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Sunday, November 30, 2008

1976 Battle of the Network Stars featuring Howard Cosell

Anything with Howard Cosell and Telly Savalas is watchable. This clip is unique for the appearance of ABC Sports executive Howard Katz. via Neil Best Watchdog.

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Bart Giamatti again

"It breaks your heart. It was designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again,
  • and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come,
  • it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
  • You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then,
  • just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops"....
From "The Green Fields of the Mind," by A. Bartlett Giamatti (a Red Sox fan).

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A Closer look at Frankie Rodriguez 2008 stats, such as poor ERA, highest walks of his career, 7 blown saves

(Tyler's Take, FoxSports.com, 11/4/08): "While Rodriguez had a historic season, a lot of his current market value is derived from context....Saves aside, his 2008 campaign was actually one of the worst single-season performances of his career.

Rodriguez also struggled with his control at times,

Perhaps even more telling is this: among major league relievers who registered more than 40.0 innings pitched, Rodriguez

  • K/9 (19th), top 40 in opponents’ OPS (42),
  • top 100 in K/W ratio.

The flame throwing right-hander...led the league

Essentially, several other dominant closers—from Brad Lidge to Mariano Rivera—had much stronger overall finishes, but

Rodriguez, it is worth pointing out, blew seven saves to finish behind several of his contemporaries in save conversion rate. If he posted a similar mark with fewer chances to shut the door with a lead in the ninth inning,

(figures reference regular season only) sm

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'Boss Radio' chief Bill Drake passes

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Collateral Yankee moves-Newsday

(Newsday, Ken Davidoff): In addition to Bobby Meacham's departure: "The Yankees have informed the ultra-popular Frank "Hondo" Howard that his services won't be retained. Howard worked this past season as a professional scout. And former Yankees outfielder Hector Lopez, who spent the last 15 seasons as a coach for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Yankees, won't return, either. batting-practice pitcher Mitch Seone and massage therapist Scott Yelin."

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oops--Thousands in Puerto Rico on wait list for Correa Baseball School

(MLB.com 11/29/08): ""The lack of players being developed in Puerto Rico is evident, not only playing baseball, but in From the same MLB.com article, thousands of kids are on Correa Baseball Academy's waiting list:
  • "The average graduating class at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School is between 55-70 students a year. There are thousands on the school's waiting list."
So, it's not true that kids aren't interested--they're very interested. It was MLB that wasn't interested--it's more expensive to develop players in Puerto Rico for example than the Dominican Republic.
  • having to finish high school and be 18 years of age to sign a minor league contract, attend a junior college or complete at least 3 years of a 4-year college
  • and/or be 21 years of age if the 3rd year is not completed.
It hardly seems fair for a small Caribbean island, although a territory of the U.S, to not be able to compete on an even playing field

And Panama, literally a banana republic, once the home for Chiquita Bananas International, until it moved to Costa Rica where labor was cheaper, also has largely been ignored by MLB. Only 5 major leaguers from Panama remained on MLB rosters in 2007, most notably NY Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, and Houston Astros outfielder, Carlos Lee. Hall of Famer, Rod Carew also hailed from Panama.

What this all comes down to is not some noble attempt for MLB to spread baseball throughout the world, such as the U.S. government would like us to believe that globalization is about democratizing the rest of world.
  • It is all about the dollar, no matter if young boys and men of the Dominican Republic are exploited, or whether Venezuelan's are threatened with the possibility of losing their now national pastime.
in its own territory of Puerto Rico, also deserves questioning."

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ESPN bosses told Joe Morgan to mute concerns about increased power hitting--Zirin

Zirin, 7/17/07, NPR: "Increased offense and media buzz meant increased money. In 1995, with the sport on life support, the owners sold their broadcast rights for 565 million bucks, which represented a major loss. In 2001, they sold the playoff rights alone for $2 billion.

As Joe Morgan said, "I would be broadcasting a game and there would be players hitting balls in a way that they had no business hitting them."

Morgan's unease about the "cheapening of the home run" was rooted in reality. But it would be wildly ignorant to accept the conventional wisdom put forward

  • by everyone from the sports media to the U.S. Congress to the baseball moralists that steroids are the reason or even most of the reason for the 1990's power boom. It doesn't even come close to telling the whole story. It's an argument born of hysteria.
The owners actually had a multipronged strategy to make Major League Baseball more like beer-league softball—and it was subtle as a blowtorch.
  • And little by little, step by step, this became the new reality. There has been too much to write it off as coincidence."
People call this a conspiracy theory, but baseball has a proud history of conspiracies. For six decades, without ever putting the idea to paper, owners kept out African-American players. In the 1980s, they colluded to keep down salaries and deny players the right of free agency, costing players, according to an arbitrator's ruling, millions of dollars.

Sources of the Boom

The new parks are "fan-friendly"—unless your kid happens to go to a school whose shrinking budget paid for these monuments (ballfields built with public funds) to corporate greed. They are, in any case, long-ballfriendly with shorter fences.

Then there are the balls and bats themselves.

  • Countless baseball insiders believe that the ball is now wound tighter than it was twenty years ago.
  • As for the bats, as recently as fifteen years ago, players used untreated ash bats.
  • Now the bats are maple and lacquered. That means the ball goes farther.
Add on the impact of technology: players now go into the clubhouse after every at-bat to look at videotapes and study and correct their swing immediately in a way previous generations could not have dreamed of doing. They even have video iPods with which they can analyze their latest swing as soon as they step down into the dugout.
  • Next we have the incredible shrinking strike zone. The area where a pitched ball can be called a strike has shrunk, in the words of pitcher Greg Maddux, to "the size of a postage stamp."

The owners consciously engineered this trend, and when umpires refused to assent to a microscopic, uniform strike zone,

  • Major League Baseball crushed their union and

installed machines to monitor their abilities. The smaller strike zone means that pitchers have to hit very precise spots to get a strike. That means batters can target those areas for upper-cut home run swings.

  • Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer said,

But an equally big reason that power numbers are up is that the game finally shed its nineteenth-century view of strength conditioning.... For example, it has been the conventional wisdom for most of baseball's history that lifting weights would destroy your swing, causing the muscles to bunch up....

  • Many teams even had a practice of fining or suspending players if they were caught pumping iron. Now weight lifting is a part of every team's regimen as they have realized—to the shock of the old-timers—that being stronger means you can hit the ball farther.

All of these factors are independent of illegal steroids. I made this case last winter on a radio show and a writer for Sports Illustrated asked me if I also believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus....But the best proof is that in 2006, the off-season saw intensive testing and far fewer positive results, while home run numbers this year were up. Before he was injured, Albert Pujols was on pace for eighty-four home runs....

Well Then, Why Use Them? Sports are a lottery ticket out of poverty. The gap between success and failure is razor thin, but the practical difference is astronomical. A minor league player makes on average about $1,200 a month while an even marginal MLB player can make $500,000 a year.

Poverty marks the background of most pro athletes, but in baseball this tendency is particularly extreme...Teams fund multimillion-dollar "baseball academies" to develop talent on the cheap. But it bears repeating that, for every star like Pedro Martinez or Miguel Tejada, there are thousands of Dominican players cast aside.

And the Dominican Republic is attractive to major league execs for more reasons than its sunny beaches and never-ending supply of prospects.

  • But those not in the top tier often take cheaper animal steroids. Minor leaguer Lino Ortiz took this route, went into shock, and died.

This is billionaires telling people from desperately poor backgrounds to do what they say or have fun in the cane fields. Sure they're free not to juice. They are also free to go back to the ghetto or back to the island."...

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ESPN is killing sports media--Whitlock

(Jason Whitlock): "My goal as a journalist/columnist is to be right about issues
  • others don't see coming or don't have
I believe the World Wide Leader is the most evil and destructive force in the sports world. It has driven and hastened the destruction of authentic,
  • independent,
  • democratic,
  • courageous sports journalism.

ESPN is the enemy of the truth, and all who believe a pursuit of the truth

  • is the lifeblood of a genuinely free society must stand

I reached this conclusion when trying to figure out why Ball State quarterback Nate Davis isn't one of the top-five Heisman Trophy candidates and Ball State coach Brady Hoke isn't the front-runner for national coach of the year....

  • I love Ball State. I'm not willing to lie for Ball State.

If it was 1985 and Sports Illustrated and print journalism were still the institutions driving the conversation in the sports world, a Ball State football alum and

  • a late-night talk-show host wouldn't be the media people telling you
  • about Davis and Hoke.

Believe it or not, before ESPN purchased the majority of relevant sports programming and

  • when substance and the little guy actually had a voice in the sports world....

Yes, back before one television enterprise monopolized the sports world, you actually could put together a serious run at the Heisman even if you weren't the starting quarterback of the top-ranked team Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger just anointed....

  • Look, if the sports world didn't operate under the control of a
  • sports-media dictatorship, I wouldn't have to provide you the context.
  • A powerful, unbiased, independent journalist would've traveled

to Ball State during the summer and talked with the man who recruited Tom Brady to Michigan (Brady Hoke) and the man who coached Tom Brady at Michigan (Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish)....

primarily after Mike Lupica and "Sports Reporters" producer Joe Valerio made it clear that I would not be allowed to talk about Barry Bonds and steroids in a way they found disagreeable. (There's more to the story and you can Google and find all of the additional background rather easily.)

If you're going to televise multiple Big 12 games in primetime on ABC and ESPN, you have every reason to promote

  • the myth that the majority of Heisman Trophy candidates play in the Big 12....

This is the combination that is killing the sports media. No journalism background, no real athletic experience

  • (Chris) Fowler wouldn't make a competent blogger....

Hoke built one of the nation's best teams, is the MAC's eighth-highest-paid coach and still doesn't have his own office.

Stories like Hoke's and Davis' used to define my profession and enrich our enjoyment of sports.

  • Now we're fed a steady diet of Donovan McNabb didn't know games could end in a tie

Sports media is dying by suicide and ESPN is Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

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Happy Birthday, Mo

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Hostage negotiations on CC

Sabathia has not turned down the Yankees' initial public offering but is rumored to favor playing elsewhere. Fine. Experience has shown if a player doesn't want to play for Yankees, don't bother with the guy. Ken Davidoff nevertheless reports the team is considering raising their offer, the idea being to tempt him away from the Angels. I don't think this is an advisable way in which to negotiate, looks out of control and desperate. There must be some young pitchers in Puerto Rico, the Dominican or Panama who would like to pitch for the Yankees.

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New MLB Channel features a studio 42--Neil Best

(Newsday): "Still, for all the urgency, the buzz around the Secaucus, N.J., headquarters is one of calm efficiency as workers build two huge, complex studios - Because the network initially will rely heavily on live studio shows - eight or more hours' worth on a busy summer night - it is important for the sets to be versatile and visually interesting. Mr. Best notes MLB Channel chief Petitti aims to offer wide coverage. Best wonders: And baseball fans don't care that this is the way it is (otherwise, things would change). (sm)

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bob Grant gone from 8P-10P show on WABC radio-will be heard this Friday filling in for Mark Levin

UPDATE: Bob to return to WABC radio Sunday nights beginning September 13, 2009.
  • Bob has been replaced by Laura Ingraham from 8-10PM or Curtis Sliwa from 10PM-1AM depending on how you look at it. Either way it's a big loss for radio and for Bob's many fans. The entry of Curtis's show at 10PM caused Ingraham's show to move and it happened to move to Bob's time slot. I heard Mark Levin say "the great Bob Grant" would be filling in for him this Friday 6-8PM. Bob may do other fill in appearances between now and the end of the year when his contract ends. I'm hopeful he'll re-emerge somewhere.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sabathia's silence may be his answer--Newsday

(Matthews): "Maybe, you might think, Sabathia really doesn't want to play in New York. Or live here. And you wonder if, despite Sabathia's age (28), record of success and evident strength of character, he and
  • the Yankees might not be such an ideal fit after all.
One needn't go too far back in Yankees history ( Randy Johnson, anyone?) to understand exactly what I'm talking about. With his silence, perhaps CC Sabathia sends an even stronger one back." (this portion at end of article)

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Financial failures usher in new presidency--Spengler

Spengler wonders about Wall St. wizards advising the new administration: The one-trick wizards of Wall Street had one idea, which was to ride the trend and pile on as much leverage as credulous investors Failed financiers run the Obama transition team. It used to be that the heads of great industrial companies got the top Cabinet posts....
  • The Reagan administration had encountered a stock market in 1981 trading 50% below its the long-term trend. Reagan restored the equity market to trend by cutting taxes, suppressing inflation and easing some regulations.
The private equity sharps were fleas traveling on Reagan's dog. They simply rode the trend with the maximum of leverage. ...
  • That explains how a Washington political operative like
  • Rahm Emanuel, now Obama's chief of staff, who studied ballet rather than balance sheets,
  • could earn a reported $16.2 million in two-and-a-half years at Wasserstein Perella, the mergers and acquisitions boutique....
Without leverage, the clever folk around Barack Obama are fleas without a dog.
  • None of them
  • introduced an important new product,
  • opened a new market, or
They wore expensive cufflinks,
  • read balance sheets,
  • sat on philanthropic boards, and
assumed that their flea's ride on the Reagan dog would last forever. ...
  • And it will turn out no better than it did for
From Spengler in Asia Times, via MichaelSavage.com

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Instead of Citi Field, 'US Taxpayer Field"

"AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support, ABC News has found....

"This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup's new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in a statement Monday. ...

Citicorp is not reviewing its deal with the Mets, chief financial officer Gary Crittenden said in an interview Monday. Crittenden told CNBC the contract was "legal and binding" and "not an issue."...

Bank of America spokesman Joseph Goode said his bank's deal with the Panthers is making the bank money. "Any investments we make in sponsorship marketing are directly linked to driving revenue growth for the bank," he said, noting the deal also allowed Bank of America to market debit cards with the Panthers logo. He would not comment on the reported pending deal with the Yankees."... via Lucianne.com

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MSG had big plans for Francesa--Neil Best

"MSG Media president Mike Bair said last week that MSG planned to make Mike Francesa a big part of the network had it won its bid to take over the simulcast of Francesa's WFAN show from YES in 2009.
  • But YES exercised its right to match a deal believe to be worth around $2.5 million per year for five years, leaving MSG "quite disappointed," according to Bair....

"But it doesn't mean we’re not going to continue with the relationship. We’re still in talks with him to do other things.""...

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Price of Dissent on Global Warming

(photo of Al Gore's new houseboat via Powerline blog)

According to official data, in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that?

My absence has been noticed, because wherever I go I meet people who say: "I grew up with you on the television, where are you now?"

  • It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on children's program Blue Peter, and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock. The truth is, I didn't think wind farms were an effective means of alternative energy, so I said so. Back then, at the BBC you had to toe the line, and I wasn't doing that.

At that point, I was still making loads of TV programs and I was enjoying it greatly. Then I suddenly found I was sending in ideas for TV shows and they weren't getting taken up. I've asked around about why I've been ignored, but I found that

  • people didn't get back to me. At the beginning of this year there was a BBC show with four experts saying: "This is going to be the end of all the ice in the Arctic," and hypothesising that it was going to be the hottest summer ever. Was it hell! It was very cold and very wet and now we've seen evidence that the glaciers in Alaska have started growing rapidly, and they have not grown for a long time."...
Bankrupt Lehman Brothers lead global warming stock schemes via Lucianne.com

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Initial offer to Varitek 1 year--Bradford

"According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the Red Sox’ initial contract offer to free agent catcher Jason Varitek this offseason was for one year."
  • Although the dollar value is not known,
"indications were that it didn’t approach the annual average commanded by Jorge Posada ($13.1 million)." via Fanhouse

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Lee Hamilton on XM 175

At 1:15AM Eastern time I check to see who's on XM 175 and he says "I'm Lee Hamilton." He sounded good though Californian. Kevin Kennedy can be described as a Californian, but I never got the feeling he was cheerleading for the place. On google they had this about Lee Hamilton: Hamilton interviews Bob Nightengale who says he thinks Sabathia
  • will not go to the Yankees, but to the Dodgers, Angels, or Giants.
  • Lee notes 5 and a half bats were shattered per game on average in 2008.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wishful thinking re Mike and the Mad Dog

From Neil Best: "Speaking of dogs, what if the financial woes plaguing Sirius XM eventually free (Chris) Russo?
  • Might a reunion be possible?
No one at WFAN would discuss that, but no one dismissed it as ludicrous, either."

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Wondering about Dibble, Kennedy, and Classic Games on XM 175

I listened to Rob Dibble without Kevin Kennedy last week, didn't hear if this was a permanent move or not. I briefly heard Kennedy on another XM show, so he may still be with the channel. Both Dibble and Kennedy photos appear on MLB 175 Sirius XM website. The guy they put with Rob last week makes it a different program. A poster to XMFan.com seems to think Dibble and Kennedy have been separated:
  • Barnesy: "So far, I'm disappointed with Mark's forced departure, pleased with
  • (I liked Dibble and Kennedy together). sm
More ominous was this comment from XMFan.com: followed by I haven't tuned in at 3AM to see if Classic Games have been canceled, but if posters are correct, it's not a good sign. I recall this, 5/27/08 on the MLB/XM relationship: Now XM is struggling to maintain a required $120 million escrow account which is part of its agreement with MLB…With money now tighter than ever, XM, having a tough time coming up with the dough may have to issue more stock which will hurt existing shareholders. From Mel Phillips Now and Then Blog, "MLB Puts the Heat on XM," 5/27/08 Via RadioDailyNews.com
  • (Needless to say, baseball needs to stay on satellite radio, hopefully it's XM). sm

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Hideki Matsui recovering from surgery will not play in World Baseball Classic 2009

Hideki Matsui recently had surgery which means he can't play in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. This should be obvious to the movers and shakers in the WBC shake-down, but Brian Cashman sent an email in reply to Newsday's Ken Davidoff stating that Hideki would not be playing. The sales pitch (noted on this blog leading up to the 2006 WBC) includes the idea that one must play in this thing, it's inevitable because everyone else is, it's global, everyone must sacrifice selfish interests. No matter what. It's the same 'guilt' sales pitch the man-made global warming profiteers use, ie, if you don't get on board you're selfish, the program is "inevitable," everyone else agrees so if you don't you're unbalanced, etc. Nobody has to do anything.
  • (Newsday): "In 2006, Matsui upset not only Japanese fans but major-league and Players Association officials, who wanted Matsui and Ichiro to co-headline Team Japan.
Matsui should avoid all of that agita in 2009 as he quietly prepares for what He won't be a lightning rod of controversy. He'll just be another player trying to get healthy."

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Mike Francesa chats about Mike & the Mad Dog with Neil Best

Francesa mentions some issues to Mr. Best that didn't help matters over the past few years, views Russo's leaving as just going for a better opportunity. The former duo apparently was friendly at Joe Torre's recent dinner. Mike and Chris had big issues going back years which understandably aren't going to be dredged up at this point. WFAN would be unamused. No mention of a new partner.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Time is even better for NY Times to sell the Red Sox

The NY Times dropped its dividend by 74% causing speculation they might take the company private. A good source of needed financing would be the sale of the Boston Red Sox. The Times is part of a group who bought the team before the 2002 season. The NY Observer remembers (posted on this blog 5/12/08) including these words from Roger Angell: On the impending partnership of the NY Times and Boston Red Sox, along with Padres' former owner Tom Werner and one-time tobacco lobbyist George Mitchell, from the New York Observer, 12/9/01: 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.
  • I don't think Yankee fans care much about the Red Sox,
From New York Observer article by Sridhar Pappu and Jason Gay, "Times Pitches for Red Sox," 12/9/01 (item near end of article)*********** 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." (the Red Sox)

  • 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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'Now is the time for government to help in creating jobs.' Miami-Dade Mayor

  • News today:
"Florida’s unemployment rate is well above the national average at 6.6 percent.
  • The state
"Government" means taxpayers. The unemployment tax is paid by a tax on employers. Who already have less money. There is no money in Florida--unless you want an MLB owner to pay for the stadium. Right. (sm)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

'Journalism' awards scandal with NPR program notes media bias concerns

Rupert Murdoch noted media types are obsessed with awards, turns out a host for a multi-award winning NPR program has received 'at least $1.3 million' in payments from drug companies (which he initially denied). Psychiatrist and radio host Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin's "“The Infinite Mind” is a weekly program that has won more than 60 journalism awards over 10 years and bills itself as “ The program also ran on Sirius satellite radio but will be discontinued.
  • On media bias from the NY Times article:
"Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said that although
  • few people
  • believe
that journalists take money from those they cover. Disclosures like those surrounding Dr. Goodwin could change that, via Poynter.org/Romenesko

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brian Webber with Rob Dibble

Brian Webber on XM thinks there's a good chance CC Sabathia will take a job in California, says he's spoken to people he knows in MLB. I don't know if Webber is permanently replacing Kevin Kennedy and don't expect to. I stopped emailing XM a long time ago as I never heard back. There is a lot of turnover in radio, and people making decisions are generally halfway out the door themselves and can't be bothered. (Sabathia can have a nice life, lots of money and none of the pressure he'd find in the Bronx, so it's understandable. The Yankees might want to keep the dollar value of their contract offers private in the future, at least not have the info come from them).

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Mike Mussina on WFAN with Francesa

"I loved it. It was the best move I ever made." Mussina's words when asked by Mike Francesa how he felt about playing in New York. Also loved his time in Baltimore. Noted Joe Torre made him feel very comfortable when he arrived. His 2 young sons are interested in Little League so he anticipates being at a ballpark almost every day.

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Aaron Heilman's future as a starter

Jon Heyman on with Mike Francesa says so far the Rockies and Diamondbacks have shown interest. Mets Bigs convinced his delivery would preclude his pitching more than 100 IP per year. From a distance, I've always thought the guy was a fighter and took an undue amount of criticism in the Mets environment.
  • On K-rod, Heyman believes he still holds hope the Angels will re-sign him, though chances are good he'll be a Met.

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Control of Yankees goes to Hal

"George Steinbrenner's 35-year reign as boss of the New York Yankees ended Thursday when he passed control of baseball's most famous team to his youngest son, Hal....
  • "I realize it's a great responsibility," said Hal Steinbrenner, who turns 40 on Dec. 3. "My dad is, needless to say, a tough act to follow." ...
While the 51-year-old Hank has spoken out publicly far more than his brother in the past year, Hal was at Yankee Stadium much more frequently than his brother....

Joe Molloy, married to Jessica Steinbrenner, was a general partner from 1992-97. Steve Swindal, married to Jennifer Steinbrenner, was a general partner from 1998-06, then became chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises LLC, the team's holding company, He was publicly designated by George Steinbrenner as his successor in June 2005 but departed Swindal after his driving under the influence arrest early on Feb. 15, 2007.

  • Hal Steinbrenner became more active in the team's operations following Swindal's arrest."...

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Andrea Mitchell, TV celebrity, decided future of the country

"Andrea Mitchell said she used
  • "SNL" and Jon Stewart clips in her
  • NBC reports because
  • they "added texture.""

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Francesa cites Mussina's 2 best performances

Both are post season elimination games: (Lupica, NYDN):"It does not always mean he was the life of the party in the Yankee clubhouse, and it seemed like he was still talking about the trip the Yankees made to Japan to start the season a year later. He won some awfully important games in the playoffs - it was Mussina who pitched so brilliantly in the 1-0 game that Derek Jeter saved with his flip pass to Jorge Posada, the night Jeter came from nowhere and looked like an option quarterback - but lost some, too."...

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Mike Mussina goes out in style--Newsday back cover

  • Newsday back cover, 11/20/08

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Please vote for David Cameron of USS Mariner--Redstate

From Redstate.com: "I never do this sort of thing...but I would really appreciate y'all's help here....
  • influenced the way we all now approach baseball?

One of the greatest baseball bloggers in America, David Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner, is up for this online scholarship award. The people who run it, in their infinite wisdom, have made the contest an

  • Cameron was the early favorite, but some other fellow named David Mauro, who runs a hard-left blog on Texas politics, went to Daily Kos and started diary-bombing the site begging people to run up the vote for them, by hook or by crook.

It's turned into something of a war between left-wingers and baseball fans, with the Kos people screaming about how they need to "support one of their own" (even if nobody's heard of the guy Mauro) and that sabermetric blogging is a "commercial sell-out."

  • We need help. Not only is Cameron one of the smartest, most hard-working, influential baseball thinkers in America (seriously, if you've ever read in-depth on statistical analysis, odds are you've read stuff either written or inspired by him), he's newly married and could really use the money.

This is a great guy who has not only changed the way an entire city thinks about sports, but helped influence the entire country. Don't let him lose now because the worker-drones at KOS are smurfing the poll.

VOTING IS EASY. No registration, no secret tricks, nothing. Just go to the link below and vote for Dave Cameron. Make a Kos Kid kry today!

via Free Republic

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Astros to renew KTRH radio

740 AM will continue with Houston Astros baseball, final terms to be announced. And Colorado Rockies renew FSN Rocky Mountain, but KTVD-TV 'free tv' will have no games. via Radio Daily News

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Changing labs after 2004 heist

Baseball 'names' seized in a drug raid in 2004 are still at stake as the case heads to the 9th circuit court (news today). The late Doug Pappas noted MLB Bigs subsequently moved the lab 'over the border' making it harder for feds to get to 'names' (at least until Radomski/McNamee happened along with Clemens turning down the Red Sox offer in May 2007). "MLB Drug-Testing Programs Move to Olympic-Certified Laboratories MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to transfer administration of their drug-testing program to a lab certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier Research Center of Montreal. In MLB's press release, Rob Manfred and Gene Orza say nice things about the WADA, but never mention the biggest benefit of switching to this particular lab.
  • That benefit?
This was no accident -- MLB chose to have its minor-league testing administered by the WADA-approved testing program at UCLA, which could certainly have handled the major leaguers' specimens, too."

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Mike Mussina to retire

photo by NY Times

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Pavano's heart was really with the Red Sox

Rob Dibble spoke to Carl Pavano prior to his deciding to go to the Yankees, said Pavano's heart was really with the Red Sox, that's where he wanted to play. Pavano's family felt differently, they wanted him to play for the Yankees. Assuming this was after the dinner at Curt Schilling's house, Schilling now gets some credit. Dibble also said he has changed his mind about Mussina, didn't like him for many years, but his 2008 performance showed guts.

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MLB can better save the planet without third party 'carbon offset' deals

If one is so brainwashed as to believe in man-made global warming and man's ability to reverse it, show it by your actions, not by buying third party 'carbon offsets' ('greenwash') as MLB does. A 'Carbon Trust Standard' in the UK recognizes only entities that improve the environment without 'offsets' :

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said the move was designed to end public mistrust of corporate climate change claims. Only businesses that can demonstrate a real reduction in carbon pollution from their operations are eligible.

From MLB.com, citing its purchase of 'carbon offsets' 4/22/08:
  • "Major League Baseball...has stepped up in 2008 as
a powerful leader in the global green movement.... You will just see it emphasized more on this day around the game, sometimes in ways that you won't know, and sometimes in obvious ways, such as prominent recycling containers or the planting of trees
  • or a network morning TV show discussing PNC Park programs as part of its presidential primary coverage."...
Seattle Mariners buy carbon offsets:
  • 58,000 kWh of "green power" credits from the Seattle City Light Green Up program.
  • This is part of a much broader overall initative, all posted on the club's Web site. "We know that just buying carbon offsets isn't enough," said Howard Lincoln, the Mariners' chairman and CEO. "This is not a one-time event for us."...
Cincinnati Reds buy carbon offsets:
  • "Teaming with Duke Energy, the Reds purchased carbon credits to offset the estimated fossil fuel emissions related to game-day operations at Great American Ball Park."
Tampa Bay Rays buy carbon credits: Phillies make biggest carbon offset buy in pro sports to date 5/1/08 Scams enabled by 'green guilt' 2008 All Star game used to burnish interests of carbon offsets dealers

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Arbitron downgraded

"The loss of a contract with two radio broadcasters will likely lead Arbitron Inc.'s revenue to decline and limit the ability of its stock to climb in the near-term, a J.P. Morgan analyst said Wednesday.

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Westwood One off NYSE as of Monday

(Marketwatch): "Radio broadcaster Westwood One, the largest independent provider of radio programming in the U.S., said Tuesday that its stock will stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange as of Monday, due to its failure to maintain a minimum market capitalization of $25 million....
  • To list on the Amex or Nasdaq, Westwood One would need to complete a reverse stock split and receive shareholder approval.
Westwood One airs NFL football games, including Sunday and Monday night contests, NCAA men's basketball, NCAA football, "The Tom Leykis Show," "The Dennis Miller Show," and numerous additional news, sports, music, talk and entertainment programs. It also provides traffic reports and local news, sports and weather to more than 2,200 radio and TV stations."...via Radio Daily News

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China considering GM assets

(From TheTruthAboutCars.com): "Chinese carmakers SAIC and Dongfeng have plans to acquire GM and Chrysler, China’s 21st Century Business Herald reports today. [A National Enquirer the paper is not. It is one of China's leading business newspapers, with a daily readership over three million.] The paper cites a senior official of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology– the state regulator of China’s auto industry– who dropped the hint that “the auto manufacturing giants in China, such as Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and Dongfeng Motor Corporation, have the capability and intention to buy some assets of the two crisis-plagued American automakers.”...
  • 21st Century Business Herald acts and writes as if its already a done deal, and the beginning of more to come. “In the coming two years China is likely to see a few of its large Chinese automakers and other manufacturing enterprises set a precedent for achieving globalization by acquiring global companies, just like SAIC or Dongfeng’s possible acquisition of troubled GM or Chrysler.”
(The Chinese newspaper linked is written in Chinese). via Free Republic

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