01.28.12

Madden : Prince Signing Is Ilitch’s Ill-Advised Move, Not Dombrowski’s

Posted in Baseball at 8:38 pm by

After weeks of speculation free agent 1B Prince Fielder had few other options besides the Washington Nationals, Detroit signed the former Milwaukee Brewer to a 9-year, $124 million pact early this week, a scenario the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden describes thusly ; “just when it looked as if the Avenging Agent had finally overplayed his hand and left himself without the ‘One Dumb Owner’ to fork over an Albert Pujols-like contract, in the Tigers’ Mike Ilitch, Boras managed to pluck an old familiar one out of his hat.”  Even worse, Madden suggests GM Dave Dombrowski never would’ve signed off on the deal.  Even Donnie Walsh doesn’t know how Dombrowski can work under such conditions!

With the qually girthy and immobile Miguel Cabrera slated to move to third base (where he hasn’t played since 2007) to make room for Fielder (whose 15 errors were the most of any first baseman in baseball last year) the Tiger infield — which also includes range-challenged Jhonny Peralta at short — has the potential to be one of the most porous in the history of baseball, offsetting the Tigers’ biggest strength, their pitching.

Then there’s the matter of the leadoff spot where Austin Jackson struck out 181 times last year, dropped 44 points off his batting average from the year before and had an on-base percentage of just .317.

You could make the case that, even with the Martinez injury, a leadoff hitter was a bigger need for the Tigers, who still lack an adequate table-setter for their two middle-of-the-order thumpers.

In the meantime, in Fielder, Cabrera and Martinez, the Tigers now have $177 million allocated to first basemen/designated hitters over the next three years. Anyone who knows Dave Dombrowski, knows he would never construct a team like that.

This wasn’t the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs or Phillies wreaking havoc on the salary structure for the small- and middle-market clubs, this was one of their own, and there was nothing Selig or his labor chief, Rob Manfred, could have done to prevent Boras from bamboozling another owner into a ridiculous contract.

Tommorow, A’s Fans Can Spend Quality Time WIth Lewis Wolff..

Posted in Baseball at 2:15 pm by

…and perhaps ask him in what possible universe could Manny Ramirez be considered a good clubhouse influence.  That’s just one of the topics you can address with Oakland’s managing general partner at Sunday’s Fan Fest, as Wolff tells the SF Chronicle’s John Shea, “”I thought it might be a good opportunity to have a little fun and at the same time have some one-on-one with a random selection of fans who would be interested in talking to me…I may be sitting there by myself.”

In Sunday’s link-with-Lew sessions, it seems everything is on the table – unless, of course, Selig calls with a gag order. “I have talked to quite a few people who’ve written me or called me,” Wolff said. “I like doing it. … I like it when someone actually listens to me.”

In an interview with The Chronicle, Wolff gave his take on why the A’s are rebuilding and trading so many quality pitchers, citing the improbability of contending in a division with two teams’ payrolls topping $100 million and a desire to be competitive if and when the A’s move into a new park.

“Each move has been very carefully thought through,” said Wolff, adding the A’s farm system is vastly improved and the draft budget has been increased. “We’re also looking to say, ‘Gee, we’ll hopefully get a new venue in three or four years, and who’s going to be ready for that?’ I think we’ll have a better team (in 2012) or equal to last year’s, which is wonderful. They’ll be younger and learning a lot.”

After restocking with prospects, the A’s began rounding out their roster with experienced players, including Bartolo Colon and Jonny Gomes.

Might be one more. Manny, anyone?

I would have no problems with that on his talent and his ability,” Wolff said of Ramirez, who’s flirting with a possible comeback. “His last experience in Tampa Bay, what I’m hearing, he was a good clubhouse guy.”

01.27.12

Romenesko’s Klein On Witt’s Less-Than-Courageous “Decision”

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 8:49 pm by

Last Autumn, it was widely reported that Yale QB Patrick Witt had chosen to skip a Rhodes scholarship finalist interview in favor of leading the Bulldogs into battle for the annual season-ending rivalry contest against Harvard.  Witt’s decision was portrayed as an act of selflessness, though it’s since been reported his failure to interview for the scholarship was actually a matter of the Rhodes Trust learning of sexual assault allegations against him. In November, Witt described his quandry as “ an unfortunate set of circumstances in terms of timing,” a version of events Romenesko.com’s Alex Klein claims Yale’s school paper knew was a lie.  “In choosing to ignore this story,” argues Klein,  “The Yale News not only perpetuated the deceptive, now-shredded narrative of Pat’s ‘heroic choice.’ The paper and its editor are also complicit in Yale’s culture of secrecy surrounding sexual assault.”

We know few details regarding the sexual assault claim itself. But even in the weeks before the Game, when Yale knew about the charge, the university continued to push the “heroic choice” story on the mainstream media, which gobbled it up all too eagerly. This is disappointing, but not surprising. The Yale administration has persistently stifled the reality of sexual assault on campus: a real and serious problem that prompted last year’s Title IX complaint against the university, alleging a “hostile sexual climate.” But responsibility for the culture of silence does not end at the administration’s door — nor at Patrick Witt’s. I have learned in the past few hours that the editors of the Yale Daily News, the nation’s oldest college daily and a bastion of college journalism, knew about the sexual assault charge as early as November.

As current Science and Technology editor Eli Markham told me, the News’ editor-in-chief, Max de la Bruyere, decided to sit on the story in mid-November. “It’s more complicated than that,” he told a leader on last year’s editorial board, who asked to remain anonymous. Multiple current and past members of the newspaper’s managing board, all deeply involved in the day-to-day work of the paper, have confirmed that the News has had the story for over two months. In fact, the Times story that broke last night featured reporting from last year’s editor-in-chief, Vivian Yee. She too approached the paper with a tip-off, but its editors chose not to follow the story. The paper even knew that the sexual assault claim had lost Pat an offer to join the Boston Consulting Group after graduation. Even then, they wrote nothing. For reasons personal, social, or political — who can ever tell on a college campus? — the News’ management chose to ignore the bombshell, protecting Pat’s reputation.

Avery Johnson Might Not Have Asked For Help In Counseling Kris Humphries…

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop, History's Great Hook-Ups at 5:20 pm by

…but he’s getting plenty of it, just the same. Snoop’s advice is offensive and wrong on many levels.  On the bright side, he still makes way more sense than Jeremy Kyle.

Rhetoric Aside, Peyton’s Done In Indy

Posted in Gridiron at 4:02 pm by

A day after Jim Irsay called his injured QB, “a politician”, in reponse to Peyton Manning going public with remarks critical of Indy’s recent house-cleaning, owner and (lame duck) player made a public show of a reconciliation that the Indy Star’s Phillip Wilson probably considers a P.R. exercise. “What we haven’t heard from Manning or Irsay or anyone,” writes Wilson, “is that the QB is healthy. We haven’t heard that he’s going to be healthy any time soon.”

Do you really think that nerve is going to regenerate in another month, in time to convince Irsay by March 8 to keep his star QB? You have to doubt that by now. Manning’s first surgery on this neck problem was back in May. He had the fusion in September. I’ve spoken to a spine surgeon who has said the longer that nerve is damaged, it takes that much more time to heal. It’s been eight months, and we’re still counting.

Based on what Manning has said and how he has said it, I have no doubt the guy wants to keep playing. He’s driven. And he has so much belief in himself, he refuses to accept retirement or that he won’t be able to play again some day. It’s part of what has made Manning great, this ability to go above and beyond and achieve what most can’t.

But in about a month Manning and Irsay are going to have to sit down and have their heart-to-heart chat about the future. And if Manning isn’t healthy, Irsay can’t pay that team option, no matter how strong the sentimental attachment or the backlash from Manning’s fans. Pay it, and if he can’t play, the contract does hamstring the Colts for many years to come. Then so many other fans will blame Irsay for making such a foolish decision that cost this team for years to come.

01.26.12

For A Change, Isiah Thomas Isn’t The One Aggressively Campaigning For A Job With James Dolan

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 10:39 pm by

Though he openly admits his plea to replace Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni (“that ‘stache he sports is very foreign-looking. I never trusted the man anyway”) is all-too reminiscent of the CSTB celluloid punching bag, “Eddie”, Knickerblogger’s Robert Silverman tells MSG chieftan James Dolan (above), “unless Cablevision scientists have figured out a way to bring Red Holzman back from the dead, there isn’t a coach alive that would be able to pull this so-called team out of the gutter.” So why not just hire Joe Walsh Silverman and see what happens?

I’ve been watching this Beckettian exercise in repetition and failure that you call a basketball team since the end of the Carter administration, fer chrissakes. Let’s apply a little basic math. If I’ve watched about fifty games a year, minus the few nights that I have some semblance of a social life, for thirty years at 2.5 hours a game, that comes to approximately 3,000 hours of intense study (and I think your so-called offense consisted of dumping the ball into the post and standing around watching King/Ewing/Melo shuck and jive for at least 2,876 of those hours). I don’t know if that’s impressive or sad or frightening or all of the above. I’ll let you be the judge of that. I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty — after so many hours in the belly of the beast, I can tell what’s going to happen in a game. I know when the other team is about to go on a run. I can smell a turnover coming like a fart in a crowded cubicle. I may not be able to diagram a play or run a practice, but my psychic powers will make up for any and all strategic deficiencies.

I can see you’re impressed. But wait, there’s more! If you glance at my resume you’ll note that when I’m not glued to the tube, I have spent many a year writing, directing and acting in stage plays. As such, I’m well-versed in managing a group of whiny, pouting, narcissistic, me-first divas. A group of individuals who, possibly save for their sexual preferences, are not that dissimilar from the rancid, cancerous personas that supposedly make up the majority of NBA rosters. Plus, the same basic ingredients that make for great theater make for great basketball – rhythm, tempo, floor spacing, unselfishness, and possibly having someone in a tiger costume show up in the 2nd act.

Forget The Citi Field Hall Of Lame, Derek Erdman Has Bestowed Upon Keith Hernandez The Most Lasting Tribute Of All

Posted in Baseball at 6:29 pm by

Seriously, EAT MEX’S DUST, JOHNNY FUCKO. Derek Erdman has just introduced the Keith Hernandez Coat Rack, possibly the greatest former athlete-turned-SNY-mouthpiece inspired coat rack of our generation. At a mere $100, you can afford to buy one for each of your homes (unless you’re Fred Wilpon)

Congrats, Captain Fucko – You’re In The (Really) Poor Man’s Hall Of Fame

Posted in Baseball at 2:32 pm by

Thursday morning salutations to longtime CSTB whipping boy Johnny B. Badd, whose day was undoubtedly brightened with the following press release ;

FLUSHING, N.Y., January 26, 2012 – The New York Mets today announced that John Franco, the club’s all-time leader in saves and games pitched, will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame during the Mets Hall of Fame Induction ceremony presented by Citi Sunday, June 3 prior to the 1:10 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Franco saved 276 games for the Mets over his 14-year career (1990-2004) with the team, the second-longest in franchise history behind Ed Kranepool’s 18 years of service. The four-time All-Star compiled 424 saves during his career, the fourth-most in major league history and the most by any lefthanded reliever.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be elected to the Mets Hall of Fame,” said Franco, who is currently in his fourth year as a Club Ambassador with the Mets. “I would like to thank Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Jeff Wilpon, the Hall of Fame Committee, all of my managers and coaches and of course my teammates. My entire family is looking forward to June 3.”

“John set a very high standard during his career both on and off the field,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, who serves as Ex-Officio for the Selection Committee. “It’s great that during our 50th anniversary season we can have John – a true New Yorker in every sense – inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.”

Rick Reed, unavailable for comment.

01.25.12

Reading, PA : Home Of The Zany Baseball Overdose

Posted in Baseball at 8:00 pm by

If you’re thinking all this fantastic event is missing is Fox Bots, keep in mind, “Grammy Award-winning musician and Berks County resident David Cullen will also be performing uncomfortably close to the pitcher’s mound in a protected area as he entertains fans and all-stars in attendance.”

Either Ernie Grunfeld Owns Very Embarrassing Photos Of Ted Leonsis…

Posted in Basketball at 7:20 pm by

(more embarrassing than this, anyway)

…or he’s a dead GM walking.  At least that’s the conclusion we can come to after the 2-15 Wizards canned head coach Flip Saunders Tuesday, with one unidentified agent telling the Washington Post’s Mike Wise that making assistant Randy Wittman the interim coach is a poor band-aid (“Witt is Flip without the accomplishments.”). In calling for Grunfeld’s termination, Wise’s WaPo colleague Jason Reid writes, “excising Saunders from the Wizards’ dysfunctional situation is like arresting a lowly accomplice while permitting the mastermind to go free.”

It’s fine to stay on message about your “plan.” Marketing slogans about “New Traditions” have their place. When teams exhibit little effort, as the Wizards did while going through the motions on the road and dropping to 2-15, the person ultimately in charge actually has to lead.

After Washington’s awful performance the past two seasons, and Grunfeld’s poor judgment while enabling the Wizards’ high-profile knuckleheads through the years, Leonsis needs to initiate an organizational purge. So far, he has ignored the biggest problem.

The Wizards coddle their players, offering excuses for their missteps. Each time the Wizards fire a coach, they validate their players’ repeated acts of ignorance.

Why should Andray Blatche attempt to do better when he plays in an organization that apparently places little value on accountability? How is JaVale McGee expected to learn the right way when, eight days after Saunders took issue with his showboat dunk, the coach is the one taking the blame for this disaster of a season?

Is it any wonder the players had tuned out Saunders? And when Saunders gets fired just 15 days after management declared his job safe, is it any wonder they don’t take anything seriously?