Sunday, March 30, 2008

President Bush takes the field at Nationals Stadium 2008 home opener

You Tube link

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MLB opening website in Communist China

"“The launch of our M.L.B.-focused Web site in China will make the game more accessible, not only to multinational and Chinese advertisers, but also to the increasing number of Chinese baseball fans at the grass-roots level,” Peter Schloss, the chief executive of BroadWebAsia, said in a release.

  • BroadWebAsia controls six Chinese Web sites that reach 70 million people a month. It was started by Brad Greenspan, a founder of MySpace....
The new site — www.major.tv/china will be announced Monday.

The deal between BroadWebAsia and MLB Advanced Media calls for the new site to use a simplified Chinese language, and will feature online chats, fan forums and sections that will explain baseball’s rules and sell M.L.B. merchandise."

(P.S. The internet in Communist China is heavily censored, monitored, etc. Have your life insurance policy paid up before you use it). sm

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March 30, 2008 -- "Either Bud Selig has become deep-end delusional, or he thinks we have.

Either ESPN doesn't know a stunning story when it's dropped into its lap, or its business with MLB prevents it from pointing to Selig with the cynicism and derision he has earned.

In the fourth inning

  • of MLB's The Price Is Right Opening Day from Japan, Tuesday morning,

Selig entered ESPN's booth and spoke as if he recently reached down and with his firm hand, pulled baseball from the depths of degradation. He spoke as if his is not-a-minute-too-late heroism rescued big league baseball from forever being stained by a drug scandal.

Not only did Selig portray himself as a dogged crime hound, way ahead of the pack as he relentlessly pursued the scent, the uninitiated would have thought that he must be the fellow who recently replaced the Commissioner who fell asleep at the wheel.

  • Selig actually congratulated himself for assigning the Mitchell Report. "You bet I'd do it again!" he proudly crowed.

Was it lost on Selig that George Mitchell concluded it was the profit-minded neglect of MLB's leadership that allowed steroids and human growth hormone to become epidemic?

  • Or was Selig hoping we wouldn't know any better?

If Selig had been so resolute and so altruistic, the past dozen years,

  • there wouldn't have been a need for The Mitchell Report.

"Steroids are not a baseball problem, they're a societal problem," Selig declared to Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips. "But we dealt with it."

Yeah, Selig came, he saw, he conquered!

  • It was his idea to rid baseball of drugs!

Yeah, he dealt with it. He allowed the team owners to jack-up ticket prices when the anabolic sluggers hit town....

  • Those Congressional sessions, grand juries and federal indictments
  • are all monuments to just how well Selig dealt with it.

Steroids are a societal problem? Well, no fooling. But for a dozen years, while the society Selig was charged to protect muscled up on drugs, he did nothing but admire the cash receipts.

Yeah, Selig dealt with it so well that when Thorne brought up the issue Tuesday, he had to preface it with his regrets for having to bring it up. And then Thorne, once a practicing lawyer, no less, allowed Selig to paint himself as the sheriff who rushed in, guns blazing, to drive the outlaws out of Dodge.

"We dealt with it." For more than a dozen years everyone watched this hole form. And as it grew huge, so big that you couldn't miss it, what did the Commissioner of Baseball do about that hole? He looked into it."

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Two 1973 events led to AL dominance--Lowe, Freep

"The A.L.’s current dominance over the N.L. can be traced to two things that happened in 1973.
  • One, the A.L. adopted the designated hitter.
  • Two, as reported in the 1974 Official Baseball Guide, “. . . the New York Yankees, once the most valuable franchise in professional sports, were sold
  • to a Cleveland ship builder for the bargain basement price of $10 million . . . ”"...
From John Lowe, Detroit Free Press, "DH and George Steinbrenner have led to AL Dominance," 3/30/08

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Jay Gibbons cut from Orioles, but Selig set precedent for amnesty in Dec. 2007--not "magical" wording by Mitchell

AP-"Jay Gibbons was released Sunday by the Baltimore Orioles, who lost patience waiting for the oft-injured outfielder to regain the form that enabled him to hit 26 home runs in 2005.
  • Gibbons batted .189 with no homers and four RBIs in 16 games this spring training after playing in only 84 games last season. Baltimore owes him $11.9 million for the next two season as part of a $21.1 million, four-year contract he agreed to in January 2006.
The 31-year-old Gibbons was suspended for 15 days on Dec. 6 by commissioner Bud Selig following a media report that Today it's "AFTER JANUARY 2005;" 2 days ago it was "IN JANUARY 2005." Why do they do this? Because baseball fans are weak and malleable and find lying perfectly acceptable. Why else?
  • Per the Mitchell Report, Selig chose not to discipline a few select players for behavior prior to January 13, 2005. This included such players as Glaus, Schoeneweis, and Ankiel. At that moment, all others accused of anything before that date automatically had to be excused from discipline.
The players already excused by the commissioner were in the category of "alleged internet" activity. There was of course written evidence of their purchases. Also, they were not asked to speak with Mitchell or any of his investigators. That's in the report too. Persons with only hearsay evidence were, on the other hand, not absolved.
  • Media stories have long speculated about suspensions which is strange. If they had read the Mitchell Report, they would know all behavior noted before 1/13/05 would be exempt from discipline. If for no other reason than Selig has already set the precedent.
The gutless wonders at BBWAA never dared to point out that terms of amnesty were granted long ago by Selig, and were written about in the Mitchell Report. How many will lose their jobs over this negligence? Answer: None. On the contrary, this is what gets them rewards.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jay Gibbons can't be suspended if his actions were before 1/13/05

This article on Gibbons says he admits to something in "January 2005." The effective date of the new agreement was January 13, 2005.
  • The commissioner has already set precedent in behavior prior to 1/13/05, and this was stated in the Mitchell Report. Certain players listed in the "alleged internet" section (such as Glaus, Schoeneweis, and Ankiel) were declared free from future discipline--as their apparent behavior occurred before 1/13/05.
No one else, including Gibbons, can be disciplined for use prior to 1/13/05 since the commissioner let other guys go. Paul Byrd's last known HGH shipment was one week before the Jan. 13 deadline, so he's a free man as well.

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Mike Francesa and Sid Rosenberg chat on Sid's radio show

Audio link to Mike Francesa and Sid Rosenberg chatting on Sid's radio show 790 in Miami, 3/28/08.
  • Via Neil Best's Watchdog blog.

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Terms of "Amnesty" were given by Selig on 12/6/07 as reported in the Mitchell Report

Terms of "Amnesty" were already set by Selig with players such as Glaus, Ankiel, and Schoeneweis and were in the Mitchell report. Guillen and Gibbons have no worries if whatever they did was before Jan. 13, 2005. Guys in the "alleged internet" group such as Glaus, Schoeneweis and Ankiel had been declared by the commissioner's office to be exempt from future discipline. From the Mitchell Report:
  • "Glaus reportedly met with officials from the Commissioner's Office in September 2007.481 On December 6, 2007, the Commissioner's Office announced that there was insufficient evidence of a violation of the joint program in effect at the time of the conduct in question to warrant discipline of Glaus." 480 Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim, Glaus Received Steroids; Pipeline Pharmacy Provided Drugs to All-Star 3B, SI.com, Sept. 7, 2007."
  • There was plenty of evidence. But the 'wording' here says evidence "OF A VIOLATION OF THE JOINT PROGRAM IN EFFECT AT THE TIME."
Therefore, no one can be suspended who did anything that was covered by the agreement at that time. THIS WAS IN THE MITCHELL REPORT AND SHOULD HAVE TOLD PEOPLE NO ONE ELSE COULD BE SUSPENDED FOR ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF THE AGREEMENT.
  • Note, the commissioner's office made that decision, not Mitchell. Selig didn't require certain players to meet with Mitchell.
  • In fact there was better documentation about players in the "alleged internet" group than many other players who were "named" via hearsay. Paul Byrd's last shipment of HGH was a week before Jan. 13, 2005, so he's technically not in violation either.
With a March 12 NY Times report, we are guided further, now just saying they hadn't violated the "drug testing" program in effect at the time. Naturally, all players named on in the Mitchell report must be given the same benefit. Contrary to The Sports Network report, it's not the result of Mitchell's ingenious "wording" that will bestow amnesty on pitiful players. You chumps have officially been off the hook since 12/13/07, when Mitchell "wrote" that the commissioner's office had allowed certain players to skate.
  • All that's left to wonder is:
Can Guillen and Gibbons meet the 1/13/05 standard? The AP report in SI today has Guillen down for 2002-2005 (no exact date in 2005) and Gibbons for January 2005--no exact day:
  • SI.com, AP report: "The San Francisco Chronicle reported in November that Guillen bought human growth hormone, two kinds of testosterone and the steroids from 2002-05, allegations the Kansas City outfielder wouldn't address....

Gibbons admitted receiving an HGH shipment in January 2005. The Baltimore outfielder apologized and didn't contest the penalty."....

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

My experience with a New York Times article, 2/24/07 to 3/19/08

  • Update: Yet another meaningful change in an archived NY Times article. The original version of a 2007 Jack Curry article has been altered without explanation. Excised is reference to the Red Sox offering Andy Pettitte a $52 million contract in 2003.
A NY Times article by Jack Curry published on 2/25/07 remained in its original form online for about a year. Sometime between 2/24/08 and 3/19/2008 words from the article were changed. I copied the original opening words of the article on 2/24/07 (which happened to mention Andy Pettitte) onto this blog, and referenced them 3 times after that for different reasons, double checking the linked content each time. I list these below.
  • The original article's (2/25/07) purported subject expressed in its title, "Rivera, Free Agent to Be, Closes Door on Boston," was to wonder if Mariano Rivera might ever consider pitching for the Red Sox (not saying it had been offered or rumored, the article just wondered). It went on to say Rivera didn't think he could do that though he has friends on the Red Sox. In choosing to portray a story about Yankees/Red Sox the NY Times opened the article by writing of the 4 year $52 million offer the Red Sox made Andy Pettitte in 2003 which he declined. I copied this portion of the article and pasted it on my blog on 2/24/07.
When you see this particular NY Times article today, the reference to Andy Pettitte has been removed without explanation. In posts about Pettitte between 8/26/07 and 3/19/08 where I used this Jack Curry article for substantiation, I've now inserted another source for the 2003 Red Sox offer to Pettitte. (There are still at least 3 legitimate sources about the Red Sox offer to Pettitte online, all of which I've copied. One of them is Dave Anderson of the NY Times).
  • Sometime after my post of 2/24/08 the Pettitte words were removed from the Curry article. In that post I featured a picture of George Mitchell with the rest of Red Sox ownership. Below the photo, for the sake of history I noted that this group had made Andy Pettitte a $52 million offer in 2003. I happened to re-read the post on March 19, clicked on the link to the NY Times/Jack Curry story, and noticed the first paragraph had changed. No mention of Pettitte there or anywhere in the story.
Since I copied the original 2/25/07 NY Times Pettitte reference to the blog, I can copy it again here. From my post on 2/24/07 which I titled: "Rats-I was hoping Rivera would stick it to the Yanks, but demurs on idea of Red Sox":
  • 'Per the NY Times, "When Andy Pettitte, Rivera’s friend, was a free agent in 2003, he never considered Boston’s four-year, $52 million offer and signed with the Houston Astros for three years and $31.5 million. Pettitte said he could not pitch for the Red Sox because of his alliance with the Yankees. Now, apparently, Rivera feels the same way." ...
  • (Searching for fodder, a reporter asked Mariano if he could envision being on the Red Sox, says the article).
  • “There’s too much between the teams,” Rivera said. “I like some of their players. They’re my friends. I just don’t think it would be possible.”
(Not saying the Red Sox have even asked, the media were pitching speculation). "Rivera, who has been a member of the Yankees organization since 1990, has known only wanting to beat Boston, and that mission appears unlikely to change." The same article today, same title, "Rivera, Free Agent to be, Closes Door on Boston" opens differently: But Rivera, who also said he would test free agency after 2007, turned serious when he was asked if he could envision himself pitching for Boston.“I don’t think so,” Rivera said.".... History of my notations about this article starting with most recent: Although I don't know who altered the article--it could be no one associated with the NY Times- I did notice an article on the subject of altering or editing archival documents, "Re-Writing History: Should Editors Delete or Alter Online Content?" by Elizabeth Zwerling, associate professor of journalism, posted on 8/22/07, from the Annenberg School of Communications at USC. From the article: When a story, column or even a reader response to a story is posted online then transferred to the publication's archive, "it's a matter of record," said Robert Steele, a scholar of journalism ethics and values at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. "To change it would change a piece of history."
  • If editors start removing some stories or parts of stories from archives, readers will begin to wonder what else is missing, Steele said."...
I've documented my experience with a NY Times article. Somehow the article was altered after having been archived for about a year. I don't know who altered it, but it was altered.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baseball Hall of Fame President, Petroskey, Resigns

MLB.com article via Watchdog blog.
  • P.S. Aside from whatever finally prompted the separation, some have allowed themselves to fume over the fake idea that Petroskey preempted Tim Robbins from a Hall of Fame occasion because of Robbins' "stand on the war." Handy but ignores larger facts:
Robbins had shown a pattern of being invited to grand ceremonies and hijacking them to promote his personal views. People in their seats were in effect held hostage to an ungracious, disrespectful lout. Many watching from home seek entertainment programs for escape from the horrible news of the world. Robbins assumed something else--that they were dolts and needed to be educated by him.
  • If he apologizes for his behavior and shows over a period of years he's changed his ways, then consider inviting him to a HOF function. You don't showcase persons who are rude, disdainful and disrespectful in a place that's supposedly hallowed and special. (sm)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dan Graziano makes key distinction

(Star-Ledger): "For (Joba) Chamberlain, this is one of the great benefits of his surprise early-career turn as a relief pitcher. He gets to sit in the bullpen and learn from a legendary baseball figure who sees teaching as part of his job, and who makes the same impression on every pitcher who comes through the Yankees' bullpen."
  • *Mr. Graziano has the confidence to state that Mariano Rivera is a "pitcher," not just a relief pitcher nor what is narrowly described as 'a closer.' Viewing his entire performance since the 1995 post season--including all star games--it is obvious. It's just that you won't get much bread from ESPN if you follow that line of reasoning.*
(Dan Graziano):"Since he exploded onto the Yankees' scene as a dominant setup reliever in 1996, and throughout his Hall of Fame career as the team's closer, there has been much discussion about Rivera's "value" to the team. Many have suggested that Rivera was the most valuable Yankee during the Joe Torre dynasty years, because his dominant presence at the end of the bullpen was the reason those teams could count on winning the close games.
  • But Rivera's value goes beyond the mound and the field and right on into the clubhouse, where he has consistently been one of the team's strongest leaders. He takes the responsibility seriously, and he's not shy about putting it into practice, even if he is a little reluctant to talk about it"....
  • "I think it's a cycle," Chamberlain said. "The torch is passed to Mo, and he does a great job of passing it along to other guys as they come up. So the day will come when it's over for him, when he can't pitch anymore. But his impact on the game of baseball will never go away because of the people he's touched.""
From the Star-Ledger by Dan Graziano, 3/24/08, "Rivera's Value Beyond Saves"
  • (P.S. ESPN types and/or Minnesota whiners should complain to Mr. Graziano). sm

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Papelbon defends Mariano Rivera while in Japan, shows more honesty than MLB.com & Goose Gossage

(The Boston Herald): "But it is the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera who Papelbon views as the standard bearer. Rivera inked a record deal for closers this past offseason, in which he will make $15 a year for the next three years....

  • “Now that Rivera has set the tone, my goal is to go out there and bring it to the next level and keep the market going,” Papelbon explained. “The past five or six years the closers’ market was so stagnant, it didn’t move at all. It’s up to us as closers to keep that market rising, rising, and rising and not have it be stagnant for another five or six years.”

*Papelbon dismisses the notion that Rivera’s deal was somewhat of an aberration, just a product of the richest team in baseball showing loyalty to one of the lynch-pins in its success.*

  • Instead, the Sox closer points to the recent contract for Rodriguez and the impending deal Nathan has coming. In Papelbon’s mind, the position has become somewhat of a brotherhood which has to stay together in order to get paid together.

“I think Mariano set the tone for the next few years by tapping out at $15 million a year. He set the tone - what it means to be a closer, how important closers are, and what they mean to a team,” he said.

  • “He started the whole realization how important closers are. Hopefully guys follow in those footsteps and keep that market where it is and not deviate off of that.""
From Boston Herald by Rob Bradford, 3/24/08, "Papelbon Eyes Big Money for Closers"

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Monday, March 24, 2008

NY Times enjoys its team, the Red Sox--10/19/2003

  • ""We're sitting up there looking at each other, wondering, 'What's going on?'" said Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck.
It was two days after he'd witnessed the brawl of the fall: the American League'sbest pitcher, Pedro Martinez, taking down 72-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series followed by a bull-pen skirmish that could result in criminal charges for Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson and outfielder Karim Garcia.

It takes a lot to surprise Mr. Buck, who since 1996 has been the voice of the Yankees' October championship runs.

  • "We all looked at each other and asked, 'What in the world did we just witness?'" he said. "It was just weird."

It was also the sourest note in what was otherwise a good, clean, if bare-knuckled fight between, arguably, the only two cities that love to hate each other more than Los Angeles and New York: Boston and New York. Sure, the Red Sox have their fans here-especially disgruntled Mets fans-but in a championship series, a city stakes its reputation on its home team, and neither Boston nor New York is ready to give up its good name without a fight.

Propitiating the gods of objectivity, the board weighed in with a hopeful essay pining for the defeat of the New York Yankees, so that the Boston Red Sox could advance to play the Chicago Cubs in a tearful, one-of-them- has -to-win-now Boston-Chicago World Series.

  • "With all due respect to our New York readership-Yankee fans among them-to George Steinbrenner and to the Yankees themselves," the editorial read,

"we find it hard to resist the emotional tug and symmetrical possibilities of a series between teams that seem to have been put on earth to tantalize and then crush their zealous fans."

  • Take it as one more sign that The Times is reaching out to a national audience.

For New Yorkers who thought of The Times ' "other" readers as vicarious consumers of New York's politics, culture and ideas, it was a rude awakening.

  • New Yorkers are some of The Times ' readers; in fact, they deserve some special consideration from time to time, whether or not that extends to the economic boon and civic uplift of a World Series championship. If the Yankees don't win, it's a shame-but look at the dramatic possibilities for the national audience!

The Times ' Boston readership is also a consideration. After all

  • -though The Times didn't mention it in the editorial-

  • bought (with a consortium of partners) just before last season, and the Sox's cable-television channel became the broadcast outlet for the Times Company's stable of Boston Globe columnists and reporters. (The Times also owns the Globe .)
  • Of course, at The Times the editorial page and the newsroom remain as far apart as Metropolis and Krypton. And one might have forgiven The Times,

    There, during these playoffs, Times readers have been treated to "A Boston View" of the series, with different Globe columnists taking top billing to wax poetic or prosaic on the preceding night's events, beneath schoolmarmish headings applauding both sides for keeping their tempers cool during

    Michael Holley and Dan Shaughnessy are Red Sox fans and great sportswriters-with all due respect to our Boston readership-for Boston. Writing before former Red Sox hero turned Yankees avatar Roger Clemens' last Fenway appearance, Mr. Shaughnessy (in what was incidentally a great piece of writing) asked in The Times : "Anyone in Boston remember Larry Bird's last game?" Times Sports editor Tom Jolly said he had "heard from people who really enjoy what the Boston view is.

    New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said he wasn't thinking about The Times ' stake in the Red Sox or the Globe when he came up with the idea of the "Boston View" and contacted Globe editor Martin Baron, on vacation in Turkey, to see if it could happen.

    "I always forget about that until I read it somewhere," Mr. Keller said. "It's nothing that crosses my mind.

    Whether the owners of The Times would call

    Mr. Keller said he had been hoping to generate more sparks on the page, and was happy on Monday, Oct. 13, when Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy weighed in with the best and harshest commentary of the series, chiding both Mr. Martinez and the fans that foolishly cheered him on.

    "I thought there would be a little more head-banging than there's been," Mr. Keller said, "that the columnists would maybe go at each other a little bit, and I guess I thought the columns would be a little bit feistier."

    Was Mr. Keller viewing the series from the point of view of his New York readership?

    "We can't not be a New York paper," Mr. Keller said. "And some aspects of New York, including our sports franchises,

    But The Times doesn't own the Chicago Sun-Times , the Cubs, the Marlins or the Miami Herald .

    All of which makes this an awkward time for The Times to make its most significant public alliance with the Globe since buying the paper from the Taylor family in 1993. Until now, 43rd Street-at least in print-had treated the Globe like The Times ' cousin in Millville, Ohio: a once-every-other-summer kind of affair. Not for long.

    From NY Observer article by Sridhar Pappu, "Times Sux Sox-Paper Coddling its Boston Team," 10/19/03

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    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Live baseball coming to dying movie theatres--NY Times

    "Coming soon to movie theatres will be broadcasts of live baseball games, rock concerts, classic TV shows and..other offerings not associated with the silver screen....

    The New York Mets simulcast last August at Ziegfeld Theater in New York, where a live organist and the team mascot led viewers in singalongs as though they were in the ballpark.

    “Tickets to watch the game in the theater sold out so quickly that we’re in talks to do a bunch more of them this summer,” said Dave Howard, Mets exec. vp for business operations."...

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    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    NY Times pitches for Red Sox with Werner, Mitchell group--Dec. 2001

    "The New York Times wants a piece of the Boston Red Sox, and talk about a strange romance. Like Caesar and Cleopatra.

    • The Times Company has hitched itself to a bidding group headed by television producer Tom Werner-former owner of the San Diego Padres, co-creator of Roseanne , Katie Couric's boyfriend-because the ball club comes with a television station. That's easy to understand: The Times , for 50 years a television tortoise,
    • is eager to strengthen its media grip in the region where the paper paid $1.1 billion for The Boston Globe in 1993.
    But to accelerate its long-marinating TV ambition, the Times Company is trying to dip a long toe into the baseball business,
    • and not just the baseball business-the Boston Red Sox, of all things, the team that seems to exist as a photographic negative of the New York Yankees....
    There are other bidders-Cablevision's Charles Dolan; New York lawyer Miles Prentice, possibly to be backed by Steven Rattner's Quadrangle investment group, The Globe reported-but the Times Company's play for the Red Sox certainly had the anything-can-happen weirdness of-who knows what?-Russia joining NATO....
    • There was also some moaning about conflicts of interest should Mr. Werner's and the Times Company's bid-
    • other partners include skiing kingpin Les Otten, and "adviser"
    • and former Maine Senator George Mitchell-go through.

    "The more I think about things, the Red Sox are a really swell organization," Dan Shaughnessy, the Globe columnist and author of The Curse of the Bambino , the primer on Boston's tragic baseball history, wrote, jokingly, in the paper on Nov. 30. "I think I've been too harsh on the Sox over the years."

    • ...Now, entered into the Red Sox race, the company may been looking to "solidify its position as the leading news and advertising media in New England," as it said in a written statement, but it's trespassing into territory far deeper and more complicated than the weird 1946 near-trade of Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio.

    "The whole idea of what it is to be a Red Sox fan is not just about the Red Sox,

    • it's about the Yankees," said Bob Costas, the NBC sports broadcaster." Even though The Times doesn't represent the Yankees, it's a strange connection to the city that has dealt them so much heartache, and is the object of so much resentment."
    • The Times Company, of course, carefully points out that its minority-ownership stake in Mr. Werner's group means it will not have any role in the operation of the ball club. ...

    Likewise, the Times Company insists that editorial coverage will not be influenced.

    • "The integrity of our news reports and the vitality of our business depends on maintaining the independence of our journalists from commercial pressure," the written statement read. (Through a spokesperson, the Times Company declined an interview request about their involvement in the Red Sox bid and how it fits within the company's broader television mission, saying it was too early to do so.)
    • Between the lines, however, the Times Company is signaling that this deal is just business. If the Red Sox accept Mr. Werner's group's bid,

    the newspaper will have control of the New England Sports Network, a bland but potent MSG-type carrier that is now in 3.6 million homes. To the Times Company, NESN is purely a vessel, one that would not only carry local sports teams, but also serve as a platform for Globe -oriented programming and personalities-and more important, a lure for advertisers seeking a multi-media buy....

    "This idea of TV makes no sense to me," said Mr. Shaughnessy, the Globe columnist. "I don't see having a TV network as particularly advantageous for what we do on a daily basis. This is The Times being The Times , and they're trying to beef up the company, which is good."...

    If Mr. Werner's group gets the team-the Red Sox have been valued at around $400 million-the Times Company will be close to establishing in New England what it has longed for at a national level. In addition to the Globe , the area's dominant media presence, the Times Company also owns the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a nearby daily. A NESN- Globe - Telegram combination is not quite the TV-radio-print headlock the Tribune Company has in Chicago with the Cubs-and it's certainly not anything like Braves games on Ted Turner's national TBS Superstation-but it's close to the kind of integrated, multi-platform distribution that Mr. Sulzberger covets.

    • Of course, this is also a news organization, and the synergy pill won't go down easily. There has been grumbling at the Globe -which the Times Company purchased from the Taylor family, the longtime publishers-
    that The Times gave preferential treatment to its own paper in revealing its role in the Red Sox bid.
    • A Times spokesperson denied this allegation, saying the Globe' s reporters were given the same information....
    There's also the conflict issue.
    • While few believe that a Times stake would influence day-to-day coverage of the Red Sox in either the Globe or The Times, it could become more complicated when it came to stadium projects or land-use issues,

    when a newspaper's editorial page would usually be employed. "When the interests of the team intersect with public policy, then you have an interesting situation," said Bob Costas.

    Mostly though, it just feels odd. The Red Sox are perhaps Boston's most famed cultural institution. While Mr. Werner's group scored Boston points by announcing a plan to save Fenway Park by wrapping a 21st-century stadium around the old bandbox--there has also been a predictable groundswell of support for a local ownership group headed by businessman Joe O'Donnell.
    • Mr. Werner has also been lambasted in the press for his role in gutting the San Diego Padres roster in the early 1990's.
    Still, even in diehard Boston, there is general acceptance that an era has passed, that baseball is a business, that conglomerates buy local treasures, that border wars aren't what they once were. "We're all cousins now," said the documentary filmmaker and producer of Baseball,
    • Ken Burns, a Red Sox fan.

    WNYC radio host Jonathan Schwartz lamented the loss of the "magic of the geography that informed my childhood … the Yankees were here, and there, in another world, almost in another country, were the heroes of my own heart."

    • It's also true that the rivalry on the field isn't what it was. While the Red Sox have fielded consistently solid teams for several years, the Yankees, of course, have won three of the last four World Series. Worse, the Yankees are a far more likable team than the Reggie-era roughnecks who tormented Boston in the late 1970's during the heyday of the clash.

    If anything, the attack of the Times Company could make affronted New Yorkers angrier than Bostonians.

    Then again, the Times Company as puppet owner

    • might inspire a round of conspiratorial fury in Boston akin to the Babe Ruth sale and the DiMaggio brothers, not to mention the triumphs of Sparky Lyle, Bill Monbouquette and Roger Clemens in the Bronx."
    From NY Observer article, "Times Pitches for Red Sox," 12/9/01, by Sridhar Pappu and Jason Gray

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    "Bud," you didn't tell us our rooms would be bugged.

    "Americans traveling to China for the Olympic Games in August can expect their hotel rooms there to be monitored, the State Department warned on its website.
    • "All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations," according to the State Department site.

    "All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant's consent or knowledge," it said.

    • It added that many hotels and apartment buildings may be poorly built,

    • lack emergency exits,

    • carbon monoxide monitors and

    • basic security like locks, alarms, and personnel."...

    AFP report via Breitbart.com, 3/21/08

    • (How can you play baseball if you're dead? Minor problem).

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    Friday, March 21, 2008

    George Mitchell, exculpator for USOC Investigation, just read newspapers.

    "George Mitchell headed a U.S. Olympic Committee inquiry, launched after the IOC and Salt Lake Organizing Committee probes (into bribery).

    The USOC "was looking for some way to exculpate itself from any involvement in a process that was seriously flawed and in which it had a serious part," (Dick) Pound said.

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    NY Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman writes of adoration for Fidel Castro--fellow pitcher

    Submitted 8/6/06 by Mortimer B. Zuckerman in US News and World Report:
    • Zuckerman: "...Both of us had been pitchers, and we both still keenly enjoyed the game."
    "Several years and many requests went by before I was finally granted my first one-on-one interview with Fidel Castro. But it was well worth waiting for. When we first sat down, we began talking at about 8 p.m. and didn't finish till 5 the next morning, with Fidel's translator, Juanita, providing brilliant support throughout. For the first four to five hours, Fidel pumped me for all kinds of information about America, from the role of the news media to race relations, from politics to the economy. Once he had exhausted his curiosity about the United States, he began answering my questions about Cuba, all of them.
    • The interview took place about 15 years ago, and we focused intently on two subjects. One was the Cuban missile crisis; the other was Fidel's experience with the Russians and their military advisers, whom he utterly disdained.

    Balls and strikes. To my surprise, as I was touring a medical research center after we finished talking, Fidel showed up and offered to serve as tour guide. We spent the rest of the day together, and the next two days after that. Each night, we sat down for dinner at about 8 or 9 p.m. and talked for seven or eight hours....

    • To this day, I have one regret from that first visit.

    On my last day in Havana, Fidel invited me to join him at the Cuban World Series, which was to start the next day. In our younger days, both of us had been pitchers, and we both still keenly enjoyed the game.

    We met many times after that, each time talking deep into the night about what was going on with our respective countries and about the prospect of improved Cuban-American relations....

    • Indeed, as I reflect on the 150 to 200 hours of conversations with him, I am impressed that a man who maintained such iron-fisted control over such an authoritarian regime could be possessed of such a roving, inquisitive mind....
    Fidel Castro was somebody with whom, despite our deep political differences, I was able to establish an extraordinary bond, with a remarkable ease of conversation. I look forward to talking with him again soon."

    Mr. Zuckerman is owner & publisher of the NY Daily News. He also has a real estate company called, "Boston Properties." He was born in Canada, and received his law degree from Harvard, where he was an associate professor for 9 years.

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    3 moguls in talks to buy Newsday--NY Times

    "Three of New York’s biggest moguls are in discussions to buy Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, from the Tribune Company, people involved in the sale process said Thursday.

    The three interested bidders are Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the News Corporation, owner of The New York Post; Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the real estate developer and publisher who owns The Daily News, The Post’s tabloid rival; and James L. Dolan, whose family controls Cablevision, the cable television operator, these people said."...

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    12/11/02--George Mitchell resigns 9/11 Commission over "conflict of interest"

    As did the 9/11 Commission's original Chairman, Henry Kissinger.
    • Even a corrupt organization like the federal government wouldn't accept a verbal assurance of "impeccable integrity."
    Both Kissinger and Mitchell were asked to provide sources of their income and a list of their clients and declined to do so. In 2002, Mitchell's "potential" conflict of interest was enough that he had to resign from the commission. (Not that the Commission was ever going to solve anything anyway).
    • Mitchell was not about to be denied the public and media spotlight again, even if all he did was xerox the results of others' work and collect millions for himself. The appearance of propriety (forget about the real thing) is eschewed in MLB, where Mitchell's actual conflict of interest was completely accepted by the independent nation state of aw-shucks Bud (MLB, MLB.com, etc.)
    (Comments about the so-called Mitchell Report run in a continuous loop on Yankees.com. If you're tired of hearing about it, call MLB.com)

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    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Communist China admits shooting protesters dead--hopefully no bullets hit our best pitchers.

    • *But let's hurry and send our best players anyway.*
    At least 4 protesters shot dead by Communist Chinese military.
    • US Baseball does not belong in Communist China, nor in its Olympics, nor in any Olympics. Nor in any World Cup or World Baseball Classic.
    The idea MLB Baseball players should be taken from their teams and sent around a demonstrably unsafe world will be shown to be humanly impossible. Additionally, the cost will be prohibitive, starting with the sine qua non of 'world travel'--oil.
    • The Olympics (like MLB) is a corrupt.political institution that is allowed to behave like an independent nation-state.
    (Photo, above: Hitler saluting, Opening Ceremonies of 1936 Olympics Games in Berlin).
    • P.S. "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has been completed with Charley Steiner. He spoke endearingly the other day of "Bud" Selig's child-like delight being part of baseball in Communist China. (Personally, I'm not a used car and therefore cannot be sold).
    There is nowhere to turn for objective information about MLB. If you think you've found a place, Bob DuPuy's voice will be heard within moments to put a stop to it.


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    MLB.com makes Hank look like horse's ass

    Hank, MLB.com gives all teams an exciting "Season Preview" video on their site. Except your team.
    • Yankees.com still features a re-cap of Mitchell Report interviews--after the opening titles, "2008 Season Preview." Running in a continuous loop. And has been doing so for a number of weeks. I've checked several times, and nothing else has run on Yankees.com but that.
    I checked other team sites who had players "named," and not a word was mentioned on their video.

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    Grand theft: Bear Stearns by the US Government--no baseball tickets for you

    Where is money going that might otherwise be used to buy tickets to a baseball game?
    • For Bear, the final nail in the coffin came not from Wall Street, but from the government....
    So the government, led by Henry M. Paulson, the Treasury secretary (and the former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, for you conspiracy theorists), put a gun to Bear’s head: take a deal with JPMorgan or file for bankruptcy." ...

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    ESPN announcer is honest, and Hank is proven right again.

    "Our mayor is the greatest." (Referring to the mayor of Boston, Massachusetts and his ability to host successful victory parades).
    • Statement by ESPN TV play by play announcer during telecast of Yankee-Blue Jays game today.

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    Communist China says "no news of violence for you"

    (BBC): "China has been aggressively censoring international media in an attempt to lock down information about the violent demonstrations in Tibet's capital, Lhasa.
    • The anti-Chinese protests are an extremely sensitive issue for Beijing, which is desperate to avoid bad publicity only months before the Olympic Games.

    In recent days, TV broadcasts have been blacked out, websites blocked or censored by China's keyword filtering system and reporters on the ground prevented from reaching the region.

    • The degree of censorship appears to be fluctuating and uneven, however....
    Other broadcasters like CNN have also been affected - with transmission blocked, and reporters obstructed, amid tight controls on physical access to Tibet, which is off-limits to foreign reporters without a permit....
    • 'Connection reset'
    China operates a sophisticated keyword filtering system to censor internet content, which is capable of spotting homonyms and synonyms and even some kinds of rogue punctuation that internet users might use to sidestep the censorship.
    • Baidu, is the search engine most used by the Chinese - but this is heavily censored."...
    From BBC report by Matthew Davis, "China Cracks Down on Protest News," 3/18/08
    • (Which side do you consider crazy, silly, conspiracy theorists, marginal idiots at best? Or, would you prefer to censor your answer?)

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    David Mamet's Village Voice essay on his 'revision'--Wall St. Journal

    Seeking a clue to Mr. Mamet's change in view ("...No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal," linked in this post), writer sees independence of playwrights vs screenwriters:
    • "Hollywood does a good job of policing the public political activities and statements of its workforce. Step out of its left line, the man comes and take you away. It helps the policers that
    • Playwrights, by contrast, have total control over what their scripts say.
    This, one suspects, affects the two trades' habits of thinking."...

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    Papelbon's father is deputy director of Ted Williams Museum

    Re: The Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, among those honored on the evening of March 18th were,
    • "Jonathan Papelbon (whose father is the deputy director of the museum)"...
    From Newsday by Jim Baumbach, "Reggie: Steinbrenner Belongs in Cooperstown," 3/19/08
    • ***(The item about Papelbon's father is at the end of the article. I just like to keep track of personnel and relatives at various awards facilities). sm

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    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Blame the 66 minute Red Sox strike on, of course, the Yankees

    (NY Times): "The confusion stemmed from the negotiations between the union and Major League Baseball over how much the players would get and the amount of the guarantee from the games’ sponsor, Yomiuri Shimbun.
    • When the Yankees and the Rays opened the 2004 season in Tokyo, Yomiuri guaranteed $13.5 million. This time, it guaranteed $11 million.

    Because the players wanted at least as much as the players received in 2004 to play the games, something had to give. For the players to be guaranteed $40,000 each there would be no money for the coaches and others.

    • It was expected, however, that the clubs would take care of the others....
    ...“In the end, the players on both teams were told others would receive additional compensation.”When the Yankees opened the 2004 season in Japan, Mike Mussina said Wednesday, the players received a large pool of money and equally divided it among players, coaches and staff.
    • “There are a lot of things to do,” Mussina, their player representative, said, “and if they’re going to board the plane and do the same travel as we are, they deserve just as much as anybody who is going out on the field playing, at least in my opinion, and apparently the Red Sox felt that way, too.”"
    *********************** AP report does not cite Japanese company, saying MLB and the Players Assn. made the agreement and knew what they were doing:
    • "But this time, the agreement between MLB and the players' association called only for payments to 30 players on each club, and left out the coaches....
    Major League Baseball agreed to pay the managers, coaches and trainers on the trip $20,000 each from management's proceeds, a person familiar with the agreement said, speaking on condition of anonymity because details weren't announced. The Red Sox agreed to make up the difference to make the amount equal, and to pay some of the other team personnel making the trip, the person said.
    • "It was a misunderstanding of what agreement was reached between MLB and the MLBPA," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. "We said we would step up and make sure a second pool was created and would seek contributions from all parties."...
    From AP report, "Red Sox, MLB Resolve Japan Trip Pay Issues," 3/19/08, published on sportingnews.com
    • (It's my observation that ultra-ultra rich people--billionaires--are the cheapest, meanest people in the world). sm

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    How informative of Pittsburgh Pirates radio

    One of the Pirates radio guys says tonight during the game v Yankees:
    • "All Joe Torre did was sit in the dugout, take a nap, wake up in the 8th inning and call in his closer."
    I had no idea that's how it worked. Fascinating.

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    Mitchell Report still running on Yankees.com as "Season Preview"

    MLB.com's team websites feature happy 2008 "Season Previews." With the exception of Yankees.com. Still running on a continuous loop on the video screen at Yankees.com are Mitchell Report comments and interviews. I've checked the site many times in the past several weeks and the Mitchell Report is all that's running there. Even though other teams were involved in that report, they all get to have Season Previews from MLB.
    • While Hank is giving famous quotes to reporters, the billionaires and politicians at MLB are embarrassing him.

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    Joe Girardi gets own show on YES Network starting Sun., 4/6

    "In an unusual move, Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network gave freshman New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi his own weekly television show.

    In addition to the weekly show, Girardi will participate in weekly chat sessions on YesNetwork.com.

    John Filippelli said in announcing the show. “As the Yankees embark on the ‘Joe Girardi Era,’ this show will give Yankees fans a better understanding of Joe’s managing style, his decision-making process and his thoughts on the team and its competition.”"...

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    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Unsung Hero of Virginia Tech massacre: 77 year old Mr. Librescu

    (As posted on this blog 4/17/07): The man on the left is the Virginia Tech massacre's version of the "Let's Roll" passenger in the 9/11/01 World Trade Center massacre. Liviu Librescu was an engineering professor and a Holocaust survivor. Mr. Librescu used his body to block a door, yelling at a group of students in the room to get out while they could. The murderer then broke down the door and shot the 77 year old gentleman in the chest. (Pictured on the right is Mr. Librescu's son Aryeh, who was interviewed from his home and wasn't a student at the campus). Photo from Virginia Tech.

    4/18/07, 5:35PM--I started this blog talking about matters related to baseball THAT ARE THE RESULT OF A CULTURE OF PASSIVITY. I mentioned passivity earlier in this post, now find words on the subject of 'passivity' in the Va. Tech massacre from someone who says it better than I:
    • "Nonetheless, it’s deeply damaging to portray fit fully formed adults as children who need to be protected. We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself — and, in a “horrible” world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor,***Professor Librescu,*** understood instinctively the obligation to act.
    "We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket. Geraldo-like “protection” is a delusion: when something goes awry — whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus — the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

    When we say “we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances”, we make cowardice the default position.

    I’d prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare.

    8:10PM--The tapes have been heard, NBC will now tell us what to think. I've seen no evidence I should believe a word NBC's Steve Capus says, so I prepare for him to blow smoke. (Steve's been in the news quite a bit in the past week). But this really takes the cake. The 8PM NBC radio news reports in shrill & alarming tone: the killer "compared himself to Jesus Christ." Thank heaven, they've solved the whole thing for us, gee, I'm so relieved. So Christianity is the main problem, now we know what to fix.

    posted by susan mullen at 4/17/2007 08:49:00 PM
    • Being "close knit" is fine. It didn't save your lives though. Or, what you feel as "close knit" is something else. In either case, it's not what you need to stay alive. Assuming you want to stay alive...

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    Yankees.com still doesn't have "Season Previews" from MLB.com like normal teams.

    • MLB.com's "Season Preview" video on Yankees.com has been different from other team websites I've visited. For many weeks, MLB.com has run a continuous loop of "selected" Mitchell Report highlights on Yankees.com--as a stimulating 2008 Team Preview.
    If you visited the site, you'd think the entire Mitchell Report was about the Yankees. As I posted here on 3/14, the Cardinals MLB.com video was all about the bright season ahead. No mention of the Mitchell Report whatsoever, Rick Ankiel, etc. The Cleveland Indians site, I thought might mention $25,000 HGH user Paul Bryd, but again, not a word there from MLB.com. Their video was all about the upcoming season.
    • MLB.com is clearly free to shape public opinion unfettered by journalistic standards of any kind. Apparently the Yankees themselves don't even care.
    A few minutes ago (3/18) I checked the Yankees.com site to see if the loop was still running. As of this moment, the Mitchell Report scandal is not running on the site, but neither is any other video. It starts, then stops after a few seconds, frozen on a frame of a few players on the field. So, I'll be checking back to see what MLB.com is doing.
    • MLB.com has long since made clear its position regarding truth and integrity. It has none, but that's only part of the story. The worse part is that no one cares.

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    Kat O'Brien is smart. His name was Seung-Hui Cho.

    In her report about the Yankees playing at Virginia Tech, she says:
    • BLACKSBURG, Va. - "The Virginia Tech community was torn apart last April 16,
    • Theresa Walsh from Binghamton, N.Y., was in one of the classrooms
    • in which Cho committed some of the murders.
    • She was shot at, but not hit, on that day."...
    Ms. OBrien helps to prevent such murders from happening again by giving the criminal a name. This slaughter was preventable. Various persons shirked their responsibility in allowing a dangerous person to remain in school among unarmed students sent there by parents.
    • It was not a tragedy such as a tornado or hurricane. Unless you think being slaughtered is no big deal these days. After all, the poor guy was "shy and sensitive."
    • It was cold blooded premeditated murder and the criminal's name was Seung-Hui Cho.
    From Newsday article by Kat O'Brien, "Yankees Pay Tribute to Va. Tech Victims," 3/18/08

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    NY Times gives 2 board seats to Hedge Funds

    "A person close to the funds’ leaders said that the Harbinger-Firebrand team could have won a proxy fight, but that the effort would have been expensive and damaging to relations with management. He was given anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss their strategy....
    • The hedge funds have argued that the company should sell many of its assets — including, possibly, the headquarters building in Manhattan, The Boston Globe, some smaller newspapers and a minority
    stake in the Boston Red Sox
    • and invest aggressively in Internet companies. But the funds have also been careful not to criticize management directly, and have said that once they are privy to inside information, they may have a different view of the company’s strategy."...
    From NY Times article by Richard Perez-Pena, "Times Co. to Give Board Seats to 2 Hedge Funds," 3/17/08. Via Poynter.org/Romenesko

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