I think they are just trying to get some attention.
It will be interesting to see Murphy’s reaction to their comments.
I think they are just trying to get some attention.
It will be interesting to see Murphy’s reaction to their comments.
Next up, Mike Trout?
Via ESPN -
Yasiel Puig is always going to be a story. The Los Angeles Dodgers just don’t want him to be the only story anyone ever talks about on a team with World Series aspirations.
So before the latest controversy with Puig had a chance to mushroom, manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
A source described Puig as “very open” during the meeting and receptive to what was said.
“I asked them to please keep helping me,” Puig told ESPN.com. “Specifically with baserunning and hitting my cutoff man. I want them to help me with everything they can.”
The meeting previously was described as being between the second-year outfielder and the manager, but Mattingly wanted the entire team to have a forum to address the subject in-house, rather than have frustrations boil over or leak out through the media. Veterans Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe were the most vocal players during the meeting, sources said.
“It was good for everybody. Donnie just wanted to squash this, and it did,” one veteran, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.com.
Puig said he understood his teammates “wanted to help me get better” and encouraged them to approach him directly anytime they had something to say to him.
“Puig’s a good kid. He just didn’t come up through the system like we all did,” a veteran teammate said.
Afterward, Mattingly addressed the media and said of Puig, “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.”
There’s still time for Yasiel to get himself under control. It’s never too late – even Ruben Sierra, albeit near the end of his career and costly on the delay, got it into his head. For Puig’s sake, I hope it doesn’t take a monster humbling experience. His talent really is off the charts. If I were the Dodgers, I would get him a mentor – either a player or a coach – to be his Jiminy Cricket, and fast. It won’t be easy – since Yasiel already has the money, fame, is in Hollywood, and potentially running with the wrong crowd. In the meantime, the under/over line on the number of Puig benchings this year sits at sixteen.
Via the AP –
Baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement this week that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and allow a decrease of suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use, people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
For future suspensions, the deal also would eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $3 million during his season-long ban, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity in recent days because talks are ongoing.
The sides hope to reach an agreement by Sunday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers open the U.S. portion of the major league schedule at the San Diego Padres.
While the lengths have not been finalized, a person involved with the talks said Wednesday the most likely penalties would be about 80 games for an initial testing violation and a season-long ban for a second.
“It will be a significant deterrent because players will know they’re not going to just easily walk back into a lineup,” Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview. “It probably is the best policy in professional sports.”
For use of a limited group of substances, the sides were discussing giving the arbitration panel that hears appeals grievances the authority to reduce suspensions by as much as 50 percent if the player proves the positive test was caused by unintentional use, the person said.
“What we’re all here for it to rid sports of the intentional cheats, those who are intending to defraud both the fans and their fellow teammates, the integrity of competition,” Tygart said. “You want to have provisions in place that allow for whether there’s an inadvertent or a truly non-intentional situation which may arise.”
Since the 2006 season, the Major League Baseball’s drug agreement has called for a 50-game suspension for a first positive steroids test, a 100-game ban for a second and a lifetime penalty for a third.
Seems fair. But, still, it’s a uphill fight as long as the developers are still a step ahead of the testers…
Via Richard Sandomir -
Inside the mixed martial arts studio, Stuart Scott lifted the black T-shirt that read, “Everyday I Fight.” Beneath was a footlong scar that bisected the ESPN anchor’s washboard abs.
“It’s a sign of life,” he said, though it is the spot where cancer surgeons have opened his abdomen three times to remove parts of him.
Scott’s fight continues. He has had 58 infusions of chemotherapy. He recently switched to a pill. But the drugs have not fully arrested the cancer that struck first in 2007, when his appendix was removed. It returned four years later. And it came back again last year. Each recurrence seems more dire, and yet after each, Scott has returned to his high-profile work at ESPN, ensuring that his private fight has become a public one.
Friends, family, colleagues and strangers ask how he is faring. Yet Scott, 48, says he does not want to know his prognosis.
“I never ask what stage I’m in,” he said recently over lunch. “I haven’t wanted to know. It won’t change anything to me. All I know is that it would cause more worry and a higher degree of freakout. Stage 1, 2 or 8, it doesn’t matter. I’m trying to fight it the best I can.”
Scott’s approach once puzzled Sage Steele, a fellow ESPN anchor and one of his closest friends.
“I’ve asked him on two occasions: ‘What does this mean? What do the doctors say?’ ” she said. “And I’m nervous asking it, but after hearing his answer for the second time, I choose not to ask again. I don’t know if I could do it the same way.”
Scott’s sister, Susan, says she understands her brother’s psychology.
“I think he can only live with this by not even incorporating the potential end of it,” she said in a telephone interview from North Carolina. “It’s too weighty. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about it, but to let it in starts to validate it and gives it more heft.” But, she added, “Every time I get a call that Stuart’s in the hospital, I have to think about what this means for his mortality, and is this the time?”
Scott’s absences from ESPN are noticeable because he remains one of the network’s most familiar personalities. Hired in 1993, he soon became one of the signature anchors on “Sports-Center” and on the network’s N.F.L. and N.B.A. programming. “SportsCenter” stars like Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen left the network over the years, but Scott has remained. He has always projected a cool vibe, blending hip-hop language and pop culture references with sound effects and catchphrases like “Boo-yah!” and “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” and he has delivered highlights and commentary in youthful outbursts and in the cool, brooding form of a poetry jam.
Recently, during the N.F.L. scouting combine, he used the debate over Johnny Manziel’s quarterbacking future as grist for an antic, one-on-one conversation with himself.
“I don’t need to do that to keep myself engaged,” he said. “I think it’s unique and part of who I am.”
On the job, Scott seems unaffected by three bouts with cancer. His demeanor on “SportsCenter” is unchanged: excitable, energetic, creative, even a bit wild. But his face looks thin, and his colleagues are concerned.
“There are some days when I say, I don’t know how he’s doing it,” said Mark Gross, a senior vice president for production who has known Scott for two decades.
I almost never watch ESPN since the MLB Network started. But, I know who Scott is, from when I used to watch it. Very sad to hear this news. And, I wish him well with his fight. Tough guy – and then some!
Not to be mean, but, to be candid, I suspect that Yogi will not be far behind. He’s 88 and has not been feeling all that great lately as well. Plus, usually, when a couple is married that long, when the wife passes before the husband, it’s not too long before the man gives up and passes away as well.
Very classy, those O’s.
Buck on players attending Monica's service: "I said something to them about it and the first response was, 'Can I go? Is there room?'
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 5, 2014
The story, in case you missed it:
After a courageous fight of more than four years, Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow passed away Friday morning from lung cancer.
Barlow, 36, was a nonsmoker who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in September 2009, while training for a half-marathon after dealing with a cough that wouldn’t go away. She continued to work throughout her battle, courageously becoming one of Major League Baseball’s biggest advocates for the “Stand Up To Cancer” initiative.
“We lost a feather from the Oriole today,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Monica embodied everything we strive to be about. Her passion, loyalty and tenacity set a great example for everyone in the organization. She was so courageous in continuing to do her job the last few years despite her pain.
“This is an especially tough day for those of us that worked with her on a daily basis. It was a blessing to have her in my life; she made our jobs so much easier. We won’t be able to replace Monica, we will only try to carry on. I am going to miss her as a colleague and a friend. She was a rock.”
Barlow graduated from William & Mary College in 1999 and served as an Orioles intern. She spent the next year as a PR assistant for the Richmond Braves (formerly Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate) before rejoining the Baltimore organization in January 2001.
“It was with deep sadness that I learned of Monica’s passing this morning,” said Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos in a statement released by the team. “In her 14 years with the club, she was a beloved member of the Orioles family, starting as an intern and becoming Director of Public Relations.
“Over the past four and a half years, the work Monica did to raise awareness and funds for cancer research was a testament to her dedication to helping others. The strength and resiliency she displayed by not letting her illness define her was a great inspiration to all who knew her.
“Her loss will be felt deeply by not only our front office staff, but also our manager, players and coaches, with whom she worked on a daily basis. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to her husband, Ben; her parents, Wayne and Ramona Pence; her brother, Jonah; her sister, Natalie; and her family and friends.”
Barlow, an Ellicott City, Md., resident, was also a spokesperson for LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization. LUNGevity funds the most promising research for the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, and provides information, resources and a community to patients and caregivers.
I just heard about this. Very cool. At first, I thought it was a joke.
Via ESPN –
In the nearly 17 months since then-Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive and suffered life-threatening brain injuries, Major League Baseball says it has received and tested numerous prototypes from different vendors for padded caps to provide some head protection against high-speed shots off the bat.
On Tuesday morning, MLB informed its 30 teams that it has approved such a product for the first time, after consultation with the players’ association, according to Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations.
“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Halem told “Outside the Lines,” adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”
Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection, at 83 miles per hour, below the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard severity index of 1,200. Severity indexes higher than 1,200 are considered high-risk for skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. An MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.
The newly approved caps, manufactured by 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, will be made available to pitchers for spring training next month. Their use is optional.
The company says the caps are a little more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides — near the temples — than standard caps, and afford protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph. The soft padding, isoBlox says, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate” and is designed to diffuse energy upon impact through a combination of dispersion and absorption techniques.
Well,if you can’t make the hitters less stronger, this is the next best thing, I suppose…
Good luck, Seattle.
Via WEEI -
“Happy New Year from us to you! Here’s to a great 2014!” — Will Middlebrooks (on Twitter), Dec. 31, 2013
That tweet was sent out to the roughly 143,000 followers of Middlebrooks — third baseman of the Boston Red Sox — on New Year’s Eve. The other half of the “us” referenced by Middlebrooks? That would be Jenny Dell, who, we all know, covers the Red Sox for NESN. This tweet (accompanied by a picture of Middlebrooks with his arm around Dell at a New Year’s Eve party) was, basically, an announcement: Middlebrooks and Dell were dating. This came a little over a week after The Boston Globe had reported that the two were living together.
On its own, who cares? Both are young, single, successful, attractive, well-liked by teammates and colleagues. Dell is hugely popular both among fans and people at NESN, and Middlebrooks has done much charity work in his short career with the Red Sox. And this is, last we checked, a free country. So let’s allow the kids some fun, stay out of the way, and see how it ends. Usually, I’m on board with that. As a libertarian that is exactly what I believe — I’m going to stay out of your business and you should stay away from mine.
Except there’s the issue of conflict of interest.
Now, I don’t have the first clue how this is going to end. Maybe Dell leaves NESN for Fox Sports 1, as has been reported. Maybe NESN shifts her over to more studio hosting or some other role. Or maybe she just quits. But there is no way NESN can bring her back in her current position as (according to her own bio on Twitter) NESN reporter for the Boston Red Sox.
Put it another way: There is no way NESN’s coverage of the Red Sox can be taken seriously if Dell is allowed to return to that position. The already blurred lines will permanently be crossed. What’ll be next?
If you’re going to have chippy on the field eye-candy reporters, you better make sure she has horse teeth like Kim Jones or is somewhat bovine like Meredith Marakovits, otherwise, eventually, someone is going to make a move on them…
Via the Post –
CC Sabathia became the latest athlete to join Jay Z’s Roc Nation Thursday, joining former teammate Robinson Cano, who bolted for Seattle in December after splitting with Scott Boras. Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million deal.
Unlike Cano, however, Sabathia can’t be a free agent until after the 2016 season at the earliest. He is owed another $71 million over the next three seasons.
The 33-year-old joins a growing list of star athletes who are teaming up with the rap icon: Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Jets quarterback Geno Smith, NBA superstar Kevin Durant and women’s basketball star Skylar Diggins.
Sabathia had been represented by Greg Genske of the Legacy Agency.
Good luck with this one, Jay Z. Sabathia already looks fried. What’s he going to have by 2017?
Via the Padres -
“The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Jerry Coleman. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Coleman family, including his wife, Maggie, his children and grandchildren. On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.”
The Padres announce that the Jerry Coleman statue will remain open until 11:30 p.m. tonight for fans who would like to pay their respects. Fans may enter through the East Village Gate at Petco Park.
Is it just me, or, are the former Yankees dropping like flies this off-season?
Coleman was before my time. But, he seemed like a classy dude who had a full life.
Finding a valuable painting in a basement happens now and then in the art world, but finding a baseball-related image in the depths of your house — on a wall, no less — has to be even more unusual. That’s what happened according to Reddit user DimensionsInTime, who said they moved some boxes to reveal what you see above.
The silhouette on the left, showing the image of a young boy, is clearly labeled “Mike Trout” in what might one of the earliest Trout autographs on record. The figure on the right belongs to Mike’s brother Tyler. Of course, the discovery doesn’t come completely out of the blue — DimensionsInTime said that they purchased the house from Mike’s parents.
So, was the image chipped away and preserved for future memorabilia purposes? No — according to DimensionsInTime, they’ve already painted over it.
Via the AP –
The New York Yankees were hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill, pushing their total past the $250 million mark since the penalty began in 2003.
According to Major League Baseball calculations sent to teams Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the only other team that exceeded the tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million. Boston finished just under for the second straight year, coming in $225,666 shy of the $178 million mark.
Figures include average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters, earned bonuses and escalators, adjustments for cash in trades and $10.8 million per team in benefits.
Because the Yankees have been over the tax threshold at least four consecutive times, they pay at a 50 percent rate on the overage, and their $28,113,945 bill was second only to their $34.1 million payment following the 2005 season. The Yankees are responsible for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all clubs over the past 11 years.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said he hopes to get under the threshold next year, when it rises to $189 million. That would reset the team’s tax rate to 17.5 percent for 2015 and get the Yankees some revenue-sharing refunds.
But following agreements Tuesday on a $2 million, one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a $7 million, two-year contract with left-hander Matt Thornton, the Yankees are at $177.7 million for 15 players next year, when benefits are likely to total between $11 million and $12 million. Their only hope to get below the threshold appears to be if an arbitrator upholds most of Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension, relieving the team of a large percentage of the third baseman’s $25 million salary.
Or, in other words, until A-Rod is suspended, don’t look for the Yankees to add any more players.
I just saw this news from last month:
Back when Jack Hiatt stepped down as the Giants’ farm director in 2007, he said it was “time to turn it over to someone younger than me.”
He did. Hiatt was 65. Fred Stanley, the new director of player development, was 60.
Six years, two World Series title and one Buster Posey later, Stanley sensed his time was up, too. He has tendered his resignation, CSNBayArea.com has learned, and the Giants are expected to fill his role internally.
“Without getting into a whole bunch of stuff, it’s better I say it’s time for me to step away,” said Stanley, who resigned before the Giants could make a decision whether to extend his contract.
“I’ve had a nice run and I appreciate the opportunity the Giants have given me over the last 13 years.”
The decision must be amicable, since the Giants have expressed an openness to keeping Stanley in some kind of instructional or advisory position. Hiatt remains in the front office as an advisor as well, and was a key voice in the decision to take Posey with the fifth overall pick in 2008.
Stanley’s final duties were to oversee the club’s instructional league in Arizona, where prospects are invited for additional instruction and scrimmages against other camps.
“It’s nice to see the Belts and the Crawfords and the Pablo Sandovals and Hector Sanchezes coming up, and not just them, but all the players like a Juan Perez who does the little things, ends up leading the (outfielders) in assists,” Stanley said. “We ended up not winning this time, but you can’t overlook the contributions of the kids who came up.”
Stanley has spent 46 years in baseball, including a 14-year big league career as an infielder for the Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Oakland A’s. A defensive specialist who went by the nickname “Chicken,” Stanley earned World Series rings with the Yankees in 1977 and ’78.
He spent nine seasons in the Brewers organization, rising to assistant GM, before joining the Giants in 2000 as a minor league manager.
They never all pan out, of course, and Stanley had his share of puzzles that he and his coaches haven’t been able to solve, beginning with former first-round pick Gary Brown. Stanley leaves a system that has plenty of live arms but none ready for the big leagues, and a relative paucity of premium hitting talent.
Two top candidates to replace Stanley figure to be roving instructor Shane Turner, who managed several years at Triple-A Fresno, and former Giants catcher Steve Decker, who rose through the ranks from managing short-season Salem-Keizer all the way to Fresno before accepting a position as organizational hitting coordinator.
Stick Michael and Chicken Stanley – two shortstops who couldn’t hit; but, who went on to have great careers in baseball after their playing days.
Via TBO.com –
Tampa may be losing a minor league baseball franchise when the Tampa Yankees move to Ocala, but the city will be gaining a new concert venue.
New York Yankees officials confirmed Monday that the team’s Class A-Advanced minor league affiliate will likely play in a new Ocala ballpark in 2016. Plans for a $45 million stadium-entertainment complex near Interstate 75 and State Road 200 were to be unveiled at an Ocala City Council workshop Tuesday in the city 97 miles north of Tampa.
The Yankees have been contemplating moving their minor league team for several years. The team draws about 1,000 to 1,500 fans per game, and might fare better in a community without all the major sports franchises that call the Tampa-St. Petersburg area home.
Ocala is county seat of Marion County, which has a population of about 335,000.
“We’re a big baseball community so this would be a big deal for us,” said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.
George M. Steinbrenner Field will still be used during the summer months once the minor league team leaves. Preliminary plans are to hold concerts at the stadium as well as amateur baseball tournaments and other sporting events.
“If they do leave, it just gives us flexibility,” said Howard Grosswirth, vice president of marketing for the New York Yankees. “We won’t have to go around (the Tampa Yankees’) schedule; we’ll just work around the summer, hopefully bringing back concerts.”
The Yankees last held concerts at the stadium, then called Legends Field, in 1996. Grosswirth said the team will be working with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission to bring sporting events to the ball park.
“It doesn’t have to be baseball,” Grosswirth said. “It could be any number of different sports.”
With 11,000 seats, the ballpark would feature acts that draw fewer than the tens of thousands of fans at larger venues such as the Forum and Raymond James Stadium. But older groups with loyal followings could be a good fit. In May 2005, rock and country legends Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson played at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies and home field for the minor league Clearwater Threshers.
The Tampa Yankees’ departure will have little impact on Hillsborough County revenues, said Bobby Silvest, spokesman for the Tampa Sports Authority, which manages Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees pay the authority about $100,000 a year to lease the county-owned stadium, plus a ticket surcharge that yielded about $135,000 in 2011, the latest figure available.
The surcharge is added to New York Yankee spring training tickets, but not to tickets for minor league games.
The move to Ocala still hinges on the city and Marion County building a ballpark. Guinn said the stadium complex would likely be financed by a half-cent sales tax increase that would expire after five years. The county commission would have to put the tax increase before county voters, probably in March.
The Steinbrenners already own half of Ocala now, don’t they?
Via MLB –
The Yankees have re-signed Derek Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal, the club announced Friday.
Jeter held a $9.5 million player option for 2014, the final installment of a deal he signed before the 2011 season that ended up paying him $51 million over three years. Instead, he and the club reached the new agreement.
As someone noted over at BBTF, under the $9.5M player option, the average annual value of Jeter’s prior contract was $14.5 million – and that would have counted toward the luxury tax. By declining the option and signing for $12M, Jeter gets more money and the Yankees save $2.5M toward the luxury tax threshold.
That’s pretty good money for a guy who cannot field and who will probably have an OPS+ under 100.
And, I’m not knocking Jeter. The decline is due to his age and injury. Hey, it happens…
I remember reading about Adrian Cardenas in Baseball America when he was selected as their High School Player Of The Year. The very next year, he was doing great, not far from me, down in Lakewood. (Well, great compared to his teammate, the former Yankees first rounder, C.J. Henry.)
I was surprised when the Phillies traded him. But, I was not shocked when the Cubs picked him up off waivers.
He’s now hanging them up at age twenty-six. And, he has his reasons for doing it.
With a little better glove, he could have been another Marco Scutaro. At the worst, maybe another Jayson Nix. Shoot, split the difference and say he could have been another Tony Graffanino.
It really seems like a crime to waste his baseball talent. But, then again, this is coming from a guy who wishes that he had one-quarter of his talent. So, what do I know?
I just saw this story which I thought was sort of interesting-
Any professional photographer who’s been working long enough has experienced the humiliation of missing the big shot, so it wasn’t that big a story when two sports photographers missed Ichiro Suzuki’s landmark 4,000th base hit at a recent New York Yankees game.
It’s what happened afterward, when USA Today Sports Images photographer Debby Wong passed off a photo of another Suzuki swing as the iconic moment, that turned the incident into a significant photojournalism ethics fail.
Wong and New York Daily News Andrew Theodorakis were covering the Aug. 21 game from neighboring positions when Suzuki scored the big hit. Wong missed the shot due to apparent chimping, Theodorakis because Wong’s lens blocked his view.
The latter was enough to start a ruckus in the pit, with a Yankees representative eventually intervening and reminding Wong that she was outside her assigned spot.
It also made the miss widespread news, at least in the world of New York sports photographers, so numerous eyebrows were raised when a Wong photo of Suzuki swinging later appeared on the USA Today site with the caption: ”New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki singles to left field to record his 4,000th career hit…”
Photographers started talking, noticing the batter’s body position in Wong’s photo didn’t match other shots of the moment. The conversation hit a new level of urgency a few days later, when Reuters announced it was dropping all freelance sports photographers in favor of images from USA Today Sports Images, which provides for sports photo for USA Today and other Gannett publications, along with a growing roster of subscribers.
Five days after the game, UTSI issued a kill notice for Wong’s photo, explaining only that it “was not correctly identified.” UTSI President Bruce Odle later confirmed that Wong’s contract with the agency had been terminated.
Hopefully nothing like this will happen when A-Rod breaks Barry Bonds career home run record.
And, yes, I am kidding…