XM MLB Chat

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"What's Wrong with Sports Illustrated? And How to Fix It."--Josh Levin, SLATE

  • On Michael Farber's recent SI profile of Seattle Mariners' JJ Putz, Mr. Levin notes:
"The piece, like the great majority of SI's profiles and game stories, is bereft of ideas—
  • it never explains how it feels to close a baseball game or why Putz's magic dust is any different
than Mariano's magic dust...
  • The old SI used sports as a window onto life and culture beyond the playing field or, failing that, as a vehicle for great writing. The new SI uses sports as a window onto itself or, failing that, as a vehicle for cringe-inducing anecdotes."
I'VE NOTICED THE SUBSTITUTION OF SPORTS REPORTER FOR MULTI-PLATFORM MEDIA CELEBRITY. MR. LEVIN ALLUDES TO THIS PHENOMENON AS WELL:
  • "But Sports Illustrated didn't hire Dan Patrick the writer. It hired Dan Patrick the sports-themed corporation. His magazine column, Web site, and radio show "represent engaging platforms to both sports fans and the advertisers looking to connect with them," according to SI's press release. When longtime columnist Rick Reilly departed for ESPN days later, SI's biggest personnel move in years became, in effect, a swap of TV personalities.
Who needs a journalist when you can get a celebrity multimedia empire?
  • SI's focus on brand extension is a reaction to the competitiveness of the media environment.Before ESPN the Magazine launched almost 10 years ago, SI had never faced a sustained challenge from the print world. Rather than having faith in its product—curious, well-written literary journalism and vigorous reportage—Sports Illustrated has taken to imitating its younger rival (ESPN).
  • Sports Illustrated has plenty of competitors besides ESPN and the New York Times. The increase in sports television coverage, and partly the popularity of SI itself, created a huge demand for comprehensive, sophisticated sports journalism. Traditional beat reporters, Web writers, enterprising bloggers, brainy statisticians, and YouTube videographers are now producing plenty of smart, funny, indiscreet, insidery material every day.
  • Sports Illustrated used to distinguish itself by writing better, and securing better access to its subjects, than anyone who wrote faster....."
Mr. Levin notes SI could be an important instrument for change if it chose to:
  • SI is "still an influential voice. At least it would be, if it ever tried to exert any kind of influence over the games it covers. SI rarely picks fights or filibusters for change.
Sports Illustrated could also beef up its investigative reporting."
  • (I hoped Mr. Levin was referring to crucial topics, but unfortunately he suggested subjects related to sexual orientation and the area of performance enhancements. What needs attention are topics outside the confines of a players' body, into the business end of things). sm
More of what to do, Levin: "...the Web has simply become the next place for SI to get its ass kicked by ESPN. For a decade now, ESPN.com has pursued a scorched-earth policy, hiring loads of writers (including from SI) and running so much content that a sports fan need never leave...
  • And rather than pounce on the one built-in advantage it has over ESPN—a half-century's worth of magazine pieces—SI seems determined to keep its archives shut. A magazine with a rich literary history comes off on the Web as tacky and desperate, a hub for cheerleader slide shows and swimsuit videos. ESPN has a franchise player in the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. SI.com has the embarrassing, beauty-and-the-beast video series "She Says, Z Says."
From Slate article by Josh Levin, 10/31/07
  • I learned of this article from Neil Best's Watchdog sports media blog 10/31/07 in Newsday wherein Mr. Best notes:
"At ESPN's current rate of hiring editors and reporters from other media outlets, soon I will be the only veteran sports journalist in America without an ID card to get me past the ornery security guards in Bristol."
  • If everyone worked for the Republican Party or if everyone worked for the Democrat Party, people would probably say that's bad. But no one thinks it's bad that everyone works for ESPN. (sm)

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Bud Greenspan is apparently a Yankee fan---NY Times

Mr. Greenspan the filmaker long synonymous with Olympics documentaries is interviewed by Richard Sandomir. Eschewing other activities suggested to Mr. Greenspan during a recuperation earlier this year:
  • ""He’d say, ‘I just want to watch the Yankee game.’"
Sandomir: "Bud Greenspan is looking toward the Beijing Summer Games next year to create another documentary that chronicles the inspiring side of the Olympics. He has been writing, producing and directing these films for so long that the moniker Olympic documentarian sticks to him like the glasses that are always perched on his bald dome.

Greenspan, 81, recently recovered from a six-month bout of pneumonia.

  • Greenspan is also dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease on his speech, balance and energy. But he has had the disease over a stretch of time that has seen the release of his documentaries about the 2004 and 2006 Olympics and, most recently, one about the trailblazing African-American baseball player Larry Doby.

His achievements in telling those stories — including his 22-part series, “The Olympiad”; his official film about the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, “16 Days of Glory”; and his most recent one about last year’s Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy — will be honored by the United States Olympic Committee today at a luncheon in downtown Manhattan.

  • When asked if he was guided by the athletes’ stories told in his documentaries, he closed his eyes and recited a line he wrote in at least one script.

“The honor should not go to those who have not fallen, but all honor to those who fall and rise again,” he said.

  • From Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics?

“No,” he said. “Greenspan.”"

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

SLAPPY COWARD A-ROD SENDS HIS AGENT OUT TO BLAME MARIANO RIVERA FOR giving up a walk.

Photo from boston.com. A-rod can't even make it to first base. He now blames teammate Rivera for his own failure to win the World Series.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Another "last ball" controversy for Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) -- "The last ball from Boston's 2007 World Series victory might not get back to the Red Sox after all.

  • Jason Varitek caught the final strikeout Sunday night to complete a four-game sweep of Colorado, then tucked the ball in his back pocket as he ran to the mound to celebrate.

Varitek said after the game that he'd give the ball to the team,

Neither Lucchino nor Red Sox spokesmen immediately returned calls or e-mails seeking comment Wednesday.
  • The 2007 ball was the one Papelbon used to strike out pinch-hitter Seth Smith for the final out of Game 4 against the Rockies.
  • "I'll give it back to the team," Varitek said at Coors Field. "Maybe we won't have a controversy this time.""

AP Report, "Sox's Varitek Again in Last-Ball Mystery," 10/31/07, published on SportingNews.com

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Yankees not on Schilling's list, but Mets OK...

"After filing for free agency on Tuesday, Schilling posted to his blog, www.38pitches.com, a list of 13 teams with whom he would be interested in signing this offseason.
  • The Mets and the Red Sox were both on the list, but the Yankees were not."
  • From Newsday.com, 10/31/07

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mike Berardino on WFAN, doubts Girardi would go after Miguel Cabrera

Mike Berardino on with Mike and the Mad Dog, reporter for South Florida Sun-Sentinel, covered the Marlins when Girardi was there. Notes great loyalty Girardi's players had for him and how well he managed them, even including multi-problem prone pitcher Scott Olsen Girardi was able to keep in line. The Josh Johnson issue may still be debatable re Girardi's handling, but not the case with Nolasco or Anibel Sanchez, who Berardino said was being held together by scotch tape even when he was at the Red Sox. Asked by Mike and Chris about likelihood of Miguel Cabrera playing 3B for the Yankees, Berardino doesn't envision Girardi championing a deal like that. Says of course ownership can do as they please and Girardi was able to keep Cabrera in line as well or better than anyone could, but he's always going to be a problem.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Please be advised: AROD prefers Text Messaging

  • Reports said the Steinbrenner group left several phone messages for Arod, but he never called them back. (Presumably to have been told Mariano, Jorge and Andy were a lock, no sweat, and Arod would've signed with the Yanks. Even though none of them had been signed, whatever). Anyhow, now comes news from Joel Sherman that Arod actually prefers "text messaging" for his communication needs and the team may have utilized that technology to reach the star. Of course, Boras then says Arod received no messages of any kind:
"Boras spoke last week with Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman. Hank Steinbrenner said he, his brother and Cashman tried to get in touch with Rodriguez,
  • apparently via text message, Rodriguez's favored form of communication, but there was no response.
Boras, though, claimed no messages were left for his client." P.S. Boras' other stipulation, to have discussions about the future of the team, apparently did take place, according to an AP report 10/31/07:
  • ""On Thursday we had two extended conversation with Cash discussing a number of variables regarding the Yankees and Alex," Boras said. "We advised the Yankees that Alex, like other Yankee players, had the right to elect free agency.

"We spoke twice on Thursday. And the week before I had a 45-minute conversation with Hal Steinbrenner regarding the new structure and policies of the Yankees, with Hal and Hank heading the organization.""

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Joe Girardi was in meeting with Mariano Rivera and his agent today---NEWSDAY

"Girardi was already at work before a release announcing his hiring was sent out. According to a person informed of the situation,
  • Girardi's first task was to be part of a group that met with Mariano Rivera at Legends Field in Tampa. Rivera and his agent, Fernando Cuza, arrived separately at the complex shortly before noon, and were there less than two hours.
On his way in, Rivera told the Associated Press: "We've got to see something today." Apparently that something was a new Yankees manager. The Steinbrenners (owner George and sons Hank and Hal), general manager Brian Cashman and president Randy Levine were all there for the meeting, along with Girardi. Sources indicated that the meeting broke up quite amicably." (During today's press conference Girardi said he'd be active in reaching out to Yankee free agents, but declined to name any of them).
  • UPDATE: NY Post's George King notes on 10/31/07:
  • "The 37-year-old Rivera has never hid his affection for being a Yankee and in the past
  • that has hurt his bargaining power."
From NY Post article by George King, "Rivera, Yanks Talking New Contract," 10/31/07 P.S. I've noted this before, though it should be obvious. Therefore, Rivera has been underpaid and has in fact held down the market for relievers--as high as it now is, it would be higher. sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Hank is good--there's a ray of hope for Joba in the bullpen

At the press conference featuring various Yankees (broadcast on WFAN), I finally hear Hank Steinbrenner. He sought to minimize his remarks, limit speculation in general, but I saw cause for hope when he discussed the decision for Joba to start:
  • "You never know what happens."
  • "That doesn't mean that can't change."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mariano Rivera and his agent leave Legends Field

Following meeting with Yankee officials today, Fern Cuza said they "had a good meeting" and "it's up to them." This reported on WFAN's sports flash. No word on any comment by Rivera, but the "up to them" phrase is one Mo has often used.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Marlins players loved Girardi--Newsday survey

"No, the 2006 Marlins didn't win the World Series nor did they make the playoffs, but they made a spirited run at the wild card that lasted deep into September. And that's a strong testament to the impact Girardi had in his first year as a manager. All three reporters agreed the Marlins' surprising playoff push was largely due to the players' deep devotion, affection and attachment for their manager.
  • "The players all loved him," said Juan Rodriguez, the beat writer for South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He really connected with the young kids."
"When he was fired by [owner] Jeffrey Loria during the season, before he eventually relented and let Girardi keep his job,
  • one of the factors apparently was the number of players that refused to make their next road trip unless Girardi was the manager," said Los Angeles Times reporter Kevin Baxter, who covered the Marlins for the Miami Herald. "… The players all swore by him."
"Girardi was calling a Phillies-Marlins game for Fox this past September, and it was the first time he was around the team since he was fired," Capozzi said. "When he came on the field for batting practice, the players, one-by-one, all walked over and gave him hugs, handshakes."" Mr. Baumbach's column then mentioned how Girardi dealt with reporters. My only interest in reporters is that none of them be allowed in a dressing room/locker room of any team, and that they eliminate the practice of including meaningless quotes from players or even team officials in their stories. The position of "beat reporter" must be eliminated completely as it's a celebrity and political vehicle for the reporter, among other things.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mariano Rivera and his agent meeting with Yankees today--WFAN

Just mentioned on the WFAN sports flash, Mo and his agent are meeting with team officials today in Tampa. (Mo also has a home in Tampa).

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

You Must Remember This....Joel Sherman, NY Post

  • You hear people say, "the Yankees always do this," or "the Yankees always do that," but Joel Sherman points out the uniform is the only constant:

"Well, it is important to remember that after the 1992 season, Greg Maddux, also repped by Boras, spurned a greater financial offer from the Yanks to play with the Braves, in part, because

  • ***he was worried if the Yanks were capable of winning.***

David Cone thought the Yanks were too disorganized to sign as a free agent. The Yanks actually went to their ninth choice - behind pitchers such as Greg Swindell and John Smiley - and it was Jimmy Key, who was instrumental in the turnaround that led to dynasty.

  • Scott Brosius was a financial counterweight for the Yanks to rid themselves of a failed Boras client, Kenny Rogers, and Brosius was the third baseman for three straight championships.

So there is always hope. Yet it is obvious now - as Yankee money is spurned and they even toy with the idea of rebuilding - that these are not Hank Steinbrenner's father's Yankees."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

I'd be happy to see Mo in Dodger Blue

If the rumors about Joe Torre going to the Dodgers are true, I'm hoping Mariano Rivera will join him there. Obviously I'm a fan, but have seen too much evidence that Mo was underestimated here. He was well paid, but many other things were wrong. If you don't think so, either you don't know the details or you've never had a job. "Having Mariano Rivera?" He just filed for free agency yesterday. This is after you planted that you were "set" to offer him $40 million. You don't have so much as a parking attendant unless both sides have agreed to a deal, yet you take this liberty with Mariano Rivera.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

My translation of Murray Chass on Arod: THEY ELECTED AN MVP WITH A 'CHARACTER ISSUE.'

"If there is a team considering pursuing Rodriguez, it should remember that he has never played in a World Series, and he was a major reason his team didn’t get there the past three seasons." Murray Chass, baseball columnist, NY Times, 10/30/07.
  • Also from Chass:
"Whether Alex Rodriguez or his agent, Scott Boras, is calling the shots, they are making a farce of the best player in baseball."
  • My translation: Arod has made a farce out of the AWARD FOR THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL (MVP).
Even though Murray Chass isn't allowed to vote on baseball awards as an employee of the NY Times, he's a longtime heavy duty big time BBWAA member. The only stated function the BBWAA has is to give out baseball awards. That's the single thing uniting them--along with the fact they know they've got the greatest self-publicity scam going in history which they've confused with a religion (Jack O'Connell being analogous to a Jim Jones of Guyana figure, pre-Kool-Aid incident, Peoples' Temple, etc.).
  • BBWAA VOTERS HAVE ADORED AROD FOR MANY YEARS--FROM BEFORE HE BECAME A YANKEE. EACH AWARD THEY GIVE ALSO EXPLICITLY EXCLUDES CERTAIN OTHERS--THEY LIKE THAT EVEN MORE--THEY GET MORE PUBLICITY ABOUT THAT. BUT TO LOVE HIM AS THEY DO, AND FOR HIM TO DISRESPECT THEIR LIFE BLOOD AS HE DID ON SUNDAY MUST LEAVE THEM A BIT SHEEPISH.
IS 'CHARACTER' ON THE LIST OF QUALIFICATIONS FOR MVP?
  • MR. CHASS ALSO FAILS TO MENTION THE DISRESPECT AROD SHOWED BY NOT ACCEPTING YET ANOTHER AWARD, THE HANK AARON AWARD, IN PERSON ON SUNDAY. THIS HAD TO STING-EVERYONE ELSE FELT IT.
CHASS ENJOYS SEARCHING FOR HIDDEN MOTIVATION BEHIND THINGS. I THINK HIS REAL MOTIVATION FOR THIS COLUMN IS HIS MVP AWARD WAS EMBARRASSED. PERHAPS 'CHARACTER' OR SIMILAR 'INTANGIBLE' FIGURES IN THESE AWARDS. OR SHOULD.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

With Hank's "Toledo Mud Hens" crack, tabloids are back in business--NY Times

"When Hank Steinbrenner was not returning calls from reporters, he was initiating them. When he was not saying something rational, he was sounding a tad hysterical. Beginning with the tortured offer to Torre, he has presided over an organizational spectacle in the middle of baseball’s premier events....
  • it’s like déjà vu all over again. We have no way of knowing when the Yankees will return to the World Series, but who would deny that they are back to having a very public owner who believes it is all about him and his team?

As Hank Steinbrenner said with regard to Rodriguez before the agent Scott Boras dropped the A-bomb: “Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen?” Rodriguez’s potential suitors should be pleased to hear that Hammerin’ Hank rates them no better than obscure minor leaguers.

  • Here is the good news: There should be no more tasteless stakeouts of his father, no more Oz-like manipulations by the public-relations team to perpetuate the Boss’s legend.

The dawning of a new day and Don has brought a wealth of tabloid-friendly pronouncements and promises, just like the old days. The Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner said, will never again go 18 years without winning the World Series as they did from 1978 to 1996 in no small part because of his father’s unhelpful meddling.

  • ....If Hank proves himself as combustible as George, Girardi should not get too comfortable in the dugout and Mattingly would be wise to not change his telephone number, even as he goes home, rejected and sad, to Evansville, Ind."
From NY Times column by Harvey Araton, "Biggest change May be at Top," 10/30/07
  • P.S. DONNIE, DON'T CHANGE YOUR NUMBER, as the man said!

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boras sent emails to multiple reporters--NY Times

So it wasn't just one genius, very special baseball reporter who somehow unearthed the Arod opt-out info, according to the NY Times' Richard Sandomir:
  • "But he (Boras) can now be rechristened The Hijacker for sending e-mail messages to reporters during Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday with the news that Alex Rodriguez was opting out of the final three years of his contract with the Yankees."
So it wasn't even Your Mama from Phineas T. Bluster, THE MAGAZINE?

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Live Blogging the David Letterman show featuring Joe Torre interview...

Dave's monologue, "Alex Rodriguez is no longer a New York Yankee..."
  • LOUD APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE....
"The announcement was made at a fake FEMA Press Conference....."
  • A few minutes later a spot ran, about 10 or 15 seconds showing tape of Red Sox celebrating, saying the message was brought to you by the Boston Red Sox. Was it a spoof by Letterman producers, or was it paid for by the Red Sox? (The spot also said we'd no longer have to see World Series commercials with Dane Cook).
Next, the Seinfeld interview. Finally, a few minutes before 12:30 AM, Torre comes on....
  • Joe reiterates his decision wasn't about money, AND HE MAKES NO MENTION OF MUCH DISCUSSED 'INCENTIVES.' Dave asks if 2 years would've done it and Joe said it probably would have, but said the group in Tampa said there would be no negotiating.
He smiled a few times and seemed to relax when the subject was just on baseball itself, but Joe looked unlike the Joe Torre I've seen since 1996. Not 'relaxed' is all I'd say for Murray Chass's or Randy Levine's consumption.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

The Halcyon Days....

Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, Spring Training 2005....AP photo from NY Times

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

TV offers stimulation over substance--Boston Globe, Jacoby

That television has been a greater factor than the internet in reducing newspaper readership:

  • "But is the rise of the Internet really the cause of the exodus from newspapers? When I signed on 20 years ago, the slide in readership was already underway. Daily circulation was already falling. The absence of a newspaper habit among younger readers was already prompting concern. Today the crisis may be more acute, but the symptoms appeared before the World Wide Web did.

So if the Internet isn't at the root of newspapers' woes, what is? I nominate not the computer screen, but the TV screen.

  • Newspapers have been undone by the rise of television, which emphasizes stimulation over substance and fast-paced imagery over focused thought. A generation raised on TV mindlessness is a generation less equipped to read a newspaper - and therefore less interested in doing so."
From Boston Globe article by Jeff Jacoby, "Will Newspapers Survive?" 10/28/07, Via Poynter.org/Romenesko
  • P.S. The last paragraph of course made me think of ESPN.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

St. Louis Post Dispatch Sports Editor quits to go to ESPN

""I have resigned as sports editor in St. Louis to move to ESPN in Bristol, Conn. I've been in the Midwest, South, West. Now it's time to try that East Coast living," (Larry) Starks wrote to colleagues.

"In my new gig, I will be the NBA News Editor. You all know how much I love the NBA, so this gig is right up my alley. I will be in charge of editorial decisions on ESPN and ABC's broadcasts. This is a job I'm really looking forward to.""

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

"MR. OPTOBER"--Newsday Back Cover

Arod, Back Cover of Newsday, 10/29/07

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sunday, October 28, 2007

ALEX RODRIGUEZ OPTS OUT--CITES MARIANO, JORGE, & ANDY--AP, NY Times

DENVER (AP) -- "Alex Rodriguez opted out of his $252 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees on Sunday in what appears to be the end of his career with New York.

Rodriguez's decision, announced by agent Scott Boras during Game 4 of the World Series, makes him eligible to become a free agent.

  • Boras said during a telephone interview Rodriguez made his choice because he was uncertain whether Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte would return to the Yankees.
  • "Alex's decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured pitchers was going to do," Boras said. "He really didn't want to make any decisions until he knew what they were doing."
AP report, "Alex Rodriguez Opts Out of Contract with Yankees," 10/28/07, published in NY Times
  • P.S. This is fine, and the team has jerked around Mariano and Jorge, they did even worse to Andy in 2003. Their planted stories of all the money they're "set" to offer them has of course not happened. A chilling thought noted by a commenter on Lohud Yankees Blog tonight about Arod:
  • The Hank Aaron award for hitting excellence in the American League was awarded to Arod tonight. He chose not to show up for the honor. Yet he wasn't so busy that his agent couldn't give his opt-out announcement while the World Series game was still in progress? I'm telling you it's chilling.
Adds Selena Roberts from the NY Times:
  • "Couldn’t A-Rod play shortstop for the Fenway fans? He is too disruptive a force for a cohesive team like the Red Sox to risk their inner peace on. It took him three years just to find a formula — or P.R. strategy — to make his Yankees teammates tolerate him.
A-Rod was known as “the cooler” in Texas for turning a hot team tepid with his presence."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Red Sox radio has promo for new advertisers!

One of the commercials in tonight's Red Sox radio was for Red Sox radio itself, seeking new advertisers, asking those interested to call a Boston area phone number (obviously for 2008). The ad touted the loyal Red Sox fans and why not expand that Red Sox loyalty to your business, call Red Sox radio for more information.
  • I assume Glenn Geffner will be there in 2008--why not, he's had the run of the radio booth in 2007 while incapable of sharing a booth containing more than himself.
  • Will prospective Red Sox advertisers be told that Glenn will be there again in 2008 (assuming he is)?
  • Will advertisers be able to pick spots as far away from Geffner's outbursts as possible--assuming he doesn't have all 9 by next year?

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Pituitary as 'go-to gland in baseball'.... Lupica

"It wasn't long ago, when Jason Giambi was in a whole heap of trouble because of performance-enhancing drugs, that we heard about his problems with a pituitary gland.

  • Now we hear the same thing from Paul Byrd, who did what I suppose the rest of us would do with a pituitary-gland problem, which is get $25,000 worth of human-grown hormones from a dentist.

And I'm just thinking: Who knew the pituitary would turn out to be the go-to gland in baseball?"

(Interesting the news about Byrd was leaked just a bit too late to help the Yankees.) sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Phil wonders about Fox TV's strike-zone

"So if FOX's computerized strike-zone box is such a telltale gizmo, how come some pitches that are seen catching part of the plate in overhead shots
  • are represented in FOX's box as having been thrown out of the strike zone? Which should we believe?"
From NY Post column by Phil Mushnick (see end of column), "ESPN Won't Tackle (Travis) Henry Story," 10/28/07

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

If you're looking for "Northeast Bias," check the roster at ESPN, Inc., Bristol, Ct.

  • From NY Daily News, Bob Raissman column:

"Baseball stoolies say the Washington Nationals want to showcase their new stadium on ESPN's Sunday night 2008 opener in a game with the Mets (remember them?).

  • MLB is trying to make this happen, but is getting resistance from the faculty of Bristol Clown Community.
  • This probably has something to do with ESPN wanting to keep its ratings lock with the the Yankees or Red Sox."

From NY Daily News column by Bob Raissman, "MSG Announcers Take Shots at Isiah but Give Dolan a Pass," 10/28/07

  • (I'd love to see the new Nats stadium anyhow. Maybe senior suits at ESPN should get used to what life will be like when the Baseball Channel is up and running. All that happens on ESPN in April anyway is playing up what champs the Red Sox are and how sad and pathetic the Yankees are). sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I should've known Glenn Geffner has the Red Sox-Lucchino-Padres connection

GEFFNER TAKES OVER RED SOX RADIO BOOTH TONIGHT--WORSE THAN EVER. Geffner was criminally installed next to the great Joe Castiglione on Red Sox radio this year. From his bio on the Red Sox site I see my worst fears confirmed:
  • "....and made his Major League debut broadcasting games for the San Diego Padres during a six-year stay in San Diego during which he also served as the club's Director of Public Relations."
(Geffner's connection is with Larry Lucchino and goes back many years to their San Diego Padres days--of course. "During a 6 year stay" could mean he broadcast 2 games while working at his office job in San Diego. They don't make this clear). From listening to him, I'd say Geffner clearly believes he should be on Red Sox radio for at least the next 30 years. As far as he's concerned, Joe Castiglione does not exist. But it's not Geffner's fault--it's Lucchino's fault. Lucchino put him there.
  • UPDATE: RIGHT NOW, 10:05 PM, GEFFNER IS YELLING OVER CASTIGLIONE, PUSHING HIM OUT OF THE PICTURE, RATTLING RUDELY ABOUT NOTHING. THIS IS 100% LARRY LUCCHINO'S FAULT. RED SOX FANS HAVE STATED VERY CLEARLY ALL YEAR GEFFNER'S OBVIOUS PROBLEMS. I DON'T COUNT, BUT I'VE NOTICED THEM ALL YEAR AND THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT. NOTHING. IF ANYTHING, HE'S WORSE TONIGHT THAN EVER. LUCCHINO CLEARLY APPROVES OF THIS. GEFFNER'S EVEN FORCING CASTIGLIONE TO ENGAGE WITH HIM. I CAN ONLY ASSUME THE RED SOX WANT CASTIGLIONE TO QUIT BY PUTTING HIM IN THIS SITUATION. I HOPE HE DOES QUIT.
CAN THIS GUY JUST TALK IN A NORMAL TONE INSTEAD OF THIS SING SONG UP AND DOWN CHIRPING? JUST DO THAT 1 THING? NO, THERE CAN ONLY BE 1 ANSWER TO THIS. GEFFNER MUST HAVE COMPROMISING INFO OF SOME KIND ON LUCCHINO--MY GUESS. PLENTY WENT ON IN SAN DIEGO WITH JOHN MOORES AND ALL THE REAL ESTATE DEALS. MAYBE IT'S ANOTHER AREA, BUT THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING BIG. PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE FRONT OFFICE HAD TO KNOW GEFFNER WAS GOING TO BE MOVED INTO THIS JOB--THEY SHOULD'VE DONE SOMETHING TO STOP IT.
  • What's happening here is Geffner will fight til the death to completely take over the booth--he sees no problem in doing that. He must have the approval of ownership or he wouldn't be so confident. Castiglione cannot and will not fight. He's virtually non-existent now thanks to billionaire Larry Lucchino.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

MEET CELEBS! The Baseball Writer as Brand Name ("Read My Blog")

The NY Observer notes evolution of reporter as "brand," using examples from the NY Times. The same logic applies to the evolution of the international celebrity baseball beat reporter, columnist, Supreme Court judge of Baseball Awards immortality and the end of common sense (as I see it). Not to mention their endless appearances on radio and television: From the NY Observer:
  • "The (New York)Times didn’t even have bylines for all its reporters until the 1970’s, reserving the privilege for star reporters and/or exclusive, Page One stories. It was a big deal when a reporter got his or her first byline; in his autobiography City Room, Arthur Gelb recalls that when his byline first appeared in the paper, in October 1948, it was cause for celebration at ‘21’. The reasoning was, as editor Murray Schumach explained, “When the credit goes to the paper rather than the reporter, you get more teamwork among the staff. Personal vanities are curtailed. You are important not as an individual but because you represent the New York Times.”
Today, even Times reporters who are hardly household names are encouraged to set up pages on nytimes.com with a list of their Web site “picks,” so we can get to know them better. Why does it matter that science reporter Andrew Revkin reads the Bad Astronomy Blog? Mr. Revkin’s Web site picks, along with those of several of his peers’, can be found in the “My Times” section of the paper’s Web site. My Times is only the latest manifestation of the reporter “brand” at the paper; in a 2001 interview, Renata Adler remarked that “the moment of the reporter’s becoming a celebrity himself, or herself, is not unrelated to that moment” when bylines were instituted.
  • And now comes the death of another Times-ian bugaboo: the notion that the genius of the true Times reporter was proved by working in Washington, then Hollywood, then Iraq, then in Styles;
  • that when your byline became synonymous with a certain beat, it was time to switch, not time for a raise.
....in the past year, the paper has put more and more of its stars online and turned them into their own personalities. Former Metro wunderkind/byline enthusiast Sewell Chan was put in charge of the Metro blog City Room; Business desk wunderkind Andrew Ross Sorkin started the Dealbook blog....
  • “When an organization helps the individual build a brand, then the individual decides, I can detach from the mothership and do my own thing,” said Mr. Carr. “People should be really careful about that. Sometimes when I go places I feel like a really big deal—but I wonder how big of a deal I’d be if my last name wasn’t New York Times. I’m not addicted to that, but I’m ever mindful. When people are kissing me on both cheeks, one of those cheeks says New York Times. I’m not under any illusions, but there are people who have left the gravitational pull of the organization they represent.”
From "Fame and Obscurity at the New York Times," in the NY Observer by Doree Shafrir, 10/23/07
  • Via Poynter.org/Romenesko

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Murray Chass is bonus happy this week

The NY Times baseball columnist says, "Alex Rodriguez, who next month will be named the American League’s most valuable player, won the inaugural clutch performer of the year award,

  • and he won’t get a bonus for it. That’s because the award, given by Pepsi, was created seven years after he signed his contract.

Not to feel sorry for Rodriguez, though. Besides his $27 million salary, he gets bonuses for all sorts of other awards — M.V.P., All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, etc., etc., etc."

This makes it sound like bonuses are routinely given by the Yankees for various awards, but that's not the case. Looking at Cots Contracts, most Boras clients throughout baseball have bonuses for a variety of awards' showings while other distinguished players do not. From Arod's contract:

  • "award bonuses:
    • $50,000 for finishing 6th-10th in MVP vote
    • $0.1M each for making All Star team, receiving most All Star votes, Silver Slugger, making post-season AP, Baseball America or The Sporting News All Star team, being named player of the year by AP, Baseball America or The Sporting News
    • $0.15M each for LCS or LDS MVP
    • $0.2M for World Series MVP or finishing 2nd-5th in MVP vote
    • $0.5M for MVP ($1M for second MVP, $1.5M for subsequent MVPs) (received $0.5M for 2003 AL MVP, $1M for 2005 AL MVP)"
Sort of leaves Jack O'Connell and the Baseball Awards voters out in the cold--maybe that's one reason a vote may go to players who recognize their awards in their contracts. Why not? Although Johnny Damon is a Boras client, Cot's doesn't list any awards bonuses. This may have been a hint. Bobby Abreu gets a bonus only for 1,2, or 3 MVP votes. Although Mariano Rivera has no awards bonuses, KYLE FARNSWORTH DOES! (Agent listed as Barry Meister). He gets a bonus if he "leads the club in Rolaids Relief points."
  • I checked out the incentives Boras got JD Drew:
"award bonuses: $0.2M for MVP ($0.125M for placing 2nd, $0.1M for 3rd, $75,000 for 4th, $50,000 for 5th), $0.1M each for Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or WS MVP, $75,000 for LCS MVP, $50,000 for All Star selection"
  • Incentives Boras got Matsuzaka:
  • "award bonuses: $0.5M for MVP ($0.125M for 2nd, $0.1M for 3rd, $75,000 for 4th, $50,000 for 5th), $0.5M for Cy Young ($0.4M for 2nd, $0.3M for 3rd), $0.1M All Star start ($50,000 for All Star selection), $0.15M for WS/LCS MVP, $50,000 for Gold Glove, $25,000 for Rookie of Year
  • may not be sent to minor leagues
  • escalators may increase contract value to total of $60M:
    • 2009 & 2010 salaries increase to $10M with:
      • Cy Young award in 2007 or 2008, or
      • top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2007 and 2008, or
      • MVP award in 2007 or 2008, or
      • top 5 in MVP vote in 2007 and 2008
    • 2011 & 2012 salaries increase to $12M with:
      • Cy Young award in 2009 or 2010, or
      • top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2009 and 2010, or
      • MVP award in 2009 or 2010, or
      • top 5 in MVP vote in 2009 and 2010
  • perks: physical therapist, massage therapist, interpreter, 8 first-class round-trip airline tickets per year between Boston & Japan, spring training housing allowance of up to $25,000, Boston housing allowance of up to $75,000, one-time moving allowance of up to $35,000, use of Lincoln Town Car or similar car, Red Sox player ticket package, including 2 field box seats, team employee to assist Japanese media, uniform No. 18"
Eric Gagne, Boras client, gets extras:
  • "award bonuses: $0.25M for Rolaids award ***($0.2M for placing 2nd, $0.15M for 3rd, $0.1M for 4th, $50,000 for 5th), $0.1M for Cy Young ($75,000 for placing 2nd, $50,000 for 3rd), $0.1M for MVP or Comeback Player of the Year, $50,000 each for WS MVP or All Star selection $25,000 each for LCS MVP or Gold Glove"
***Do the fans get any Rolaids with that?

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Middle Relief Key in Post Season--Wall St. Journal, St. John

Allen St. John in the Wall St. Journal about the precious commodity of middle relievers notes Rockies hitters can be patient, too:
  • "As the World Series continues this weekend, the starting pitchers for the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox will bask in the interview-room spotlights before the games, and the closers will get to relive their final outs -- or those they failed to get. But a large part of the fate of both teams lies somewhere else -- in the hands of their middle relievers.
But here's the bigger difference: When managers go to the bullpen these days, they use more pitchers than they used to.
  • In the 1970s, each World Series game saw an average of 1.92 relievers.
  • Since 2000 it's been 2.95. That means that a deep bullpen is even more pivotal now.
  • In World Series games since 1990, the average ERA of winning middle relievers is 3.56.
  • For losing middle relievers, that ERA rises to 5.71.
Given that the average margin of victory during those years is just under two runs, middle relief can be seen a hidden key to World Series success.
  • When it comes to measuring the importance of a deep bullpen, there's also a ripple effect at work that goes beyond the numbers.
  • Red Sox fans well know that if then-manager Grady Little had had one more reliable middleman in game seven of the 2003 American League Championship Series, he likely would have taken the ball from a tiring Pedro Martinez, and may well have held on to his job.
Another side effect of weak middle relief determined the outcome of the 2001 World Series. Then-Yankee manager Joe Torre asked his closer Mariano Rivera for a series of two-inning appearances throughout the postseason." (St. John noting Rivera performed 2 jobs--set-up and closer. sm) St John: "That strategy backfired in the most spectacular fashion in game seven against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Mr. Rivera blowing a one-run lead." (Having also entered in the 8th inning in that game, the 9th being his 16th inning of work in the 2001 post season). sm
  • St. John: "If the Red Sox have a hidden advantage, it's their deep middle relief corps.
  • Boston has held opponents to a .226 batting average in the seventh and eighth innings, thanks largely to Hideki Okajima (2.22 ERA), Manny Delcarmen (2.05 ERA), and vets such as Mike Timlin (3.42 ERA).

But the Rockies middle relievers are better than you might expect, holding opponents to a .251 batting average, although some credit has to go to MannyCorpas (2.08 ERA), who bolstered those stats before moving into a share of the closer role in the second half of the season with Brian Fuentes (3.08 ERA), who has been moved to a setup role for the playoffs.

  • Jeremy Affeldt (3.51 ERA ) and Matt Herges (2.96 ERA) had been, prior to the Series, a more-than-capable supporting cast to Rockies manager Clint Hurdle's dynamic duo.

And in this Series, the middle relievers should get plenty of opportunities because the hitters on both these teams have the patience to run up a starter's pitch counts.

The Red Sox led the AL with 689 walks, and saw more pitches per plate appearance -- 3.95 -- than any other team in the majors.

  • And despite playing half of their games in Coors Field, where pitchers are especially reluctant to give up walks,

the Rockies played patient baseball, ranking second in the NL with 622 bases onballs and 3.87 pitches per trip to the plate.

  • So as the Red Sox try to become the winningest team of the 21st century and the Rockies try to continue their historic run, remember that the outcome of this Series may depend on which set of middlemen can best shut down a lineup of skilled, patient opposing hitters."
From Wall St. Journal online, "By the Numbers" column, "Going to the Middleman," by Allen St. John 10/26/07

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Manny Corpas was drafted at age 16 (in 1999) by the Rockies

"Manny Corpas, born in Panama, was drafted by the Rockies as a 16-year-old in 1999 and made his major league debut on July 18, 2006. His father hasn't seen him pitch in the majors except on TV.

Benny Quintero, Corpas' agent, said Manuel Corpas had tried three times before to travel from Panama to the United States to watch his son play in the majors, but was rejected each time.

They enlisted the help of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, who helped Manuel Corpas obtain a tourist visa.

The closer's mother, Florencia, will watch the games from Panama."

I guess it happens everyday, but I can't imagine how a 16 year old kid finds and develops a special talent at this age and somehow is spotted by a major league team. Herb Raybourn didn't find Mariano until he was 21 and he wasn't even a pitcher. The great Rivera started as a shortstop in Panama, had no training as a pitcher.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hank sez Cashman's off the hook, too!-- AP

  • He's already let the new manager off the hook, now he lets Brian Cashman off as well!

"The Yankees' baseball operations executives were to come up with a recommendation for the team's top officials, which likely will carry a lot of weight. The search comes with general manager Brian Cashman heading into the final year of his deal,

  • but Hank Steinbrenner said Cashman isn't linked to the success of the manager.

"I think from the start the guy that I was leaning towards and the guy he was leaning towards, it's the same guy," he said.

  • "So his job wouldn't be on the line if I tend to agree with him.""
From AP report published on SportingNews.com, "Yankees Looking to Meet with Arod," 10/27/07
  • What a country! Cashman won't get blamed either!
  • Some comments on the story from Sporting News site:
1. Angle of whether they seek Arod's approval of manager....
  • "..that Hank & Hal aren't stupid enbough to think that they need to confer with Alex about future managers. You talk about the inmates running the asylum!!
I mean, it's obvious that they're amateurs at this just by the way the whole Torre mess got handled. But if they're thinking that they need Alex's "blessing" on the next manager...that's MORE THAN setting yourself up for disaster! If they're going down that path...they might as well just sprinkle gasoline on themselves and light a match. Then again...they could just get Farnsworth to show up and "show 'em how it's done!" Wink
  • 2. Doesn't care about anything except Yankee Kool-Aid
  • "This makes sense to meet because you need to find out where Boras stands and what the Yankees are thinking."50 (previous poster), they definitely don't want or need Arod's blessing for a new manager. Remember no one is above the team or the Yankee uniform. As for the Steinbrenners I believe things will calm down once a manager is named and then the focus will be on Mattingly or Girardi. By the way if Boras opts out he must have a deal in place which once again Bud Selig will act like he doesn't know what is going on.
3. Poster is so twisted about Yankees, doesn't realize Yankee bias is actually the opposite of what he/she says:
  • "Selig will turn his back on the A-fraud opt-out like he will turn his back on the spanks making announcements during the WS.
"Teams aren't allowed to make major announcements during the World Series, but if New York wanted to do so on an off day, commissioner Bud Selig probably would give his permission."
  • Typical NY bias. Selig must be on your sky high payroll, also."
  • (POSTER, YOU'RE CORRECT--SELIG GETS MOST OF HIS MONEY FROM TEAMS LIKE THE YANKEES AND RED SOX (your team) WHO SPEND MONEY ON PAYROLL--RATHER THAN PUTTING IT IN THEIR POCKETS.ALSO--THIS ISN'T A COMMUNIST COUNTRY AND I DON'T LIKE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE GAMES LIKE BLACKOUTS DURING THE WORLD SERIES. IT'S FINE FOR ROBOTS, ASSUMING THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE.) sm
(Poster): "Steinloser duo should take the extra 3-4 days to re-think thier decision because this will define the spanks for the next 10-15 years with all your "prospects" on the mound to go along with the bought fielders. GO BOSOX!!!" ***********************************
  • POSTER IS ALSO UP TO DATE ON PROPAGANDA SAYING YANKEES ARE STILL CRUEL--EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE LOWERING THEIR PAYROLL AND GETTING YOUNGER. MLB CONTROLLED SPIN IS NOW THAT THEY'RE CRUELLY OVERPAYING FOR YOUNG PROSPECTS---SOB.....(Bud gets a percentage of every penny they overpay...) sm
A PASSIVE PUBLIC BUYS NEGATIVITY ABOUT ONE TEAM AND ITS PLAYERS RATHER THAN PLACING THE FOCUS WHERE IT BELONGS. ALLAH "Bud" SELIG AND "BOB" DU PUY FEED THE FLAMES FORGETTING MANY YANKEE FANS CAN'T AFFORD TO GO TO GAMES. (sm)

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

In spite of palliative tossed to fans about "set to offer $40 million to Posada..."--no word

"Almost a year of talking with the Yankees hasn't resulted in Jorge Posada signing an extension and with the recent changes in the club's universe it's not likely the All-Star catcher will ink a pact soon.
  • “We have been negotiating with the Yankees in earnest for 10 months and there are issues to be addressed,'' agent Seth Levinson said yesterday.
  • And no offer has been made.""
From NY Post article by George King, "Posada Camp Waits on Offer," 10/24/07
  • Big headlines might've caused people to think offers had been made or were about to be. Fooled again. Nothing from the Yankees to Posada to date--this doesn't quite make the headlines. Then you have Mo--I'm not sure Hank knows who he is. Except he knows Joba won't be setting up for him. (sm)
UPDATE: 10/27 from the Star Ledger of Newark, "The Yankees feel they are making progress with Rivera but fear Posada may want to test the market." From article, "Yanks announcement on hold over Weekend," by Ed Price. Trivia: Ed Price is a world famous celebrity. Of the 2 so-called "New York voters" for AL MVP in 2006, Ed secured his place in history by not voting Derek Jeter #1.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mets Channel, SNY, has excellent local sports news coverage--please watch

Neil Best's Watchdog notes this today--I've enjoyed SNY's coverage for a long time and am glad Best reminds us it's still the place to go every night (even without Mets games as lead in). If viewers tried it, they'd keep coming back (instead of old habit, ESPN, Inc.):
  • "The Bronx isn't burning anymore, but things were heating up Wednesday as the Yankees searched for a new manager at their Tampa branch office.
SNY's "SportsNite" was on the case, leading at 10 o'clock with six-plus minutes on the story, featuring Tony Peña audio, an on-camera interview with Joe Girardi and an in-studio discussion. There would be two more Yankees segments later, including a feature on Peña, Hank Steinbrenner audio and interviews with David Cone and Roy White." Meanwhile, San Diego really was burning, and ESPN was all over that story, leading "SportsCenter" at 11 p.m. with video of the fires and a report on the displaced Chargers from Tempe, Ariz.
  • The Yankees' saga was next for 1:16, then a minute on Jets news, which SNY had covered in far more detail earlier.
So it went on a night when both shows were waiting for World Series Game 1 to end, and both did what they do daily - offer the two most comprehensive TV roundups of sports news and analysis in the nation's biggest market.
  • Here's the paradox: While talk radio and newspapers long have understood the appeal of local topics over national ones, ESPN's signature news show draws a far larger audience than SNY's, especially when the latter does not have the Mets as a lead-in.
Compared to September, SportsNite's average rating in October (through Tuesday) has fallen by more than 75 percent, to an average of about 7,000 of the 7.4 million homes in the area.
  • An hour later, the 11 p.m. SportsCenter is averaging about seven times that many homes in New York this month; it drew more than twice SportsNite's audience in September, when the Mets were playing.
But SNY deserves credit for trying as it seeks to carve an identity beyond the Mets; it is the closest thing on TV to a local newspaper sports section/Web site.
  • It produces four news/discussion shows a night and carries live news conferences and other events. The strategy has been tweaked recently to feature more experts for debate and analysis.
"We have a little patience here to build up this news organization," executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. said. "When we launched, we said we would be comprehensive, we'd be objective, we'd cover all sports ... We've done that." Gowdy said one goal is to continue "building our franchise" and, eventually, to achieve another goal: "ESPN rates fairly decently. Our goal is to overtake them." The months between now and April are SNY's challenge; the news crew is doing what it can.
  • Wednesday's SportsNite had the Jets news, interviews with the Giants about their London trip (SNY's Gary Apple will be there), a report from Big East media day, an in-studio talk with a chillingly matter-of-fact Victor Conte of BALCO and interviews with Rutgers football players.
It was a lot. But was it enough for SportsNite to catch on with viewers?"

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

YES Network built on hair growth treatment---NY Post, Mushnick

You hear the YES Network is such a financial goldmine--it may be, I don't know. I wouldn't have guessed you could build a broadcast empire on a men's hair growth treatment. (I realize they have other ads, but this one seems to dominate).
  • Today Phil Mushnick in the NY Post says:
"If Yankee president Randy Levine is so concerned with what's seen and heard on YES, he should be more concerned with Giuseppe Franco than with Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. That those bogus ProCede hair-loss treatment ads appear at any time on the Yankees' network would be bad enough.
  • That they've become the primary sponsor of Yankee games is a disgrace. The Yankees' network can't draw credible advertisers?
Beyond that, Levine's meddlesome guidance has helped make YES a Yankee shilling station, a network more welcoming of dopes than of intelligent fans. But he's not the first team or TV executive to think that systemic disregard for patrons reflects well on both him and his business." P.S. (No one knows who's in charge of YES today, since the sons and Randy all say they are).

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

SELIG, ASKED ABOUT YANKEES, "WINCES"--NY TIMES

BOSTON, Oct. 25 — "When asked about the Yankees’ manager search before Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, Commissioner Bud Selig wrinkled his face and winced. Selig would not even talk about the matter, and it was clear he did not want it to upstage baseball’s signature event."
  • MY TEAM PAID YOU AND YOUR PALS $100 MILLION LAST YEAR NO STRINGS, I'LL ASK WHAT I WANT, THANKS A BUNCH. IF YOU TELL ME EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID WITH THE MONEY, I'LL RECONSIDER.
  • (Tyler Kepner whispered to Jim Leyritz, can you please give me your impressions about Mattingly, only please don't let Allah H. "Bud" Selig know. He's a punishing parent, you know.) sm
Leyritz to NY Times: “Donnie really made it a point this year to distance himself from the guys, to get himself ready for managing at this level,” said Leyritz, now a commentator for mlb.com. “I think he listened to Willie Randolph a lot. Willie has told me that being a manager is totally different than being a coach, and I think Donnie worked at it.”
  • Leyritz added that keeping Mattingly would be important to pleasing veterans like Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, who are potential free agents. And with the Yankees focused on expanding their brand, he said, a manager of Mattingly’s stature would fit.

“There’s the name factor,” Leyritz said. “If you’re replacing Joe Torre, you have to be a legend.”

  • There is also the issue of how the Yankees could say no to Mattingly, who is not expected to stay on the staff if he loses the job. The organization alienated Torre last week and could face another backlash by rejecting the popular Mattingly."
From NY Times column by Tyler Kepner, "In Shadow of Series, Yanks Stay Quiet," 10/26/07.
  • THIS BLOG ISN'T IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION. THEREFORE IT WILL CONTINUE TO REPORT THE BIGGEST NEWS POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD SERIES.
(I'm getting the picture after a few years now, it's Yankee news they don't want--other teams are OK. I've observed this.) sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Thursday, October 25, 2007

$3.9 million "advertorial" value for sponsors in World Series via Fox and players--NY Times

  • THIS BLOG ISN'T IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION. THERE'S NO NEWS BLACKOUT HERE DURING THE WORLD SERIES.

(NY Times): "I’ve rarely seen a sponsor so overtly integrated into a game, which is great news for Taco Bell and those who love free crunchy seasoned beef tacos.

  • Taco Bell was smart enough to devise a campaign called “Steal A Base, Steal A Taco,” in which the first stolen base in the World Series lets anyone walk into one of its outlets Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. (no time zones specified) and get a free taco.

And here were Fox’s Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the bottom of the sixth.

  • “No stolen bases yet in the game,” McCarver said during a David Ortiz at-bat.

“No free tacos for America,” said Buck, then added, “At some point, it’s going to happen.”

Then, amazingly, after Ortiz’s flyout, Fox cut to Coco Crisp and Royce Clayton (combined 2007 salary: $5.3 million) in the Red Sox’ dugout for 40 seconds of taped, unprompted(?),

  • cheerful chit-chat about how to get those free tacos.

It was great exposure beyond buying commercial time; Taco Bell’s in-game exposure was worth $3.9 million, according to Joyce Julius & Associates, which measures the media value of sponsorships. Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for business, said Fox was not required to extend the basic Taco Bell promotion into the call of the game. “But I think Fox wants to make the sponsors happy,” he said.

  • That please-the-sponsor sentiment was evident when Buck clucked over the DirecTV starship that hovered above Fenway Park flashing images from its HD screen (“It’s hard to take your eyes off it,”) he said...

"And how about that ebullient woman who held aloft a placard in the fifth inning that morphed from one Chevy Malibu message to another?

  • She wasn’t there;
  • she and 30 or 40 other fans in red T-shirts were brought to Fenway days earlier by Chevrolet to shoot the ad and were inserted into the broadcast as if they were there Wednesday night."
From NY Times column by Richard Sandomir, "World Series Broadcast Has a Taco Filling," 10/26/07
  • This must somehow be the Yankees' fault. (sm)

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Curt Schilling on Mr. Torre and "hack to writer ratio"....

"I have never had a chance to get to know Mr Torre beyond handshakes of congratulations or hellos, but I have never heard a player on his team utter anything but respect for the guy. Much like Boston, managing a 175m+ roster of super star players, in that market,
  • with a hack to writer ratio bordering on 100-1,
  • how does he basically win pretty much every year, get to the post season and get an ultimatum at THAT point in the season? I have always thought very highly of Mr Steinbrenner as well, anyone that pours that much of himself into his team, is that dedicated to his teams fans is ok by me and I would think ok by pretty much anyone that plays for him since he never makes issue with paying the huge salaries players make these days but only adds the caveat of “Just win a World Series”. I don’t think players have ever had problems with owners like that."
From Curt Schilling's blog, 38pitches.com, 10/22/07, "Rox and Sox, 2007 World Series it's on"

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

I suspected Glenn Geffner was a onetime football announcer

I happen to like listening to Joe Castiglione. They've forced an abomination named Glenn Geffner onto Red Sox radio this year. It's so obvious he's not right, he tumbles over himself in precision outbursts reminding me of football announcers. So I just put his name in google along with "football announcer," and lo and behold, up came Sons of Sam Horn with the same idea:
  • "Geffner reminds me of a college football announcer that's doing play by play and color all at once, aspiring to jump right to Monday Night Football. He has so much to say Castiglione would have to interrupt to add anything, and that's just not his style, so he just freezes up and becomes a spectator. He has an easy going way of getting across various historic and anectotal morsels,where Geffner broadcasts like he's trying to show how smart and informed he is." From 4/23/07, Sons of Sam Horn (Red Sox blog).
I will never buy any product advertised on Red Sox radio as long as Glenn Geffner is employed there. He is such a heinous choice--proof of the disconnect between baseball front offices and fans. And they take Joe Castiglione away from us.
  • P.S. I bet they signed Geffner for 3 years or something like that. This could be a real tragedy. sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

MLB, Inc. needs owners who think like Jerry Jones--at least on the subject of shipping players around the globe...

  • George Vecsey on NFL in London:

"The N.F.L., which dominates the sports market in the United States, is facing not only the separate domestic growth of Nascar and soccer but also the international appeal of basketball and baseball. The N.F.L. operated a development league in Europe, but, as Goodell pointed out yesterday, “It was time for something new.”

  • Sunday’s game at Wembley will be broadcast to 215 countries, raising its image internationally. Jerry Jones surely does not mind if any buzz from this game causes Chinese or Australian or German fans to purchase America’s Team gear over the Internet;
  • he just doesn’t want to transport his team here.

“My hat’s off to Wayne Huizenga,” Jones said yesterday, referring to the owner of the Dolphins, who agreed to take his home game here, with the cooperation of the Mara and the Tisch families of the Giants.

Did Jones think the N.F.L. would expand to Europe anytime soon?

“We don’t even have a team in Los Angeles,” he said."...........

  • Vecsey: "The most prosperous sports league in the United States has found jumbo jets large enough to transport the Giants and the Miami Dolphins to play at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in a regular-season game.The event manages to be historic and transient at the same time, since it is the first league game played outside North America but is hardly a precursor to expansion. Instead, N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke yesterday about staging an annual game or two here, and reaching a broader worldwide audience via digital media.
  • That’s what it’s about these days, blogs and chat rooms and selling logo T-shirts on the Internet.....

"The league faces a much harder sell to get the Dallas Cowboys — known for some reason as America’s Team — to play here, even once in a generation. The owner of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, emerged from a private conference on sports globalization yesterday to insist that international games were fine for some teams.

  • “It probably doesn’t fit us,” Jones quickly added. He said American football was based upon “my town against your town” rivalries, best played out in their home stadiums."
From NY Times column by George Vecsey, "NFL Tries to Turn Globalization into a Team Sport," 10/26/07
  • P.S. The enormous drain on human beings forced to work in these vast time differences is ignored. sm

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mel Stottlemyre interview with Mike and Chris on WFAN

Mel Stottlemyre interviewed by Mike and Chris, 10/23/07.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ESPN will still be Yankees' Daddy, in spite of weak slap on the wrist

ESPN apparently once again violated so-called rules for disseminating Yankee content, so a Yankee PR guy very apologetically pulled rank on ESPN guys for a moment. Neil Best's Watchdog tells the story. As I posted in October, 2006, ESPN did a much more dramatic end run around the Yankees and YES Network and said the same thing. In effect, tough. We do what we want. ESPN doesn't care about the Yankees--they know there's no one in charge there and hasn't been for awhile.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Todd Greene today with Mike and Chris on WFAN

Todd Greene today with Mike and Chris. Greene sounds tremendous. Was Aaron Cook's personal catcher.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

STUNNER: STEINBRENNER PREACHES 'PATIENCE' with NEW MANAGER....

  • What they're selling: The 2008 team will be dogs compared to the 1996 team which would've won the World Series with any manager.
TAMPA, Fla. - "The Yankees have not even hired a successor for manager Joe Torre yet, but in a stunning change, senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner is preaching patience with the next manager. "I think the most important thing is, whoever we hire, give him a chance," Steinbrenner said. "Because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. He's getting a younger team, and for the most part, it's a transition period, so give him a little while." "We want to win the World Series every year," Steinbrenner said. "We're not stupid enough to think we can do it.""
  • WHAT? ARE YOU SAYING RANDY LEVINE IS STUPID BECAUSE HE JUST SAID YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO WIN IT EVERY YEAR? (sm)
  • WHAT WILL SCOTT BORAS DO WITH THIS STATEMENT? HE SAID HIS CLIENT EXPECTS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES. ARE YOU SAYING YOU'RE GIVING UP ON AROD?(sm)
(Newsday): "The fact that the Yankees had not won or even advanced to the World Series since 2003 is the reason Torre was only offered a one-year contract. However, it seems the new manager will not be held to that standard, at least initially."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hank Steinbrenner needs Howard Rubenstein--Newsday

"Hank Steinbrenner, son of The Boss, it's time to get better acquainted with your dad's public relations flack Howard Rubenstein. Given your missteps in the past few weeks, Rubenstein should become your best friend. Make him your personal firewall against disaster, a say-nothing human sandbag who will throw himself in the way every time you or team president Randy Levine are tempted to call this reporter or that, then whine and concoct conspiracy theories about your rough treatment in the wake of Torre's departure.
  • The Yankees have too much other important business pending, starting with interviewing managerial candidates this week and plotting how to outmanuever Alex Rodriguez's agent Scott Boras, to having their top two executives behaving like crybabies who can be distracted by public criticism. Time to grow up. Learn to take a hit.
Once you get over the soaring egotism in both (Randy's and Hank's) complaints (it was Torre who got shown out, right?), then the spectacle of the Yankees' top two executives throwing themselves from their high chairs onto the floor like persecuted children, the thought that comes to mind is: This is leadership? Acting tough and talking tough, then petulantly boo-hooing the fact that outsiders disagree with you? Hank's condescending comment about Torre depicted Torre as if he were just the help. They also made you wonder what qualities Hank wants in the new help. Is boot-licking mandatory, not just winning? Given Hank's sensitivity to criticism, does he really have the guts to risk hiring a headstrong contrarian like Joe Girardi or a surprise candidate over Don Mattingly, the more popular candidate who interviewed Tuesday? Doesn't begrudging Torre credit confirm that some Yankees executives resented how much praise Torre got for the entire organization's success, even though everyone got rich?
  • The behavior of Hank Steinbrenner and Levine in the past couple weeks raises uncomfortable questions about their judgment and their ability to make tough calls going forward, especially in the face of criticism. It makes you question if either man has the temperament to shoulder their expanded public roles now that George Steinbrenner has receded to the background.
But what Hank -- like his father before him -- keeps missing is folks in this city have always related most to other things -- the blue-collar ethic of Mattingly and the unvarnished passion of Paul O'Neill; Jeter's gift for understatement and Mariano Rivera's unstinting grace under pressure; Jorge Posada's dependabililty and Torre's decency."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Bob Du Puy talks down to Chris Russo on WFAN

Chris Russo talks to individual fans in any time zone more than most sportstalk guys I've heard. He appreciates what a fan goes through, has written books, been on national television shows, and his radio show is simulcast on a national tv network (YES).
  • Bob du Puy is a guest today on WFAN with Mike and Chris, the universal topic of the very late tv starts of some of the games is raised by Chris. It's not a new topic, and we know MLB, Inc. will come up with an answer for everything without providing concrete substantiation and no one will complain.
Also, MLB, Inc.'s first job is always to scorn New Yorkers (rallying public support for hatred and resentment and getting more of their money--it works).
  • Chris: Bob, how about those late starts?
Du Puy: (Voice dripping with condescension) Well, Chris, believe it or not.....people do live west of the Hudson.....and they like to see their teams....
  • (Bob ignores that Chris and Mike and everyone else have talked about the problem even as it relates to teams in western time zones...)
Additionally insulting to Chris, his team is THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, BOB, THAT'S A TEAM IN CALIFORNIA,....
  • WHICH IS WEST OF THE HUDSON.

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Monday, October 22, 2007

Randy Levine says he's also Mike and Mad Dog's Daddy, but Hank says he and Hal are in charge of YES......

Both Randy Levine and the Steinbrenner sons are listed as being in charge of the YES Network: first article from the NY Post, 10/14/07 citing the boys, then NY Times article 10/23 citing Randy. (I'd like to know which is it--do I send my letters regarding program content to Randy, or....?) sm

  • ""George has taken on a role like the chairman of a major corporation," said team president Randy Levine. "He's been saying for years he's wanted to get his sons involved in the family business. Both of them have stepped up and are taking on the day-to-day duties of what's required to run the Yankees."

"There's always been a succession - and that's myself and my brother," Hank told The Post in an exclusive interview.

  • ***He said he and Hal will have final say on baseball decisions as well as the running of the YES Network and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium.

  • "I'll pay more attention to the baseball part. The stadium, that's more Hal. But basically everything will be decided jointly.""

Above From the NY Post, 10/14/07, "Heir Time for Yankees," by Brad Hamilton

******************************

Following from NY Times column by Richard Sandomir, 10/23/07

"Levine was the lead voice during a conference call in which he described Torre’s rejection of a one-year, $5 million contract that could have grown to $8 million with performance bonuses.

  • Levine was going to take heat. With Steinbrenner in retreat, no one personifies the business interests of the Yankees like Levine, whose portfolio includes the stadium, the YES Network, the structuring of contracts and arbitration.
(Mr. Sandomir includes Levine discussing his input into programming decisions on the YES Network, specifically that he seriously questions the value of the YES Network carrying the Mike and the Mad Dog show). **************************************** And on the Arod situation, Boras wants to meet with all of you people--he's not just concerned about Torre leaving. HE WONDERS ABOUT ALL YOU CLOWNS, AS INDIVIDUALS NOT TO MENTION WHO THE HECK IS IN CHARGE OF ANYTHING? Following from NY Times by Tyler Kepner, 10/23/07:
  • "In any case, Boras said, he is not interested in talking finances yet. He said he expected to sit down soon with the Yankees’ hierarchy — George Steinbrenner’s sons, Hank and Hal; the team president, Randy Levine; and General Manager Brian Cashman — to discuss the direction of the team as Steinbrenner, the principal owner, recedes.
  • We’re looking at the organization as a whole, because there have been a number of changes,” Boras said. “I’ve told them we want to have these discussions before we discuss economics.”"
Boras' references from NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Boras Says Not Ready to Talk About Money Yet," 10/23/07

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

YANKEE "FRANCHISE ON VERGE OF TOTAL COLLAPSE"--JENKINS

"This is a franchise on the verge of total collapse. It may not happen, for management's low-ball stance was aimed strictly at Torre. He's the one who was asked to accept a pathetic one-year deal with a 33 percent pay cut and incentives based on the team's performance. That won't be the case with potential free agents Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. They're about to get the full Yankee treatment, complete with champagne, caviar and untold millions."
  • (Jenkins later says Rivera and Posada need to wait and see what Arod does, but now Arod's agent says what Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte decide will predict what HE does).

"If those guys (players) watched closely - and you know they did - this wasn't a George Steinbrenner firing. The old Steinbrenner, having issued a direct threat, would have fired Torre about five minutes after the Yankees cleaned out their lockers. Then again, this is no longer George's team. With his health in question and his decisions not necessarily to be trusted, the real power brokers are his sons, Hank and Hal,

  • and the Yankees' arrogant blowhard of a team president, Randy Levine."*********** (Thank-you. sm)

"To those who closely follow the Yankees, nothing could be more frightening.

  • Given the chance, these guys will run the franchise straight into the ground.

  • They're off to a flying start, aren't they? Just as they snickered with delight and threw up their hands - "Hey, we tried to bring Joe back" - cynics across the East Coast called B.S. on their cowardice."
From article by Bruce Jenkins, SFGate.com, San Francisco Chronicle, "Torre's Decision was about More Than Pride."10/20/07
  • Thanks to Bruce Jenkins for not drinking the corporate Kool-Aid. (sm)

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hank---They'll be "real interviews"....--AP

"Afterward, Hank Steinbrenner told The Associated Press: "We're going to be interviewing maybe as many as five, six candidates, and we'll see how that goes. The job, there's been no real decision on that yet.
  • They're going to be real interviews, and probably starting next week."
"It will take as quick or as long as it takes. I don't know; I haven't done this before.""

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon