A loyal union man during the baseball strike of 1994, Glavine played an out-front role in that season-killing ordeal. In 2003, he signed with the division rival New York Mets. The combination proved too much for those fans who booed him heartily whenever he returned to Atlanta with the Mets.
œI™m sure I haven™t won everybody back. But for the most part, people, the greater majority of people in Atlanta, either like me or appreciate what I did as an Atlanta Brave. That™s the best you can hope for, that a majority of people appreciate who you are and what you do, Glavine said.
There were raw feelings between player and management as well. Glavine and the Braves went through two difficult divorces: the signing with New York; then, after a comeback season with the Braves was cut short in 2008 by shoulder surgery, Glavine suddenly was axed by the team early in 2009.
As recently as June 2009, after a rehab outing in Rome had failed to convince the Braves to keep him, Glavine was informing Atlanta radio listeners that he had been œmisled and mistreated by the team. The Braves had instead opted to go with rookie Tommy Hanson, a move few argued against.
By the end of the season, Glavine said many of the wounds had scabbed over.
He figured his career œwould be over by then anyway and it was kind of useless to carry this baggage around, harbor these feelings that I had. At that point, John (Shuerholz) and I were able to talk and we were able to hash some things out.
It’s been said more than once the real mark of a “Most Valuable Player” is the impact said superstar has on his teammates — hence (some of) the justification for a 1988 NL trophy awarded to LA’s Kirk Gibson despite somewhat less than eye-popping individual stats. Some 3 years ago, Israeli numbers-crunchers Eric Gould and Todd Kaplan attempted to measure the historical impact of admitted PED purveyor Jose Canseco. As Slate’s Ray Fishman explains, Canseco’s mere presence benefited position players and pitchers alike.
To provide a statistical assessment of Canseco’s alleged influence, Gould and Kaplan compared the performances of every hitter and pitcher who played with Canseco, and analyzed how they changed after exposure to him. Focusing on the power-positions players”catcher, first base, outfield, and designated hitter”who would most benefit from extra heft and bulk, Gould and Kaplan found that contact with Canseco was worth an extra two home runs per year in the seasons that followed. Canseco’s teammates also saw increases in other power statistics”half a dozen extra runs batted in per season, a one-point boost to slugging percentage, and a handful of additional walks. Meanwhile Canseco did not seem to help teammates in their fielding, base-stealing, and other nonpower areas. (In results not reported in the study, Gould and Kaplan also found that pitchers were able to put in more innings when exposed to Canseco, another indication of The Chemist’s hand in helping his teammates work harder and longer.)
Of course, it’s possible that Canseco’s outsize influence could be benign”maybe he shared with his fellow power hitters a set of batting tips that proved effective. But if this is the case, Canseco’s abilities as a hitting instructor were quite unique”Gould and Kaplan looked at the effect 30 other power hitters of Canseco’s era had on their teammates and found that none of them had a statistically significant influence on the hitting performance of teammates. (Some of these were in fact Canseco’s original disciples, suggesting, perhaps, that not all users become proselytizers.) What’s more, the Canseco effect disappears after 2003, when baseball instituted random drug testing and punishments for those found guilty. If Canseco was merely offering innocent performance-enhancing advice, it stopped working with the advent of drug testing.
Though it took charges of plagiarism and ethical lapses to force Ron Borges to leave the Boston Globe, the veteran football/boxing scribe’s intense devotion to baiting Bill Belichick never resulted in punitive measures from his former employer. Now ensconced at the Boston Herald, Borges is in midseason form, saying of the Patriots’ preseason training facility, “the huge images of Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour], Ty Law, Adam Vinatieri, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel [stats] and so many others of the past have been taken down…they have been expunged in the same way deposed Russian leaders used to disappear from the history books of Moscow™s children.”
They did the same thing in Green Bay after the passing of Lombardi™s Packers. They took down the pictures after the stars left and said, œCreate your own identity, but the weight of the past was too much. The Pack didn™t win another Super Bowl for 29 years.
Today, the grass looks great, the locker room smells great, the players are great and the kiddie corps of assistant coaches Bill Belichick has surrounded himself with are budding geniuses, not the underpaid lab assistants many of them appear to be.
Belichick has seized the motivational moment for his young players by expunging as much of the Patriots™ history from the walls as he can to tell his players this team has done nothing. Those teams were champions, but what are you?
It™s a good point, but not a totally encouraging one because one could ask the same of the highest-paid coach in pro football. Bill Belichick was a genius once, when the players in the photos were still active.
Truth be told the Patriots not only haven™t won the Super Bowl in six years they haven™t won it since Law left . . or Charlie Weis . . . or Romeo Crennel, for that matter. When we last saw Belichick on the sideline, nobody looked too smart as the Baltimore Ravens were trampling his team on its home field in the playoffs, a loss owner Robert Kraft has called œembarrassing so many times it™s, well, embarrassing.
And you thought there’d be no big Mets news at the trading deadline! “While defendant Fred Wilpon has been quoted as claiming that he and his business family are ‘fine,’ his loyal employees (many of whom had previously been laid off) have lost their retirement savings.” So reads part of a complaint filed earlier today in Manhattan federal court claiming Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon’s investment firm, Sterling Equities of gross negligence. From Reuters’ Jonathan Stempfel :
The complaint said Sterling invested $16.2 million, or 92 percent, of the 401(k) plan’s $17.6 million of assets with Bernie Madoff.
It accused Wilpon and two other plan trustees of breaching their fiduciary duties to plan participants by mishandling investments with Madoff and his firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of plan participants, a number it estimates in the hundreds. There were 267 participants at the start of 2008, the complaint said.
The complaint was filed by Elyse Goldweber, a New Yorker who said she had $280,420 invested in her late husband’s individual 401(k) plan. A majority of this sum was invested directly with Madoff and has been “wiped out,” she said.
In October 2009, Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff’s investment firm, said Mets LP, a team affiliate, withdrew $47.8 million more from Madoff’s firm than it put in. Picard has been trying to recover money from such former clients, whom he considers “net winners.”
Sorry, the above headline was supposed to read, “Miami Thrice Renders Heat Ticket Sellers Surplus To Requirements”. The Miami Herald’s Douglas Hanks explains :
In a statement, the Heat confirmed the dismissals of their entire season ticketing department Friday afternoon, saying that with an “exhausted” inventory of season-tickets “we no longer require a season ticket sales team to sell tickets.”
Stephen Weber, vice president of sales, delivered the news to about 30 ticket sales people Friday morning, according to one of the staffers who asked not to be named because he is seeking another job in sports.
Even when James was merely rumored to be heading for the Heat, the team saw an explosion in season ticket sales. The staffer said he and his colleagues were making cold calls to prospective customers and taking deposits for a waiting list that now has more than 6,000 names on it. The dismissals reflect the new Heat position in basketball: it can sell tickets without really trying.
“They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore,” the fired staffer said.
Why stop at the schulbs in the sales department? No one on earth knows more about certain coaches only needing to roll the balls out at practice in order to win a ring than Pat Riley — who’s to say Erik Spoelstra isn’t next?
I already learned everything I know about music from these gentlemen, now they’ve got a thing or two to teach the rest of us about bargain hunting, the charms of open-air shopping and uh, giant pencils. Video culled from Boing Boing.net.
“All-Star closer Matt Capps is coming to the Twin Cities” announced a breathless La Velle E. Neil III yesterday after the reliever was traded by the Nationals to the Twins in exchange for highly touted catching prospect Wilson Ramos and lefty Joe “Jersey Beat” Testa. Aside from kicking Jon Rauch Rumble to the curb, Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman opines that while Minnesota acquired “a good, solid late-inning reliever”, they’ve allowed themselves to be gouged based on Capps’ “93 saves for bad teams”.
Much like the Twins turning to Jon Rauch with Joe Nathan sidelined, Capps’ reputation as an “experienced closer” comes largely from teams simply giving him a shot to accumulate saves. Rauch has done a perfectly fine job filling in for Nathan, converting 21-of-25 saves with a 3.05 ERA and 27-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38.1 innings, and if given a longer opportunity may have turned himself into an “established closer” just like Capps did. Seriously.
No one would ever suggest that trading Ramos for a reliever who’s slightly better than Rauch is a sound idea, yet by focusing on the save statistic the Twins have done just that and many fans will instinctively be on board with the move for an “established closer.” Now, don’t get me wrong: Capps is a quality reliever and represents a clear upgrade to the bullpen. What he’s not is an elite reliever or enough of an upgrade to part with Ramos.
Capps makes the Twins better for the final two months of this season and all of next year, but the improvement isn’t nearly as large as the “All-Star closer” label would have you believe and the cost involved is significant in terms of both players and money. Next season the Twins will pay a premium for a quality setup man they perceive as something more because of a reliance on a flawed statistic and they gave up a good catching prospect for the right do that.
(Above: DBacks focus efforts to calculate final pitch count in Jackson’s July 2nd no-hitter.)
In spite of USA Today’s Bob Nightengale throwing a wave of revulsion into the South Side over the momentary prospect of violent moron Brett Myers passing muster with Kenny Williams, ESPN has announced that the Sox have traded Daniel Hudson and prospect LHP David Holmberg for journeyman hurler Edwin Jackson, he of the recent 8-walk 149-pitch no-no against his former Tampa Bay teammates.
What remains to be seen is whether or not the deal is two legs of a table. The rumor mill concerning the Sox and Dunn has been spinning for more than two weeks, such chatter morphing into suggestions of a three-way pact putting EdJax to work for the Nats in exchange for Dunn’s stick. While it’s uncertain at press time if Kenny plans to flip or grip Jackson, maybe USA Today isn’t the place to be watching for the answer.
The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser usually covers the A’s beat but recently had the distinct pleasure of snooping on the filming of Bennett Miller’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball”. In Friday’s paper, Slusser collects dirt dished by one of the movie’s extras, A’s batboy Jordan Iserson, who in a considerable stretch, is playing the part of an A’s batboy.
Actor Chris Pratt, playing Hatteberg, didn’t exactly have the same result in his at-bat that Hatteberg did when his pinch-hit homer beat the Royals 12-11 in the bottom of the ninth on Sept. 4, 2002. The A’s blew an 11-0 lead but managed to set the record for the longest American League winning streak, which still stands.
‘They said, ‘No matter what, if it’s in fair territory, act like it’s a home run,’ ” Iserson reported.
“His first swing was a weak broken-bat groundball and everyone rushed out there like it went into the fifth row.”
Pratt, who stars in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” looks a lot like Hatteberg, however, “and he’s got his mannerisms down,” Iserson said. “You have to do a double-take to make sure it’s not Scott.”
Wednesday night also marked the first appearance of actors Brad Pitt (playing Billy Beane) and Jonah Hill (as Paul DePodesta) during the on-field portion of the filming. Iserson said that both wowed the crowd of extras filling the stands, and Hill grabbed a microphone and told a few jokes.
Former Giant Royce Clayton is playing Miguel Tejada, and onetime Oakland pitcher Jason Windsor is playing John Mabry, Iserson said. He said the former minor-leaguers playing Barry Zito and Tim Hudson look especially like the real thing.
These efforts had me thinking ; if a team receives lukewarm fan support — despite impressive achievements between the lines — is there really something totally fucked up about proposing they relocate to a sports mad northeastern city that routinely sells out it’s boutique ballpark? But enough about moving the Braves back to Boston, this A’s business could be a real windfall. Especially if you’re Peter Angelos looking to sell more tickets to visiting fans.
As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, despite leading Argentina to the quarterfinals of last month’s World Cup, Diego Maradona’s short yet eventful tenure as coach of the national team came to a contentious end yesterday. Unsurprisingly, Maradona did not go quietly into the Buenos Aires night, reports the Guardian’s Joel Richards.
As he delivered his own version of the events that lead to his chaotic reign coming to an end, Maradona explained his choice of words. “In front of witnesses and players,” he stressed, “(Argentina FA president Julio) Grondona came into the changing room after the Germany game [the 4-0 defeat at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup in South Africa] and said he wanted me to carry on as coach. Then when I got back to Argentina, things started getting all confused. Now this.”
National team general manager Carlos Bilardo, in the meantime, was singled out for more dramatic prose. “While we were in mourning [after being knocked out of the World Cup], he was working in the shadows to have us thrown out.”
Rarely for him, Maradona spoke in the plural. His entire stewardship had been about nobody else but him “ about the team being his, about him being in charge around here, about things being done his way, about what he needed. But the reasons for his contract not being renewed are, ostensibly, not to do with him, but rather his backroom staff. Grondona asked Diego to continue without seven of his assistants “ inconceivable for Maradona. “I defend my people, from the masseuse to the kit man,” he said. “I have a code that they [Grondona and Bilardo] don’t have.”
But while at home and abroad the consensus is that Maradona simply had no idea what he was doing, and while it is easy to blame the 49-year-old for everything that is wrong with Argentina, he in fact fared no worse than his predecessors at the World Cup. “Not since 1990 has Argentina made it past the quarter-finals,” he pointed out yesterday. “Nobody is talking about that.”
“How much difference could performance-enhancers have made on a slender slugger such as Fred McGriff?” wonders the St. Petersberg Times’ Gary Shelton, arguing the 15 year MLB veteran “is a victim” (“all those crooks with the cartoon biceps and inflated statistics made his numbers look ordinary by comparison…they stole from McGriff like an Internet swindler with your bank account number.”) Fair enough, but you can’t become a TV commercial icon if your skull swells beyond the size of standard mesh cap.
The more the bodies swelled, the more their shadows obscured what McGriff was doing. Erase Bonds and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and Palmeiro ” all of whom have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs ” from the books, and do you know how good McGriff was in those 15 seasons? He was second in home runs, first in RBIs, third in hits and first in extra bases. Even McGriff’s supporters will admit he’s not a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, but the cleaner you can imagine the sport, the better McGriff’s numbers look.
As it was, McGriff received a disappointing 25 percent of the vote in his first year of Hall Of Fam eligibility. That doesn’t mean he won’t get in. Billy Williams received 23.4 percent of the vote his first time out, and he got in six years later. Jim Rice received 29.8 percent, and 15 years later he got in. Don Drysdale received 21 percent, and it took him 10 years. McGriff has a lot of ground to make up, perhaps a lot of years to wait.
To this day, McGriff swears he has never seen a performance-enhancer. He insists he has never been offered one. Could he have obtained one if he wanted? Yeah, probably. He could have gone to a gym and asked around. He could have hired a personal trainer. For goodness sake, he played with Jose Canseco.
“People always talk about how this guy came clean or that guy came clean,” says McGriff. “I ask them, ‘Did he give back the money?’ “
Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death next grazed a considerably more deserving figure. In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat.
Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death would next graze a considerably more deserving figure.
In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat. Down 5-3 with a man on, Jones hacked at 1-2 Jason Vargas offering around the letters, loosing his lumber at the calculating coconut of the Mayor, who demonstrated the cat-like reflexes that have already foiled many a US Attorney.
Jones, a Dutch citizen, could not be reached for comment, but is expected to receive special tribute from the city in the form of parking citations bearing the cheerful orange Netherlands national color.
The Sox, whose sweep of the Ms boosts their home winning streak to 10, battled from behind, solo blasts from Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko closing the gap with the go-ahead courtesy of an Alex Rios RBI single. Closing duties fell to the enlarged and embattled Bobby Jenks, whose ridiculous 98 MPH heat silenced critics and produced a 1-2-3 outing characteristic of days long past…days like, you know, two weeks ago.
A law enforcement source confirmed the body was that of Wright, 34, though the Memphis Police Department won’t officially comment. Police are referring to their ongoing investigation as a “death investigation.”
According to sources, a 9-1-1 call was made from Wright’s cell phone on July 19. A Germantown fire dispatcher could hear the loud blasts of several gunshots. The cellphone call ended at that point.
The body was found by someone who called police today.
Wright was thought to be carrying some amount of cash when he was last seen leaving his ex-wife™s Collierville home, fueling concerns he may be the victim of foul play, according to a Collierville police report released today.
He recently flew from Atlanta to Memphis to visit friends and his six children, friends said. He was scheduled to drive back to the Atlanta area July 19, with his six children and a friend. He was last seen at about 2 a.m. July 19, leaving his ex-wife™s Whisperwood Drive home. His former wife told police she doesn™t know who he left with or what type of car they were in, according to the missing person™s report.
With all the fallout surrounding “The Decision”, it would be a very neat trick to further dent the once pristine public image of LeBron James. However, earlier today, an ESPN.com piece penned by Arash Markazi seemed to do just that, the journalist’s night out in Las Vegas with the LeBrontourage exposing the megastar as a preening and precious halfwit (“James is quiet, occasionally applying Chapstick to his lips and nodding when he hears something he likes”), to the extent even Alex Rodriguez would be embarrassed to share his company. Sure, who amongst us hasn’t attended a party in which champagne was served from the rafters by waiters wearing James’ Miami Heat jersey? (“I wish they’d have one of the girls with no panties do that instead,” complained LeBron) Perhaps not very many of us because shortly after Markazi’s article was published earlier today, it was quickly removed. The Boston Globe’s Ben Collins and Mark Leccese consider the ramifications.
BEN: Why do you think ESPN spiked this post by a reputable journalist it employs?
MARK: I don’t know, of course, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was pulled by ESPN’s lawyers. The column is a libel suit waiting to happen. The journalist reports that James drinks a lot of champagne and that he makes at least one crudely sexist remark. I am not saying the column is libelous, but it certainly invites a libel suit, and lawsuits are expensive.
BEN: If everything in this story is true (which is still an “if” at this point, yes), how does that affect ESPN’s credibility as a news-gathering organization?
MARK: If everything in this story is factual, and ESPN still spiked it even though it is a first-hand account by one of its respected journalists, then ESPN’s reputation as a news organization becomes a joke. This small incident show ESPN to be what most of us suspect it to be: an entertainment network that also reports scores and highlights.
BEN: If it becomes clear that they squelched a writer because it agitates the image of a league to which they own the $7.6 billion television rights, doesn’t that throw them into the bought-access bin of Extra or Access Hollywood?
MARK: I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “bought access” network. It does report on sports organization with which it has no contract. I’d call it an entertainment network that doesn’t want to do anything to anger the sports organizations — and the stars — that provide ESPN with its profitable entertainment.
In a far less emotional outburst than the sort leveled at LeBron James by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo told FAN 590′s Bob McCown that departed free agent F Chris Bosh gave far less than 100% effort during his final months with the team. From the Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat :
œDespite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games … I™m not even questioning Chris™ injury. I™m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn™t there and he chose not to play, Colangelo said.
œThe fact that our season was spiralling downward and we were hoping he™d come back sooner and we were also dealing with a few other things at that point … we were really struggling there.
Colangelo went on to elaborate:
œWhether he was mentally checked out or just wasn™t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn™t the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.
œAt the same time, I never felt we were quite in the game (in terms of signing Bosh to a new contract). There was too much out there, too much built up for him to take an easy out here, and he decided to do that.
Colangelo also said Bosh was hard to build around.
œWe tried in vain to put pieces around Chris. Different pieces, different styles. It didn™t work out.
Though Wolstat isn’t quite down with Colangelo’s attempts to demonize Bosh, he does buy into the notion LeBron and D-Wade’s newest playmate had little to gain by going all-out down the stretch (“why continue to run through walls for the team and put his $100 million-plus South Beach payday at risk?”). Left unmentioned, however, is that Bosh’s “easy out”, as characterized by Colangelo, amounted to signing for less money in Miami. Cleveland can legitimately complain James abandoned not only his hometown team, but a bona fide contender. Toronto can make neither claim. As far as Colangelo’s attempts to build around Bosh, granted, the former did bring in Hedo Turkoglu (ie. someone else accused of quitting on Toronto).
Last night’s 8-2 demolition of St. Louis and Adam Wainwright moved Carlos Beltran past the Mendoza Line and for a few hours at least, took attention away from Jason Bay’s concussion (one immediate result being the injury renders Jeff Francoeur untouchable). A rare offensive explosion for the Mets did not, however, remove manager Jerry Manuel’s feet from the fire, and the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch insists Amazins’ fans “are clamoring for Wally Backman’s immediate promotion to Flushing.” If you believe Backman’s sterling managerial record in the lower minors and independent leagues is deserving of such a kick upstairs, there’s more to the resume than wins and losses. Or as the hot-tempered Brooklyn Cyclones skipper kids Klapisch, œI saw my picture in the paper (on Tuesday) and I was just glad it wasn™t a police photo.
Backman insists, œI™m not trying to take Jerry™s job. Instead, he™s allowing the entire industry to take a look at emotional and professional make-over.
œAll I™m looking for is an opportunity “ give me a team that can compete and I™ll make them better. I know what I can do. I know what I do on the field is right. You can question me on anything, on any move I make, and I™ll have a stat that shows I™m right.
Yes, Backman has his own scouting report on the Mets “ he is, after all, a member of the family, and it pained him to see the effects of the 2-9 west coast trip. But just as Backman wouldn™t trash Manuel, he wouldn™t pass judgment on where Carlos Beltran is hitting in the lineup or how Mike Pelfrey is sabotaging the rotation. Or why the Mets don™t seem to hit with runners in scoring position.
Backman did back Howard Johnson, the beleaguered hitting instructor. Of HoJo, Backman said, simply, œhe™s a good man. I™d take him on my team.
Can the Mets trust their veterans to a volatile manager? It™s one thing for Backman to impose his will on low-level minor leaguers. It™s working, too: Backman said, œthe kids buy into the system. We execute things that you would never be able to do on the major league level.
It™s a gamble, certainly, putting Backman in Pelfrey™s face. The Mets™ clubhouse is a relatively healthy one “ there are few cliques, little back-stabbing – but no one would call it high-energy. An infusion of Backman™s kick-butt ethos could go one of two ways.
Either the Mets tune him out as an Eighties-era dinosaur, or he becomes one of the best managers in the franchise™s history.
Good thing Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t find out he had Martian roots, otherwise he’d be prepping for space travel at this very moment. Haaretz.com reports the Knicks PF has undergone a religious awakening of sorts prior to training camp.
“On the flight to Israel. This is going to be a great trip,” announced Stoudemire, via the micro-blogging site Twitter.
According to an Army Radio report, Stoudemire plans to spend time in Israel learning Hebrew, having recently learned he has a Jewish mother.
“The holy land. Learn about it,” he wrote, adding “ze ha’halom sheli” “ Hebrew for ‘this is my dream’.
News of Stoudemire’s trip quickly had Israeli basketball fans buzzing with speculation that they might one day see him playing alongside another Jewish NBA star, Israel’s Omri Caspi, on the national team.