Sunday, March 31, 2013

Window for NY baseball radio rights renegotiation expires in 2 weeks

3/30/13, "Tomorrow at Citi Field, ESPN Radio-NY, now with Mets’ games in Spanish on 1050 AM, unfurls its booth banner — which will double as a shot across the bow of WFAN’s booth.
Within two weeks, the exclusive renegotiation window for CBS Radio to renew Yankees (WCBS, 880 AM) and Mets (WFAN, 660 AM and now 101.9 FM) rights expires. CBS very much wants to renew both teams, and is believed to have its top corporate execs closely monitoring the talks.

Ah, but both teams know ESPN-NY (98.7 FM) at least as much wants one or the other. Next season’s radio winners and losers could be determined as early as May 1."

3/30/13, "Scully too good for today’s standards," NY Post, Phil Mushnick, (above item p.2, 'Equal time')

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Houston Astros manager Bo Porter introduced to fans at opening night game v Rangers

"Houston Astros manager Bo Porter (16) runs out during player introductions before a season-opening baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Houston," ap

 "Melissa Bull and Byron Wilcher watch as fireworks explode following the Houston Astros' 8-2 win over the Texas Rangers in a season-opening baseball game at Minute Maid Park, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Houston," ap

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Cincinnati Reds grounds crew puts final touches on field before Monday opening day

"Cincinnati Reds grounds crew members prepare the field ready at Great American Ball Park for Monday's opening day baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Cincinnati," ap

"Cincinnati Reds grounds crew members prepare the field ready at Great American Ball Park for Monday's opening day baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Cincinnati," ap

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Houston Astros fan runs through rain outside stadium before season opener v Texas Rangers, 3/31/13

"Houston Astros fan runs through the rain outside the stadium before the Astros' season opener baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Houston," AP/Houston Chronicle

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2013 Yankees 'offensive levels Yankees fans haven’t seen since 1991 when Steve Sax and Kevin Maas were Opening Day starters,' NY Post, Joe Peta, baseball wagerer

"Joe Peta, a former hedge fund trader, is the author of a new book, “Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Dutton). Here he explains why his new job, wagering on baseball, may be a better bet than buying stocks."
3/31/13, "Biz whiz: Bettor up!" NY Post, Joe Peta. "My best gamble: Walking away from Wall St. to $core big on baseball wagering."

"Baseball can be modeled more accurately because a baseball game, at its core, is simply about 70 one-on-one confrontations between pitcher and batter. I can model Justin Verlander’s strikeout rate with extreme confidence, and it wouldn’t vary significantly if he changed teams, leagues, stadiums, etc....

With a tip of the hat to the pioneers, particularly stat guru Bill James, I built my own model, based on such factors as how often teams scored with hitters on base, pitching efficiency and other statistics.

For example, let’s turn to Opening Day in The Bronx, where the Red Sox face the Yankees. It’s CC Sabathia’s fifth straight Opening Day start for the team, but this year he takes the mound with, by far, the weakest lineup supporting him. Every Yankee team he’s pitched for has been top three in slugging percentage, scoring at least 200 home runs and 800 runs each year. Based on statistics, tomorrow’s lineup would be lucky to hit 150 home runs and score 700 runs — offensive levels that Yankees fans haven’t seen since 1991, when Steve Sax and Kevin Maas were Opening Day starters.

This year’s Yankees starting lineup, with Sabathia on the mound, looks like a 90-win team. This year’s Red Sox lineup projects to be just mildly above league average. He may have the better offense supporting him, but Jon Lester’s ability to strike out batters dropped for the third year in a row in 2012 — a trend that doesn’t project well for 2013. With Lester on the mound, I see the Red Sox as an 87-win team.

A lot of it comes down to home-field advantage, which I calculate as 4 percent in baseball — meaning if two evenly matched teams take the field, the home team wins 54 percent of the time. Thanks entirely to the superiority of Sabathia over Lester, that increases by 2 percent — the Yankees win tomorrow’s

Not really a sure bet, but from a money-line perspective, I’d bet the Yankees at „¦125 or better or the Red Sox at +130 or better. That means you would need to bet $125 on the favored Yankees to win $100 or wager $100 on the underdog Sox to win $130.

And that’s part of what makes gambling on baseball less heartbreaking than football. If the win expectancy of the model differs from the price that Las Vegas set, a bet is made.

There are no point spreads, where you’re, say, paying for the New York Giants to score a meaningless field goal in the final minutes to be up by more than 10. When you bet on a baseball team to win, your interests are aligned perfectly with the players on the field.

The manager in the dugout will be doing everything possible to help his team triumph and, by extension, you win your bet."...

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Yankees visit West Point

"New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, right, helps general manager Brian Cashman before a group photo with cadets during a tour at the United States Military Academy before an exhibition baseball game against Army, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in West Point, N.Y." ap

"Members of the New York Yankees take photos from Trophy Point overlooking the Hudson River during a tour at the United States Military Academy before an exhibition baseball game against Army, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in West Point, N.Y.," ap

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Padres and Rangers play at the Alamodome in San Antonio, March 30, 2013

"The San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers play an exhibition baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2013, at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Texas won 5-2," ap


The meaning of "Remember the Alamo"

On March 6, 1836, four days after Texas declared independence from Mexico, the Alamo was attacked by the Mexican Army. Americans lost the battle badly. A few weeks later the Texan Army fought back at the Battle of San Jacinto where many yelled the now famous phrase "Remember the Alamo and Remember Goliad."

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Andy signs for fans at West Point

3/30/13, "Andy Pettitte signs autographs before the Yankees face Army in their first trip to West Point since 1976," Star-Ledger

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Mets 2013 All Star game banners already up at Citi Field

photo via Marc Carig twitter

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Arod posts rehab workout photos, 'ready to support Yankees'

3/29/13, "A-Rod posts rehab photos; slugger ‘ready to support Yankees’," NY Post, Anthony Sulla-Heffinger

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Was it the 134 pitches? Santana's final Mets scorecard

3/29/13, Mike Vaccaro: "This will be the final scorecard for Santana’s tenure with the Mets: six years, only one of which was a full season, $137.5 million, 109 starts, 46 wins, one ultra-clutch moment and one forever night. The first, in Game 161 of the 2008 season, was precisely the kind of performance for which the Mets acquired Santana, a three-hit masterpiece against the Marlins that provided a temporary stay of a second straight collapse.

The other, of course, was a Friday night last June, a no-hitter that at once closed the lone remaining hole in the Mets’ history, electrified Citi Field ... and brought with it an almost immediate sense of doom.

Did those 134 pitches doom him? Was it the impromptu I’ll-show-you bullpen session last month when he stated whipping a baseball a day after his offseason regimen was called into question? Or was it simply the inevitable result of an ordinary-sized man with an extraordinary left arm, who simply reached the quota of abuse nature — and the vocation of pitching — would afford?" "Worst fear has finally come true," NY Post, Mike Vaccaro

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Jersey shore homeowners might understand the federal government taking their property and building sand dunes on part of it but they're asking for and not receiving drawings or assurance from anyone including Chris Christie that any number of other things won't be done with their property

""I don't mind that the government would own the land they place in front of ours," he said. "All I ask for and didn't get is a clause saying they won't build a boardwalk or some other form of entertainment in front of our house. They say, no, they're not going to add anything. But it doesn't guarantee that the government can't add a boardwalk in front of our house. We only want to protect against what the government can do.""

3/17/13, "Dunes vs. property rights in storm-battered NJ," AP, Wayne Parry

"Most coastal homeowners want the government to build dunes and widen beaches near their homes. Yet some still refuse to give permission for the projects to proceed, citing the loss of precious ocean views and fearing governments could build boardwalks or amusement piers near their homes — something officials stress they have no intention of doing. The prospect of honky-tonk entertainment districts like the one in Seaside Heights, once home to the hard-partying Snooki and company of the reality show "Jersey Shore," is anathema to many in oceanfront neighborhoods where even smaller houses can go for several million dollars.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't begin such projects without signed easements from all the affected oceanfront homeowners that give them permission to access the property for the work. Sandy has only intensified an effort that had been under way since at least 2008 to get the holdouts to sign.

But Gov. Chris Christie has little sympathy for lost views. "For the people that didn't want a dune to block their view, they now no longer have a house to block the view from," he said. "So, how about that choice?" He said he may seek to force the holdouts to submit the dune work, whether through eminent domain or some other governmental maneuver.

Sandy has indeed changed some minds. Mantoloking, which was nearly obliterated by Sandy, has signed easements or verbal commitments from 120 of the 128 oceanfront owners it needs to proceed with beach work. And many of the towns on Long Beach Island are closing in on their final pockets of holdouts, five years after first asking....

A bill pending in the Legislature would force courts to consider the value of protection from storms that dune projects add to oceanfront homes when calculating damages for lost water views....

Several of the private beach associations in hard-hit Toms River are refusing to sign easements, to the great frustration of Mayor Thomas Kelaher.

"They worry we might put a merry-go-round or a hot dog stand in their front yard," he said, rolling his eyes. "People are so crazy not to sign it. I just can't believe people are so obstinate."...

Mantoloking — like most of New Jersey's hardest-hit areas, situated on a barrier island — suffered the state's worst destruction; every last one of its 521 homes was damaged, and scores were simply washed off the map. The storm cut a channel between the ocean and Barnegat Bay, severing the town in two before repairs filled the breach....

Yet even after all the damage Sandy did, the fear of the public encroaching on heretofore private patches of the coast remains a powerful deterrent for some homeowners.

Michael Becker, who owns an advertising firm, owns a vacation home on the ocean in Mantoloking. He signed — but only reluctantly.

"I don't mind that the government would own the land they place in front of ours," he said. "All I ask for and didn't get is a clause saying they won't build a boardwalk or some other form of entertainment in front of our house. They say, no, they're not going to add anything. But it doesn't guarantee that the government can't add a boardwalk in front of our house. We only want to protect against what the government can do."

Mark Donohue, whose father owns an oceanfront house in Mantoloking, supports the beach protection project. But he said his father, too, is concerned about what the government might do once it gets the right to some of the beachfront land.

"This project should happen; it needs to happen," he said. "The common good is a good thing, but you can't just do away with private property rights.""


A 3/27/13 article below  doesn't make clear that it's the federal government taking over the land, not a state or local government. A commenter to the article, posted below, says people are being asked to sign a blank deed, and given "trust me tactics from the government....Why can't the governor tell anyone where the dune is going. He can't that's why he is blaming it on views."

3/26/13, "Christie Blasts ‘Selfish’ Homeowners Who Oppose Dunes To Protect Shore Communities," newyork.cbslocal.com, Haskell

"Gov. Chris Christie is implementing a unique tool in an effort to break down some Jersey Shore homeowners’ resistance to the idea of building sand dunes to fortify communities against storm damage.
Speaking from Middlesex on Tuesday, the famously brash governor announced he will personally announce the names of all those who have yet to sign easements to let the government build dunes.

We will go town by town and if we have to start calling names out of the selfish ones who care more about their view than they care about the safety and the welfare of their neighbors, then we are going to start doing that,” Christie said. “I will use my normal sense of gentle persuasion to try to make sure that we bring people along.”"...


"Brick Beach 2 days ago

Look what the governor is asking people to do in some communities like Brick is to sign an easement that signs over your whole property with no indication to where the dune is going to be placed. Since there are no drawings, no nothing you could be signing a document that puts a dune right over your house. Its a blank deed. The governor should stop blaming this on views and get the NJDEP and the Army Corps of engineers to tell people where the dune is going to be placed. Not everyone who is being asked to sign the easement has a view, actually only a small portion of them. For those with a view, its not their primary concern. Their primary concern, is so you want to build a dune, so where are you going to build it. If it was really important for the Governor to build the dune, he would make his departments release the info of where the dune is going to be built, when is it going to be built. I guess the people in the Governors corner are ok with the trust me tactics from the government. If people actually knew what they were signing for there might actually be alot of support for the project. Why cant the governor tell anyone where the dune is going. He can't that's why he is blaming it on views."


"Gov. Christie holds a town hall meeting in Middlesex, March 26, 2013 (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

"In this Feb. 15, 2013 photo, one of the well-established sand dunes in Seaside Park N.J., is shown that helped protect oceanfront homes during Superstorm Sandy, while its neighbor to the north, Seaside Heights, suffered catastrophic damage without dunes. Sandy showed how dunes protect homes along the coast, yet not all oceanfront property owners want them, fearing lost waterfront views and fearing that giving the government permission to build bigger dunes could lead to construction of boardwalks or amusements behind their pricey homes. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)"

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Minnesota Twins home opener to be played in 33 degree temp. with 17 mph northwest wind to make it feel even chillier. Coldest home game in Twins history May 2, 1967 at 32 degrees

"The coldest home game in Twins history was May 2, 1967, when the thermometer at Met Stadium plunged to 32 degrees during a 13-4 victory over the New York Yankees." 

3/28/13, "Minnesota Twins: Home opener will be cold, windy ... and as scheduled," St. Cloud Times, Brian Murphy, Pioneer Press

"The earliest outdoor home opening date for the Minnesota Twins is shaping up to be one of the coldest, certainly in the Target Field era.

According to weather.com, the high temperature for Monday, is projected to reach 33 degrees, with a 17-mph northwest wind that would make the outdoor ballgame experience feel even colder. The evening low is projected to dip to 25 degrees.

Despite the teeth-chattering forecast, the Twins have no plans to postpone the 3:10 p.m. game against the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers to Tuesday's open date, when the weather calls for 41 degrees and lighter winds -- cold but dry.

"While it appears that Monday's weather could be less than perfect, the forecast for Tuesday is only marginally better," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "The good news is that it appears next week will be precipitation free."

Since leaving the Metrodome in 2009, Minnesota's sold-out home openers have occurred April 12, 8 and 9, respectively. The first two were warmer-than-average days in the 60s while the temperature dipped to 45 degrees for last year's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The club opened the season on the road each of the past three years. But MLB offered no such buffer in 2013. The Twins have a combined 31 home games scheduled in April and September this season but only 25 in July and August, including just nine in July.

The coldest home game in Twins history was May 2, 1967, when the thermometer at Met Stadium plunged to 32 degrees during a 13-4 victory over the New York Yankees. Attendance: 8,171, according to baseballreference.com." via Tom Nelson. Tom kindly provided a wind chill calculator.

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Yankees should trade Mariano Rivera, they don't need him, PR not a big deal as proved when Yankees won 4 World Series after trading an aging Babe Ruth-Tom Van Riper, Forbes

3/28/13, "Yankees Should Trade Robinson Cano And Mariano Rivera," Tom Van Riper, Forbes

"As for Rivera, last season proved that the Yankees don’t particularly need him. With a deep stable of bullpen arms, holding leads after eight innings – Rivera’s only job – isn’t a big problem. And if the team doesn’t contend strongly, the extra one or two wins that Rivera gives them make no real difference anyway. But because most clubs continue to overvalue closers against all the evidence (95% of all ninth inning leads result in victories, rendering a top closer a marginal contributor), the Yanks could probably get a nice haul of young talent by dangling Rivera to a contender.

Conventional wisdom says this will never happen, because public relations rules dictate that Rivera must retire a Yankee. And his swansong season might be one of the few things that the club can market this year. Still, bad P.R. only lasts as long as it takes the club to reach its next World Series.  The Yankees recovered well enough from their unpopular trade of an aging Babe Ruth to Boston in 1935 by winning four straight World Series from 1936 to 1939."...


3/31/13, Baseball Think Factory thread on above article


"The reason we won.’’

3/8/13, "Torre: Rivera the reason Yankees were champs," NY Post, Kevin Kernan

"No one knows The Great Rivera better than Joe Torre, and the former Yankees manager was not afraid to tell the world the impact Mariano Rivera has had on his illustrious baseball life.

He basically made my career in ’96 when we came up with the formula to pitch in the seventh and eighth inning,’’ Torre said yesterday at Chase Field. “You become a much better manager when you only have to manage six [innings]. It was remarkable what we had with him and [John] Wetteland.’’...

The Yankees would not have won those World Series without Rivera’s ability and character....

He’s the greatest ever. It’s a manager’s dream, really. It’s certainly not a knock at the other guys, but first of all, it’s New York, where it’s the biggest fishbowl in the world. The postseason, where everybody gets the chance to scrutinize and he responded. He was more than a closer....His spiritual lifestyle gave him that peace of mind. He’s a special human being. The reason we won.’’"

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chicago Cubs most profitable team in baseball in 2014, look to be moreso after new tv deal

3/27/13, "Forbes: Cubs most profitable team in baseball,"
Chicago Tribune, Paul Sullivan

"The Cubs are the fourth most valuable franchise in the major leagues at $1 billion, according to Forbe's annual valuation of all 30 teams.

Forbes also estimates the Cubs had an operating income of $32.1 million last year, making them the most profitable team in baseball. Operating income was based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

The business magazine said the Cubs figure to be in even better shape after 2014, when they can opt out of their WGN-TV deal and sign a more lucrative contract. Forbes said the Cubs made less than $50 million last year from their broadcast affiliates, CSN Chicago and WGN.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts declined to address their TV plans during his opening trip to spring training in February, except to say a discussion on rights fees will begin in 2013.

“Obviously local media rights have been increasing in value,” he said. “Hopefully at some point we will be able to get more value for our media rights. It’s just something that’s playing out over time.”

The Cubs have decreased payroll by 25 percent in the first three seasons of Ricketts’ ownership, while the team has added more revenue streams, including the Toyota sign in left field, a new bar/restaurant in the Captain Morgan Club, a patio section in right field, an LED board in right which shows ads before games and between innings, and even the Noodle, an advertisement for Kraft that was removed after last season.

Ricketts said in February the payroll decrease is irrelevant.

“You’re kind of comparing it to Tribune (Co.) payrolls of the last couple years, which, from our standpoint and the team standpoint, were just unsustainable," he said.

The Ricketts bought the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 20 percent stake in CSN Chicago in 2009 for $845 million.

The New York Yankees, at $2.3 billion, are the most valuable franchise, according to Forbes,  followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at $1.6 million and Boston at $1.3 billion.

The Chicago White Sox ($692 million) are rated as the 11th most valuable franchise and had $216 million in revenue last season." via Free Republic

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"Residents of Miami were raped" in Miami Marlins stadium deal-SI.com

3/25/13, "Art of the deal," SI. com, S.L. Price

""Miami has a history of bad deals, but I would rank this Number 1," says city of Miami mayor Tomás Regalado, whose vocal opposition to it helped him win election in 2009. "The residents of Miami were raped. Completely." [end p. 6]

That most of the public funding for the retractable-roof stadium is paid out of a tourist tax provides little solace: Miami has far more pressing needs than a baseball stadium, critics say, and any shortfall in tourist-tax revenue could force the city to dip into the already-stressed general fund used to pay for police, education and public-works projects. Meanwhile, storefronts flanking the blindingly white edifice, built upon the Orange Bowl site, sit empty; more than three years since breaking ground, Marlins Park has yet to provide the promised economic boost to the surrounding neighborhood.

"I don't blame Jeffrey Loria or David Samson," Braman says. "I blame the ignorant, stupid politicians, the ignorant, stupid chamber of commerce and business groups that supported this and made this happen."

As ever, the South Florida journalists covered it all—and well—and many of those same writers who'd held Huizenga and Henry to account did superb jobs tormenting Loria. But like every newspaper, the Herald, sitting a little more than a mile east of the ballpark, has suffered drastic cuts in staff, circulation and resources over the last 20 years; as Braman spoke, a mass invite was circulating for a farewell party for the iconic old Herald building, now owned by a Malaysian resort conglomerate.

Neither deposed Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez, then city of Miami mayor Manny Diaz or county manager George Burgess nor the county commission required that the Marlins open their books, an oversight that became a civic embarrassment when Deadspin obtained financial documents in 2010 revealing that—in contrast to team claims that it couldn't survive financially in old Sun Life Stadium—the franchise received a league-high $92 million in revenue-sharing income during the 2008 and '09 seasons and turned a $33 million profit.

With that, antique terms like con job and shell game enjoyed a local resurgence. When Samson, Loria's top executive since 2000, told The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development group, in a speech just before the '12 season that politicians aren't "the cream of the intellectual crop" and implied that Miamians in general were even dumber, he came off as arrogance unbound. "They insulted the taxpayers, and then they insulted the fans," Regalado says of Loria and Samson. "It was: We did it to you—and screw you.""...(p. 7) via Drudge

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Texas Rangers of 2013 spend conservatively-Kepner

3/26/13, "Rangers, Free to Spend, Don’t Spend Freely," NY Times, Tyler Kepner

The Cardinals won that night, and the next, and now Berkman is here, at 37, with a chance to make amends. He gladly reminds teammates that he has what they wanted. “It’s fun to dig these guys on occasion about it,” Berkman said. “Those are bragging rights that will last for a long time.” 

Berkman considered retirement after last season, when he played only 32 games and had two operations on his right knee. He was not a priority for the Rangers, who had hoped for much bigger moves after losing the American League West to Oakland on the final day of the regular season and dropping the wild-card game to Baltimore. 

The Rangers tried to retain the star outfielder Josh Hamilton. They negotiated with the free-agent starter Zack Greinke. They explored trades for starter James Shields and outfielder Justin Upton. The off-season seemed full of possibility. 

“We all know that you don’t win by making announcements in the winter — but they’re fun,” General Manager Jon Daniels said. “We all like doing them. We all want to put the big gift under the tree.” 

Berkman was not exactly coal in the stocking. Two years ago, he hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 runs batted in. Mickey Mantle is the only switch-hitter in major league history with a better career on-base percentage than Berkman’s .409 (minimum 3,000 plate appearances). 

But with last season’s injury, and his own ambivalence, Berkman was not in high demand. When all their targets wound up elsewhere, the Rangers had to overwhelm him with a one-year, $11 million offer....

The Rangers made other short-term commitments, signing catcher A. J. Pierzynski to replace Mike Napoli and the setup man Joakim Soria to replace Mike Adams. They also traded Michael Young, the team’s career leader in hits, to Philadelphia for reliever Josh Lindblom and a prospect. 

It was an off-season without sizzle. But it was consistent with the Rangers’ sensible approach under Daniels, who was promoted this month to president for baseball operations but still reports to the chief executive, Nolan Ryan....

Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, the Chicago Cubs, the New York teams, the Los Angeles teams, even Seattle and Cincinnati have absorbed significant risk in keeping their stars or chasing free agents. The Rangers, hardened by the lessons from Alex Rodriguez’s first free agency in 2000, never act out of desperation....

Instead, he has a team without anyone making more than $16 million, including three starters — Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland — signed through at least 2016. The bullpen might be thin, with Alexi Ogando joining the rotation and Soria still recovering from elbow surgery, but the Rangers should contend....

The Rangers have enough depth in young position players — Leonys Martin, Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar — to expect to stay competitive this season and beyond. Daniels has a track record of acquiring talent in midseason, and believes the players will trust him to do so, if needed.

Yet he knows, deep down, that the fans and the core of the team probably expected more this off-season. Smart shopping and careful long-term planning feel only so satisfying in a competitive industry."...


Ed. note: Tyler Kepner can tell a story, has a way with words. However, my experience with his pieces since being a national columnist is as follows: I read along happily thinking all of it might lead to a larger point, or an opinion that might involve a tiny bit of risk for Mr. Kepner. But it never does. Which is fine, I've gotten the message by now. Nothing in the world will change as a result of Mr. Kepner's articles.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vernon Wells: 'I've quietly been a Yankee fan'

3/26/13, ""I've quietly been a Yankee fan," said Wells, who liked them ever since playing against their Triple-A team as a 20-year-old. "Obviously not when we played against the Yankees. But any time or every time the Yankees were in the playoffs and I was sitting at home, I was cheering for the Yankees, so this is somewhat of a dream come true."" (item at end of article)

"New Yankee Vernon Wells: 'I've quietly been a Yankee fan'," Newsday, David Lennon

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Russell Martin has words before ejection from Orioles-Pittsburgh spring exhibition game in Bradenton

"Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin, left, argues with home plate umpire Chad Fairchild, center, during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. Martin was ejected from the game." ap. Final 12-10 Baltimore

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Tampa Bay Rays Desmond Jennings signs for fans in Port Charlotte

"Outfielder Desmond Jennings #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays signs some autographs just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex on March 25, 2013 in Port Charlotte, Florida," getty. final 6-2 Rays

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Long time Mets executive and gen. counsel moves to MSG Sports as president

3/25/13, "Mets Executive Moves to MSG," NY Times Bats blog, Richard Sandomir

"Dave Howard, a top executive of the Mets, is leaving Flushing for Manhattan to become the president of MSG Sports, the sports division of Madison Square Garden.

The job has been vacant since last September when Scott O’Neil left after four years on the job.
Howard, the long-time executive vice president of business operations for the Mets, will shift into a somewhat similar job at the Garden, but with more breadth: he will oversee marketing, budgeting, forecasting, ticket sales and other areas for three teams — the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty — and manage how boxing, college and high school basketball and tennis are presented.

And he is leaving the Mets, a private business run by the Wilpons, to join the Garden, a public company that is controlled by the Dolans.

Howard’s departure from the Mets after more than 20 years comes as the Garden approaches the completion of a nearly $1 billion renovation.

“There are very few organizations anywhere with the strength of MSG’s sports brands,” Howard said in a statement, “and I look forward to utilizing my experience to ensure we build on MSG’s position as one of the world’s leading sports organizations.”

Howard, who was named the Mets’ general counsel in 1992, became the team’s most-available executive on subjects like season tickets, attendance declines, dynamic ticket pricing, promotional events like the return of Banner Day and the decision to bring in the left field fence."

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Addled billionaire Mayor Bloomberg says he's entitled to 'infringe on your freedom,' and in certain cases rube Americans should just cede their rights

3/25/13, "NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Government has right to ‘infringe on your freedom’," Washington Times, C. Chumley

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.

I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom,” Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC. He made the statement during discussion of his soda ban — just shot down by the courts — and insistence that his fight to control sugary drink portion sizes in the city would go forth."...


Ed. note: How do temporary politicians automatically become smarter than they were the day before they were elected and therefore can break laws?


We wrote a Declaration of Independence because of people like Bloomberg. Whether he's addled, sick or whatever, his money has bought him media adulation instead of skepticism. The people are therefore left defenseless against his mental illness:

Declaration of Independence:
  • "IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
  • When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,
  • a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them
  • to the separation....
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good....
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:...
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. 
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: 

Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may
  • define a Tyrant, is
  • unfit to be the ruler of a free people."...  
March 2011, "The Bloomberg Bubble Bursts" Commentary, Siegel and Stern

"In the narrative crafted by Michael Bloomberg’s public-relations team throughout the first nine years of his mayoralty, he was the fabulously successful businessman who saved New York’s economy after the 9/11 attacks and then went on to master urban governance without breaking a sweat. Along the way, we have been told relentlessly, Bloomberg became the nation’s leading education reformer, responsible for reducing by half the black-white achievement gap, while also launching lifesaving public-health and environmental initiatives."....


P.S. Please excuse bright white background behind part of this post. It was put there by my longtime hackers. It's appropriate they'd choose to deface a post about totalitarian maniacs since they identify deeply with such people. Free speech enrages them.

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Miami Marlins deal has turned Miami into 'ground zero for insurrection against publicly financed stadiums,' NY Times

3/25/13, "Anger in Wake of Marlins’ Stadium Deal Threatens Dolphins’ Renovation Plan," NY Times, Ken Belson

"Carlos Gimenez does not mind being a killjoy when it comes to stadiums. When he was a Miami-Dade County commissioner in 2009, he opposed public financing for the Marlins’ new baseball stadium, a deal considered by many to be one of the worst giveaways in sports. Now the county’s mayor, he is taking a wary approach to a proposal to use $200 million in taxes to help the Dolphins renovate their stadium. 

Never mind that the Dolphins are asking for one-third as much money as the Marlins, and that they promise to pay half the cost. Never mind, too, that the renovations could help the Dolphins land another Super Bowl that could potentially attract hundreds of millions of dollars to South Florida.
The trouble, Gimenez said, is that voters are still angry that lawmakers agreed to use taxes to pay for three-quarters of the Marlins’ stadium, and that the Marlins and their owner, Jeffrey Loria, repaid the favor by trading away many of their best players within a year of moving into their new home. The deal became so toxic that it prompted the scrutiny of federal regulators and was one reason the previous mayor lost his job. 

“There’s a much more tangible public benefit” to the Dolphins’ proposal, Gimenez said in an interview recently. “But the Marlins’ stadium has created such an adverse appetite for another deal because the Marlins have really poisoned the well.” 

The Marlins’ deal, in fact, has turned Miami into a case study on sports financing and ground zero for an ad hoc insurrection against publicly financed stadiums. The blowback may doom the Dolphins’ bid to host Super Bowl L or LI, too. On May 22, the N.F.L. owners will decide whether the Dolphins or the San Francisco 49ers will host Super Bowl L in 2016; the loser will face the Houston Texans for the right to host the next Super Bowl. 

Ten Super Bowls have been played in Miami, making it the sentimental favorite for the golden anniversary game. But Sun Life Stadium, the 26-year-old home of the Dolphins, is considered antiquated by N.F.L. standards....

In their pitch to persuade the state and the county to pay for half of the $400 million project, the Dolphins have said that the stadium would include a canopy over the fans to protect them from the rain and sun, new seats and video boards and improved concourses. The improvements, they say, would help attract additional college bowl games and create 4,000 new jobs. 

State lawmakers are now considering whether to exempt the Dolphins from $90 million in state income tax over 30 years and permit Miami-Dade County to raise its hotel bed tax by 1 percentage point to cover the balance of the public share of the stadium deal. 

Their plan might have received a warmer welcome if it had not come so soon after the Marlins moved into their stadium and dismantled their team. As of Thursday, the bill still had to pass through two more committees in the state assembly and one more committee in the state senate before it could be brought to the floor for a vote. Gov. Rick Scott has not clearly indicated whether he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. 

Many local politicians remain skittish about supporting the use of taxes to pay for sports facilities. This month, three state representatives from Miami-Dade wrote in The Miami Herald that the proposed stadium deal was “a trick play” and, referring to the Dolphins’ owner, Stephen Ross, “simply a sham designed to increase Ross’s shareholder value of the Dolphins franchise.” 

Other critics are more strident. Norman Braman, a former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles who lives in Florida and opposed the public financing of the Marlins’ stadium, said that Ross should pay for the renovations because he was the one who would benefit the most from them. 

“If he’s improving his asset, let him pay for it,” Braman said, adding that officials in Miami-Dade should insist that the Dolphins open their books before they consider investing in the team’s stadium. “It’s welfare for a multimillionaire with Loria, and with Ross it’s welfare for billionaires.” 
Gimenez has insisted that the county not assume any liability for the cost of the renovations, and he has asked several deputies to calculate the public benefits of helping the Dolphins. He has also turned the tables on the N.F.L. by suggesting that he would support a deal only if there were more certainty that Miami would be awarded Super Bowl L, something the league is unlikely to offer. Even assuming the state signs off on a deal, Gimenez must hold a countywide vote on the bed tax hike, something that did not happen when the Marlins’ deal was approved in 2009. The mayor needs at least 45 days to prepare for an election, not including the time it takes the county commissioners to haggle over the language in the referendum....

“One of the reasons people were so against it is because of the bad taste of the Marlins’ deal, and the Dolphins have had a hard time distinguishing themselves from the Marlins, said Moreno, who added that the Dolphins’ timing was “a train wreck.” 

He also said the team had been heavy-handed in arguing its case. Mike Dee, the club president, was widely criticized for telling Michael Putney, a television reporter in Miami, that “just because someone is wealthy enough doesn’t mean that you should invest money in a way that is unwise.”
Through a spokesman, Dee declined to comment for this article, citing the continuing negotiations with the county. But the Dolphins have tried to distance themselves from the Marlins. 

“We shouldn’t let the Marlins situation kill the potential for a good deal where at least a majority of the cost is paid from private sources and more than 4,000 local jobs are created,” the Dolphins wrote in a release announcing their plans. 

Given the economics of N.F.L. stadiums, the Dolphins are seeking what their rivals have received. This month, Atlanta promised to pay $200 million toward a new stadium for the Falcons, whose current home is barely two decades old. The Vikings won larger concessions from Minneapolis and Minnesota. New York State and Erie County agreed to pay $95 million to upgrade Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Bills’ home. 

The San Diego Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the St. Louis Rams are seeking new stadiums or renovations, too. 

Critics often argue that taxes should not be used to help private enterprises when governments are having a hard time paying for hospitals, schools and law enforcement. But politicians, chastened by deals like what the Marlins received, are starting to question not just the justification for the financing, but also the need for stadium improvements. 

Gimenez said he wondered whether the lack of a roof at Sun Life Stadium was really what was preventing Miami from landing another title game. After all, he said, the Super Bowl will be held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey next year."

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

In spring training game Yankee Ronnier Mustelier receives first John Sterling home run call

Sunday, March 24th game in Tampa vs Tampa Bay Rays, score was tied 6-6 in bottom of the 10th when Yankee player Ronnier Mustelier hit a game winning home run to win the game 7-6. John Sterling said, "it iiiiiiis....gone!"

"Play Musty for me!"

Kevin Youkilis hit two home runs in the game but Sterling said his custom Youkilis call will be saved for the regular season.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Management of observation deck at new One World Trade Center awarded to Legends Hospitality owned by NY Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Checketts Fund

3/20/13, "Nationally renowned Legends Hospitality chosen to develop and operate three-story observation deck atop One World Trade Center," Port Authority of NY and NJ, YesNetwork.com

"The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today voted to approve the selection of nationally renowned Legends Hospitality, LLC (Legends) to develop and operate the observation deck at the top of One World Trade Center. The facility, called One World Observatory, will occupy floors 100-102 at the iconic structure.

The Board’s vote followed yesterday’s call from Governors Cuomo and Christie to endorse the award of a contract to Legends to bring a world-class observation deck to what will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere when it reaches its final height of 1776 feet. 

The building is a joint venture between The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and The Durst Organization. The selection of Legends follows a rigorous competition that resulted in six proposals from nationally known companies. The Port Authority and Durst narrowed the list to three finalists in September 2012.

Legends is among the most heralded and established companies in sports and entertainment and is renowned for delivering a variety of services at premier venues including Yankee Stadium and Cowboys Stadium. The firm is owned by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and the Checketts Partners Investment Fund

In approving the project at today’s meeting, the Board noted the agreement provides significant private capital for the World Trade Center site without any additional Port Authority investment. The revenue will be a combination of fixed and variable rent, projected to be worth $875 million over the term of the 15-year lease. This transaction validates the agency’s long-standing plan to attract private capital and to continue to recoup the Port Authority’s substantial investment to rebuild the World Trade Center site."...photo reuters, World Trade Center, 2/9/13, seen from New Jersey

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Basking in the spring sun, Cubs v Brewers

"Fans watch a spring training baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning in Phoenix, Friday, March 22, 2013," ap, final, 4-1, Cubs

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Detroit firehouses will likely be robbed if they're not manned full time-Detroit Free Press

3/20/13, "Empty Detroit firehouses are targeted by thieves," Detroit Free Press, by T. Battaglia

"Detroit firefighters discovered Monday that thieves took a TV, a computer, food, tools and soft drinks from the machine at an east-side station, the latest of a series of thefts at city firehouses.

Such thefts are increasing after cuts led to unmanned stations, Detroit Fire Department officials said. The Fire Department's agreement with the Detroit Fire Fighters Association includes a clause to reimburse staff for items they buy, such as TVs, kitchen supplies and personal items....

"Any one that's empty more than a couple of days, they've been breaking into," (Detroit Sr. Fire Chief) Lyon said. "They were taking the boiler, the radiators. They were taking that for scrap. They don't care; they break in the front window where everyone can see it.""...via Lucianne

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Young Texas Rangers fan seeks autograph before game v Royals, 8 yr. old Phillie fan in Florida

"Gunner Klatt, of Oklahoma, left, yells to players of the Texas Rangers in hopes of an autograph before the Rangers play the Kansas City Royals in an exhibition spring training baseball game Monday, March 18, 2013, in Surprise, Ariz." ap

"Eight-year-old Justin Ferriola, of Garnet Valley, Pa., looks on as the Philadelphia Phillies warm up before the start of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Kissimmee, Fla.," ap

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sarah Palin toasts town with extra large convenience store beverage which appropriately enough had been granted a Crony Capitalist loophole in Bloomberg's soda ban

Photo of Sarah Palin with extra large soda and Statue of Liberty from Free Republic commenter. Gov. Palin addressed a conservative conference on 3/16/13.

"Palin seemed keenly aware of her role as an entertainer, stopping a few times to smile and sip from a “Big Gulp” drink, poking fun at New York City’s proposed soda ban. “Bloomberg’s not around,” she said."... "We're cool. Shoot, it's just pop with low calorie ice cubes in it. I hope that's OK.""

7-11 Big Gulps were a loophole in Bloomberg's bill:

3/13/13, "Soda war's greatest irony: Big Gulps are safe," fortune.finance.com

"Ironically, Big Gulps were actually one of the sodas excluded from the ban."...lower photo ap

3/16/13, "Sarah Palin takes a Big Gulp at GOP establishment," tv.msnbc.com

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

David Wright revealed he'd been dealing with a rib condition for about a week

3/15/13, "Wright, Yankees catchers and Pujols/Cano," NY Post, Ken Davidoff

"(David) Wright revealed that he had been quietly dealing with a rib condition for about a week. Would he have quietly dealt with it if he had been partaking in the low-pressure environment of spring training, or would he have spoken up to the Mets’ trainers and sat out a few games? Even if he had played in a few exhibition games, would he have exerted himself as much?

Wright is going to protect the WBC, but questions like these exemplify why the event will never, ever, ever gain full acceptance within the baseball community. It might be unfair; certainly, Mark Teixeira’s right wrist injury seems like a total, could’ve-happened-anywhere fluke. Nevertheless, Major League Baseball’s core product – the whole deal where you try to win the World Series – is pretty big, and you can’t blame teams for wanting to control their assets as much as possible. Having players leave your jurisdiction for the WBC, during a time in which you usually fully control them, is fundamentally disruptive.

We’ll see how Wright does and enjoy the rest of the WBC, and we can look forward to similar issues, bad and good, arising four years from now."...

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

'Where are the Yankees I loved to hate?' George Vecsey, NY Times

3/12/13, "Where Are the Yankees I Loved to Hate?" George Vecsey, NY Times

"In their current disorienting austerity drive, the Sons of Boss have it backward.

If I am not mistaken, part of the Yankees’ charter, registered with Major League Baseball, guarantees that the Yankees will spend money, stockpile talent and thoroughly grind the rest of baseball into the pavement. 

Instead, the heirs of George Steinbrenner are quivering in front of the baseball luxury tax like any ordinary midmarket, middle-American weenie franchise. This is the organization that blasts Sinatra or Minnelli into the pungent Bronx night air, proclaiming New York as the city that never sleeps. Apparently, Tampa-on-Hudson now tucks in early and pulls the covers over its head. 

I speak here as a lifelong Brooklyn Dodgers fan who suffered terribly in my youth. The Yankees were always throwing some Kuzava at us in the early autumn, somebody they had purchased to plug a hole in their left-handed pitching, whatever they needed. 

True, they have won only one World Series and two other pennants since 2000, but it’s thesharklike intent that counts. To this day, it remains the Yankees’ responsibility to wreck other childhoods the way they ruined mine. The boogeyman, sounding like Mel Allen or John Sterling, is supposed to give inferiority complexes to half of New York and superiority complexes to the other half. 

The Yankees became what they are today by going out and getting Babe Ruth. They squeezed Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, questioning their loyalty and their patriotism, accusing them of greed, but they got them, and they kept them. George Weiss tried to cut Mickey Mantle’s salary because the Mick did not repeat as triple crown champion. That’s the Yankee way. Mickey, we can always sell you to Kansas City. 

I know things are different now in the age of free agency and hotshot agents and luxury taxes, but the essential role of the Yankees remains the same: dominate, brutalize, “a boot stamping on a human face — forever,” as Orwell wrote. 

This is the Stockholm syndrome of baseball, in which the hostage identifies with the captor. Instead, the Yankees are showing why heirs should not be allowed to inherit an estate. The Boss built the Yankees by any means possible. He was suspended once for illegal campaign donations and another time for consorting with a gambler to gather information on one of his best players, Dave Winfield. 

This was the Yankee way. Anything goes. 

Now his sons and heirs are trying to cut the budget to avoid luxury taxes. Who runs the Yankees? Somebody with the red born-on-the-Fourth-of-July Steinbrenner blood, or some watery mix?

What would Attila the Hun do? What would Tony Soprano do? What would Donald Trump do?

Here’s one symptom of everything wrong with the current Yankees: 

Brian Cashman, the general manager, has quite clearly gone middle-age crazy, apparently so bored with life that he seeks new challenges. 

I thought this was what golf is for. 

Instead, Cashman goes rappelling down buildings. He goes sky diving. He dislocates his ankle in a second episode because he cannot get enough of flying like a bird. 

The Boss hated it when general managers tried to have a life. He locked them up in their hotel rooms when the Yankees lost a game. He called them back from airports when they were going to visit their families for a day. He once told a publicist to leave home on Christmas Day to prepare for a news conference. 

In this current foolishness of sky diving, the Boss would have personally escorted Cashman up for a third time — without a minder, without a parachute. You want to fly? Here, go fly.
The sight of the general manager hobbling around camp is an indication the Yankees have lost their way. 

The biggest story of spring training has been the injuries — Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, along with the rehabilitation of the graybeards Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Alex Rodriguez is rehabilitating his ravaged body, a nonperson, seemingly barred from sight. 

In the bad old days, the Boss would have dropped a dime on A-Rod, letting people in baseball and the news media know that A-Rod’s various breakdowns are from his cough drops or his favorite brand of coffee or something else. The Boss would have known how to undermine an employee who was not earning his keep. 

The Yankees are making fools of themselves by tossing out names like Scott Rolen or Derrek Lee, retired players. Cashman wants reporters to flick their thumbs on Twitter to check if Chipper Jones wants to play. Chipper would probably listen to the Mets before the Yankees. In fact, why haven’t the Mets thought of that? 

Meantime, what is it with Cashman? Can you get the bends from jumping out of an airplane? 

The Yankees seem in danger of wanting to be the Atlanta Braves, who, after dominating their league for more than a decade, decided they could not spend like champions. They lost their nerve. 

Admittedly, baseball is a tricky business. The Red Sox and the Phillies imploded. The best-run franchises are the Cardinals and the Giants, at the moment.  

The Yankees did not get where they are by worrying about some luxury tax. They blatantly ran a major league farm team, salting Clete Boyer and Ralph Terry in Kansas City until they were needed. They wanted Roger Maris? They got Roger Maris. He gave them two of the greatest seasons the Yankees ever received. That was a different ownership, to be sure, but dominance is in the water, the Harlem River that flows past.

Now, in the post-Boss years, the Yankees shed serviceable players like Russell Martin and Nick Swisher without replacing them. This book balancing is humiliating to Yankees fans — but who cares about Yankees fans? More important, this squeamish behavior is disorienting to Yankees victims, who want consistency from their tormentors. 

Perhaps the Yankees are affected by the proximity to their down-on-their-luck neighbors in Queens, who have not been the same since the Madoff scandal broke. But Mets fans know how to suffer. Mets thinking goes like this: Great, we can find cut-rate tickets floating around the Internet this summer. 

The diminished attendance at the Big Theme Park in the Bronx suggests the Yankees are not making the projected profits. The gaping spaces in the expensive seats do not necessarily mean people are scarfing down the wine and the goodies in the restaurants and clubs at the House That Shrimp Built. It means they are staying away. 

The Boss would know what to do. He would send his general manager to his room to pursue suitable replacements for Granderson and Teixeira. He would put out a news release denouncing this wimpy mention of Lee and Rolen and Jones. The Boss would be blustering around, making life miserable for everybody. His longtime victims expect nothing less."

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Korean-American Grocers, Int. Brotherhood of Teamsters, others beat pathetic billionaire Mayor Bloomberg's big soda ban

3/11/13, "Judge blocks NYC large soda ban; Bloomberg vows appeal," USA Today, L. Petrecca

"The suit against the city health board and health department was brought by

the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce,
the New York Korean-American Grocers Association,
the Soft Drink and Brewery Workers Union Local 812,
the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
the National Restaurant Association,
the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State and
the American Beverage Association."...via Michael Savage

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

‘Closure,’ Newsday Rivera back page


‘Closure,’ Newsday back page, Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rivera in his 2013 Grapefruit debut, on the day he announces his
retirement after the season, 3/9/13, getty

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