t deny Mr. Dolan’s unusually hands-on role in managing their downtrodden core of reporters.

“I think it’s fair to say that Jim [Dolan] is aware of, and a part of, the shaping of the media policy,” said Barry Watkins, the senior vice president of communications for the Garden.

The policy was instituted in the summer of 2001. (Coincidentally, one supposes, the last year the Knicks had a winning record.)

When I spoke with Mr. Isola, the News reporter, on Saturday afternoon on the Garden floor, he pointed to a media relations official watching us. “He’s taking note that I’m talking to you,” he said.

On Monday night before a game against the Jazz, six reporters were speaking with forward Malik Rose. Nick Brown, a public relations official for the Knicks, was recording the proceedings on his BlackBerry, in an e-mail prepared for the Knicks’ head of P.R., Jonathan Supranowitz.

Sometimes Mr. Supranowitz does the monitoring himself.

  • “I take notes, absolutely,” said Mr. Supranowitz. “A P.R. person must be present for every interview. That’s a Garden policy.”

(Even, apparently, for interviews with other P.R. people: Mr. Supranowitz typed into his BlackBerry while I was speaking with his boss, Mr. Watkins.)

  • Even if a reporter pitches a fluff piece on a player, it can’t be done alone.

“Once you give a one-on-one interview, they all want one-on-one interviews,” said Mr. Watkins. “Instead of being available all at once, that player or coach has to do separate interviews every day, and that’s just not something we can do. We want to make sure players and coaches and all executives can focus on the task on hand.”

This is not standard practice elsewhere.

“There are very, very successful teams out there that treat the media with dignity and respect and recognize that 90 percent of the time it’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said David Waldstein, the former Knicks beat reporter for The Star-Ledger. “Every writer who covers the Knicks gets the impression that we are treated as the enemy.”

  • (Starting this season, The Star-Ledger eliminated the Knicks beat, opting instead to run wire copy).

For working reporters at the Garden, typical meal options include a small plastic cup of coke and a sandwich with ham, processed turkey, swiss cheese and hard white bread, all for $8. When they’re at their floor seats watching the game, they’re given small fuzzy-picture TV’s to watch replays.

  • “I guess it doesn’t matter what they do to us, the beat guys,” observed Mr. Hahn. “But you’d think they care a little more about presentation when other reporters come to town. They don’t.”

Of course, the reporters shouldn’t be there for the frills. The Knicks should be a good story, even when they’re bad. The spectacular crash-and-burn of a storied franchise, after all, doesn’t lack for narrative tension or drama.

  • But for the reporters assigned to cover them, there’s something worse about this Knicks team. They’re not so much bad as unbearable."
Via Poynter.org/Romenesko

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Changing definition of the "YES Network"

ESPN.com's Bob Klapisch told Charley Steiner on XM yesterday, "The Yankees have so much money. The YES Network is worth $4 billion dollars." After a few more words Steiner said, "Really? 4 billion?" Klapisch responded, "Forbes said $3 and a half to $4 billion. The Yankees are rich beyond anyone's dreams." Wow. How revelatory. Right off the 24/7 ESPN talking points. Not mentioned during this dreamy sequence is the Steinbrenner group only owns 37% of the YES Network and that other owners have been shopping their shares. According to the NY Times, Gerry Cardinale even says new partners will want a say in how games are broadcast: "Any new financial partners, he added, “will want a partnership with the Yankees about how the games are broadcast.”"
  • Quote from Gerald Cardinale about future of Yankee broadcasts. ("Gerald J. Cardinale, a managing director of Goldman Sachs and a YES board member..." from the article).
  • On percentage owned by the Steinbrenner group:
"Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, said that the estimated 37 percent piece of YES owned by the Steinbrenner group"...
  • (Current attempts to sell portions of the YES Network will of course determine its actual worth. But currently being evaluated is):
"whether possible new investors in the YES Network, the channel of the Yankees, would pay enough to place a value of at least $3 billion on it." (And this on dreams of Yankee money from Forbes on 11/27/07): ***An 11/20/07 Reuters report put the Steinbrenners' percentage at 40% and said sale of (others') shares has been impeded by problems in the current market:
  • (Reuters): "The YES Network is around 40 percent owned by the Yankees baseball team, with the remainder owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners and Raymond Chambers, former co-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team.
But the current price tag is a problem for private equity firms because the credit crunch has choked off lending from investment banks and dramatically cut leveraged buyout deal volume.

One source said that YES has been shopped around more to private equity buyers than corporate -- or so called "strategic" -- buyers, in part because buyout firms were aggressively scooping up assets before the credit crunch hit.

  • "I would have thought that a Time Warner or a Comcast or a News Corp would mesh well with their existing services," Mansell said. "But you're in a current economic environment where there aren't a lot of deals getting done. The market would hammer the companies for empire building."
From Reuters article by Michael Flaherty and Megan Davies, " NY Yankees Network Sales Stalls as A-rod Deal Looms," published on Reuters.com, 11/20/07

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Melky Cabrera seen at Nets game tonight--Steve Somers

On WFAN, Steve Somers just said Melky was seen at the Nets game tonight. He doesn't say the source of the info. Steve is of course a Mets fan.

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Bob Nightengale on Santana, Twins on XM

Bob Nightengale with Charley Steiner on XM says he still thinks Santana is the best pitcher in baseball, but that the Twins have "babied" him. He's rarely thrown over 105 pitches, if you try and use him more he might break down. ***************************************************
  • Here's an example how having Santana in the post season with his limited pitch count lead the Twins to a loss in a season ending game:
  • Game 4, 2004 ALDS (10/9/04) Yanks v Twins, Santana left after 5 innings to a cheering crowd, Twins leading 5-1.
  • The Yankees won the game in 11 innings, 6-5. The winning pitcher was Mariano Rivera (pitched 2 scoreless extra innings, came in when game was tied--in Minnesota).
October 9, 2004 at Metrodome (Minnesota Twins)

                             1  2  3    4  5  6    7  8  9   10 11     R  H  E
                             -  -  -    -  -  -    -  -  -    -  -     -  -  -
New York Yankees             0  0  1    0  0  0    0  4  0    0  1     6 11  0
Minnesota Twins              1  0  0    1  3  0    0  0  0    0  0     5 12  1

PITCHERS: NYY - Vazquez, Loaiza (6), Gordon (8), Rivera (10)
          MIN - Santana, Balfour (6), Rincon (8), Nathan (8), Lohse (10)

           WP - Mariano Rivera
     LP - Kyle Lohse
         SAVE - none

          MIN - Blanco


  • On current state of the Twins, Nightengale notes:
  • Every team was just given $30 million in revenues from MLB.com, including the Twins.
  • The Twins recently received $20 million in revenue sharing.
  • Carl Pohlad, worth $2 billion, "makes George Steinbrenner
  • look like a pauper."

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Damon praises young Yankee pitchers on Thailand trip--AP

"Johnny Damon said Tuesday that his New York Yankees have a good shot at making the playoffs next season, despite a young pitching staff.
  • Speaking on a visit to Bangkok, the Thai-American centerfielder said once the Bronx Bombers make the playoffs "anything can definitely happen."

"We're kind of in a strange situation right now. We're going with a lot of young pitchers but they're good young pitchers," Damon said. "They keep the club house fun and that's what we need. And I think we're going to do real good. I think we're going to compete for a playoff spot."

  • Damon, whose mother is Thai, spent the day visiting an orphanage as part of a U.S. Embassy-sponsored trip."
From AP report, International Herald Tribune, "Yankees Damon says the Team has a Good Chance of Making Playoffs Next Year," 11/27/07. Filed from Bangkok, Thailand.

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Dr. Charles Steinberg leaves Red Sox for Dodgers--Boston Globe

From Gordon Edes: "Dr. Charles Steinberg, who dramatically transformed the fan experience in Fenway Park in his nearly six years here, is leaving the Red Sox as executive VP for public affairs to accept a top front-office position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to major league sources. The Dodgers are expected to make the announcement tomorrow.

  • Steinberg spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Los Angeles as guest of Frank and Jamie McCourt, owners of the Dodgers, and reportedly accepted the offer at that time.

Steinberg was not immediately available by telephone.

  • His departure ends a working relationship with Sox CEO Larry Lucchino that spans nearly three decades. He was with Lucchino with the Orioles in Baltimore and the Padres in San Diego before joining the Sox on March 1, 2002."
From Gordon Edes' article, "VP Charles Steinberg Leaves for Dodgers," Boston Globe, Extra Bases, 11/26/07

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The Untouchables--Proven and Home Grown

I'd rather lose than give these guys up.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wilson Betemit hits winning homerun in Dominican--Listin Diario

Wilson Betemit hits decisive homerun to win game for his Dominican team. Photo from Listin Diario, 11/25/07. He's described as an "antesalista," which is a 3rd baseman. Babelfish and google didn't translate the word, I found a list of Spanish baseball terms.
  • From Listin Diario:
SANTO DOMINGO. - "Wilson Betemit, with his bat was in charge as opposed to to get even the Licey the same dose that the past Sunday these had applied to him when a home run of Andy Abbot left in that then ones to the Chosen one (Escogido, Betemit's team) in the land.
  • And how the scarlet antesalista took off above of one night that until the moment was negative, because she had been imprisoned in three occasions of the blue pitcheo, all by the route of ponche."
From Listin Diario, 11/25/07, "Homerun of Betemit Buries Plans of the Licey," by Pedro G. Briceno Translation by google

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Arod deal likely opts out of recognition for BBWAA awards---NY Times

  • Naturally the addition of BBWAA incentives adds luster to the group. The removal or lack of them diminishes it though not nearly enough. That will come in time. Boras is one who championed a lustrous "Oscar" like telecast for BBWAA awards. (The main focus of the NY Times article is the structure of home run incentives in the new contract and doesn't get into the BBWAA of which the author is a non-voting member as a NY Times employee). (sm)

(Murray Chass): "The contract will not have the kinds of award bonuses that filled Rodriguez’s $252 million contract.

  • In the seven years he played under the contract, Rodriguez earned $5.5 million in bonuses, including $3 million for his three Most Valuable Player awards in the last five years.

The Yankees historically do not give players award bonuses.

  • They were willing to construct the new marketing deal because of the unique nature of Rodriguez’s quest.

He will get the marketing money in exchange for making certain appearances linked to his home run milestones over and above what players are required by their contracts to do.

  • Although Scott Boras, Rodriguez’s longtime agent, was said to be working on contract language, he was not involved in the negotiations."
From NY Time article by Murray Chass, "Yanks and Rodriguez Receive Approval for Marketing Deal," 11/25/07

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I do not want Santana

There are many things to talk about but some find it easier just to focus on 1 free agent pitcher, Santana. Ubiquitous baseball awards voters with ties to Minnesota have long used his looming contract to sell whatever they're selling including knee-jerk hatred toward the Yankees--instead of perhaps directing their ire at the richest owner in baseball, Carl Pohlad. (I wonder if Pohlad's ever tripped over any of the divots on the field there Torii Hunter used to speak about fondly?) Also, I became sick of Santana because the YES Network adores him. I even wrote YES Network executives about excess footage shown of Santana when similar coverage of accomplished pitchers already on the Yankee payroll was lacking. (No response).
  • The tone of this frenzy gets worse when every reporter, baseball genius, or schlub fan says emphatically:
  • "The Yankees HAVE TO give up Cano." or
  • "The Yankees HAVE TO give up Joba." They really do, they have to. or
  • "The Yankees HAVE TO give up Phil Hughes, Melky, and Cano, at least. They HAVE to..."
I do not want to give up any of these people even for Babe Ruth. I'm not into collecting anymore stars for the time being if you don't mind. Furthermore:
  • Santana would only be a 1-year rental--he's a free agent after the 2008 season.
  • And if you did get him for 2009, he'll no doubt be pitching in the 2nd World Baseball scam for Venezuela as he did in 2006.
  • He gave up quite a few home runs in 2007. Free agent pitchers are too risky--Yankee fans should know this better than anyone.
Keep the young Yankees we have. Forget the free agent pitcher being over-hyped.
  • UPDATE: Monday 11/26, Mel Antonen on XM with Chuck Wilson is asked what he thinks about the Santana situation. Re: the Yankees, Antonen said they're in a difficult position right now, that they're definitely rebuilding. For the direction they've been going and what they'd have to give up, it might not help them to trade for Santana.
  • Later Wilson interviews Kat O'Brien of Newsday. One of Wilson's questions to her: Do you think the Yankees would make such a long term contract for a pitcher? Kat replies Santana is a special case, but she comes up with the same potential trading chips. She doesn't draw any conclusion about the idea, but it leaves the team in the same situation I discussed. The addition of 1 winning pitcher along with the subtraction of a few key other players doesn't guarantee the future for which the Yankees have been building.
Update #2, 11/27/07, another pundit agrees it's not necessarily the best deal for the Yankees:
  • "For that matter, who knows if Joba can be a starter, or, if he can, how long it will take him to develop into the kind of starter who can average six or seven innings per start (which is the only kind of starter the Yankees really need)?
  • (As we go to press, the rumor is that Hughes may be involved in a deal for Twins pitcher Johan Santana. But if the price is Hughes and Melky Cabrera,
  • it's a tossup as to whether the Yankees really come out ahead.)"
From Village Voice article by Allen Barra, "Runnin' Scared: Not That the Arod Signing Solves Anything," 11/27/07 (Curry's article mentions there aren't any pitchers' deals in this price range that have ever worked out for the team. Which doesn't even get into the loss of prime, young, inexpensive, home grown guys who've already proved they can play in New York). sm
And this from 7/27/06 in a Bob Klapisch article:
  • "But Minaya speaks for the rest of the baseball community when he says, "If this was a year or so ago, the Yankees would've traded one or two of their prospects for a guy who's about to become a free agent.

"The Yankees are doing things they've never done. They're going with their kids, and I praise Brian for that.""

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Yankee Hot Stove Reality Check--Jeff Passan, Yahoo

Hank Steinbrenner--Photo from Yahoo.com
  • Jeff Passan reports on all the teams, notes Yankees are inferior to Red Sox and you now have the X factor of Hank. (There's always Randy Levine, too). Hank often takes reporters' phone calls and when not doing so is busy calling them himself. It doesn't sound like he's about to recede into the woodwork. I'll be happy in 2018 when Alex Rodriguez' contract expires. Not that I don't appreciate his great talent. I don't like all his other stuff including his vulgar wife. (sm)

(Mr. Passan): "For someone who wanted nothing to do with the family baseball business, Hank Steinbrenner has acted an awful lot like his father during George's most ornery days. From stonewalling Scott Boras to calling out Alex Rodriguez to essentially canning Joe Torre, Steinbrenner has added a new commandment to the Yankees' many:

  • Thou shalt not trifle with Hank.

By now, Cashman should well have learned this. Though he has rescued the Yankees' farm system from its Sahara period, he has struggled to find the right formula for winning on the major league level. Maybe it is an infusion of youth, or maybe it's Joe Girardi's stern attitude as manager.

  • Compared to the Red Sox, the Yankees are an inferior team. Chien-Ming Wang is an excellent starter. He's not someone you want in Game 1 of a playoff series. Mariano Rivera is an excellent closer. Behind him, who else is there? The Yankees' lineup is indisputable, but it couldn't hit them out of the first round the last two seasons.

For a transition year, the Yankees look awfully similar. And with a new Steinbrenner in charge – a bigger, badder Boss than we've seen in years – that isn't necessarily a good thing."

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Listin Diario, Dominican newspaper, says Tampa Rays looking at Uribe

From Listin Diario, Dominican Republic,
  • "El equipment (team) of Tampa is behind Juan Uribe to give him short stop... Uribe would be in the market on the part of the Average White (White Sox), that acquired to the Colombian Trimming Goatherd (Orlando Cabrera)....Hoy is free day in the Dominican ball, but tomorrow the Aguilas and Licey in Santo Domingo... Also will play Sunday, in Santiago"...
From Hector Cruz column in Listin Diario (Santo Domingo), "Miniatures of Baseball," 11/22/07 (end of column, of interest). Translation by babelfish.

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Scout.com free all weekend

Includes PinstripesPlus.com with endless information about minor league players. Very spiffy:
  • (From Scout.com): "As we celebrate this season of gratitude, PinstripesPlus Magazine and Scout.com would like to thank all of its users by making PinstripesPlus.com and the entire Scout.com Network FREE through the holiday weekend."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sale of YES NETWORK stalled--Reuters

This article says the Yankee team owns about 40% of YES but other reports put it in the low to mid 30's range.
  • (Reuters): "The YES Network is around 40 percent owned by the Yankees baseball team, with the remainder owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners and Raymond Chambers, former co-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team."
(The question is which group(s) are looking to sell? I wouldn't expect the Yankees to admit it even if it they were one). sm
  • (Reuters): "It is unclear if the entire network will be sold or just the parts owned by private equity, the sources said.
Goldman Sachs is running the sale process."
  • (Ah, Goldman Sachs, Arod, etc.) sm
(Reuters): "The bidding has dragged on longer than thought, hurt in part by a severe drop in private equity deals due to the credit crunch. Player contract talks have also slowed the process, one source said. A final offer date has not been set, the source added, but may come in the next few weeks.
  • Key to the sale is keeping all star Alex Rodriguez, among the best players in baseball, who is in the final stages of negotiating a new deal with the team."
  • (We're back to linking Arod's value to television, which is what Boras wanted to do in the first place. I'm starting to wonder if Boras' being "bypassed" isn't exactly true). sm

"That explains in part why Goldman managing director Gerry Cardinale stepped in last week to negotiate a deal for Rodriguez when his agent, Scott Boras, appeared unwilling to rekindle talks that earlier fell apart.

  • The bottom line of the company would probably not take much of a hit if A-Rod left because YES is not dependent on individual subscribers. YES is part of basic cable packages, meaning the cable companies pay for the subscriptions, which are locked in for a long period of time.

But losing A-Rod and other stars could hurt parts of the network.

  • "Marquee stars and winning do impact the ratings of regional sports networks. Advertising would be affected," said John Mansell, a media analyst at John Mansell Associates. Mansell said about 90 percent of YES' viewership is for live Yankees games.
Prior to the credit crunch, private equity buyers would likely have been eager to snap up the asset, given its cash flow, its brand and connection to one of the most successful sports franchises ever.
  • But the current price tag is a problem for private equity firms because the credit crunch has choked off lending from investment banks and dramatically cut leveraged buyout deal volume.

One source said that YES has been shopped around more to private equity buyers than corporate -- or so called "strategic" -- buyers, in part because buyout firms were aggressively scooping up assets before the credit crunch hit.

  • "I would have thought that a Time Warner or a Comcast or a News Corp would mesh well with their existing services," Mansell said. "But you're in a current economic environment where there aren't a lot of deals getting done. The market would hammer the companies for empire building."

All three companies declined to comment."

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Remembrance of Thanksgivings past--Roone and Howard

Photo from Neil Best's Watchdog blog, Newsday. Watchdog also highlights a You Tube vignette of Cosell role modeling for young America.
  • (Obviously not for any current ESPN wavy-handed types--watch any of them and see how they use their hands to keep your attention). sm

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John Sterling, 'Baseball Meets Broadway' show, 11/24

John was interviewed on Mike and the Mad Dog Tuesday, 11/20 about the 1-night only show he created with some of his long-time actor friends. The show is Saturday night 11/24 in Irvington, New York. Lo and behold MLB.com has an article about it too!: (MLB.com quotes Sterling):

  • ""I'll tell some stories about Broadway and baseball, Brad and Barbara will do great versions of some classic songs, and maybe I'll even sing one, too," Sterling said before revealing that he'll perform the old Robert Preston chestnut "I Won't Send Roses" from the Jerry Herman show "Mack and Mabel."

"Preston kind of 'talked' that song, so I figured that would be a good one for me to do," Sterling said.

P.S. The MLB.com article has 2 Sterling calls linked at the top. The best.

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Yankee Bug Spray Up for MLB Auction--AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Start the bidding on Yankees bug spray.

  • Who could forget New York rookie Joba Chamberlain getting doused with pest repellant during the American League playoffs last month? Well, here's your chance to own an authentic bottle.

A can of bug spray used in the Yankees' dugout when those tiny midges swarmed Cleveland's Jacobs Field will be among the items up for bid in a Major League Baseball auction of memorabilia from the 2007 postseason.

  • Surely, it's the perfect gift this holiday season.

The auction, featuring more than 50 autographed and game-used items, runs from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7. Fans can bid online at MLB.com."

AP report, "Yankees' Bug Spray is up for MLB Auction," 11/20/07, from SportingNews.com

  • 1st photo from AP, 2nd photo from NY Post

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Joe Castiglione interviewed in Sports Media Guide!

Joe Castiglione is the best. Glenn Geffner, the worst, is completely convinced that he, Geffner, is the greatest baseball announcer in history, deserves his chair in the Red Sox booth and will have it as long as Larry Lucchino is alive. Perhaps it's already known whether Geffner is returning to Red Sox radio in 2008--it's too depressing to even think about. Happily, Castiglione was interviewed in Sports Media Guide and said things Geffner and Lucchino would never understand:
  • "Q. Is talking too much a concern?

A. Yes. You have to let it breathe. You have to back off of superfluous information when the game is on the line. Set the scene, the count, where the runners are, who are the runners and who is up next, who is up in the next inning. Anticipate what the audience wants to know - the audience wants to know the same things you want to know. If I'm watching a game I get irritated if they don't tell me who's up next and who's available to pinch hit. You have to focus on those things when the game is on the line. The rest of the time you might tell a story or laugh about something or come up with an anecdote. No game has the same pace - you have to change gears. Baseball is the only sport where the defense controls the ball.

  • Q. Do young announcers rely too much on stats?

A. I don't know if we can generalize by age. Guys older than me were stats crazy. Stats should tell a story - not just be a number. Given a choice between a human interest story and a stat go with the human interest story - people are more interested. Some audiences are turned off by stats. Not that you have a great story every day, but it could be something you read or hear on the way to the ballpark."

  • What the new breed of guys (like Geffner) doing baseball on radio have in common are:
  • They just aren't guys with personality.
  • They can't do give and take in a radio booth.
  • They stage their delivery in high pitch, shrill volume impossible to listen to.
  • Are often there for political reasons.
  • Are completely detached from the listener.
Items from Joe Castiglione interview in Sports Media Guide, 11/19/07
  • Via Baseball Think Factory

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Globe Trotting approved by "new" Yankees--NY Times

It's always interesting when Hank talks. For instance, he first said Joba's a starter, period, case closed. Then a few days ago on the subject, he said in effect you never know. Girardi's statements have also left the door open. So I had hope. But now Tyler Kepner writes Hank is back and worse. He uses the word "waste" in reference to what Joba did last year which tells me there's a long road ahead to convince Hank to let Joba setup:
  • (NY Times quote from Hank): “I can tell you this: With Mariano back, Joba will not be in the bullpen,” Steinbrenner said. “I’m not going to waste Joba as a setup guy, period. That’d be crazy. We all want to see what he can do as a starter.”
On recent signings, official announcements won't be made until physicals and final contract language are complete:
  • (NY Times): "The Yankees have not announced the signings yet, because the players must pass physicals and the sides must complete contract language. Catcher José Molina’s two-year, $4 million deal has also not been announced."
On Girardi's attendance at the GM and other meetings, the Times said Joe Torre didn't attend the Winter Meetings in a way that made it appear it was his choice not to do so. I'd heard Steinbrenner usually didn't want Torre to go to these meetings. It took Steinbrenner a long time to even let Brian Cashman go to some of the meetings. He just didn't want his people out there buzzing around with all the vultures, which I understand.
  • (NY Times): "Joe Torre was often the only manager in the majors to skip the winter meetings. Girardi, meanwhile, is everywhere. The Yankees are not used to such off-season activity from their manager, but they like it."
Kepner also notes Girardi's recent trip to the Dominican Republic of which Hank approved. The father, George, didn't like that stuff at all at least from Torre and for a long time from Cashman. It was someone else taking the national or international spotlight away from him. And the "organization" was weighed down with a faction that tried to make Torre's existence impossible. (sm)

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Clark Spencer voted for Matt Holliday

Clark Spencer, Miami Herald, with Chuck Wilson on XM. He told Chuck he voted Matt Holliday first on his NL MVP ballot (didn't say how he filled out the rest of it), said Jimmy Rollins was obviously great, too. Says he views Miguel Cabrera as a future Hall of Fame player and would've been a better deal for someone than Alex Rodriguez. Still a question about his physical conditioning, both he and Chuck agreed he'd be better suited for an AL team down the road.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Amongst Arod's 'friends and tycoons'--Kepner, NY Times

  • NY Times' Tyler Kepner: Arod also credits someone not from Omaha...
"When it seemed as if Alex Rodriguez would become an ex-Yankee, and he was seeking counsel from all manner of friends and tycoons, Mariano Rivera was a voice of reason. Rivera spoke regularly to Rodriguez, urging him to broker a peace with the Yankees and show them he wanted to return despite opting out of his contract.
  • Rodriguez, who won his third American League Most Valuable Player award yesterday, took Rivera’s advice. Now that he is close to completing a 10-year, $275 million contract, Rodriguez is excited that the Yankees have all but completed their three-year, $45 million deal for Rivera, who has told the Yankees that he will accept.

“Mariano is obviously somebody we can’t live without, because he’s one of a kind and he’s so unique in what he does for us,” Rodriguez said.

  • “And he’s such an unbelievable force in our clubhouse. In many ways, he’s the voice for a lot of people in there. He’s very, very special, and a very, very close friend of mine.”"
From NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Rodriguez is MVP--Rivera Says He'll Re-Sign," 11/20/07

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Mariano tells Yankees he's back--Ronald Blum, AP

NEW YORK — "Mariano Rivera told the New York Yankees he is accepting their $45 million, three-year offer and will remain with the only major league team he's ever pitched for.
Rivera's agreement is pending a physical."
(AP): "Mariano is obviously someone that we can't live without because he's one of a kind and he's so unique in what he does for us," Alex Rodriguez said. "He's such an unbelievable force in our clubhouse. In many ways he's kind of the voice for a lot of people in there."
  • "We've got everybody back," Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Monday. "It's good to have both Jorgie and him back.""
From AP report by Ronald Blum, "Rivera Will Accept Yankees' $45 million Offer," published in USA Today, 11/19/07

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Joba Chamberlain in crowd at Mixed Martial Arts fight in Newark, N.J.--Times Herald-Record

The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event was held in Newark, NJ Saturday night. Side note-this sport isn't legal in New York State.

  • (Times Herald-Record): "...More than 14,000 screaming, excited fans packed the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday night for Ultimate Fighting Championship 78, a show that was one part maximum competitive athleticism and one part pop culture experience.

..This would be the closest MMA's top attraction would get to New York, where this type of fighting is banned, and you had fans lined up hundreds deep in brisk temperatures waiting for the doors to open at 7:30.

  • Yankees pitching phenom Joba Chamberlain attended his first UFC event and caught the UFC bug.

"It's great to come out here and see these guys compete. Their energy is incredible and the crowd is awesome," Chamberlain said.

  • The crowd is likely awesome because UFC follows another successful model where the sport's stars are as close as possible to their fans — NASCAR. After each fight, combatants are interviewed in the Octagon, and the common theme is how they want to please the fans and put on a good show."
From Times Herald-Record (Hudson Valley) article by Scott Rubin, "UFC 78: Nice Guys and Mayhem," 11/19/07
  • (Joba reference near end of article).
P.S. Something tells me Goose Gossage would approve. (sm)

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Dodgers to shorten last year in Dodgertown, Vero Beach miffed--Bill Madden

From Bill Madden's NY Daily News column, Dodgers need to leave Dodgertown for good 2 weeks earlier than Vero Beach expected:
  • "It's looking like the Dodgers' split from Vero Beach, their spring home for 60 years, for Glendale, Az. next year is starting to get ugly. The city fathers of Vero Beach are miffed that the Dodgers are trimming two weeks off their last spring in Dodgertown because they've been selected to go to China by MLB and there are threats of terminating their lease. The Dodgers have countered by threatening to invoke their right to buy back Dodgertown at fair market price and sell it to contractors."
From Bill Madden's NY Daily News column, "Arod, Barry Bonds are Faces of MLB," 11/18/07 (Near end of column under "Madd Madd")
  • (All plans involving MLB should be viewed as subject to change for more money around the corner. Spring Training in Arizona experienced a huge loss of revenue during the World Baseball Classic in 2006). sm

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jim Baumbach, Newsday: Rivera is Arod's closest friend on the Yankees.

  • Arod and Mo will no doubt catch up, but Mo's been in areas of the Dominican Republic out of cell phone range recently:
(Newsday): "Alex Rodriguez, according to a person familiar with the situation, has been trying to contact Rivera, his closest friend on the team, for the past week to celebrate his impending Yankees deal, but he hasn't been able to do so.
  • Rivera is believed to have been one of A-Rod's major sounding boards during the craziness of Rodriguez's past three weeks. Rivera, according to his friend, told Rodriguez as far back as days after A-Rod opted out Oct. 28 that he should approach the Yankees to tell them how he truly felt."
(Previous history of friendship: When Mariano and Arod went to the All Star game in 2006, Arod gave Mo a lift in his private plane. Jeter took other transportation. Some may also recall Rivera spoke to the media after the 2006 post season when Arod took even more flack, said he loved Arod & it wasn't his fault they bombed in the post season. Mo was the only Yankee to make this point to the media). sm

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"Dweeb of the Week"-YES Network--Raissman, NY Daily News

"For booting SI's Tom Verducci off its "Yankees Hot Stove" show. Gee, what a surprise. Either YES executive producer John Filippelli was concerned someone up top would melt at the sight of Verducci (he wrote a column blasting Yankee suits, including Bombers prez Randy Levine, after Joe Torre did not accept the Yankees "offer") or word came directly down from on high to dump the scribe, who is working on another Torre book.

  • Anyway, this leaves the perception scribes who appear on "Yankees Hot Stove" are preapproved by either Levine, Hankenstein, or Lon Trost. That ain't cool. Then again, you think Filippelli - or anyone else in the Yankees organization - is concerned about having a baseball writer's objectivity compromised?"
From Bob Raissman's NY Daily News column, 11/18/07, "Media Coverup Lets Don Shula slide about Asterisk Comment" ('Dweeb' item end of column).

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Neil Best Divines Joe Girardi will be Monday's news on Mike & Mad Dog--Watchdog

Mike Francesa said they'd have a special announcement on Monday relating to the Mike and the Mad Dog show, and I was prepared to wait til then. But Neil Best, Watchdog, has been on the case and he thinks they'll announce the addition of a weekly Joe Girardi report/interview. I assumed this would happen during baseball season as a normal course of events, paid for of course, as I believe Joe Torre was for his reports. So this would be something out of the ordinary. Mr. Best goes into the ESPN 1050AM angle. Update: Confirmed Monday, 11/19/07, Girardi's first report was at 5:05PM on WFAN with Mike and Chris.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mariano Rivera Expected to Take Yankee 3- year Deal--NY Post

November 17, 2007 -- "Despite not getting the fourth year he desired, closer Mariano Rivera is expected to accept the Yankees' three-year, $45 million offer early next week.

After returning from the Dominican Republic tonight, Mariano Rivera is going to huddle with his representatives tomorrow and according to several sources is expected to accept the Yankees' three-year, $45 million offer early next week.

The future Hall of Fame closer isn't happy about Hank Steinbrenner talking as much as he has about the contract offer that will make Rivera the highest paid closer by $4 million, but that doesn't appear to be a deal killer.

Though Rivera wanting a fourth year added to the deal has become an issue, it's not clear if the 38-year-old asked the Yankees for the extra year or had a four-year deal from another team. If that was the case, then Rivera is turning down additional dollars to remain with the only team he has worked for since 1990, where he's posted 443 saves" (***in the regular season, 34 in the post season for a total of 477....***sm)

  • "...(third on the all-time list)."


P.S. This is the only reliever in baseball whose "career"/performance stats are substantially misrepresented by failing to mention post season work. (Which explains why it's so easy for the media to continue doing it). Other relievers are helped when "total saves" or "career saves" exclude reference to the post season. I understand current rules allow it to be done this way but it could easily be done more accurately, honestly and fairly. Rivera has 13 consecutive post seasons when other guys were relaxing on the couch. I'll keep mentioning it until baseball media correct this. I don't like 'opting out' someone's career especially when it takes no extra effort to do it right.. (sm)
  • Update: Bryan Hoch, former Mets writer now Yankee writer for MLB Advanced Media, Inc. (MLB.com) gets a star--he puts the above Rivera story on MLB.com. But he's the first to be so accurate about Mariano's stats:
  • Notes he has the record in total saves in the American League.
  • Acknowledges the total save stat applies to "regular season," doesn't just call it "career" stats;
  • And adds post season data WITHIN THE SAME PARAGRAPH. Normally, post season numbers aren't given, and if they are it's 6 inches farther down the article when half the people are no longer reading.
From Hoch's MLB.com article today:
  • "Rivera, who turns 38 on Nov. 29, has pitched for the Yankees since 1995, compiling an American League-record 443 saves in the regular season. The most dominant postseason pitcher of his generation, Rivera owns a Major League-record 34 more saves in the playoffs, where he has a 0.77 career ERA."
From Bryan Hoch's MLB.com article, "Report:Rivera to Re-Sign with Yanks," 11/18/07

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Warren Buffett reconnects with Arod--AP, Wall St. Journal

  • An AP report citing the Wall St. Journal notes Warren Buffett recently advised Arod on how to approach the Yankees:
"Warren Buffett advised Alex Rodriguez to approach the New York Yankees and go around agent Scott Boras, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
  • Upset with developments after he opted out, Rodriguez contacted Buffett, and the investor told him to approach the Yankees without his agent, the Journal said.

After speaking with the investor, Rodriguez contacted a managing director at Goldman Sachs that he knew, John Mallory, who then got in touch with Gerald Cardinale, a Goldman Sachs managing director who has worked with the Yankees and their YES Network."

***On August 10, 2007, NY Times' Murray Chass reported on the genesis of the Arod-Buffett relationship.

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Hank: I'll be patient--Newsday

Photo from Newsday(Bereswell), as seen at Yankee Stadium, 5/27/05.
  • Ken Davidoff's Newsday article doesn't criticize Mo's offer, as Murray Chass does in his NY Times article. Chass carries water for his beloved Allan H. "Bud" Selig. Shouldn't the players' union be crying foul? Why no complaints about $300 million offered to a different Yankee player with proven lack of ego strength to perform in the post season? Not that I like hearing about any of this in the first place. I'm only referring to press treatment of the situation.
P.S. Memo to Murray Chass: Mo's pitched in 13 post seasons, not 12, as you state. I know these details are a bother when you're so focused on the Red Sox. (He pitched in 3 games of the 1995 ALDS if that's the one you were missing). UPDATE, Saturday AM from Bill Madden & Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News noting this whole mess could soon be over:
  • "There could be a thaw in the contract negotiations between the Yankees and Mariano Rivera.

Sources familiar with both the club's and the closer's thinking said Friday there were increasing signs that Rivera will accept the Yankees' offer of $45 million over three years, perhaps as soon as this weekend."

  • (Then referencing Rivera's contract at the owners' meetings with the result he'd be unlikely to receive a similar offer from any other team):

(NY Daily News): "Rivera, who would be the highest-paid closer in baseball by far if he accepted the deal, has demanded a fourth year from the Yankees, but the team has made it clear it will not budge. Plus, the Yankees were chastised at Thursday's owners' meetings for rocking the reliever market with their offer to Rivera, perhaps making it unlikely that Rivera could go elsewhere for an extra year at the same price."

***Another reference to this one player's contract discussed among all the owners from the Journal News today:
  • "The Yankees even drew criticism at the Major League Baseball owners' meetings this week for pumping up the market for relievers.

The Mets' Billy Wagner, at $10.5 million a year, is currently the highest-paid closer."

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Jon Heyman, SI, to appear twice a week on Mike and Mad Dog, WFAN

Mike and Chris announce today Jon Heyman of SI (formerly of Newsday) will report baseball and other news twice a week on their show, 52 weeks a year. Heyman is on right now, Boras, Bonds, etc. In the past he's been a regular on ESPN 1050AM in NYC, don't know whether or not that will continue. Heyman's saying Arod is a charming fellow and he "charmed" the Yankees....
  • On Paul LoDuca: Said Mets didn't want him, HAVE ALWAYS BLAMED HIM FOR 2006 PLAYOFFS LOSSES. THOUGHT HE CALLED WRONG PITCHES, ETC. Maybe Mets fans have heard this already but I hadn't and was quite surprised.
P.S. After the report, Mike notes he and Chris talk about baseball 52 weeks a year on their show, so Heyman's contributing baseball news would fit in well. Link

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Selena Roberts leaving NY Times for Sports Illustrated

Neil Best's Watchdog says she's not going to ESPN....yet...:
  • "Columnist Selena Roberts is leaving The New York Times and is headed for Sports Illustrated, which recently lost its star columnist, Rick Reilly, to ESPN.

The Bristol Stompers also were interested in landing Roberts, but she evidently resisted their charm$, something few newspaper sports journalists have been able to do in recent months and years."

P.S. This lady is a miraculous writer. Will be interesting to see the topics she chooses being away from the NY Times' agenda. (sm)

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Tom Verducci axed from YES Network=Randy Levine still man behind the curtain

A day after news of Levine's connection to the Arod rebirth comes word that Tom Verducci has been removed as a YES Network analyst. Neil Best's Watchdog has the details:
  • "(Verducci's) recent, scathing column on SI.com regarding Joe Torre's departure might have had something to do with it. Actually . . . it had pretty much everything to do with it.

YES spokesman Eric Handler said Verducci's "recent remarks pertaining to the Yankees' ownership were extremely personal and cutting, and we decided it would not be in our interests to have him on the show going forward.

  • "Also, Tom is collaborating with Joe Torre on a second book. It’s unfortunate, but we figured it was an action that had to be taken. We appreciate the work he’s done for us in the past.''
From Neil Best's Watchdog blog, "YES Benches SI's Tom Verducci," 11/16/07
  • (Verducci has plenty of other opportunities, Best points out).
"Empire Has a New Face of Evil," by Mike Vaccaro, NY Post, referenced in my post here 10/20/07, "Oz Comes Out from Behind the Curtain:Randy Levine"

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vince Doria scores pair with steroids cred for ESPN--11/14/07

"In yet another sad commentary on the state of the sports world today, ESPN hired two reporters that it said are “best-known for their work uncovering performance-enhancing drugs in sports stories.”

ESPN is adding Mark Fainaru-Wada of the San Francisco Chronicle and T.J. Quinn of the New York Daily News to its Enterprise Unit. Both have reported on the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), and Fainaru-Wada was one of the two authors of the Game of Shadows book about Barry Bonds.

“The experience and sources Mark and T.J. have reporting on the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs are qualities that will help them to cover all aspects of the sports world,” said Vince Doria, ESPN’s senior vice president and director of news.

The duo will report for all of ESPN’s platforms, including TV, radio, the Web and ESPN-The Magazine.

Fainaru-Wada will be based out of San Francisco and Quinn will work from New York. Both start their new roles Nov. 26."

NEW YORK- "A day after reports surfaced that the San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada was leaving to join ESPN, E&P has learned that T.J. Quinn of the New York Daily News was also joining the sports channel. Fainaru-Wada and Quinn, both of whom have broken elements of the sports steroid scandal for their papers, will join a 15-person enterprise unit at ESPN,
  • according to Vince Doria, senior vice president and director of news for the network. "They both have strong 'steroid' credentials," he told E&P Tuesday. "They both worked heavily on that story and they have reported on a number of other topics.""
From Editor & Publisher, by Joe Strupp, "Quinn of 'Daily News' to Join Fainaru-Wada in New ESPN Unit," 11/13/07
  • (I still want to know which network will report on ESPN itself. That's much more important). SM

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I had a feeling Randy Levine pretending to be in the background wasn't going to last long. Tyler Kepner reports Levine got the phone call from a Goldman Sachs dude designated to patch up the Arod mess. So, if and when a deal is signed... it's RANDY LEVINE WHO'S THE HEAVY AGAIN--what would we do without him? And I was getting to like Hank--at least he has a personality.
  • (Kepner): "Two managing directors for Goldman Sachs, John Mallory and Gerald Cardinale, were pivotal in brokering the peace between Rodriguez and the Steinbrenners, who were miffed at Rodriguez for opting out of his contract on Oct. 28.
  • Mallory works in Los Angeles and knows the Rodriguezes from Miami. The Rodriguezes reached out to Mallory, who called Cardinale, who is based in New York and is a YES Network board member.
  • Cardinale called Levine several days ago and has since been instrumental in putting a deal together."
If Randy wasn't already our savior, he's also point man in the historic wording of Arod's compensation plan with the Yankees, making sure MLB itself is apprised on key points:
  • (Kepner): "The sides are discussing a marketing plan in which Rodriguez, 32, would benefit financially as he passes home run benchmarks in the coming seasons. He has 518 home runs and is 17th on the career list. If he passes Babe Ruth, who had 714 homers, and Hank Aaron, who had 755, he would trail only Barry Bonds, who has 762.

“These are not incentive bonuses,” Steinbrenner said. “For lack of a better term, they really are historic-achievement bonuses. It’s a horse of a different color.”

  • Steinbrenner said that the team president, Randy Levine, has been in contact with Major League Baseball to make sure the bonus package complies with a rule that does not allow teams to tie payments to certain individual statistics."
(Gee, no fair, Farnsworth gets to have an "incentive laden contract." Actually it's only 1 incentive, according to Cot's. He gets a bit of money for attaining a certain level on the Rolaids Relief Award balloting (given yearly to 1 reliever from each league). ) SM

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Bob Gelb leaving management post at WFAN to join Imus staff--Watchdog, Best

Best notes the first Imus show on WABC will be staged at Town Hall theatre in Manhattan, seating 1500 people. On Gelb:

  • "Bob Gelb, who produced the first show heard on WFAN in 1987 and “Mike and the Mad Dog’’ for its first eight years, left this week to join Citadel Broadcasting and its new star, Imus.
  • Since 1997, Gelb had been WFAN’s director of strategic marketing; he will serve in a similar capacity at WABC for Imus’ show, which debuts Dec. 3."
No word yet on identity of additional on-air cast members.

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Jerry Seinfeld with Steve Somers on WFAN tonight

Seinfeld, having long ago called in to Somers' show on WFAN as "Jerry from Queens," makes another of his call-in guest appearances tonight, has views on Arod, Willie Randolph and baseball in general. (In the past I've heard him say he's a Mets fan).
  • He loves Willie Randolph, his discipline and approach. Also liked the 'no facial hair' policy and wants Willie to reinstate it.
Seinfeld's theories on why some fans don't like Arod:
  • 1. He takes a big breath before every pitch.
  • 2. He's too handsome.
He thinks people shouldn't take outcomes so seriously, it's supposed to be a game. Somers brings up the emotion fans have and the 2 agree on that. But Jerry says it's phony emotion about which you get phony depression, then get phony over it. Seinfeld says he'd be a good RBI man as he doesn't feel pressure in high stakes situations, eg. live performances, etc.
  • He still sees the curve ball Carlos Beltran perhaps should've learned how to hit before he got to the plate that night. He wants to take some listener calls before he goes (it's approaching 9PM), so first up is Jerome from Manhattan, whom Seinfeld was eager to talk to, says he's one of his favorites. Unfortunately, Jerome didn't have anything special to say to the guest, just wanted to say Cashman should give Rivera 4 years, didn't want to use his time on the air to engage with Seinfeld, just wanted to talk to Steve about the Yankees. Next caller brought up some stuff about Bonds which Seinfeld thought was interesting but wanted Somers to expand on his views on the subject. Seinfeld says Steve is his sports guru.
P.S. A couple of years ago I heard Seinfeld say the difference between Mets fans and Yankee fans. He said.
  • Mets fans HAVE a personality.
  • Yankee fans NEED a personality.

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"Yanks Should Treat Rodriguez the Way he Treated Them." (Opt Out) George Vecsey, NY Times

"Alex Rodriguez let his agent opt out for him, right during the World Series. Now the Yankees should opt out on him.

  • The Steinbrenners graciously allowed Rodriguez and his wife, Cynthia, to pay a social call yesterday in Florida, with Boras nowhere in sight, unless he was driving the car, to amortize his percentage.

This was the same Mrs. A-Rod who wore a profane and probably expensive little white tank top to a Yankees game last July, an eye-opener for the kiddies, telling the world off quite graphically. Presumably, she did not wear that shirt yesterday for the conservative Steinbrenners.

  • In his own gauche way, A-Rod has offended the Yankees, which may only now be dawning on him.

This is the Yankees’ big chance to take whatever money they had penciled in for him and spend it on pitching and power and first base and a reasonable approximation of Scott Brosius at third base.

  • The Yankees’ management was cold-blooded about Joe Torre, making him twist for days, then finally forcing him to fly down to Florida to try to save his job. They should be no less cold-blooded toward Rodriguez.

He dumped on the Yankees and on his business by passively allowing Boras to drop An A-Bomb! From A-Rod! — John Sterling’s cloying call, used 54 times last season — during the final game of the World Series. The midnight bombshell was that Rodriguez was opting out of his contract with the Yankees, as was his legal right.

  • That’s what agents are for. I remember a beautiful evening in Seattle, when Rodriguez was dumped at second base and crumpled down, holding his knee. A few rows from the field, a clearly distraught man leapt to his feet and made his way to the railing. Why, it was Scott Boras, no doubt worried that his client’s impending free agency had just caved in.

As it turned out, A-Rod missed a few games and resumed his slippery path out of town, telling people in Seattle it wasn’t about the money, a tale he has subsequently told people in Texas and now the Bronx."

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

There will be no one left to cover ESPN--Neil Best, Watchdog

Which team has more money than anyone else? Answer: The ESPN team in Bristol, Ct. Neil Best notes the recent steroids-specialists who've left print for super-green pastures of ESPN. And they're not done, those Yankees..oops, I mean those guys at ESPN.

  • If 95% of our information came from either Republicans or Democrats, people would say that's bad. But nobody says that about ESPN which virtually controls baseball information. When reporters say they want more "access," I wonder when they'll mean more access to the monopolistic processes at ESPN.

(Neil Best): "Meanwhile, The New York Times' Selena Roberts appears to be strongly in the mix to join SI, perhaps as a replacement for the departing (to ESPN) Rick Reilly, but other media outlets apparently are pursuing her as well, a list that likely includes . . . ESPN!

  • Here is my prediction for the state of sports journalism five years from today: Every remaining print journalist in America will be working for ESPN except me.
WatchDog will critique ESPN and in its spare time cover everything else going on in sports, because there will be no one else left to do so."

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