Monday, February 28, 2011

NY Post's 15th annual best and worst in NY pro sports by Jay Greenberg

Each category had 3 winners. In the "Bright" category, all 3 were NY Mets:

1. R.A. Dickey, Mets

  • 3.35 GPA as an English major at Tennessee. 2.84 ERA as a re-inventor of himself as a knuckleballer.

2. Chris Young, Mets

  • Wrote Princeton thesis on “The Impact of Jackie Robinson and baseball integration on racial Stereotypes: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Stories about Race in the New York Times.” Far more impressive than quantitative projection of Mets rotation without Johan Santana.

3. Chris Capuano, Mets

  • Phi Beta Kappa in economics at Duke. Between starts can figure out where the Madoff money went. Mets strategy is to put up goose-eggheads on opponents’ linescores."...
  • Other notables, "Classy," Yankee Phil Hughes was #3
"Mood didn’t drop with his performance level in second half of season. Good Guy Award winner doesn’t even wish the Rangers any ill against his Lightning."... "The Wilpons were hit high by Madoff and low by clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels. But for $55 million over six years, they got a guy who never cheats himself on an at-bat or blooper by the railing, even if 79 wins is not what he signed for."... "Fist pumps on strikeouts in the first make him the last guy opponents greet at the batting cage."...

"Strikes out more than one per inning of reliable middle relief while everybody is caught looking at the travails of Joba Chamberlain."...

  • "Loved," Yankees Mariano Rivera, #1, Derek Jeter #3
"Mans the ultimate what-did-you-do-for-me-today position. And fans and teammates still want him to go on forever."
  • 2. "Amar’e Stoudemire, Knicks
Wait for a winner was eternal. Probably so will be the gratitude."
  • 3. "Derek Jeter, Yankees

"Man of the people, despite the $7.7 million mansion (no guestroom for Hank Steinbrenner) and the big contract demands coming off .270. Unless countdown to 3,000 proves more protracted than the negotiations, it will be a 74-hit lovefest."...

"Skinny walk-on at College of Charleston. Took a new position, perhaps the most famous in sports, and ran with it."

"No longer quite the fat man, but still jolly."...
  • "Immature," Mets Francisco Rodriguez #1, Yankees Boone Logan #3
About Boone Logan: "More snide comments than Jeter’s house has rooms. Complains about distance from players’ lot to clubhouse. “Lots of parking at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Boone,” said Javier Vazquez."...
  • ----------------------------
They had a couple of other categories I didn't mention here like "hated," and "underachieving," in which names like the Wilpons and AJ Burnett were featured.


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Curt Smith book 9 decades of tales from baseball booths due out in July-Mushnick

Curt Smith, foremost chronicler of baseball's broadcasters, has given us a sneak peak of "A Talk In The Park -- Nine Decades of Tales From The Booth," due out in July.

  • From ex-Pirates pitcher and longtime broadcaster Steve Blass:

"Did I tell you about my first big league omer? Except for Billy Williams homering and doubling twice, I pitched a Sept, 5, 1969 no-hitter against the Cubs. Just as amazingly, I went four-for five.

  • "I don't recall much about my homer except that it came at 2:48 p.m., the wind was out of the northeast at 13 mph, overcast, 61 degrees, and Ken Holtzman was the pitcher.

"I hit the ball, got to first, and coach Don Leppert says, 'Take a left,' since I was in the habit of peeling off to the dugout.""...


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Imagining baseball realignment with 4 divisions of 7 teams each--Bill Madden

2/26/11, "In a few weeks, baseball's labor poobahs will sit down together and begin talks on a new collective bargaining agreement. The principal issues - revenue sharing, cost containment in the draft - are a prelude to bigger ones down the road, specifically: Schedule inequities, the seemingly hopeless stadium situations in Tampa Bay and Oakland, the fate of the designated hitter
  • and Bud Selig's longtime musing, geographic re-alignment.

While none of those latter issues is on the labor agenda, people all over baseball are talking about them. Orioles manager Buck Showalter says he stays up nights configuring Realignment scenarios that would solve a lot of baseball's problems.

"It's just not right the way it is with teams in the same divisions not playing the same schedules," Showalter said, in reference to interleague play in particular, which has created a myriad of inequities such as the St. Louis Cardinals drawing the Orioles, Blue Jays and two series with the Royals this year while the Cubs, in their same division, have to play the Yankees, Red Sox and two series against their intracity rival White Sox. "Why not," asked Showalter,

  • "have everyone in baseball play everyone the same amount of games - three home, three away?"

Showalter acknowledged that to do this, baseball would have to contract two teams and then form four seven-team divisions. Each team would play six games against all 27 opponents. That works out to 162 games. There are also inherent problems with every team playing each other. One is travel and the other is it defeats the purpose of geographic re-alignment, which is to play as many games as possible in your own time zone.

  • Still, four divisions of seven makes for easier schedule scenarios.

"Going to four divisions of seven would also force us to make a decision on the designated hitter," Showalter said. "Either everybody has it, or nobody has it. It's really dumb, the leagues today playing with two sets of rules."

While Showalter chose not to be specific about contraction, other than to reiterate how 28 teams is a much more workable number when it comes to scheduling and re-alignment, there is a growing sentiment for it throughout baseball, especially in regard to the Rays and A's. At least three baseball executives targeted those two teams as the most logical ones for extinction. "It's pretty clear," said one, "that neither of those teams can continue to operate in those facilities." Added another exec: "How much longer can you expect all the other teams to subsidize two teams, in futile situations, with revenue sharing to keep them afloat?"

  • A third exec was even more emphatic: "The biggest mistake we ever made was expanding into Florida.
  • The Rays are hopeless, and I have serious doubts about the Marlins surviving in that new stadium of theirs."
And according to one high-level baseball source,
  • both Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (whose efforts to move the team out of the Tropicana Field dome in St. Pete to a retractable roof facility in Tampa are meeting the two-fold obstacles in the depressed Florida economy and the intractable St. Petersburg bureaucrats), and
have told Selig they are not prepared to continue operating under the present circumstances. Translation: "If we can't get new stadiums, buy us out."

According to the latest Forbes team values figures, the A's and Rays are worth approximately $320 million each. Figuring $700 million as the price for contracting them both,

  • it would cost each approximately $25 million to buy them out.

MLB can unilaterally contract teams but must collectively bargain the effects of contraction with the union - specifically the loss of those 50 jobs and what becomes of those players. Those issues could be resolved, however, by the expansion of the rosters from 25 to 27 players, and having the approximately 250 players from the two contracted organizations redistributed among the 28 teams by virtue of a draft.

  • Those players with guaranteed long-term contracts would have the right to be exempt from the draft and opt for free agency. If they chose the former and were not drafted, MLB would then have to make good on their contracts out of its central fund.

Another related inequity which baseball has failed to address is the expansion of the rosters in September, in which there is currently no limit to the number of players a team can call up. With rosters expanded to 27, September call-ups could be limited to three players per team - but with the stipulation only 27 could be active for each game.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who is on Selig's 14-member baseball study commission, said that, while he has known nothing but the 25-man roster his entire life, considering how pitching has evolved, with clubs routinely carrying 13 pitchers (as opposed to nine-10, years ago), he can see the merits of adding a couple of extra players to the roster.

  • "If you have the DH, you don't need that much of a bench," La Russa said. "But if you get rid of the DH, and you're carrying 13 pitchers, that really straps you, especially since one of your four bench players is the back-up catcher."

Using a consensus of the half-dozen managers and executives surveyed for this exercise, here's how baseball could evolve over the next 10 years:

  • Geographically realigned divisions: Seven teams, four divisions

Designated hitter: Grandfathered for three years under the new four-division format,

  • then goes away.

Rosters: Expanded to 27 with a limit to three September call-ups and the stipulation that only 27 players, to be designated by the manager before each game, can be active.

For the now, however, look for the biggest changes coming out of the next collective bargaining agreement to be a bonus slotting system in the draft and the ability of clubs to


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Koby Clemens chats with Milo Hamilton at Astros camp

Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton chats with Astros infielder Koby Clemens at Astros spring training in Kissimmee, Florida, 2/26/11. photo Houston Chronicle

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Spring Training baseball sked for MLB Radio and Mad Dog Radio

"MLB Network Radio Visits 30 MLB Spring Training Sites in 30 Days Feb. 27-Mar. 28 "Sirius XM Radio...will embark on its 2011 Spring Training Tour on Sunday, February 27, giving fans nationwide an in-depth and comprehensive look at all 30 Major League Baseball clubs as they prepare for the coming season. SiriusXM's 24-hour baseball talk channel, MLB Network Radio, and its all-sports talk channel, Mad Dog Radio,
  • will broadcast live from ballparks in Arizona and Florida where they will present one-on-one interviews with managers, players and team executives from every MLB team.
MLB Network Radio (XM channel 175, Sirius channel 210 with the "Best of XM"), will visit 30 spring training sites in 30 days from February 27 to March 28.
  • Former Mets and Orioles general manager Jim Duquette and co-host Mike Ferrin will cover the west coast sites of Florida's Grapefruit League from Feb. 27 - Mar. 6.
  • Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden and Casey Stern will broadcast from Arizona's Cactus League ballparks from Mar. 7 - 14.
  • Former Rangers and Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy will team up with Duquette to broadcast from seven Arizona sites from Mar. 15 -21.
  • Then Bowden will join co-host Jim Memolo to cover Florida's east coast parks from Mar. 22-28.
On Mad Dog Radio (Sirius channel 123, XM channel 144), Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo will host his daily show, Mad Dog Unleashed,
  • from five Arizona locations from March 7-11 and
  • from five Florida parks from March 21-25.
  • Mad Dog Unleashed airs every weekday (2:00-7:00 pm ET).
2011 SiriusXM Spring Training Tour Schedule: (All times ET)
  • Sunday, Feb. 27
Yankees @ Phillies - Bright House Networks Field, Clearwater, FL 10am-1pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Monday, Feb. 28
• Phillies @ Blue Jays - Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Tuesday, Mar. 1
• Yankees @ Pirates - McKechnie Field, Bradenton, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Wednesday, Mar. 2
• Braves @ Red Sox - City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Thursday, Mar. 3
• Twins @ Orioles - Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)• Red Sox @ Yankees - George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Saturday, Mar. 5
• Twins @ Rays - Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, FL 10am-1pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Sunday, Mar. 6
• Orioles @ Twins - Hammond Stadium, Lee County, FL 10am-1pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette & Mike Ferrin (MLBNR)
  • Monday, Mar. 7
• Brewers @ Reds - Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR) • Dodgers @ Rockies - Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, AZ 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Tuesday, Mar. 8
• Diamondbacks @ Indians - Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR) • Rangers @ Angels - Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe, AZ 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Wednesday, Mar. 9
• Brewers @ Diamondbacks - Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR) • Padres @ Indians - Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Thursday, Mar. 10
• Indians @ Cubs - HoHoKam Park, Mesa, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR) • Giants @ Reds - Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Friday, Mar. 11
• Royals @ Rockies - Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR) • A's @ Brewers - Maryvale Baseball Park, Phoenix, AZ 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Saturday, Mar. 12
• A's @ Mariners - Peoria Stadium, Peoria, AZ 1-4pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR)
  • Sunday, Mar. 13
• Indians @ Padres - Peoria Stadium, Peoria, AZ 1-4pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR)
  • Monday, Mar. 14
• Brewers @ Giants - Scottsdale Stadium, Scottsdale, AZ 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden & Casey Stern (MLBNR)
  • Tuesday, Mar. 15
• Rangers @ Dodgers - The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch, Glendale, AZ 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Wednesday, Mar. 16
• Giants @ White Sox - The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch, Glendale, AZ 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Thursday, Mar. 17
• Cubs @ A's - Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Phoenix, AZ 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Friday, Mar. 18
• Padres @ Angels - Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe, AZ 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Saturday, Mar. 19
• Mariners @ Rangers - Surprise Stadium, Surprise, AZ 1-4pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Sunday, Mar. 20
• Rangers @ Royals - Surprise Stadium, Surprise, AZ 1-4pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR)
  • Monday, Mar. 21
• Rangers @ Brewers - Maryvale Baseball Park, Phoenix, AZ 2-6pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy (MLBNR) • Yankees @ Rays - Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, FL 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Tuesday, Mar. 22
• Twins @ Marlins - Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, FL 10am-2p ET: Power Alley with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR) • Mets @ Tigers - Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, FL 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Wednesday, Mar. 23
• Mets @ Cardinals - Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR) • Marlins @ Braves - Champion Stadium, Lake Buena Vista, FL 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Thursday, Mar. 24
• Cardinals @ Mets - Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR) Twins @ Phillies - Bright House Networks Field, Clearwater, FL 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Friday, Mar. 25
• Cardinals @ Nationals - Space Coast Stadium, Viera, FL 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR) • Blue Jays @ Red Sox - City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, FL 2-7pm ET: Mad Dog Unleashed with Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo (MDR)
  • Saturday, Mar. 26
• Phillies @ Tigers - Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR)
  • Sunday, Mar. 27
• Tigers @ Astros - Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL 10am-2pm ET: Power Alley with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR)
  • Monday, Mar. 28
• Nationals @ Braves - Champion Stadium, Lake Buena Vista, FL 2-6pm ET: Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden and Jim Memolo (MLBNR)
  • MLB Network Radio is available to listeners nationwide on XM channel 175 and Sirius channel 210 with the "Best of XM." Visit www.siriusxm.com/mlbnetworkradio for programming info.
Mad Dog Radio airs nationwide on Sirius channel 123 and XM channel 144. Visit www.siriusxm.com/maddogradio for programming info."

Labels: ,

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Yankees to honor Mr. Steinbrenner at Spring opener

"There will be a major absence at the ballpark when the New York Yankees play their 2011 spring training opener.

Saturday’s game between New York and the Philadelphia Phillies will be the Yankees’ first spring game since team

  • owner George Steinbrenner died in July at the age of 80.

Steinbrenner will be honored during a pregame ceremony at George Steinbrenner Field that will include his wife Joan being escorted by the couple’s two daughters — Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Jessica Steinbrenner — to place a rose on home plate. Haley Swindal, Steinbrenner’s granddaughter, will perform the national anthem.

The ceremony for him, I think, that will be very special,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said on Friday. “It was awkward in New York, they had a tremendous ceremony for him. I mean, he passed away in July and it’s still awkward to know he’s not here. It seems like it’s hard to believe. That hasn’t changed.”

  • Former Yankees, including Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, David Wells and Rich “Goose” Gossage will be introduced before the game....

Steinbrenner attended most of the Yankees’ home spring training games last year.

New York will start Bartolo Colon, who along with Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre, is competing for the final one of the two rotation spots. Philadelphia will counter with Cole Hamels."...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mets, Yankees tv starts Saturday, 2/26 on Channel 11 and YES

2/25/11, Neil Best, "Let’s face it: The idea of spring training baseball games generally is better than the reality....

But there is something special about the first games, and the Mets and Yankees play theirs Saturday,

  • the Mets on Channel 11 and the Yankees on YES.

YES has 14 games overall, as well as a new show called “Yankees Spring Training Report,’’ hosted primarily by Kimberly Jones and Jack Curry and

  • premiering after Sunday’s game.
SNY will produce 16 Mets games — all in HD for the first time — 12 on SNY and

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dodgers debt at $430 million in Nov. 2009

2/24/11, "Bud Selig rejected proposal for Fox to loan $200 million to Dodgers' owner," LA Times, Bill Shaikin, McCourt has continued to explore financing options that would enable him to satisfy the commissioner and manage a debt that, according to court records, exceeded $430 million as of November 2009. McCourt said last week he was "very, very confident" that he would remain the owner of the team, however and whenever his divorce proceedings end. The Times reported last month that Fox had advanced McCourt money from the team's current television contract to help cover operating expenses.
  • Sugerman declined to discuss how Selig's decision might affect McCourt's ability to manage the Dodgers' finances.
Selig has indicated he might withhold approval of any minority investor or broadcast contract proposed by McCourt. The commissioner last year rejected a proposed TV deal between Fox and the Texas Rangers, one that would have eased the severe financial burdens on Tom Hicks, then the Rangers' owner. The team ended up in Bankruptcy Court. Fox considered bidding for the Rangers so as to secure the team's television rights, then
  • negotiated a contract with the team's new owners, worth a reported $1.6 billion over 20 years.
That deal averages $80 million per year. The Fox loan to McCourt could have enabled the company to secure an extension to the Dodgers' rights at about $50 million per year had McCourt not repaid the proposed loan.
  • David Boies, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, said any such deal should trigger "court supervision" of the Dodgers' finances, so as to ensure the value of the team is not harmed until the court determines ownership.
Jamie McCourt maintains that she owns half of the Dodgers. Frank McCourt says the Dodgers are his sole property. The couple divorced in October but has not reached a financial settlement. "The most important thing is that he not be allowed to abuse his position of control to dissipate a marital asset," Boies said. "He has to manage the asset in a way that not only protects his asset
  • but his wife's interest."...
Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports, said Fox was smart to try to help Frank McCourt at a time when Time Warner, Comcast and ESPN all are competing to secure broadcast rights to teams currently aired on Fox channels across the country. Time Warner's new Lakers channel, for instance, could bid against Fox for the
  • rights to carry Dodgers games.
The proposed loan could have effectively added years to the Dodgers' contract with Fox,
  • which expires in 2013.
"I don't see any downside for Fox," Pilson said. "But Fox isn't going to secure a loan with six months of broadcast rights. They're going to want to have a term that more than adequately covers them in case of default."This way, at worst, you get back your loan with, I'm sure, a fair rate of interest.
  • At best, you get broadcast rights for a term of years that might be worth more than the loan."
Fox lent $145 million to McCourt in 2004, as part of its agreement to sell the Dodgers to him. McCourt put up his Boston parking lots as collateral. Fox essentially foreclosed on the property two years later, then sold it."
  • via BTF


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Selig didn't inform exec. committee of $25M Nov. 2010 loan to Wilpon until Jan. 2011-report

"One team executive in baseball said the Mets had not yet repaid the loan, and that Selig had only informed baseball’s executive committee of the loan last month. ...
  • the club has faced cash shortfall issues for at least a year. "...
2/25/11, "Major League Baseball provided $25 million to the owners of the Mets as they struggled to deal with a cash shortfall last fall and a looming lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s vast Ponzi scheme, according to two people briefed on the arrangement.
  • The direct intervention of Commissioner Bud Selig to help sustain the operations of the franchise — confirmed by the Mets on Friday — is perhaps the most striking evidence yet of the financial distress that for many months has plagued the team’s owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz....

The Mets have exhausted baseball’s standard bank line of credit, tens of millions of dollars that Mr. Selig and the sport’s owners make available to teams for a variety of reasons in the course of any year. The owners also have more than $400 million in debt on the team. Thus, the additional money provided by Mr. Selig — done in secret last November — might have been crucial in keeping the club functioning. Three weeks ago, after months spent denying that they were in any significant financial trouble, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz announced that they were willing to sell 25 percent of the club, which is valued by Forbes magazine at $858 million. In recent days, the men indicated they were willing to sell even a larger share of the team, but they have insisted they do not want to give up majority ownership.

Mr. Selig’s decision to give what amounts to extraordinary assistance to one of the sport’s most prominent and highly valued teams — one owned by Mr. Wilpon, a man Mr. Selig has long regarded as a close personal friend — could anger other team owners, who might wonder why their money is being used to rescue a team with a $140 million payroll.

Mr. Wilpon, in Florida for spring training, said Friday that he would not talk about the Mets’ finances. Asked directly whether baseball had been assisting him, Mr. Wilpon walked away, saying he did not want to discuss the team’s finances with a reporter.

  • Later Friday, after being informed The Times was preparing a story on baseball’s financial assistance, the Mets issued a statement:

We said in October that we expected to have a short-term liquidity issue. To address this, we did receive a loan from Major League Baseball in November. Beyond that, we will not discuss the matter any further.”

One team executive in baseball said the Mets had not yet repaid the loan, and that Selig had only informed baseball’s executive committee of the loan

  • last month.

The lawsuit filed by Mr. Picard in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan in December portrays the Mets as something of a financial weak sister to Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz’s profitable real estate and television properties, regularly needing cash infusions from the other businesses to compete in the National League East.

Mr. Selig, who has been commissioner for nearly two decades, has broad powers to help prop up ailing franchises or to effectively take financial control of them, if, for instance,

  • he fears they could go bankrupt.

Last year, with the owner of the Texas Rangers having defaulted on more than a half-billion dollars in loans, Mr. Selig provided a total of some $40 million to the club.

“The fact that the loan is coming from baseball would be a jarring event because, as with the Texas Rangers, the league is effectively a lender of last resort,” said Marc Ganis, a sports industry consultant. “It would indicate the team cannot get loans from normal commercial sources, which could be taken as a sign of very significant problems.”

Mr. Selig, in making these kinds of extraordinary loans, typically would use baseball’s line of credit with several banks, including Bank of America. It is not known what interest rate the Mets were charged by baseball.

  • The decision by Mr. Selig to assist the Rangers last year angered the owners of some rival teams. The Rangers eventually used some of the money to obtain the pitcher Cliff Lee, who then led the club to its first World Series appearance.

Baseball, in involving itself with struggling franchises, enjoys a powerful status. In the event of a bankruptcy, it gets its loans repaid first — ahead of banks, and perhaps even Mr. Picard, the Madoff trustee. The banks holding hundreds of millions in loans to Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz, then, might be distressed to learn of Mr. Selig’s intervention. It is possible, however, that Mr. Wilpon would have had to inform the banks of the existence of the loan in November.

According to one person briefed on baseball’s involvement with the troubles of the Mets, the club has faced cash shortfall issues

  • for at least a year.

If the Mets are in such financial straits, it raises real questions about their ability to sign talented players and avoid another season of poor performance and disappointing ticket sales. While they are committed to a payroll of roughly $140 million — about what it was a year ago — they spent very little this off-season, despite a poor showing on the field last year.

The efforts by Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz to sell a portion of the club have generated modest levels of interest. Fewer than 12 potential buyers have applied to Major League Baseball for the right to examine the finances of the Mets, a necessary

  • first step before bidding for the team."

2/25/11, "Baseball gave $25 million lifeline to Mets," NY Times, Michael S. Schmidt

Labels: ,

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

MLB 2011 preseason games and channels on XM, 2/25- 3/4

  • Update: 2011 MLB preseason games and channels on XM
  • March 7-11
From SiriusXM.com/sports, scroll down to MLB live games:
  • Today, 2/25, 3:05pm, XM channel 188, Diamondbacks at Giants
List on one page at XMFan.com, scroll down for 2011

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Mariano Rivera Jr. pitches vs Hank's Yanks in Tampa

2/24/11, "The younger Rivera was in Tampa on Thursday, pitching for Mariano Rivera's All-Stars against Hank's Yanks, Hank Steinbrenner's Bronx-based youth team, in a practice game at the main stadium.

Here is Mo Jr. delivering a couple of pitches. I know it's distant, but you can certainly see the similarity - especially in the set position."

2/24/11, "Video: Mariano Jr. delivers," Hartford Courant, Dom Amore


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Poynter Institute to serve as ESPN ombudsman

ESPN and The Poynter Institute today announced a new step in media transparency—The Poynter Review Project—in which a panel of Poynter faculty will review ESPN content across all platforms and publicly comment on ESPN's efforts. This will include monthly essays and additional timely responses as issues arise. The group also will address fan concerns during its 18-month tenure. The commentaries will be posted on ESPN.com, beginning with an introductory column in March.

The Poynter Institute’s reputation in the field of journalism is unmatched and we welcome the panel’s scrutiny in this new format,” said John A. Walsh, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. “Our goal is to improve our content through increased accountability, transparency and timeliness. We believe The Review will take the

  • traditional ombudsman role and advance it for the 21st century media world. ”

Poynter President Karen B. Dunlap, said, “This project with ESPN allows us to join with a major multi-media organization interested in the connection between values and quality news and information. For more than 35 years, Poynter has taught the skills and values on which journalism excellence is based. As media evolve we have new opportunities to promote and learn from best practices—

  • across all platforms.”

The Institute’s role expands the tradition of ESPN ombudsman, most recently held by television producer Don Ohlmeyer. His 18-month term was preceded Le Anne Schreiber, a former New York Times sports editor-turned author, and George Solomon, former sports editor of The Washington Post.

Among Poynter contributors are Kelly McBride, a writer, teacher and one of the country's leading voices on media ethics. She has been on the faculty of The Poynter Institute for eight years. She leads Poynter’s Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation initiative which examines the transformation of journalism and the effects on democracy. Regina McCombs, Poynter’s faculty for multimedia and mobile, teaches digital skills in on-site and distance-learning programs. She was the senior producer for multimedia at StarTribune.com in Minneapolis-St. Paul prior to joining Poynter in 2008. Butch Ward is both managing director and a member of the Poynter faculty. A journalist for 27 years at The

  • Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore News-American,

Ward held jobs throughout the newsroom, including managing editor at both newspapers. For Poynter, he coordinates the Institute’s business departments and teaches leadership, management, editing, reporting and writing.

About The Poynter Institute

Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Poynter Institute one of the nation’s top schools for professional journalists and news media leaders, as well as future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter offers training throughout the year in the areas of online and multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, TV and radio, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. Poynter’s News University (www.newsu.org) offers journalism training to the public through more than 200 interactive modules and other forms of e-learning. It has more than 170,000 registered users in 225 countries. Poynter's Web site, (www.poynter.org) is the dominant provider of journalism news, with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology. "

via Poynter.org/Romenesko

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Selig imposed gag order on team officials discussing revenue sharing

2/23/11, "Bud Selig was compelled to call Hal Steinbrenner yesterday to remind the Yankees a gag order remains on team officials discussing revenue sharing."...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MLB 2011 preseason games on XM begin Saturday 2/26

This updates prior post. MLB.com says Cactus league games begin Sat., 2.26, Diamondbacks at Rockies,
  • Sirius XM latest on its website said first Cactus game would be Fri. 2/25, but early schedules can always change.
Fri, Feb 25 3:05 PM ET Arizona Diamondbacks @ San Francisco Giants XM 188
Sat, Feb 26 1:05 PM ET Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Yankees XM 176
Sat, Feb 26 1:05 PM ET Pittsburgh Pirates @ Tampa Bay Rays XM 177


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Wilpon and Katz used Madoff accounts to get loans to buy out Doubleday- NY Times

2/22/11, "All sorts of hypothetical sales packages are being floated by executives in the sports investment industry, who declined to speak on the record because did not want to jeopardize their relationship with the Mets. They include:
  • The Mets sell 51 percent over several years, which would be similar to the phased-in, five-year sale of the San Diego Padres by John Moores to a group led by Jeff Moorad.
  • ¶The Mets sell only 25 percent of the team but throw in 15 percent of SNY, the team’s profitable cable network.

The Mets sell 25 percent of the team but insist on getting a put option from the buyer that allows them to sell another 26 percent to the new investors at an agreed-upon price anytime over the next three years. The option gives the buyer the possibility of future control, but the decision to trigger the option would rest with Wilpon and Katz.

By showing the trustee, Irving H. Picard, that they could raise additional cash by exercising their put option, Wilpon and Katz may be able to persuade the trustee to give them time to try raising money from other assets, like their real estate holdings.

Wilpon has some experience with put options because he and Nelson Doubleday each had one in their agreement to become 50-50 owners of the Mets in 1986. In late 2001, Doubleday exercised his option to have Wilpon buy him out at a price established by an independent appraisal of the team’s value.

But Doubleday argued that the appraisal was too low and that he had been the victim of a “sham process” by Major League Baseball to reduce team values.

  • Wilpon sued Doubleday to force him to accept the appraisal and Doubleday did,

receiving about $135 million from Wilpon in August 2002. Two years later, Wilpon and Katz used their investment accounts with Madoff to persuade lenders to refinance certain loans that let them buy out Doubleday,

  • according to Picard’s lawsuit.

Potential buyers could also ask for a call option, which would give them the right to buy a larger stake. But it is unlikely that Wilpon would give the buyer of a minority stake the leverage to buy control of the team."...

----------------------------------------- "Bud Selig's legacy hinges on the future of signature MLB franchises like the Mets & Dodgers," Bill Madden, NY Daily News


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Comcast eyes bottom line at NBC more than GE did- Neil Best

"NBC’s “30 Rock’’ has poked at the inevitable culture clash between the worlds of Kabletown – the spoof version of Pennsylvania-based Comcast – and a broadcast network accustomed to the less careful spending habits of
  • General Electric, a multinational behemoth.

Soon, life might be imitating art. New CEO Steve Burke made it clear on a call with investors last week the new NBC will not be inclined to take losses lightly.

  • “We’re here to make money, and we’re going to be disciplined,’’ he said.

That thinking could be decisive when the IOC sells rights to the 2014 and ’16 Olympics this summer. NBC lost more than $200 million in Vancouver last year and expects losses again in London in ‘12.

With ESPN and Fox likely to be involved, the folks at Kabletown might decide the Games’ finances are no laughing matter."

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Monday, February 21, 2011

Games and channels for MLB games on XM through 4/15/11

UPDATE, 3/27/11: GAMES AND CHANNELS OF MLB GAMES ON XM THROUGH 4/15/11, XMFan.com, scroll down Here is a Sirius XM MLB site that lists teams and says to check back soon for schedules on XM radio. It also says talks are ongoing with MLB to make more games available on Sirius. It looks like they'll want cookies in return for further details. Via XMFan.com


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

UN says fishing is unsustainable, perversely rewarded, world fishing fleet must be reduced

Obama said to call today for 2% of US GDP transfer to UN for green projects, social equity, which per BBC article includes that world fisheries must be reduced, are 'unsustainable,
  • and perversely rewarded.'
"Investing $1.3 trillion (£800bn) each year in green sectors would deliver long-term stability in the global economy, a UN report has suggested. Spending about 2% of global GDP in 10 key areas would kick-start a "low carbon, resource efficient green economy", the authors observed.
  • They also recommended following policies that decoupled economic growth from intensive consumption.

The findings have been published at a meeting attended by

  • 100 ministers.

"Governments have a central role in changing laws and policies, and in investing public money in public wealth to make the transition possible," said Pavan Sukhdev, head of the

  • UN Environment Programme's (Unep) Green Economy Initiative.
"Misallocation of capital is at the centre of the world's current dilemmas and there are fast actions that can be taken, starting literally today," he added.

"From phasing down and phasing out the $600bn global fossil fuel subsidies,

  • those in unsustainable fisheries."

UNEP defined a "green economy" as one that resulted in "improved human well-being and

  • social equity,

while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities".

When it came to investing 2% of GDP in greening the global economy, the authors recommended a number of investments, including:
  • $108bn greening agriculture, such as encouraging and supporting smallholder farms
  • $134bn on the building sector, including improving energy efficiency
  • $110bn improving fisheries, including
  • reducing the capacity of the world's fishing fleet....
The findings are being published at the 26th session of UNEP's Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum,
  • which is being held in Nairobi, Kenya, until 24 February."
  • ----------------------------------
2/21/11, "Green economy needs 2% of every nation's income, says UN," UK Guardian, Fiona Harvey (says Obama will call for 2% of US GDP) photo Scottish fisherman, BBC, 9/30/10

Labels: , ,

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jeter in cart arrives in style

Top Jeter in cart, bottom Russell Martin, Posada, Cervelli, 2/19/11, from NYYFans

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eyeing the ranks for possible 'failed starters' as Rivera's eventual successor-Joel Sherman

  • Joel Sherman has a hunch Rivera's eventual replacement may be a "converted starter" or what is known less politely as a 'failed starter':
2/18, Joel Sherman: "So who will replace Rivera when he no longer closes for the Yankees? The natural reaction would be to look toward Rafael Soriano. He is here now, after all. But, remember, he has opt-out clauses after both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. So if suddenly the Yankees needed him to close, you can expect that Soriano and his agent, Scott Boras, would push them to a new deal.

Also, keep in mind though Soriano is 31, he has yet to have three straight healthy, successful seasons in the majors (he will be trying that this year). Also, temperamentally, there are big questions about him. One of the secrets of Rivera’s success, especially in New York, is that he is imperturbable, drama-free. His teammates love him (not the case for Soriano in his prior two stops, Atlanta and Tampa Bay), trust him.

For some reason, I think Rivera’s first successor will end up being a converted starter from within the system,

  • someone like Phil Hughes or Dellin Betances or Andrew Brackman.

It is just a hunch. But when I asked Brian Cashman about it, the GM at first said he is worrying about starting pitching now and not who the closer might be down the line. But then he added, “My aim the past few years has been to add pitching depth and pitching depth into the organization for whatever is down the road.”"...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Sports Endorsement Stall of Fame

2/18/11, "Sports Endorsement Stall of Fame:...
  • * ESPN’s Chris Berman — Simultaneous endorser of Nutrisystem weight loss products and fried meat and cheese platters at Applebee’s.
  • * Dan Dierdorf — Simultaneously endorsed weight loss products and Lays potato chips.
  • * Joe TorreAs Yankees manager he swore in his book that he never reads the local papers during baseball season, then was heard in commercials for a local newspaper claiming that he reads every word during the season.
  • * HBO’s Jim Lampley — Played himself, a trusted national TV journalist, in an obviously bogus commercial for a finance company headed by a man who soon pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
  • * Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — In one of his books he credits his NBA longevity — 20 years — to wearing low-cut sneakers, claiming that high-tops transfer shock to the knees. He then did TV ads for Reebok high-tops.
  • In another of his books, Abdul-Jabbar claimed to assiduously

avoid drinking alcohol. He wrote drinking not only violates Islam, it destroys families. He then did a

  • TV commercial for Coors."
from NY Post, Phil Mushnick, 2/18/11, "ESPN always wants it both ways"

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

CBS News is first national media to expose corruption at NOAA fisheries, but pledges made to undo corruption are already being reneged

"Unfortunately, since you (CBS) put this piece in the can, the Secretary of Commerce has reneged on his pledge to review previous fines and "Wow! What a nice job by CBS News, Armen Keteyian, and Katie Couric.
On 16 February, CBS News devoted some four minutes to an investigative piece into the scandal that should have rocked NOAA and the Obama administration last fall. Our government is driving the fishing industry into oblivion with "unduly complicated" regulations and with federal agents who are "overzealous" and prone to "abusive conduct."
The piece opened with Bill Lee, a fisherman from Rockport, MA, who has been forced out of business by the fines levied by NOAA. Mr. Lee is articulate and the photogenic background of Motif No. 1 is
  • emblematic of New England.
CBS got the sound bite but they are constrained by time. A more in depth coverage of Mr. Lee's ordeal is given in Richard Gaines' article in the Gloucester Times.
Mr. Keteyian next spoke to Richard Burgess, another fisherman. Mr. Burgess told of being fined
  • $27,000 for a paperwork error
and being told that if he contested the fine, it could go up to $125,000 or more. You can view Mr. Burgess' testimony to Congress on that incident and others at the link. Mr. Burgess said on camera to CBS, "[We are] hardworking people and we've been
  • treated as common criminals." Ouch!
The outrages were investigated by the Department of Congress Inspector General (IG),
  • who confirmed the fishermen's complaints.
See my American Thinker essay on "NOAA's Law Enforcement Behaving Badly." CBS addressed the NOAA Law Enforcement "Shredding Party" where the director of
  • NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement shredded some 70-80% of his documents before the IG ever got to see them.
The only NOAA representative on the piece was Eric Schwaab, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, not the janitor but not the boss. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the boss of NOAA and a confirmed environmental zealot, did not appear; why not? Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Dr. Lubchenco's titular boss, did not appear; why not?
CBS showed a clip of Senator Grassley, who said, "I want to make sure that heads roll ... because in a bureaucracy, if heads don't roll, you don't change behavior."
  • Nicely said, Senator, but no heads have rolled and apparently none will.
Nobody has been punished at all.
  • There will be no change in behavior.
Dr. Lubchenco and her minions are looking forward, not backwards; bureaucratic doublespeak for doing nothing.
Mr. Keteyian concludes with a nice shot of the Scotia Boat Too, Mr. Burgess' boat, pulling in to the pier. The voice-over says, "Now a judge [sic, should be Special Master] is reviewing at least
  • 31 cases of fishermen caught up in the government's net, to see if some of the fines should be returned."
Sounds good to me, Armen. Unfortunately, since you put this piece in the can, the Secretary of Commerce has reneged on his pledge to review previous fines and
Congratulations, CBS. You are the first national outlet to bring this issue before the American people. A strong, hard-hitting piece. The government of the United States,
  • that is to say the American people,
you and I, are driving our friends and neighbors out of business by raw power and strong arm tactics. It needs to be stopped. We need the help of the media. This essay augments your excellent work and shows that if you were less constrained by time, you could have gone deeper.
The fishermen, their families, the related dockside businesses, and the American people thank you."
  • from American Thinker by Mike Johnson, 2/17/11


Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Fred Wilpon, Bud Selig, and Mo all make Newsday back page

  • Newsday back cover, Friday, 2/18/11
2/17, Ken Davidoff: "'Ready to grill me?" a bouncy Fred Wilpon asked reporters yesterday morning in the Mets' clubhouse, and then he jokingly grabbed an incoming scribe's coffee cup and offered it to the rest of the group. You could label it as "awkwardly aggressive, proactive goodwill." The Mets' principal owner appeared even a little nervous at Digital Domain Park."...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

WEEI's Dale Arnold to do 25-30 Red Sox games as fill in for Dave O'Brien

2/16/11: "“The only part of the proposal that they made to me that was palatable — at all — was the fact that I’m going to be doing a bit more play-by-play,” (Dale) Arnold said today when talking about his shrunken role at WEEI-AM (850).
  • WEEI is shuffling it’s lineup as it faces its biggest competition ever from
  • sports radio rival “95.8 The Sports Hub.”
As for his future, Arnold said he will be WEEI’s “designated vacation fill-in host,” which amounts to about 100 days a year. He will also be filling in for ...Red Sox [team stats] play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien for about 25 to 30 summer baseball games."...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Half of recent Missouri Journalism school grads are out of work

2/17/11, "Half of Recent Missouri School of Journalism Grads Can’t Find Jobs," J.Buzz

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Media insisted Egypt crowd was just good people wanting democracy. CBS reporter being brutally raped and called, 'Jew! Jew!' gives that the lie

"“The sexual assault of a woman in the middle of a public square is a story  . . .  particularly because the crowd in Tahrir Square was almost

  • invariably characterized as
  • friendly and out for
nothing but democracy,”"...

"Dateline — Egypt:

[60 Minutes] correspondent Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs

as she covered the chaotic fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s main square Friday.”

Powerful reporting on an important story. Two problems: It didn’t run until yesterday, and CBS didn’t run it. The quote is from the New York Post. And it was The Wall Street Journal that reported “the separation and assault lasted roughly 20 to 30 minutes.”

  • But CBS? They sat on their own story. For five days,

as reporters reveled amid giddy celebrations in Tahrir Square, and as President Obama praised President Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis, CBS reported nothing.

Only when other media had the story did CBS break the news that its own chief foreign correspondent was the victim of

Five days of silence — not even “60 Minutes” coverage of the Egypt story. No mention of the “mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy” who attacked their own reporter.

  • How is that not news?

Some women journalists, like WGBH’s Callie Crossley, complain that CBS should never have reported the story, that Logan should be treated like a rape victim in the United States. But I’m with liberal columnist

  • Richard Cohen of The Washington Post:

The sexual assault of a woman in the middle of a public square is a story  . . .  particularly because the crowd in Tahrir Square was almost invariably characterized as

  • friendly and out for

Watching the same complicit media we all saw, Cohen notes most journalists covered the mobs “as if they were reporting from Times Square on New Year’s Eve, stopping only at

  • putting on a party hat.”

Even CBS’s own statement said Logan was “covering the jubilation” and

  • was attacked “amidst the celebration.”

Having 200 “good guys” gang assault a female reporter while screaming

  • “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative.

Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public

Rapes happen everywhere, it’s true. And political protests are a global phenomenon, too. But as Slate.com’s Rachel Larimore says, “there’s a huge difference between flipping over a truck and spraying friends with beer and prying a woman away from her security detail

  • and sexually assaulting her.”

Larimore wonders if “Logan’s attack [is] an anomaly, or is it to be expected from men raised in a culture that treats women as lesser citizens?”

I would point her to the 2008 broadcast on the Al-Aribiya network of a female (!) lawyer arguing that

  • it’s OK for Muslim men to sexually assault Israeli women,

because the Jews have “raped the land.” Or this week’s story of Hena, the 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl raped by a family member, then sentenced to

  • After 80 lashes, Hena died.

There are stories like this — and Logan’s — every week,

  • all with the same cultural denominator.

For the record, Logan isn’t Jewish. And because she’s not Muslim, there’s no possibility she’ll face the lash.

But Lara Logan is a story. Why did CBS work so hard not to tell it?"

  • by Michael Graham
---------------------------------------------- The photo CNN aired blurred the faces of the men behind Logan for reasons unknown.

via Lucianne.com

Labels: ,

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon