• Mets, Madoff Trustee Settle For $162 Million

    Posted by on March 19th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Via the AP -

    The New York Mets owners and a trustee for Bernard Madoff’s fraud victims settled Monday for $162 million in a case aimed at repairing the damage from a massive investment scheme.

    The Mets owners will not pay anything for three years.

    Jury selection had been set to begin in a civil trial to determine how much the team owners will owe other investors who trusted their money to Madoff, who cheated thousands of investors of roughly $20 billion over at least two decades.

    Trustee Irving Picard had argued the team owners knew that Madoff’s corrupt investment scheme was a fraud but continued their investments anyway because they were making a lot of money. Lawyers for the owners insist their clients had no idea the investments were a sham.

    The case has damaged the Mets’ financial picture, forcing the team to slash payroll and try to raise tens of millions of dollars by selling small chunks of the team.

    Both Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, principal Mets owners, expressed relief outside the courthouse and Katz said the team’s finances were secure.

    “Now I guess I can smile. … Maybe I can take a day off,” Wilpon said.

    Judge Jed Rakoff said Picard had reviewed the evidence and will no longer pursue a claim of “willful blindness” against the defendants.

    “I am very, very pleased for ourselves and our families. This was really a team effort,” Wilpon said as he left the courthouse.

    “We are not willfully blind… We acted in good faith,” he said. He said he was going to Florida Tuesday to resume work at “trying to bring the New York Mets back to prominence.” Asked if the Mets will have to raise any more money through other investors and he said: “We’ll address that.”

    Katz said he was “very pleased to have this behind us.” He said outside the courthouse that the Mets were on secure financial footing. “Always was,” he said.

    David J. Sheehan, the lawyer for trustee Irving Picard, said outside court that the settlement enables the Mets owners to try to recover the $162 million through the efforts Picard makes to recover $178 million in claims the Mets owners have made against the Madoff estate. “In a sense, we’re now partners.”

    Sheehan said he thought the outcome was fair.

    So, the Mets have three years to raise $162 million. They should be able to do that, no?

    The Bauer Flip Play

    Posted by on March 18th, 2012 · Comments (2)

    An old quote -

    “Hank couldn’t quite catch up to the ball (hit by Harvey Kuenn in a game at Yankee Stadium). But somehow, God only knows how, he got close enough to tip it with his bare hand —and flip it right into Mickey Mantle’s glove. Hank crashed into the Scoreboard, bounced off and trotted back to right-field.” – Pitcher Bob Turley

    O.K. can you find this play?

    This says it was 6/16/58. But, I can’t find that game.

    The Old CF-1B-SS-C Double Play

    Posted by on March 18th, 2012 · Comments (3)

    Check out the play to close the top of the 9th inning in this game.  You don’t see that everyday!

    The Return Of Andy Pettitte

    Posted by on March 16th, 2012 · Comments (25)

    The story.

    Just in time for Michael Pineda’s Javy Vazquez routine…

    SS To Play 100+ Games In A Season At Age 38 Or Older

    Posted by on March 16th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    It’s not a long list -

    Rk Player G Year Age Tm PA R HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG
    1 Omar Vizquel 153 2006 39 SFG 659 88 4 58 56 51 24 .295 .361 .389
    2 Omar Vizquel 152 2005 38 SFG 651 66 3 45 56 58 24 .271 .341 .350
    3 Maury Wills 149 1971 38 LAD 654 73 3 44 40 44 15 .281 .323 .329
    4 Luke Appling 149 1946 39 CHW 659 59 1 55 71 41 6 .309 .384 .378
    5 Omar Vizquel 145 2007 40 SFG 575 54 4 51 44 48 14 .246 .305 .316
    6 Barry Larkin 145 2002 38 CIN 567 72 7 47 44 57 13 .245 .305 .367
    7 Rabbit Maranville 145 1931 39 BSN 636 69 0 33 56 34 9 .260 .329 .317
    8 Honus Wagner 145 1912 38 PIT 634 91 7 102 59 38 26 .324 .395 .496
    9 Bill Dahlen 144 1908 38 BSN 588 50 3 48 35 44 10 .239 .296 .307
    10 Luke Appling 142 1949 42 CHW 619 82 5 58 121 24 7 .301 .439 .394
    11 Rabbit Maranville 142 1930 38 BSN 628 85 2 43 48 23 9 .281 .344 .367
    12 Ozzie Smith 141 1993 38 STL 603 75 1 53 43 18 21 .288 .337 .356
    13 Luke Appling 139 1947 40 CHW 573 67 8 49 64 28 8 .306 .386 .412
    14 Larry Bowa 133 1984 38 CHC 423 33 0 17 28 24 10 .223 .274 .269
    15 Luis Aparicio 132 1973 39 BOS 561 56 0 49 43 33 13 .271 .324 .309
    16 Billy Geer 116 1884 99 TOT 470 75 0 0 42     .213 .285 .290
    17 Honus Wagner 114 1913 39 PIT 454 51 3 56 26 40 21 .300 .349 .385
    18 Luis Aparicio 110 1972 38 BOS 474 47 3 39 26 28 3 .257 .299 .351
    19 Bones Ely 110 1901 38 TOT 435 29 0 44 9 42 11 .212 .232 .265
    20 Bones Ely 105 1902 39 WSH 417 39 1 62 21 23 3 .262 .301 .310
    21 Dave Bancroft 104 1929 38 BRO 403 35 1 44 29 11 7 .277 .331 .332
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/16/2012.

    .

    Johnny Damon

    Posted by on March 16th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    He’s still out there.

    I don’t know why the Reds, Astros or Dodgers don’t sign him for a $1 million with incentives and then stick him in LF and have a defensive caddy for late in close games? Who do they have in LF that is better?

    Not So Nice Bryce

    Posted by on March 15th, 2012 · Comments (34)

    Will Leitch has a great feature on Bryce Harper in GQ. Click here to read it.

    Kid sounds like a real horse’s ass. I’m sure baseball will knock him on his own if he keeps it up.

    BYU Over Iona

    Posted by on March 14th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    This quote from the game report says it all -

    “It’s going to be one that we have to live with the rest of our lives,” Gaels coach Tim Cluess said. “It’s a tough one we let get away. No excuses.”

    Personally, I don’t care at all about college hoops. But, hearing this news brings back memories of the 2004 ALCS. Ouch!

    Walk It Out

    Posted by on March 14th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    It can be said that these guys walked like a man -

    Rk Player BA OBP G From To Age PA H HR BB SO SLG
    1 Tim Spehr .198 .298 363 1991 1999 24-32 656 110 19 67 153 .360
    2 John Hale .201 .307 359 1974 1979 20-25 806 137 14 103 183 .305
    3 Sammy Esposito .207 .330 560 1952 1963 20-31 970 164 8 145 127 .277
    4 Hal King .214 .325 322 1967 1974 23-30 799 146 24 104 158 .366
    5 Wes Westrum .217 .356 920 1947 1957 24-34 2849 503 96 489 514 .373
    6 Mark Bailey .220 .337 340 1984 1992 22-30 1126 209 24 166 222 .337
    7 Lance Blankenship .222 .350 461 1988 1993 24-29 1292 233 9 200 218 .299
    8 Eddie Lake .231 .366 836 1939 1950 23-34 3199 599 39 546 312 .323
    9 Chris Iannetta .235 .357 458 2006 2011 23-28 1733 336 63 241 379 .430
    10 Ken Phelps .239 .374 761 1980 1990 25-35 2287 443 123 390 449 .480
    11 Eddie Joost .239 .361 1575 1936 1955 20-39 6789 1339 134 1043 827 .366
    12 Mickey Tettleton .241 .369 1485 1984 1997 23-36 5745 1132 245 949 1307 .449
    13 Gene Tenace .241 .388 1555 1969 1983 22-36 5527 1060 201 984 998 .429
    14 Jack Crooks .241 .386 795 1889 1898 23-32 3471 671 21 612 223 .322
    15 Yank Robinson .241 .375 978 1882 1892 22-32 4167 825 16 664 181 .324
    16 Jack Cust .242 .374 670 2001 2011 22-32 2581 510 105 444 819 .439
    17 Adam Dunn .243 .374 1570 2001 2011 21-31 6561 1312 365 1065 1809 .503
    18 Gus Niarhos .252 .390 315 1946 1955 25-34 858 174 1 153 56 .308
    19 Eddie Yost .254 .394 2109 1944 1962 17-35 9175 1863 139 1614 920 .371
    20 Tommy Glaviano .257 .395 389 1949 1953 25-29 1249 259 24 208 173 .395
    21 Eddie Stanky .268 .410 1259 1943 1953 27-37 5435 1154 29 996 374 .348
    22 Max Bishop .271 .423 1340 1924 1935 24-35 5789 1216 41 1156 452 .366
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/14/2012.

    .
    Is the only difference between Adam Dunn and Jack Cust playing time?

    Morenoball

    Posted by on March 14th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Happy Birthday to Omar Moreno Jr. – who must have heard in Little League that a walk was just as good as a hit.

    Los Mets – Dios Sólo Sabe

    Posted by on March 13th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Via J.P. Morosi -

    [Carlos] Beltran arrived in New York after the 2004 season along with future Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, as the Mets made a resounding statement about their intentions to spend money and win championships. Now, the Mets are viewed as a possible last-place team in the National League East after lopping roughly $50 million from their payroll since this time last year.

    “I think they’re going in a different direction,” Beltran said. “You have to be a little frustrated for the fans, knowing probably the team isn’t going to be what the fans really want to see out there. But at the end of the day, they have prospects, players who are going to be good one day. But when that day’s going to be, only God knows.”

    I recently heard a caller on WFAN say that you could still buy tickets to the Mets home opener this year – whereas, in years past, fans would wait on line for hours for the chance to try and get what few tickets were left.

    And, I thought to myself – is that such a bad thing?

    Is there much difference between your team winning 75 games and not making the post-season and your team winning 95 games and getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs? Neither team wins a World Series ring. And, there’s maybe 3 or 4 times a month, on average, where you’re watching the 75-win team lose a game that the 95-win team would have won. Isn’t that worth the trade-off of being able to get tickets to games without having to pay more than face value and for being able to see games in person with the place not being packed?

    Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to be at a packed ballpark on Opening Day or during the post-season. But, there’s something else to be said about watching a game and maybe being able to stretch out your legs or not having some drunk sitting on top of you.

    The Mets may be a lemon – but, they also could make some sweet limonada for their fans this season too.

    (And, yeah, I know, the Los Mets thing went out the window with Omar. I just need to get over that.)

    What Do A-Rod & Rosie O’Donnell Have In Common?

    Posted by on March 13th, 2012 · Comments (9)

    At times, no love from The Donald!

    Via the Daily News

    Don’t look for Alex Rodriguez to be cast on any future seasons of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

    Donald Trump in a tweet last fall took a shot at A-Rod after he made the final out in last year’s ALDS loss to the Tigers, calling him “a less than average baseball player now that he is unable to use drugs.”

    The Donald was back at it during Sunday’s episode of the NBC reality show, taking another shot at A-Rod while praising ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson for saying she didn’t care who received the credit as long as her team wins.

    “That’s all about winning; that’s a Derek Jeter-type statement,” Trump said. “We love Derek. That’s not an A-Rod statement; it’s a Derek statement.”

    Asked Monday about Trump’s latest swipe at him, A-Rod smiled and chose not to respond, sticking to his new mantra.

    “Just baseball,” Rodriguez said with a smile.

    Of course, Jeter lives in Trumps house…even though he wants to sell his penthouse at Trump Tower for $20 million.

    Here, on one hand, you have Trump, using A-Rod and the fact that it’s almost baseball season to drum up some press for him and his show. And, on the other hand, you have A-Rod, who has put himself in this position to have people take pot shots at him – because of his past antics.

    Something tells me this is not the last time that Trump will play this game. And, it’s probably not the last time that someone will say something about A-Rod too.

    This one, now, is just the flavor of the day.

    The Fielding Bible — Volume III

    Posted by on March 13th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Having read and enjoyed Volume I and Volume II, I was very much looking forward to checking out The Fielding Bible – Volume III

    Here some information on what’s in this one:

    • Defensive Runs Saved— these defensive evaluations are back with significant enhancements to the eight-component system first introduced in Volume II.
    • Timer Plus/Minus—the Plus/Minus system, which measures each fielder’s ability to turn batted balls into outs, gets a facelift to incorporate the brand new batted ball timer information, creating a better and objective fielding evaluations.
    • Good Play/Misplay Runs Saved—turns Bill James’ in-depth Good Fielding Plays and Defensive Misplays system into a new component of Defensive Runs Saved, adding previously-unrecorded aspects of defense like scooped throws and pitch blocks.
    • Total Runs—adding Pitching Runs Created to offensive, defensive, and baserunning ratings to combine every aspect of the game into one tell-all number for every player.
    • The latest essay from Bill James on defense.
    • Defensive scouting reports and player commentaries on every regular and semi-regular position player in baseball.
    • New studies on crucial aspects of fielding, including defensive positioning, the “Ted Williams shift”, bunts, double plays, outfielder arms and catcher defense.

    The Fielding Bible – Volume III contains some fascinating findings and should be considered the “go to” reference resource on the defensive ability of recent major league baseball players.  This book helps you eliminate the noise around a player’s defensive value and separates fact from fiction.  You can spend hours going through The Fielding Bible – Volume III and still not touch the bottom of this wonderful pool of data and analysis.  If you’re a fan of sabermetrics, this is a must read for you.  And, if you’re a fan of baseball, it will be to your benefit to check out The Fielding Bible – Volume III .  I sincerely recommend this book.

    Ready For That Padres Vs. Blue Jays World Series?

    Posted by on March 12th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Not now – later.

    Of course, the fans of those teams may think different.

    Best Pitchers Who Threw Left & Batted Right

    Posted by on March 11th, 2012 · Comments (16)

    Since 1901 -

    Rk Player WAR From To Age W L SV IP ERA ERA+
    1 Randy Johnson 91.8 1988 2009 24-45 303 166 2 4135.1 3.29 136
    2 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 25-40 253 154 33 3590.1 2.98 130
    3 Tommy John 59.0 1963 1989 20-46 288 231 4 4710.1 3.34 111
    4 Jerry Koosman 58.8 1967 1985 24-42 222 209 17 3839.1 3.36 110
    5 Sandy Koufax 54.5 1955 1966 19-30 165 87 9 2324.1 2.76 131
    6 Eppa Rixey 51.2 1912 1933 21-42 266 251 14 4494.2 3.15 115
    7 Mark Langston 47.1 1984 1999 23-38 179 158 0 2962.2 3.97 108
    8 Jimmy Key 45.7 1984 1998 23-37 186 117 10 2591.2 3.51 122
    9 Rube Waddell 45.1 1901 1910 24-33 178 127 4 2659.2 2.11 134
    10 Wilbur Wood 45.0 1961 1978 19-36 164 156 57 2684.0 3.24 114
    11 Wilbur Cooper 43.7 1912 1926 20-34 216 178 14 3480.0 2.89 116
    12 Nap Rucker 41.7 1907 1916 22-31 134 134 14 2375.1 2.42 119
    13 Larry French 40.0 1929 1942 21-34 197 171 17 3152.0 3.44 114
    14 Chris Short 35.5 1959 1973 21-35 135 132 18 2325.0 3.43 104
    15 Preacher Roe 31.8 1938 1954 22-38 127 84 10 1914.1 3.43 116
    16 Charlie Leibrandt 31.7 1979 1993 22-36 140 119 2 2308.0 3.71 109
    17 Bobby Shantz 30.6 1949 1964 23-38 119 99 48 1935.2 3.38 119
    18 Slim Sallee 30.4 1908 1921 23-36 174 143 36 2821.2 2.56 114
    19 Ken Raffensberger 28.4 1939 1954 21-36 119 154 16 2151.2 3.60 110
    20 John Hiller 28.2 1965 1980 22-37 87 76 125 1242.0 2.83 134
    21 Ken Holtzman 27.5 1965 1979 19-33 174 150 3 2867.1 3.49 105
    22 Greg Swindell 27.4 1986 2002 21-37 123 122 7 2233.1 3.86 107
    23 Hooks Wiltse 26.5 1904 1915 24-35 139 90 33 2112.1 2.47 113
    24 Max Lanier 25.5 1938 1953 22-37 108 82 17 1619.1 3.01 126
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/10/2012.

    .
    It’s a small list of those like this who did well, on the mound.

    2012 Topps Opening Day Retail Blaster Box

    Posted by on March 10th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Today, after dinner, my son (who will soon be eight) and I picked up a 2012 Topps Opening Day Retail Blaster Box. Not a bad deal – 77 cards for ten bucks.

    He had a blast (no pun intended) opening up the packets and seeing who he got – and then separating them and stacking the cards up by team.

    Best yet: He got no dupes in the 77 cards and got at least one player from every team sans the Cardinals. And, he also got a card for Mickey Mantle, Mr. Met and Raymond (the Rays mascot). He especially like the “Opening Day Stars” card for Jose Bautista with the 3D-effect. (I thought it was funny that he got a Jesus Montero Yankees card and a Michael Pineda Mariners card. I guess that tells you when they were cut – because he got Angels cards for C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols…and a Marlins card for Health Bell and a Reds card for Matt Latos.)

    He’s still at the age where he likes to “play” with the cards – looking at the pictures, reading the names, sorting them in different ways. He’s not at that stage where the cards have to be kept untouched and pristine. Oh, to be almost eight years old…

    Before we got the cards, during dinner – and it was just me and him since my wife and daughter were at a birthday party – I reminded him that I had a race coming up. Related, I said to him that maybe one day, when he’s older, we’ll run a race together.

    He said that running for miles was not his thing. And, hearing that, I told him that maybe that would change when he’s an adult, like it did for me.

    Without any delay, he answered me with “Dad, did you forget? When I grow up, I’m going to be a baseball player!” Ah, yes, to be almost eight years old, indeed…

    Best Moves By New York Baseball Teams

    Posted by on March 10th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    There’s a new baseball series debuting on MSG on Sunday at 10pm, It features Tony La Russa, Scott Boras, Dave Kaplan and Fran Healy discussing the best and worst trades in Yankees and Mets’ history, and includes interviews with former players and coaches.

    This should be fun.

    (more…)

    Jamie Moyer

    Posted by on March 10th, 2012 · Comments (3)

    I cannot convey how much I am rooting for Moyer to get a win with the Rockies this season. We were born less than 200 hours apart. So, you can understand why I want to see him prove why he’s still able to play in the major leagues.

    If he gets the win, I may just go out and buy a 2012 Rockies “Moyer” jersey.

    Here’s to the old guys -

    .

    Sweet 16 RP Seasons

    Posted by on March 9th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Here’s one list of guys to have magic seasons out of the pen -

    Rk Player WAR G ERA+ SO/9 Year Age Tm GF W L SV IP BA OBP SLG
    1 Bruce Sutter 6.3 62 328 10.82 1977 24 CHC 48 7 3 31 107.1 .183 .231 .271
    2 Jonathan Papelbon 4.8 59 517 9.88 2006 25 BOS 49 4 2 35 68.1 .167 .211 .254
    3 John Wetteland 4.6 70 308 11.92 1993 26 MON 58 9 3 43 85.1 .188 .260 .276
    4 Eric Gagne 4.3 77 337 14.98 2003 27 LAD 67 2 3 55 82.1 .133 .199 .176
    5 Rafael Betancourt 4.2 68 307 9.08 2007 32 CLE 15 5 1 3 79.1 .183 .208 .277
    6 Mariano Rivera 4.1 64 319 9.81 2008 38 NYY 60 6 5 39 70.2 .165 .190 .233
    7 B.J. Ryan 4.0 65 335 10.70 2006 30 TOR 57 2 2 38 72.1 .169 .230 .214
    8 David Robertson 3.9 70 410 13.50 2011 26 NYY 8 4 0 1 66.2 .170 .280 .226
    9 J.J. Putz 3.9 68 319 10.30 2007 30 SEA 65 6 1 40 71.2 .153 .202 .252
    10 Mariano Rivera 3.8 71 308 9.19 2005 35 NYY 67 7 4 43 78.1 .177 .235 .230
    11 Takashi Saito 3.7 63 319 10.91 2007 37 LAD 55 2 1 39 64.1 .151 .209 .239
    12 Joe Nathan 3.6 68 316 9.84 2008 33 MIN 57 1 2 39 67.2 .179 .242 .279
    13 Ugueth Urbina 3.3 64 325 12.20 1998 24 MON 59 6 3 34 69.1 .157 .259 .229
    14 John Smoltz 3.2 62 385 10.21 2003 36 ATL 55 0 2 45 64.1 .204 .230 .281
    15 Hong-Chih Kuo 2.9 56 324 10.95 2010 28 LAD 16 3 2 12 60.0 .139 .211 .192
    16 Carlos Marmol 2.8 59 325 12.46 2007 24 CHC 6 5 1 1 69.1 .169 .282 .226
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/9/2012.

    .
    Not a lot of repeaters, eh?

    Yankees G.M. Testifies Before Grand Jury

    Posted by on March 8th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Via the Daily News

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman spent time in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday morning, but didn’t stick around to field any questions from the media.

    By lunchtime, the baseball bigwig — who has been noticeably absent this week from his team’s spring training in Tampa — had ducked out a back door of the courthouse, according to several sources.

    Cashman’s lawyer declined to say why his client was there, but his appearance raised speculation that he was testifying before a grand jury against his accused stalker, Louise Neathway.

    “I was told he was in the building. Since he hasn’t been seen in Florida, there is a very good chance he’s testifying in front of a grand jury,” said Rory Bellantoni, the lawyer for Neathway, who plans to tell her side of the story to the grand jury panel next week.

    Neathway also made a brief appearance in the same courthouse Wednesday.

    During her hearing, Bellantoni tried to bat down accusations against his client and to have her $200,000 bail lowered.

    Neathway, who also uses the last name Meanwell and has a history of stalking her ex’s, is accused of cyber-stalking and extorting $6,000 from the married Cashman.

    She also allegedly tried to shake the Yankees exec down for another $15,000 by threatening to go public with their affair.

    The busty British blond, wearing a pink button-down shirt and gray pantsuit, looked pouty during the hearing, which her mother also attended.

    She has been held at Rikers Island since her Feb. 1 arrest.

    Bellantoni blasted prosecutors, claiming they brought phony charges to help protect Cashman, whose wife filed for divorce after news of her husband’s alleged affair hit the newspapers.

    “She’s being held on false charges,” Bellantoni said, adding that Cashman wants Neathway indicted to “discredit her” claims the cash was a gift made while they were an item.

    I wonder if Cashman sweared to tell the truth and nothing but…

    And, The Difference Between A Two Bit Carney Hypnotist And This Is….?

    Posted by on March 8th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via Bats

    What do rolling up a metal frying pan like a streudel or breaking a soda can in half have to do with baseball? Probably nothing, but they provided the Yankees with some entertainment and maybe even some motivational thought on Wednesday.

    Before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees heard from Donnie Moore, a motivational speaker who uses unusual feats of strength to convey his message of positive thought.

    Moore, a barrel-chested man who is also the Oakland Athletics team chaplain, broke a bat using only his hands, tore a phone book in half, and somehow rolled a metal frying pan up like a burrito, Manager Joe Girardi said.

    Asked what that had to do with sending a motivational message, Girardi said it got the players’ attention. “It’s not every day you see a guy roll a frying pan,” he said.

    Robinson Cano was amazed by Moore’s feats and said the message he got from watching him tear a full soda can in two was, “You can do what you want to do.”

    Girardi, who noted that there were a lot of items that had to be thrown out in Moore’s wake, said Moore’s message was to have a vision of something desired, and then attain it.

    Most of all, Girardi said, he wanted to break up camp from time to time with unusual speakers.

    “I like our players having to think,” Girardi said. “Instead of just going out every day, I like them getting different people’s opinions. I think it helps you see where you are in your life. It makes me think about things that I do, and I want players to think about what they do, and what it takes and the importance of having a vision. We have great leadership in that room, we really do. But it’s good to break spring training up a little bit.”

    Now word on whether or not the visit helped Michael Pineda regain some MPH on his fastball.

    Wildcard

    Posted by on March 8th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    I was thinking about the new wildcard rules in MLB this season.  And, then, it dawned on me that the wildcard has been in play for the 17 seasons before this year.

    This means that there are some adult baseball fans out there now who never remember the game being played without the wildcard.

    And, that just blows my mind.

    Yes, Soup For You!

    Posted by on March 7th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Dude would have been 97 today.

    Ubbo Ubbo

    Posted by on March 6th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Imagine calling out your own web-gems.

    The dude could pick it back in 1881.

    Whoa, Nellie!

    Posted by on March 6th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Jeff Nelson played for the 1998 Yankees, who won 114 games, and the 2001 Mariners, who won 116 games.  Has any other player in baseball history played for 2+ teams who won 110+ games in a season?

    Considering that only 4 teams since 1919 have won 110+ games in a season, I would think there’s a great chance he’s the only one.  Unless, maybe, someone played for both the 1906 Cubs and the 1909 Pirates?

    Yankees Play Daily Quote Game

    Posted by on March 5th, 2012 · Comments (9)

    Via the Daily News -

    Alex Rodriguez captivated his teammates before Friday’s game against the University of South Florida, speaking from the heart about dedication, determination and what it takes to win.

    No, he wasn’t auditioning to become the next captain once Derek Jeter retires. He was simply taking his turn.

    With an eye toward team unity, Joe Girardi decided that one afternoon at the Improv wasn’t enough. The manager has implemented a new tradition that calls for a different player or two to stand in front of the entire team every morning and recite a quote of his choosing, followed by an explanation of what the quote means to him.

    “Words from your teammates can be really powerful,” Girardi told the Daily News. “They can be motivating. It also tells you a little something about that person from what they pick, so we get to know them. It’s worked out well.”

    Rodriguez, however, impressed by taking a unique approach. He declined to discuss his presentation, but a witness said that instead of reciting a quote, the third baseman took the word “score” and used each letter to deliver a different message.

    “What Alex did, it blew me away,” Eric Chavez said. “To get up in front of the whole team, out of your element, he really embraced it. I don’t see myself doing that. I can’t knock down those walls, so to see Al do it, it was like, ‘Wow.’”

    Said A-Rod: “One of the hardest things to do is to communicate in front of your peers. I bet if you asked them, some guys would probably be more nervous about doing that than playing in the World Series. It’s hard to stand in front of 85 people that you trust and respect. It makes you feel vulnerable. It’s a great exercise and it’s setting the right tempo for our team.”

    Girardi came up with the routine as he sought to better use the 15-minute block of time he had set aside to meet with the team each morning

    “It just kind of came to me,” said Girardi, who often receives inspirational quotes via email from his friend, basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. “The biggest fear in life is public speaking, so this really encourages them to do a lot of different things.”

    Girardi gave his players only two rules they must follow when choosing their quote. They were not allowed to use any of the motivational quotes that hang in and around the clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field or ask Chad Bohling, the team’s director of mental conditioning, for help.

    “It gives guys an opportunity to get to know themselves,” Girardi said. “Guys are doing research, looking for something that’s really good and that appeals to them. Some of them are really deep. I’ve been wowed.”

    Rather than assigning the days to players randomly, Girardi started with the oldest player in camp — 42-year-old Mariano Rivera — and told the team it would go in reverse order of age. That meant 39-year-old Raul Ibanez followed Rivera despite the fact that he has been a Yankee for less than a month.

    Based on what I have heard, read and seen of him, I cannot imagine having more respect for a person than I do for Joe Girardi. He’s the guy you want as your neighbor. He’s the guy you want your daughter to date. He’s the guy you want your son to grow up to be, etc. And, in terms of being a big league baseball manager, while he’s not perfect or close to it, you could easily do a lot worse than having Girardi skipper your club.

    That said, this “new tradition that calls for a different player or two to stand in front of the entire team every morning and recite a quote of his choosing” has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve heard in a while now. It’s turning a baseball clubhouse into a Dilbert comic strip.

    What I wouldn’t give to see one of the Yankees stand up during one of these show and tell sessions and say “I remember signing a contract, to play ball not to be put to sleep by some two bit carney hypnotist or to be part of some corporate bullshit eyewash exercise. I won’t do that Joe! I can’t…”

    Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit Against Mets

    Posted by on March 5th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Via the Daily News -

    A federal judge in Manhattan ruled Monday that the contentious and highly public battle between the owners of the New York Mets and the trustee overseeing the Bernard L. Madoff bankruptcy case will proceed to trial, continuing a case marred by leaks and sordid accusations that has jeopardized the ownership of the Mets for more than a year.

    U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff refused to dismiss the suit, ruling that the trustee, Irving Picard, can proceed to trial on three counts against Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz and their partners in Sterling Equities and can claim as much as $83.3 million in “fictitious profits” without a trial.

    Picard must prove to a jury that the Mets’ owners were “willfully blind” to Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme and ignored warnings that he was operating a fraud, a standard about which Rakoff said he “remains skeptical that the Trustee can ultimately rebut the defendants’ showing of good faith, let alone impute bad faith to all the defendants.”

    Rakoff went on to say that he is concerned that the “evidence” the parties produced didn’t comply with the Federal Rules of Evidence and probably wouldn’t be admissible at trial.

    “Conclusions are no substitute for facts, and too much of what the parties characterized as bombshells proved to be nothing but bombast,” Rakoff wrote. “Nevertheless, there remains a residue of disputed factual assertions from which a jury could infer either good or bad faith depending on which assertions are credited.”

    Last year, Rakoff threw out most Picard’s $1 billion lawsuit against the owners, saying Picard could pursue only $386 million.

    How many minutes to Wapner?

    Halladay Vs. Hudson Since 1999

    Posted by on March 5th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    The numbers are very close:

    Player W From To Age G GS W-L% IP BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF
    Roy Halladay 187 1999 2011 22-34 376 350 .670 2517.0 518 1921 3.24 138 204 10306
    Tim Hudson 181 1999 2011 23-35 378 377 .651 2503.1 762 1699 3.40 127 198 10408
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/5/2012.

    .
    Why don’t people talk as much about Hudson as they do Halladay?

    Boras: New CBA Hurts Big Revenue Teams In Many Ways

    Posted by on March 4th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    Via the Boston Globe

    Scott Boras thinks that because the superpowers in baseball are going to save money on the luxury tax and can’t spend it in the draft because of restrictions in the new Basic Agreement, trade-deadline activity will decrease in time.

    And this is despite the fact that the new playoff format – adding one more wild card to each league – would in theory have more teams trying to make deals to vie for that final berth.

    Extreme or plausible theory?

    While the Red Sox will likely be over the $178 million luxury tax threshold this season, the goal is to be beneath the $189 million threshold by 2014. And Yankees partner Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged to reporters Thursday that they will attempt to be beneath the threshold by then.

    Boras is taking this tax-savings scenario a step further. He figures the savings will simply be profit because the money can’t go toward scouting and player development. Eventually, he reasons, minor league systems will have less depth and ultimately teams won’t be able to make big deals because they won’t have much to give up.

    Not only will the Red Sox and Yankees benefit by paying no luxury tax if they stay under $189 million by 2014, they also will see a significant decrease in the amount of revenue sharing they must pony up.

    But there will be no place to put the money.

    Why? The new Basic Agreement has a tax system in place that severely penalizes teams that go over a limit for spending in the first 10 rounds and more penalties on bonuses over $100,000 from the 11th round on.

    The tax goes from 75 percent if a team spends up to 5 percent above the $100,000 limit, to 100 percent if it spends above 5 percent, and that also triggers a harsher penalty: a team loses a first-round pick for going more than 5 percent over, loses a first- and a second-rounder for being 10 percent over, and loses two first-rounders for being 15 percent over.

    “I think the draft now, with the inability of teams to spend money and the inability to use amateur scouting, is going to have less impact,’’ Boras said. “There are two freight trains going one against another, where you have a collective bargaining agreement where you’ve got the benefits of the luxury tax and you have the detriment of . . . even if you save that money, you just can’t spend it in the draft.

    “You cannot do it internationally anymore. You’re going to have franchises that may be able to save $20 million-$30 million over a four-year period by keeping the luxury tax, but all the money they save is basically going to go for profit rather than going for development.

    “Any team now that is a successful team annually and says, ‘We’re about player development,’ well, their entire player development budget is going to be about $6 million-$7 million a year. And that’s not a team that’s entirely about player development when you’re making $400 million-$500 million a year.

    “It’s just something that has really taken one of the most important aspects of our game – which is scouting – and put it in the back seat for almost 12-13 teams, really, and the most successful teams. The consequences of that are really detrimental to the franchises that create a great part of the economic success of the game.

    “Those 10 franchises make about 60 percent of the revenues. So we have to be very guarded about what they’ve done to restrict these franchises from doing the things they need to do.

    “Because in the end, when you don’t have players in the minors leagues one year, two years, and three years in a row, you’re going to lose that depth and you’re not going to be able to pick up players in July. The other teams aren’t going to want to trade with you because you don’t have much to trade.’’

    Teams like the Red Sox, who have been able to give large bonuses after the 10th round – in some instances to kids they’re trying to persuade to play baseball over football – may now not have that ability, unless they want to pay a steep price for it.

    It’s an interesting theory. Time will tell if it works out this way.

    Monte Markham

    Posted by on March 4th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    What has he not been in?

    « Previous PageNext Page »