Thursday, June 30, 2011

Derek Jeter to play two games in Trenton this weekend

6/30/11, "Derek Jeter will play in two rehab games in Trenton this weekend before rejoining the Yankees on Monday in Cleveland in his run for 3,000 hits.

“I feel good now,” Jeter told reporters after working out at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla. “I’m ready to get out of here.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed Jeter’s plans after today’s 5-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jeter remains six hits shy of becoming the 28th player in major-league history to reach 3,000. A strained right calf June 13 landed him on the disabled list.

His two games with the Double-A Thunder (Saturday and Sunday) will come while the Yankees play the Mets on Saturday and Sunday. The Yankees then play three games against the Indians before returning to the Bronx on July 7 for a four-game series against the Rays — an opportune time for Jeter to reach the milestone."...

9/9/2010, "Pettitte strong in Thunder rehab appearance as Yankees' Double-A affiliate takes 2-0 lead in Eastern League playoff series," Trenton Times, John Nalbone. photos ap

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Fireworks over Triborough Bridge for July 4th, 2011, through my kitchen window

From East 80's in Manhattan. Despite Harvard saying July 4th celebrations are politically tainted, we still have them:
  • "Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party," said the report from Harvard."...
  • BELOW, 2010 July 4th fireworks through same kitchen window, in this one you can see the lights of the Triborough Bridge:
6/30/11, "Harvard: July 4th Parades Are Right-Wing," US News & World Report, Paul Bedard, via Drudge Report

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Marvin Miller is asked his view on NFL lockout, says no one is writing that players haven't made a single demand

6/29/11, Neil Best, "Marvin Miller on NFL lockout," "After attending a screening Wednesday of HBO's new documentary about Curt Flood - which premieres July 13...- Marvin Miller, 94, was asked about the current labor difficulties for the NFL and NBA.

He said he didn't know much about the NBA's situation, but he did weigh in on the NFL. Guess who's side he's on!

"I think in football it appears that finally they have some leadership that understands what’s going on,'' Miller said. "I don’t think most of the media understands, or at least they haven’t written about it. You’ve got to consider the football thing for what is. And what it is is an industry that not too long ago was a marginal industry, which now has become THE professional team sport in the United States, and perhaps in the world. An industry which was barely making it and has gross revenues of close to $9 billion a year, with every indication that in the next 10 or 15 years they’re going to double that. They are

  • the wealthiest of all the team professional sports.

"But despite that, the players have the lowest salaries of any of the team sports – baseball, football, hockey, basketball. They have the shortest careers. They have the worst and most serious injury rate. And nobody is writing about this. Here’s this industry that has gotten to be a $9 billion a year industry. I defied one newspaper man who was asking me about this. He was challenging what I was saying. I said, 'Tell me about your opposition to the players striking.' He said, ‘Well, the fans, etc., etc.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but tell me what the players are demanding.’ He said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Tell me what they’re demanding.’ There are no demands from the players! Nobody’s writing this.

"This is entirely caused by a $9 billion a year industry with their demands that despite their affluence the players should give them a billion dollars off the stupid salary cap. That the players with the worst and most serious injury rates should have their season extended with two additional games. And that’s what’s causing the problem. And no reader picking up a sports page is going to be able to come out with an appropriate conclusion based on what I just said, because they don’t know that. That’s what I think about football.

"I know less about basketball. I don’t know the leadership there. I do know the new leadership in football and I think DeMaurice Smith is a bright man who’s going in the right direction.""


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Fans reach for Russell Martin homer in 4th, Nyjer Morgan steals 2nd in 1st

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blue Jays used unusual defensive shift v Victor Martinez and it worked

6/27/11, AP, "NOTES: The Blue Jays used an unusual defensive shift against Martinez in the sixth. Instead of shifting all the infielders to the right, Farrell left shortstop Yunel Escobar in his normal position and placed third baseman Jayson Nix to the right of second base. 6/27/11, "Peralta’s 8th-inning triple leads Tigers over Jays," AP (item at end of article) final 4-2 Detroit

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

'Welcome back Bernie' fan sign for Bernie Williams at Yankee Old Timer Day

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Cecil Fielder, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden at Yankee Old Timers Day

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Lou Piniella at Yankee Old Timers Day

Lou Piniella at Yankee Old Timers Day, June 26, 2011, getty

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just one more thing...Peter Falk, RIP

6/24/11, "Columbo star Peter Falk dies aged 83," BBC "Peter Falk, the American actor most famous for his role as scruffy TV detective Columbo, has died aged 83.

The actor died peacefully at home in Beverly Hills on Thursday night, his family said in a statement.

He had been suffering from dementia for a number of years.

Peter Falk won four Emmys for his cigar-chomping role as the deceptively bumbling Columbo, and was nominated for Oscars in 1960 and 1961 for Murder Inc and Pocketful of Miracles....

But for most fans, even his best-supporting actor nominations were eclipsed by his incarnation as the sleuth in the shabby mac with no known first name and the killer catch-phrase:

  • "One more thing..."
Columbo first appeared on American TV screens in 1968, and NBC commissioned a series in which the detective appeared every third week from 1971 until it was cancelled in 1977.

The part of its policeman hero had originally been written for Bing Crosby, but Falk made the part his own and continued to make special episodes well into his 70s.

He reportedly turned down an offer to convert it into a weekly series, citing the heavy workload.

The actor bought Columbo's trademark raincoat himself, only for it to be replaced after it became too tattered through its near constant use in the series....

Peter Michael Falk was born in 1927 in New York City, where his parents ran a clothes shop.

He had an eye removed at the age of three due to cancer. He said he learned to live with the ailment after it became "the joke of the neighbourhood".

"If the umpire ruled me out on a bad call, I'd take the fake eye out and hand it to him," Falk told the Associated Press in a 1963 interview.

As an aspiring actor, he was reportedly warned by one agent the false eye would preclude him from working in television. In fact, it became another endearing trait of his most famous character....

The actor is survived by his wife of three decades, Shera, and daughters from a previous marriage Catherine and Jackie."...

top columbomaniachez, bottom governortv

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Giambi has happy night at Yankee Stadium

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Derek Jeter Newsday back cover, 'Wait Problem,' may need longer on DL

  • Newsday back cover, Fri., June 24, 2011
Sunday June 26, 2011, NY Times Magazine feature on Jeter, "His 599 postseason at-bats amount to just about an extra season’s worth of swings."...

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Young Yankee fans in Cincinnati

Top, young Yankee fans in Cincinnati look on before 2nd game of doubleheader, 6/22/11, getty. Above, in first game of doubleheader Posada hits tie breaking 2 run home run v Reds, sixth inning, final 4-2. reuters. Reds won nightcap.

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Reds closer is paid pretty well too says commenter

6/21/11, "10 things you might not know about ... Mariano Rivera," Cincinnati.com
  • Comment

9:21 AM on June 21, 2011

"Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees is scheduled to make more money ($15 million) this season than the current Reds starting rotation ($13.5 million)"

  • That's a much better comparison!

Think about all the $M the Reds wasted on Harang!"

Cot's Baseball Contracts, Cincinnati Reds

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Giambi hits 3 run home run in Rockies 8-7 win v Indians

Giambi in Rockies dugout after 3 run home run in 5th inning, final 8-7 v Cleveland Indians, June 20, 2011, ap

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Ivan Nova Newsday back cover, 'Cincinnati Kid'

  • Ivan Nova Newsday back cover Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Fans at Wrigley Field June 19 v Yankees

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Tom Gordon and Tony Gwynn with MLB sons on Fathers Day at Dodger Stadium

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clarence Clemons plays National Anthem for Florida Marlins opening day vs NY Mets, April 1, 2011

--------------------------------- ---------------------------------
  • May he rest in peace.


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Dick Durbin and Justice Sotomayor in front row at Wrigley Field

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cMSZ7tDczl8/Tf1mYe_IjzI/AAAAAAAAH70/Pn2FQcdJp78/s1600/cubsgamesotomayordickdurbinDIlljune182011reuters.jpg Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin at Wrigley Field for Yankee-Cubs game, June 18, 2011. reuters. 4-3 Yankees.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Mike Lupica Show on 1050 ESPN radio NY a home run per NY Radio Message Board Chief Allan Sniffen

5/17/11, "XM 210 and Sirius 93 add sports talkers Lupica, Kay, Waddle & Silvy" "Mike Lupica is doing a GREAT job on WEPN/1050 ESPN NY. And that's not something I expected to be posting five weeks ago.

I'm not necessarily a Lupica fan. I find many of his columns and his TV appearances to be pretentious. He sometimes is trying so hard to be insightful that he goes overboard. Even with Imus, he seems like he's trying too hard to be funny when, really, saying less would be more.

But on the 1050/ESPN? He's got it beat. He comes through as a guy who knows sports, knows the nuances and can communicate clearly and in an engaging way. I've got to hand it to him. He's really that good. In fact, he's the one guy who I think could give Mike Francesa some real competition. I still think Francesa is the best of all. But if Lupica were on for more hours, Francesa would have a real competitor in PM Drive.

What I don't get about 1050 is how they can hire a guy like Lupica and then turn around and have a show like Ruocco and Lundberg. That could indeed be the worst radio sports show I've ever heard. Too gimmiky, too loud, too much hyping of the obvious and two guys who sound so much alike you can't even tell them apart. I think Jared Max is doing a fine job. Kay can be good when his show is focused on sports and not wandering around. And Mike and Mike (although syndicated) is a very good show (and, BTW, it's hitting younger demos by talking sports and not guy talk type gimmicks--hello?).

So, given all of this, if I were running 1050/ESPN and listening to my station, I'd be trying as hard as I could to convince Mike Lupica to do more hours. And, even more importantly, I'd learn to stop trying so hard to appeal to younger demos by putting gimmicky "guy talk" on the air and, instead, put real sports talkers on who can see beyond the basics. That's where the key to the ratings castle is hidden.

Mike Lupica has flat out amazed me. And I have to say... it's been a long time since I've heard anything on NY radio that has amazed me."


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't expect sports media to protect baseball from Selig's expanded playoffs-Mushnick

"In baseball, the press is traditionally seen as the guardians of the game."...Marchman "How can you call yourself a big baseball fan when you just sit there with a blank look as Bud Selig and his puppeteers continue to disfigure The Game?

I know, most sports media are no help; they're compliant and co-opted; they capitulate as a matter of expedience, access or corporate considerations. The media don't protect fans or the games as they were once inclined.

  • They're no longer able or willing.

But that doesn't mean you have to fold, too.

It's now a given that MLB will add two more playoff teams, for a total of 10. Finishing in first after a 162-game regular soon will mean even less than it did last season.

Recall last season? Early October? The final series between the Red Sox and Yanks, a series to decide if the Yanks finished first, meant nothing because Joe Girardi logically didn't care. The system told him so. He cared about getting his starting rotation rested for the playoffs.

So, on the last days of a 162-game season, in what once would have been the biggest games of the season, the Yanks didn't much care if they won or lost. They lost two of three and finished second. No big deal.

In the series to determine first place, the Yanks rested their best starter, CC Sabathia. Now that's baseball in the

  • Age of Bud!

And with 10 playoff teams there will be plenty more where that came from. What once would have been the biggest games of the regular season soon will be institutionally rendered even less relevant. The "biggest" games will be played by also-rans just looking to get into the money.

Money? Did someone say money? Remember, this isn't the NBA, NHL or NFL. MLB plays 162 games to distinguish the best from the rest.

But with 10 teams in the playoffs that diminishing reality will be further eroded.

No matter the sweet, embracing words Selig chooses to frame it, 10 qualifiers aren't in the best interests of fans or baseball any more than cats serve the best interests of mice. It's about adding more artificial stimulants in pursuit of more money.

And money's the prize for which Selig and his button-pushers allowed baseball to be overrun by drugs, the same reason Sunday afternoon games are moved to 8 p.m. and why

  • last week's Red Sox-Yanks began at nearly 11 p.m.

MLB couldn't care less if fans and media debate whether 10 playoff teams is good or bad. Let fools argue an irrelevancy. It's about money."...


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Toronto Blue Jays to face star Canadian Votto in Cincinnati

"It took Votto five years before he got his first opportunity to play in a big-league game."... "The Toronto Blue Jays don’t view Joey Votto as the Canadian superstar baseball player who slipped through their grasp.

Same with Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins.

But if Canada’s only major-league team can dream, the next Canadian-born player to have an impact at the big-league level will do so wearing the colours of the Blue Jays.

“It would be terrific for this franchise,” team president Paul Beeston conceded during an interview in his office at Rogers Centre on Thursday. “I don’t think there’s a negative to it.”

On Friday, the Blue Jays are in Cincinnati to play the Reds as the second phase of 2011 interleague play, pitting American League teams against those from the National League, begins.

It will provide the Blue Jays the opportunity to renew acquaintances with the Toronto-born Votto – last year’s NL most valuable player – who is expected to line up at first base and

Last season marked the second time in four years that a Canadian walked off with one of baseball’s most-cherished awards.

In 2006, Morneau of New Westminster, B.C., earned MVP laurels in the AL.

At the start of this season, a total of 16 players from north of the border were listed on MLB opening-day rosters, including all-star catcher

  • Russell Martin of Chelsea, Que., with the New York Yankees.

In their 35-year history, the Blue Jays have not enjoyed much success developing or drafting top-flight Canadian talent.

Paul Quantrill of London, Ont., who pitched for the Blue Jays from 1996 through 2001, is probably the most successful Canadian to play in Toronto –

  • and he was obtained in a trade.

The Blue Jays believe they might already have that blue-chip prospect in their midst in Brett Lawrie, a third baseman from Langley, B.C., whom they acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers last December.

Lawrie, who has been tearing it up for the Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, would be with the Blue Jays right now, had he not broken a bone in his left hand after getting hit by a pitch earlier this month.

Montreal-born Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays general manager, said it would be ideal – but not feasible – if he could stock his team with more Canadian-born players....

As it stands, the Blue Jays already gamble on more Canadian players

  • than any other major-league team.

At this year’s first-year player draft (college and high school), the Blue Jays chose seven Canadians among the 55 they selected – more than double any other MLB team. And the team has nearly doubled the number of scouts on staff to about 30 to try to make sure no player, Canadian or otherwise, falls between the cracks.

Even then, Anthopoulos says, his top priority is not to make sure his team drafts all the top-rated Canadians.

“It doesn’t drive what we do,” he said. “I’m not trying to sound unpatriotic but I also know our mandate is not just to have a team built entirely of Canadians. It’s to have a winning team.

“That is what will ultimately lead the fans to identifying with and being proud of the team.”

  • The draft is a crap shoot, Anthopoulos says, and even the Reds didn’t know what they had when they picked Votto, a high-school star, 44th overall in 2002.

The Reds picked two players ahead of him – high-school pitcher Christopher Gruler third overall and university hurler Mark Schramek at No. 40. Neither player has yet to play in the majors.

It took Votto five years before he got his first opportunity to play in a big-league game."...

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rafael Soriano goes on 60 day DL

Rafael Soriano walks with Mariano Rivera on Feb. 17, 2011 on Rivera's first day at spring training in Tampa. Soriano is now on the 60 day DL. reuters photo

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jeter NY covers continue on occasion of DL, June 15

  • Above, Derek Jeter Newsday back page, Wed., June 15, 2011
  • Above, Derek Jeter NY Post back page, Wed., June 15, 2011
  • Above, Derek Jeter gets mention on NY Post front page, June 15, 2011
  • Above, Derek Jeter NY Daily News front page, Wed. June 15, 2011

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Derek Jeter makes both front and back covers of 3 NY newspapers, 6/14/11

From top, front and back of Newsday, front and back of NY Post, front and back of NY Daily News, Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts bravely chats in Wrigley Field

6/10/11, "Wrigley Field is "a dump" that could be a bigger problem than expected for new Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, according to MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons.

The problem that (Ricketts) has, and the Ricketts family has a serious issue, is they’re going to have to understand it’s not only rebuilding personnel,” Gammons said Friday on "The Mully and Hanley Show" on WSCR-AM 670. “They got to make that ballpark livable, it’s a dump, Wrigley Field. They’re going to have to spent $200-and-something million on re-renovating Wrigley Field, do what the Boston owners did with Fenway Park. And the investment is far greater than, I think, maybe they realize.""...

6/13/11, MLB warns teams about violence in downtown Chicago

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Monday, June 13, 2011

'Major League Baseball is warning their teams about downtown Chicago' -Police spokesman on WLS radio today

From interview on WLS radio, Chicago, during Don and Roma Morning Show today, June 13, 2011, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden spoke with Don and Roma about recent violence in Chicago. At about 5:20 into the interview, Mr. Camden says:
  • "Major League Baseball is warning their teams about downtown Chicago. That's a crying shame."...

LISTEN: FOP Spokesman Pat Camden joins Don Wade and Roma

  • via Drudge Report


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NYY Steak and partner Hard Rock Cafe looking to add locations

6/12/11, "Yankees fans will soon be able to get a taste of their favorite stadium steakhouse -- in a prime Manhattan location.

NYY Steak, a partnership between the New York Yankees and the Hard Rock Cafe, is scouting for new spots in the city, with the first one likely to be in Midtown, Side Dish has learned.

"NYY Steak has been a great success at Yankee Stadium," said Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion. "We have been looking at other sites for the restaurant, including sites in Manhattan, but nothing has been determined."

At the upscale steakhouse, carnivores can nosh on a 28 oz. Porterhouse for $54.75 and Maine lobster at $25 a pound, while they take in the "signature wall" featuring dozens of autographs of Yankees greats."

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kudos to Luke Hochevar for striking out Jose Bautista on a quick pitch-Bill Madden

6/11/11, Madden, "Kudos to Kansas City Royals righty Luke Hochevar for striking out the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista on a quick pitch in the first inning on Thursday. Quick pitches have become a lost art in baseball and the game needs more of them, if for no other reason than to eliminate all the batters' time-consuming machinations, seemingly after every pitch."

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

'Ballpark Frank' Harvard Crimson article by Cleveland Indians pitcher Frank Herrmann on making a decision to play in the minor leagues

Frank pitched at Yankee Stadium on June 10, 2011. "Over the past few weeks I have started to see what former Harvard baseball captain Trey Hendricks ’04 meant when he told me, “pro ball just ain’t the same”.
  • Last summer, when I was trying to decide whether or not to forego my senior year of eligibility and sign a professional contract, I reached out to a lot of people in the “baseball know” whose opinions I respected.
Most advised me that signing then would be a great opportunity and something I should really consider. And when I called Trey I expected to hear much of the same. He warned that playing baseball in the minor leagues was really more about developing the individual than about the team-first, “win-at-all-costs” mentality that prevails at Harvard. This is not to say that my current teammates are in any way selfish or that winning is not their ultimate goal but the dugout just seems to lack that same buzz and excitement that is present when playing
  • a Sunday doubleheader against Dartmouth with the Ivy League title on the line.
In minor league baseball staying healthy and improving so that you can make it to the major leagues is the ultimate goal. Of course every kid that picks up a bat and ball wants to play in the Majors, but at this point the picture becomes much clearer.
  • Sacrifices need to be made to see these goals through.
In my own case, I am currently limited to sixty pitches per outing. Now if I had stayed at Harvard I would likely be throwing a hundred or more pitches every time I took the mound. As a pitcher you pride yourself on how long you can lead your team and how many wins you can earn.
  • Throwing only sixty pitches limits me to four innings and thus does not allow me to qualify for a win (the winning starting pitcher needs a minimum of five innings) and leaves others having to pick up the slack.
I understand that the decision-makers within the organization are trying to keep my arm healthy since the professional season is nearly three times longer than what I was accustomed to in college. But it can be frustrating, because I am used to competing for seven or eight innings as opposed to three or four. Continually having to meet new guys and adapt to their style of play makes it more difficult to find a comfort level and come together as a team.
  • Similarly, all of the roster shuffling tends to leave some uneasiness,
since you are in a sense competing against your own teammates just as much as you are against the other team. If the guy three lockers over is throwing better than you,
  • he—and not you—will likely be first in line to get sent up.
On the other hand, in a college setting, when you step into that locker room on the first day of practice and look around, you know that those are “your guys” for the entire season, and thus forging a team bond
  • is not only easy but necessary.
Whether intentional or not, by the end of the season you truly come to care for those other guys and play for them as much as you play for yourself. This is especially true at Harvard as opposed to a program like Cal State Fullerton,
  • which has the ability to retool its squad each season by bringing in seven or eight junior college players.
Professional baseball has proven to be like most everything else in life in that it has its tradeoffs. Playing in front of 7,300 fans on Opening Night, meeting Roger Clemens, and enjoying countless other new opportunities more than balances out the equation. But it will still be interesting to see how the team aspect —"In 10 1/3 minor league innings, Frank has allowed only two earned runs...."Editor’s note: Former Harvard hurler Frank Herrmann ’06 is a pitching prospect with the Class A Lake County (Oh.) Captains of the Cleveland Indians organization. This is his diary."...
  • (The above article was written while Frank was still a student at Harvard).


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'Now newspapers need the teams for their circulation.' WSJ

6/10/11, WSJ, "Let's be clear: This is not a Woe Is Us story. Access is hardly a reporter's entitlement, unless the assignment is the White House or City Hall. Even then, the willingness to wait out a story is a compulsory part of the job. Imagine, too, the view of an athlete, not yet showered and still absorbing a blown save or a missed shot, confronted by a swarm of notepads and microphones and pressed to answer the brain-numbing question: How do you feel?

"What do they expect you to say to that?" asks LaTroy Hawkins, a veteran relief pitcher. "And could they let you get your pants on?"

The relationship between athletes and the press, over generations, has been knotted by distrust. Michael Jordan tangled with reporters. So did Ted Williams. Steve Carlton boycotted them altogether. But beneath the antagonism there was an unwritten code that allowed for small accommodations. We didn't hear much about Mickey Mantle's boozing, but Leo Durocher played cards with reporters during train travel. I saw Billy Martin after road games joined by a cadre of drinking buddies among the press.

For many athletes, the terms of the code were breached in a single moment in 1998 when a reporter spied a bottle of androstenedione in Mark McGwire's locker. "Players remember this," says Hawkins, now with the Brewers. Today, athletes can't even finish a thought before someone camped by their locker posts it to Twitter.

Athletes are bound by league rules to be available to reporters, but not all comply. When they do talk, they slide easily into the abridged remark—or save their breath for Twitter. By the time he announced his retirement, Shaquille O'Neal had nearly four million followers.

There is no serious talk of booting reporters from locker rooms, but leagues are finding ways to reach the fans directly. Major League Baseball's 30 teams, for instance, have a combined 18 million followers on their Facebook pages. The Washington Redskins, like many teams, employs reporters who work for the team's website. "There's been a tremendous transformation," says Sam Smith, who has covered the Chicago Bulls for 25 years, first for the Chicago Tribune and now for Bulls.com. Whereas teams once needed traditional media, he says, "now

  • newspapers need the teams for their circulation."...

Reporters don't fly on team planes anymore. Many don't stay at team hotels. Baseball writers are no longer allowed next to the batting cage during batting practice. It's not hard to imagine the day when U.S. teams mimic European soccer and cut locker-room access entirely.

Not long ago, I found myself at Yankee Stadium standing in the middle of the Yankees logo woven into the dark blue carpeting of the clubhouse. With the exception of the stray player, 30 or so reporters had no one to talk to besides themselves. The Yankee players are able to dress in an area that is off limits to the media. Turns out I was waiting in what amounts to a mannequin clubhouse....

In the end, no matter what becomes of this American tradition, it's probably time to start asking if all this standing around amounts to loitering and is worth the strain it puts on the relationship between press and players. It's not clear that either side derives much from the transaction.

"There's something we ought to remember," says Robertson of the Herald. "These guys are not notable for their oratory. They're notable for how beautifully they perform as athletes.""

  • 6/10/11, "It's Time for the Sportswriters to Go," WSJ, Craig Wolff, "U.S. Media Sees Locker-Room Access as a Birthright, but It's Getting Harder to See the Point"
  • ---------------------------

Baseball reporters work best as stenographers for MLB team owners or management. In the case of the Yankees, they use reporters to publicize negative material about the team's own players. Other teams may do this, but the Yankees really like doing it. Or teams may use the guys to put out info to correct rumors or create new ones. ed.

""They wanted it to look, in the more heated parts of this, as though Jeter was the greedy one. They were twitchy to get out there what they said Jeter wanted,
that Jeter wanted $23 million or $24 million a year, whatever the Yankees said he was asking for.
  • Not just delighted. Thrilled.
They thought it made them look good. But you know who has always made them look good? Jeter has.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Stats from first 8 meetings between Red Sox and Yankees

6/10/11, "In the eight meetings entering Thursday, the Red Sox are hitting 60 points higher than the Yankees. They have scored 20 more runs. Boston’s ERA is 4.00, compared with New York’s 6.04. Red Sox pitchers have struck out 2.54 hitters for every walk issued to a Yankee; for New York’s hurlers, that number is 1.24.

  • The Yankees have committed five errors to Boston’s two in the eight games."

6/10/11, "So far this season, the Sox simply own the Yankees," Providence Journal, Tim Britton

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Yankees finally react to a hit batsman

After Mark Teixeira was thrown at by a Cleveland pitcher, Wallace Matthews wrote on ESPN NY twitter:

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tarp on the field in the Bronx June 9

Thunder clouds over Red Sox-Yankee game in the Bronx, June 9, 2011, getty

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Paul McCartney concert at Yankee Stadium July 15, 2011

6/8/11, "Paul McCartney books Yankee Stadium show" July 15 Jack Nicholson, Lorne Michaels, Paul McCartney, and Nancy Shevell stand during God Bless America, 7th inning, 8/26/09, Yankee Stadium game v Texas. photo by Reuters. (Michaels introduced McCartney to baseball a few years ago)

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KIIS-FM, Z100, WSIX added to XM radio

6/8/11, KIIS-FM, Z100, WSIX among stations now heard on XM Radio:
  • "KIIS-FM, a Top 40 station based in Los Angeles, CA is now simulcasting on XM Channel 11;
  • Z100, the nation’s largest CHR/Top 40 station based in New York City, is now simulcasting on XM Channel 12;
  • WLTW Lite FM, an adult contemporary station in NYC, is now simulcasting on XM Channel 13;
  • WSIX, a country station based in Nashville, TN is now simulcasting on XM Channel 57; and
  • WGCI in Chicago, an urban station, is now simulcasting on XM Channel 163....
The company’s new simulcasts replace current Clear Channel programming on XM satellite radio, although only one involves a change in format. 6/8/11, "Clear Channel Extends Reach of Iconic Radio Brands via XM Satellite Radio," Business Wire. via RadioDailyNews

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3 Yankee batters hit by Red Sox pitchers in past two days. No Red Sox batters hit by Yankee pitchers.

Yankee batsmen hit by Red Sox pitchers 6/07, 6/08/11: 3 Red Sox batsmen hit by Yankee pitchers 6/07, 6/08/11: 0

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ozzie Guillen tweets Sean Penn, suggests he move to Venezuela if he likes it so much

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen sends a tweet to left wing activist Sean Penn. "On Sunday, he (Penn) wrote another fluff piece for the Huffington Post praising Marxist leader Hugo Chavez while urging America to withdraw its recently imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela.

from Gateway Pundit, 6/8/11, "White Sox Manager Sends Advice to Marxist Supporting Idiot Sean Penn"

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Apparently desperate Red Sox hit 2 Yankee batters in the first inning, Teixeira leaves game

6/7/11, "New York Yankees Mark Teixeira grabs his knee after he was hit by a pitch by Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester during the first inning" at Yankee Stadium. Yankee Russell Martin was also hit in the first inning by Lester.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Knowns and unknowns about the Phillies debt and being on a list of noncompliant teams

6/5/11, Murphy, PDN, "I'm sure most of you had the same reaction after reading about the Phillies' current noncompliance with Major League Baseball's debt service rule on Friday. I know this because I had the same reaction: What...does all of this mean?
The Phillies are a private company, which means they are not obligated to reveal anything about their finances to the public, even though the public contributed more toward the acquisition of their largest piece of capital ($174 million) than they did ($172 million)....

Rather than focus on what we don't know, let's answer some of the questions that we do know:

1) What is the debt rule?

The debt rule was included in the 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement. During those negotiations, folks on both sides of the table thought there was a possibility of a work stoppage, and there was some concern in the league office that such a stoppage would prevent debt-laden owners from making their bank payments. In an attempt to prevent franchises from leveraging themselves to the points where they were both susceptible to drastic shifts in the economy and unable to use the threat of a working stoppage as bargaining power (and, from the union's perspective, unable to maintain competitive payroll), the league and MLBPA unveiled the debt rule. Given the events that have unfolded in the eight years since,

  • the move appears to have been a prescient one.

Essentially, the rule ties the amount of debt a team may carry to its average net income (revenue minus expenses) over the previous two fiscal years. The limit for most teams is 10 times their net income. The limit for teams who have opened stadiums in the previous 10 years, like the Phillies, is 15 times their net income.

So for every million dollars of net income the Phillies average, they can carry $15 million worth of debt. If their net income over the last two years averaged $10 million, they would be allowed to carry $150 million in debt. And so on.

2) But the Phillies are the ballers of the National League. They could make it rain over the entire Delaware Valley if they wanted to. David Montgomery keeps chlorinated water in a tank in his back yard and instead fills the pool with $1,000 dollar bills. Right?

Well, sort of. Without a doubt, the Phillies are one of the richest teams in the league. You need only look at their payroll, which figures to finish over $170 million. But that is really the only solid indicator we have of the profit the club has made over the past few seasons. Forbes, the business magazine, does an admirable job of attempting to fill in the blanks in their annual franchise valuations. But those numbers are hardly gospel. Some teams provide significant help to Forbes' researchers. In 2009, Forbes reported the Pirates having $144 million in revenue the previous season. Official team financial documents obtained by Deadspin.com reported about $146 million in revenue. That same year, Forbes pegged the Marlins at $139 million, which was the same number contained in the documents that Jeffrey Loria so graciously allowed Deadspin to view.

But for illustration's sake, let's assume that Forbes' estimate of the Phillies average annual net income in 2009 and 2010 -- $11.7 million -- is in the ballpark.

That would provide the Phillies with a debt ceiling of $175.5 million. Except MLB does not count the first X million of debt toward the total debt. In 2007, the first $36.5 million of debt did not count against the Total Debt. The number rises each year based on the growth in league revenue. So the Phillies debt ceiling, under the current illustration, would probably be

  • closer to $225 million and perhaps even more.

3) Well, The Phillies have right around $225 million tied up in guaranteed contracts over the next few seasons. So that explains it, right?

Actually, player contracts are not considered debt under the CBA. Even if the league had wanted them to be classified at debt, the player's association never would have allowed it. So, yes, the Phillies have about $212.45 million in contractual obligations beyond this season. But that money does not factor into their debt load.

4) So what debt could they be carrying?

The Phillies current ownership paid $30 million for the team way back in 1981. I'm no Lenny Dykstra, but I'd say that's a pretty good investment... But just because Bill Gates thinks you are a sucker doesn't mean you aren't in a better position than a lot of professional sports franchises. And the Phillies are. Because they own their team outright. They are not forced to pay a huge chunk of their resources to bankers just to keep possession of the team. That's important (so much so that we'll double back on it later). Any of the debt they currently hold is directly involved in the operation of the team.

What might that debt be?

The CBA classifies debt in six categories:

  • Funding from MLB's industry credit facility
  • Other third-party debt
  • Deferred compensation owed to anybody other than players
  • Stadium-related debt incurred for or in connection with ballpark construction or improvements
  • Loans and advances collateralized by assets of the club
  • Any other debt that would normally be classified as indebtedness

5) Stadium Debt: At least $50 million

We'll start here because it is a big obligation we know the team has. In the spring of 2002, two years before Citizens Bank Park opened, the Phillies closed on a $125 million loan to fund their most of their portion of the construction costs. We don't know the terms of the loan, but we can get a pretty good idea judging by other loans given out by the same company to stadium-building teams, as well as David Montgomery's claim in a 2004 newspaper article that the annual payment is "under $10 million." The loan probably covered a term of 10 or 15 years with a rate tied to the LIBOR average (a rate set by London Interbank that other bankers use when borrowing money). For example, when the Broncos took out a loan on Invesco field, they received a rate that started at the LIBOR average plus 125 basis points, then rose after five years to the LIBOR average plus 135 basis points. Usually the LIBOR number is fixed for a period (five years, in this case), then adjustable for the remainder of the loan.

In banking lingo, a "basis point" is equal to 1/100th of a percent. So 125 basis points would be 1.25, meaning if the six-month LIBOR average was 3.5, the Broncos would be paying 4.75 percent.

The six-month LIBOR was a fantastic 1.948 percent in June of 2002. There's a good chance the Phillies got a deal similar to the Broncos, except over 15 years, which is the term the Tigers got from the same company. But because all of this is a guess at this point, and because Montgomery said the yearly payment was under $10 mil, let's just put it at $9.7 million per year to the bank. Now, those are pretty favorable terms. And when you consider that the LIBOR average currently sits at about 0.4, and the Phillies' rate likely began to vary at some point, they could be even more favorable now than they were then. Of course, there is a chance that five years into the loan, when rates had ballooned into the 5.0's thanks to the housing bubble, the Phillies were able to exercise a rate swap in which they locked in a specific rate for the rest of the loan. Which, in hindsight, would have been the wrong thing to do. But whatever the terms, we can safety estimate that the Phillies have at least $50 million remaining on the stadium. There is a good chance that is higher. But again, we jus' illustratin'.

6) Funding from MLB's Credit Facility: Up to $75 million

The league office oversees all facets of the game. But it also acts as a sort of central bank for the clubs, thanks to a credit line that is backed by national television contracts. At the time Citizens Bank Park was built, each club had a revolving account with the league that was capped at $50 million. The interest rates are better than they can get on the open market. Thanks to growth in league-wide revenue, each team's credit limit is believed to be $75 million.

7) Loans and advances collateralized by assets of the club: $Unknown

We don't know whether the Phillies have taken out any more significant loans. But if you think about it, there's a good chance they were forced to after Citizens Bank Park opened....They likely maxed out their $50 million credit line from MLB to pair with their $120 million LIBOR loan, giving them $170 million of the $172 million they needed to finance Citizens Bank Park.

The first-year revenue boom they experienced was enough to support a payroll that had risen from about $57.96 million in 2002 to $93.22 million in 2004. But attendance dropped significantly in 2005, from 3.25 million paid in the first year the ballpark was open to 2.67 million paid the following season. But payroll did not drop. In fact, it rose to over $95 million.

  • The Phillies also moved the left field wall back five feet after the 2005 season.

So it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Phillies took out a significant loan from a third-party lender to help operate the club during the early years. That is not a unique occurence among professional sports franchises. But if they took out a $100 million loan or credit line in 2005 or 2006, they would probably still have a good chunk of it to pay off.

8) ...All I want to know is, will Citizens Bank Park still be there tomorrow, or will the Phillies be playing half-ball in the Jetro Lot?

Here is where we get back to our original point, which is that

  • the franchise itself is paid off.

Current ownership bought the team for 30 million on 1981, so they shouldn't have any real debt in terms of financing the squad. That seems to be what has dragged down clubs like the Dodgers and the Cubs. Fred Wilpon bought the remaining 50 percent of the Mets for $135 million in 2002, plus he is on the hook for $850 million plus interest in bond payments to the city of New York for Citi Field. Frank McCourt paid $450 million to Rupert Murdoch for controlling interest in the Dodgers in 2004. Tom Rickets paid $900 million for the Cubs and other assets in October of 2009. The Marlins' problem is obvious.

Those six teams could concern the league. But the Phillies could very well represent a momentary hiccup, along with a couple of other clubs that made the List of Nine. The Tigers are Mike Ilitch's personal money pit, but the guy is a multi-billionaire. They and the Orioles are probably in the same category as the Phillies, momentarily in violation of debt rules but of no real concern...

The Phillies guaranteed Cliff Lee $120 million this offseason and they guaranteed Ryan Howard $125 million last season. David Montgomery went to Wharton and worked his way into the Phillies' partnership....Leveraging his team to the point where it presents a serious problem, or causes a drastic shift in personnel spending? Hard to believe....

More likely, the Phillies ended up locking themselves into just enough short term debt that it put them over the line. But there is smart debt and there is dumb debt. The Phillies spent $10 million on a new scoreboard this offseason, and that $10 million might have been funded by one of their various lines of credit. But the scoreboard is something that should ideally pay for itself in the long run: Have you seen the signage on the thing? So it counts as debt right now, even though it is a revenue stream....The Phillies also signed Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. to multi-year contracts this offseason. The way I read the CBA, those contracts count as debt. Between the scoreboard and contracts, there's at least $15 million potential dollars in debt, effectively lowering their ceiling by a million bucks.

But as we noted in the beginning, all of this is an approximation of a situation. Judging by that approximation, you should not be concerned about the Phillies' debt problems preventing adding a hitter at the trade deadline. Even if they added or subtracted a $5 million salary,

  • it wouldn't have much of an impact on their compliance with the debt rule."...


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