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With that said, it appears that BP is not going to publish a serious analysis & justification of what has to be understood as the most important HoF ballot ever. I submitted the below-linked article to Ben Lindbergh on December 2, and got this response:
Thanks for sending this--I enjoyed reading it, and I agreed with most of it (maybe not the PED Wing idea, but just about everything else). I'm probably not going to be able to publish this at BP while it's timely, since I'm budgeted for one guest article a week and I already have the series scheduled into January, but I hope you have a blog where you can post it or that you can find somewhere else to submit it.
Thanks again for the article, and thanks for reading BP.
This will be my last post ever, on BP. Minus that.
BP has changed qualitatively since their BP Idol contest several years back. New writers, with different styles have been brought in. Many of the original staff have left.
That is the nature of the world. Each person decides what they like, and what they don't like. I don't see why there needs to be an argument, when it comes to personal preference.
Here's my 2013 HoF ballot with a sample of my rationale.
"It's about to hit the fan, for real and in every sense. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the two greatest players of their (and any) era, are now eligible for the HoF with their first-ballot results soon to be announced. Fans and sportswriters everywhere are no closer to an agreement on whether they belong in this exclusive institution, than they were when these players were finishing up their careers. This article is an attempt to strip away the nonsense, and honestly address the issue(s) of who belongs in the HoF, and why?
Baseball fans, whether they admit it or not, have always had very strong feelings concerning who belongs and who doesn't belong, in the Hall of Fame. Let's start with the premise that the Hall of Fame largely belongs to the fans. I am of that opinion. If the fans don't care, then the institution is largely meaningless. It is that recognition of greatness by the people who cover the game, with the support of the fans who love the game, that gives the HoF its mystique. So what is needed now, more than ever, is a clear and consistent rationale for electing players from baseball's PED era into the HoF. It needs to be as fair as possible in an era that is defined by its unfairness."
To read the rest, go to: http://ricsize.com/
Feel free to leave a comment and rate this troll on the 1-10 scale.
ccweinmann: Fantasy baseball was how the author came to best know the deceased, so that's his perspective. It was written out of respect, and therefore there is nothing remotely offensive about his article.
I like the Roberto Hernandez deal for the Rays. This guy used to be Fausto Carmona, and he's got good stuff. They need pitchers to soak up innings, with the trade of James Shields. It's risky, but low cost, with high upside. The Rays are having a nice off-season, so far IMO, with what Andrew Friedman has been given to work with.
fbraconi: Billy Wagner (5'10") for diminutive closer.
"The ripple effect of his legacy is already felt on the current Braves' staff, as untouchable closer Craig Kimbrel has been watching carefully and taking notes."
And so are your readers, Doug.
The 12 Days of Christmas run from December 24th through Three Kings Day, on January 6th.
Nice report, John Perrotto.
This is the kind of deal Andrew Friedman has to make when ownership won't ever invest in a payroll above $70 million. We're talking about an owner who is personally worth an estimated $700 million.
"You know baseball is a beautiful game when a player goes from non-tendered to multi-year free-agent contract within 12 months. Jeff Keppinger did just that thanks to a banner season with the Rays."
The Tampa Bay Rays do that a lot, I notice.
"Then again, if Scutaro had gotten two years and $20 million, this might not have raised quite so many eyebrows. There’s a decent chance that he’ll be worth the four wins or less it would take to justify the total expenditure over the life of the deal..."
That's the take-home point. Nice job, Ben.
Wow! People really do care about the HoF.
I wrote an article giving my thought-out answers to all your HoF questions and more, and have submitted it to Russell & Ben for BP publication.
This is the most important HoF ballot ever. This is the fan's chance to be right, at an important milestone in baseball history.
Probably the best pitcher and the best player ever, have reportedly received around 25% support from the writers who vote.
Use your +/- to if you want to have your voice heard and your questions debated & answered, in this article.
Shorter contracts is the leitmotif. It's an owner consensus to control labor costs. On their own, they can't control themselves.
Someone may want to explain the BBWAA Member voting rules, so people know exactly what it means. I'm not 100% sure, myself.
The biggest problem with drug testing, is that the users are always one step ahead of the testers. The focus needs to be on education & prevention.
Interesting article, Maury Brown.
It's always great to read articles like this. Thanks, Dan Evans!
Angel Pagan: nice player, best name in baseball.
So Taylor Swift is BP cool now? How aBOUT PUNK ROCK?
Thanks for the TA Sam Miller.
...because he's my second GM from the PED era, into the HoF.
Does anyone else really want Brian Cashman's job? Thanks for the piece, Ben Lindbergh.
Note to reader: All the links to Doug's previous articles should be read/re-read. It's terrific stuff and a lot to digest.
The Nats got one of the most under-rated players in baseball, with his team-friendly contract. The Twins received a mid-rotation/late bullpen pitching prospect who starts 2013 in AA. I say it's a steal for Mike Rizzo. Time will tell.
Here's a few quotes and observations from the article by Marty Noble on MLB.com today:
• Tom Seaver: "Marvin's exclusion from the Hall of Fame is a national disgrace."
• Bob Costas: "He's a transformative figure of the game. ... There is no non-player more deserving of the Hall of Fame."
• Jim Bouton: "Instead of pointing to the sky, today's players should be pointing to Marvin Miller."
• Tom Glavine: "He had more influence on what became of players, generally, than anyone. He took up the fight for players so they weren't just pieces of meat that were discarded at someone else's whim. And he carried on after he retired. That's when I got to know him a little. Very intelligent. To say he knew his stuff is an understatement. I'd thought the Hall of Fame was a no-brainer with Marvin."
Bill James, a writer, historian and statistician who is currently a senior advisor on baseball operations for the Red Sox, suggested that Ruth, Robinson, Miller and Branch Rickey would constitute baseball's Mount Rushmore.
When C.J. Nitkowski writes, "I am hanging on by a thread and still trying to continue my career so I wouldn't want to throw any coach specifically under the bus...", I ask myself, "How many people are this honest about who they are?"
Absolutely, Bill Johnson. Over & over on BP I see articles and reader's comments that characterize a coach's or manager's contribution as neglligible. Baseball is played by humans, and they are fallible. Therefore players need mentors just like the rest of us, and fans will have to live with the reality that this impact can't be fully measured with stats. We don't have to quantify everything to enjoy it.
Great article CJ, and thanks to BP for publishing it.
Excellent article when it was needed Russell A. Carleton; you are clutch. Excellent comments & discussion from the BP readers.
Good post of a well-thought-out and well-explained MVP ballot. Any fan must respect that.
Here's a link to a few ballots with brief explanations:
Evidently there will be no AL or NL MVP voting discussion here at BP. Is the same thing going to happen for the HoF ballot results in a few weeks?
The point is, we have new data as of yesterday. We know who exactly voted for whom, and many of the voters gave their reasons online via twitter, facebook, blog, etc.. What about those who remain silent? This should be analyzed and critically discussed, because frankly, some of the reasons given for voting for Miguel Cabrera are totally lame.
Mike Trout had a historically great rookie season, and deserved to be recognized as the best player in MLB in 2012. Just because a group of dinosaurs refused to do so, doesn't mean BP should ignore this story because it already knows better. Honestly, it comes of as negligent to a portion of your readership.
State your case when everyone is watching and listening. Timing is everything. That's one BP reader's opinion.
BP should have a new article discussing the biggest story in MLB yesterday, which was the 2012 AL MVP vote. John Perroto posted a great link to Nate Silver's blog, and Jeff Passan wrote a nice supporting article (before the voting was publicly released) which I will quote below, but it behooves a sabermetric metric website like BP to make the case for itself.
"Like those who ignore the truths of climate science and evolution – of fact – the people who dismiss Nate Silver allow their preconceptions and egos to get in the way of the ultimate goal: the truth. If the best path to that is subjective observation, may our eyes be forever honest. Should we find otherwise, however, may our pride step aside to let the greater authority guide us.
My colleagues in the BBWAA failed to do that, and when Cabrera wins – I'm guessing he gets at least 20 of the 28 first-place votes – it will not be a travesty, a sham, a mockery or a traveshamockery. It will just be wrong. A fight 15 years in the making will continue until not just the electorate but the public beyond accepts that when it comes to appreciating baseball, math is not some scary android trying to take away our game. It's here, more than anything, to help us understand it and love it even more."
Before I clicked on this article, I thought the title was referring to Steve Stone making through another season in the booth with Hawk Harrelson.
How about the salary cost of first-time managers?
The Tampa Bay Rays manage to cobble together a pretty good bullpen every year, on about the same money the Dodgers are paying Brandon League.
I'm sure MLB managers and players appreciate fielding metrics on some level, as most if not all are aware that traditional fielding statistics miss too much of the picture.
It's much easier to mis-identify who is/isn't a good fielder, than it is to be confused about a good/bad hitter or pitcher.
This is why old-school will be receptive to advanced defensive metrics. It makes their job easier with less headaches, for an award that very few people actually care about.
How about Babe Ruth's mechanics?
This should be a great series, Doug. Best
For $5M you have to keep R.A. Dickey, especially if he wins the Cy Young. That's just too much PR and on-the-field value for the Mets to lose.
As Sandy Alderson, I would try to get David Wright to sign a new deal this winter, for 5-6 years.
Having the scouting video embedded is huge for the readers. Thanks!
Is the World Wood Bat Association World Championship open to the public?
A few more points on that play. First of all it was a huge play, the Tigers needed that run badly. If they go on to lose the series, which seems likely, that will be a play everyone remembers.
Secondly, it was an outstanding call by home plate umpire, Dan Iassogna. He was in perfect position, and made the right call on a very close play. He also kept his cool when Prince Fielder was arguing the call face-to-face, and when Jim Leyland came out to dispute the call. He easily could have injected himself into the game's storyline by running Fielder. It was excellent umpiring to not do so.
Too often we only notice the umpires for their mistakes. It's only fair to give them credit when they get it right, because it is not an easy job.
We all make choices, and live with them.
If Prince Fielder is 10 pounds lighter, he's safe on that play.
Great series, Doug!
This team will never get better until management develops a workable plan, and actually sticks to it. It took them three months of baseball to give up on their last one.
You can learn something valuable about a hitter from the pitches he takes, and the way he takes them. Controlling and commanding the strike zone is an important hitting skill.
Joe Mauer must be on this list, and with his injury history, I would put at or near the top. He's age 30 next year, with 6 years left on his deal at $23M annually. Full no-trade clause. Immovable in every sense, as he's the face of the franchise, in a small market that can't afford to eat a lot of salary in a trade. Once his batting average goes, that's it for his value.
John Lackey's contract is an interesting case. He's owed $30.5M for the next two seasons, then he probably will be paid the league minimum in 2015 due to his missing significant time for the TJ surgery he's recovering from now. That adds a wild card to his trade value, so to speak.
I'm a fan of the GIF's. Thanks for the stop tip.
That was certainly an error by Coco Crisp, on that pop fly he dropped off the bat of Miguel Cabrerra. Huge misplay.
I would go with the Giants in this series. Their line-up is clearly better, while the starters are roughly equal. I don't see enough from the Reds, even with their bullpen, to overcome the Giants bats.
But like you said, anything can happen.
A lot of talk about the blown call, has taken the focus off how poorly the Braves played. They made 3 errors, which lead to 5 unearned runs, and left 12 men on base.
Nice article, Dan Rathman.
MLB has now restored the value of winning the division, which had been lost since 1993.
Get a clue Tim Hudson & any other player that thinks like him.
Because you sent a link that mentioned names.
I'm all for naming names at this point. It advances the cause much faster when there is accountability. Thanks for the link, Ben.
Understanding the numbers is essential if you are covering baseball. If a writer refuses to at least make an attempt at understanding the numbers, then he/she isn't taking their profession seriously. Therefore, we the intelligent readers will refuse to take them seriously.
Good discussion today. Both topics were well covered.
Another helpful tool for baseball fans.
Great stuff, Bradley Ankrom & the BP staff.
I presume you mean the second to last sentence which reads,
"From the outside, it’s easier to believe that the Indians needed a fall guy, and that Shapiro and Chris Antonetti—who locked up Travis Hafner, traded for Ubaldo Jimenez, re-signed Grady Sizemore, and expected Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman to contribute—preferred not to fire themselves."
That sums it up in a nutshell. This organization needs a new direction, and it needs to start in upper management. They've got Carlos Santana to build around. Everything else should be for sale.
Brett Garner returns to the Yankees from the DL today, is the biggest baseball news of the day. Someone should do a story.
Can someone post his numbers from his years in Japan, to give the readers some more perspective? I'm sure it would help his case.
Never been a Jays fan, so this opinion is a broad overview, to encourage more discussion about baseball.
For my report card, Alex Anthopoulos has earned an A+ in his first three years as Toronto's GM. His resume':
Unloading Vernon Wells was universally considered impossible, before he did it. In many ways it still seems impossible.
Locking in Jose Bautista was considered very risky at the time of the deal. Brains & courageous leadership, giving the fans some hope.
Edwin Encarcinon, once considered a joke by many statheads;.384 OBP .565 SLG, 40 HR, locked in below market value through 2015 w/ a club option.
The biggest organizational problem is figuring out how to keep their promising young arms healthy, IMO.
Overall he has made one miraculous trade, and more than his share of good ones, like the Yunel Escobar deal.
Team Payroll is about $84 Million. MLB average is $100 Million. He'll probably pass again on the high-end free agent market this winter, and it is probably the smart move.
"Jose Molina went 0-for-2 with three frames." Good one. A few other gems in there too, including the Angels, Blue Jays & Marlins. Amazing Twins stat, or was it irony? Nice overall effort.
I love On The Beat. Lots of insider opinions. Take them any way you like.
Eric Hosmer: Good Face, may be a ball player; 23 years old, so let's cut him some slack. Oakland A's: great season even though I don't see a sustainable winning model (does anyone?); Billy Beane is a Hall of Fame GM; I root for this team. Chris Sale: Ace level starter this year; age 23; I hope he holds up. As for the rest, I don't follow the minors too closely.
Quick season report from a longtime Reds fan who now roots for the Rays. The reason they win the division: Joey Votto-1B Age 28, .338/.467/.580 in 96 Games. Johnny Cueto--30 GS, 2.92 ERA, 17-9-- The Reds need to protect his arm so he doesn't flameout like Jose' Rijo's; BP 2012 PECOTA forecast for him: 0.2 WARP. Jay Bruce--RF, Age 25, .257/.332/.536 33 HR; dude can mash; half his games are in a bandbox. Brandon Phillips--2B Age 31 .289/.327/.445 at least adequate on defense. 15 SB 1 CS tell me he may be under-rated a bit. And since Sam & Ben talked so much about Bronson Arroyo--league average innings eater, and third starter at best in the post-season with the Reds. Him being a Jimmy Buffet fan has no baseball value.
Terrific comments, particularly on the Marlins & Astros among others.
I finally had a chance to sit down and absorb this article. One of the best pieces BP has published.
I listen daily, so don't blame me Sam & Ben.
Regarding the video of the play at the plate; home was completely blocked so sliding was impossible without missing the plate. He could have collided even more forcefully if he had wanted to, in his effort to dislodge the ball. I thought it was a clean play.
Yeah, very interesting reading.
Bullseye on "The Tomahawk Chop."
My bad. I hadn't realized that AG passed through waivers before Beckett & Crawford.
By not claiming Gonzalez on waivers, Texas is allowing a competitor to tear itself apart. It seems to me a prudent strategy to pass on AG to allow that to happen. The Red Sox are now rebuilding during Texas' championship window. Boston only had to eat $11 million in the deal, plus they received prospects, so it's a great deal for them.
Tommy Hutton on the Giancarlo Stanton HR: "I think he figured out that(shortarm) delivery of Josh Roenicke quite well." LOL
I was watching the Royals/Rangers game last night, and I must say that listening to Rex Hudler is painful. For example, at one point Scott Feldman tries the fake-to-third-then-go-to-first pickoff play, and Hudler says, "One of these days they are going to ban that move." Obviously he is unaware that it will be illegal after this season. Typical lazy, ex-ballplayer commentary.
95% of this article is still right on the $$$. That's pretty damn good.
Okay, here's my follow-up question. Presuming both teams run differentials stay the same as well as their position in the standings, at what point in the season do the odds even out?
Could someone please explain to me how Pittsburgh's playoff odds are 7%, when they are 1/2 game ahead of St. Louis, whose playoff odds are at 72%. We're nearly half way through the season. I'm not being sarcastic; I would really be interested in the rationale.
"I felt we had to do something non-conventional," says Tracy. So is rearranging chairs on the decks of the Titanic.
I remember Joe Niekro stating after the fact that the emery board was for filing his fingernails between innings, because knuckleball pitchers need to file that frequently. He never gave up with the excuses; an all-time classic indeed.
Enjoyable read. Keep up the good work, Daniel Rathman.
I think that is well said. Nice article, Colin.
1. I'm fairly sure that SC was joking.
2. I think most fans, and all the non-PED using athletes are in favor of giving up some privacy in exchange for a level playing field. See last week's SI cover story for more discussion.
Every BP reader and baseball fan in general needs to read this week's SI cover story.
I'm all for transparency along with healthy discussion & criticism.
Terrific comment on Kerry Wood's departure.
I agree. Players need to respect the umpires at all times when they are on the field. If there is an issue where the integrity of an umpire comes into question, then it should be taken up by MLB.
I followed up by asking if they did this with any of their own players in the minors or majors and the Director of Scouting & the Director of Baseball Operations both said no. I agree they have been fantastic up to this point with developing and keeping their young pitchers healthy, but I wonder if they are missing an inefficiency that can keep them ahead of the curve. The computer science can provide a level of exactitude that video and scouting may miss. Just an opinion from a fan in the stands.
At the Rays ballpark event last Saturday, I asked their Director of Baseball operations if they were using any biomechanical joint-load anaylsis to identify overstressed areas which could be corrected with better mechanics and therefore prevent future injuries. His response was baasically that they do nothing like that, and really aren't even considering it. This from what many people consider to be one of the smartest organizations in baseball.
I will give the Rays management credit; they provided us with a great scorecard. I wasn't planning on keeping score, but I felt compelled after taking a look at it.
I had a nice time at the event (I was the one keeping score for all 12 innings). You forgot to mention the good time had by many of us heckling the usher Nazis who wouldn't let people sit in the completely vacant section adjacent to us. The Rays need to change their policy on that issue until they can get at least 25,000-30,000 people to regularly pay to come to their games, as it makes them look really fan unfriendly. Several others I sat next to (who go to Rays games regularly) agreed with that thought. Thanks for hosting!
Geoff Baker's article makes some good points as far as what players expect out of their manager, but I still can't completely agree with his assessment that old-school managers always know best-- due to their experience; and their reluctance to embrace new thinking is because of low player intelligence/expectations. When you stop to think about it for a second, it really comes across as a defense of ignorance. Each of us has a chance to improve ourselves everyday, a chance to learn more about our profession and become more proficient in what we do. When someone comments that Eric Wedge has had over 1000 chances for the light bulb to come on and still hasn't recognized it, I see some truth to that point. No-- we aren't MLB managers, or even qualified to be one-- but we can expect those who are to practice continuing education, and if they don't then they deserve to be replaced by those who do. No one will ever confuse him with Joe Maddon. Wedge is just holding on to an antiquated way of thinking because that's the way it's always been done, and Baker's article is an attempt to justify that type of backwardness. It reads as an apology for laziness.
Did anyone ever project Cliff Lee as a future ace?
This is another HUGE BP improvement. Very nice work!
For the CWS you can also hate on Hawk Harrelson, either as a GM or as an announcer, without much quarrel from anyone. The Reds are a longtime favorite team of mine. Marge Schott, Pete Rose as a manager, and that new bandbox they play in should give you plenty to work with.
Nice synopsis of Sabermetrics 101.
I predict that What Scouts Are Saying is going to quickly be one of BP's most popular regular columns. Great Stuff!
Great job on Collateral Damage! BP keeps getting better!
Or as Jackie Robinson's tombstone reads, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on others lives."
I think the BP user ratings make that clear.
Terrific post! I'm in agreement with all your points, and couldn't agree more strongly with #11.
Bonds was unsigned by MLB because 1)the PED allegations, and 2)he's perceived as a selfish jerk. As far as a fair salary to offer him at the time, I remember Joe Sheehan writing something like "anything less that $8-10 million would be an insult."
Daniel Rathman, you're rapidly becoming my new favorite BP beat writer. Keep 'em coming!
From a fan's standpoint this is very bad for baseball and this story deserves more coverage. Journalists need to be able to report facts, and express their opinions on those facts, without fear of being blacklisted. When MLB tacitly condones the Mets actions, as it has done, it creates a chilling effect on anyone trying to seriously cover a beat and we end up with sycophants instead of reporters.
A few more final thoughts. Several years back I remember Will Carroll mentioning that the technology that would allow each organization to do it's own bio-mechanical analysis on every pitcher in their system was in the cost range of $50K, and incredibly at that time no team had invested in it. This would seem to be a no-brainer to help pinpoint the risks in a pitcher's delivery to help coaches change any mechanical flaws early on, thereby preventing blowouts down the road. It would seem that this analysis could also be applied to a hitters's swing to prevent (or at lest diagnose earlier)oblique, hip, and knee injuries. Of course nothing can eliminate injuries completely, but I would have to believe that this type of thinking is the present for some & future for all injury risk management at the professional level. Lots of room for improvement here.
I would agree with the author that injury prevention is a huge inefficiency in MLB. It probably offers more potential in cost savings and competitive advantage than any other aspect of the game. Smart teams are investing in this, and serious fans want to know more about it. Great stuff Corey! Keep it coming!
The best Beatle was John Lennon.
It's Bobby Bonilla they're still paying.
Jay, how long having you been itching to use that title?
I know its not the Rays way, but Albert Pujols would be a great fit for this lineup. Obviously he'd be a good fit for just about any team, but he seems to me to be a perfect fit for the Rays. Most of the names Jim Bowden mentions won't help in 2012, and this team is set up to win for the next several seasons, so it may make sense to gamble on signing a Hall of Famer to help get them get over the top. I just don't see Mesoraco or Alonso as being that guy next year or the year after. A bold move for the Rays would be to go for it, not swap prospects. Of course I have no expectations that TB will be in on the Pujols sweepstakes.
No other sport can offer the drama that was last night's games, and these races in their final weeks. What an amazing season of baseball! Well written, John!
While I respect the hard work that goes into refining any skill, such as being able to effectively frame pitches, my problem with it is this; the hitters are being cheated by those who are good at this, and the pitchers are being squeezed (at least relatively) by those catchers who are less proficient.
I don't want to detract from any of the outstanding research Mike Fast has done on this topic, but to me there is too much of an unfair element in allowing pitch framing when we have more accurate ways of calling balls & strikes.
Great stuff Mike. Now can we let the computers call balls and strikes so we can eliminate all this fudging.
I'm on the Blanks bandwagon too. The Padres need to give him a shot at putting up the numbers he's capable of, or else trade him to someone who will.
Bring sabermetrics into the mainstream is a long process. Any attempt by ESPN to give a fair look at the subject is welcome, in spite of its limitations. I look forward to watching. Thanks for the heads up!
Jeter's Range. +1
I have a question that has nothing to do with this article: Where did the Hit List go?
I would add the suggestion that you put a 'Compensation HP' button in the header.
Superb addition to BP!
I would offer this: If your favorite team/organization is screwed up, due to stupidity, mis-management, whatever..., then you should have the freedom to root for other better managed organizations, without feeling guilty. We shouldn't be slaves to stupidity.
The pine tar incident was (and will likely always be) the best meltdown ever. Nothing else is even close.
Is Charlie Furbush the same guy Billy Beane gives half-a-seconds consideration to drafting, just for his name alone, in Moneyball?
Alex Rodriguez is easily the most under-appreciated superstar of his era. I personally was never a fan of him until he came to spring training in 2009 and answered every question from the media on his personal history with PEDs. No player has ever answered these types of questions with the depth and honesty he provided. To his further credit, he didn't "name names", and he thanked his teammates for supporting him through this difficult period. He ended the press conference by promising his teammates a "special season", and then backed it up by carrying the Yankees in the postseason/WS. I don't understand how people can't admire that kind of character, and not cheer his redemption. As Jay mentioned, these are the qualities that make us human, and are the most compelling reason to watch sports. It is obvious that many people have made up their mind to hate him, and nothing he ever does will be good enough for them. This is their fault, not Alex Rodriguez's
Please start doing this every year. It tells the reader a lot about how each writer evaluates players, plus it's fun to compare.
To cram in more commercials.
Without knowing any of what went on behind the scenes, I have to agree that this was a shortsighted and hubris-motivated move on Jim Riggleman's part. Basically, he comes off looking like he quit on his team over a tantrum. The fact is he had a contract to manage the Washington Nationals through the end of the season, and he decided not to honor it, apparently because they wouldn't negotiate an extension at this time. This raises serious questions about his character, his decision-making and his ability to selflessly lead others. When the dust settles, I don't see Jim Riggleman getting another opportunity to manage a big-league club.
The stadium is not the problem, therefore it will add very little in terms of attendance, while costing the taxpayers very much in terms of neglected infastructure.
Couldn't have said it better myself. MLB needs to protect it's players.
I would make the case that Dusty Baker's restraint is a function of being instructed/ordered by management to observe, and obide by, a preset pitch limit for each pitcher. As I understand it, each organization does this at the GM level in order to protect their most valuable asset, which is quality, young pitching. These assets are too critical for the success of any team to be left entirely in the hands of the field manager. Dusty may deserve some credit for changing his thinking, but my intuition tells me that it was probably forced onto him for his, and the organization's, own good.
Nice article. It seems painfully apparent that Brian Cashman is frustrated by the whole situation he's been placed in. That's not to completely excuse him for mis-handling the Posada affair, but I think his frustration is understandable. I get the sense that if he had been allowed to do his job over the years, the Yankees would have a much different (and younger) roster. Instead they are now faced with an aging core that will limit even their payroll flexibility for the forseeable future.
I believe Cashman's comments during the Derek Jeter negotiation were his way of expressing frustration over being made to resign a player for big $ that he really didn't want. Looks like he was right, and if the Yanks don't make the post-season, it's likely to be his head that gets chopped.
Brian Cashman strikes me as an intelligent and thoughtful GM, but the stress of his position is enough to wear anyone down, so I don't blame the guy for saying what's on his mind, even if it isn't PC.
I'm a bit surprised there aren't more comments here.
You don't do this, because what people promise you, and what you really get, are two different things. This is what happens when people try to get too cute with somebody else's money.
Why wouldn't you just pay Bonilla's 2000 salary instead of buying an annuity with a one-time payment of $5.9 million? It was a sunk cost. Deal with it and move on.
I completely agree with irussma that Steve Phillips was/is clueless.
Let me get this straight, the Mets deferred $5.9M in year 2000 to pay Bobby Bonilla $29.8M spread out over 25 years! No wonder the Mets are such a mess.
Comes a time when you have to go "all in" or start rebuilding. Brewers management owed it to themselves and everybody else to go for it this year. If it works out, great. If it crashes, they can start marketing their tradable assets for propects. Either way, this was the right decision for the Brewers. Whatever happens they will be an interesting team to watch this year, which is really the point, since after all this is just entertainment for most of us.
Beer & Tacos.
The attendance figure of 19,000 for the Marlins & Pirates suggest to me that there is a "replacement level" for MLB attendance.
Thanks for the link on the Red Sox decision to use modern medical technology for the purpose of preventing pitching injuries. Will Carroll used to raise the same question: Why don't organizations spend the pittance it costs to protect it's most valuable asset which is pitching, and particularly young pitching? Here's hoping other teams will folllow their lead, because it's long overdue.
More articles like this, please.
I remember attending a game at County Stadium in 1991- field-level box seats right at third base. A pop foul was drifting towards the stands and Gary Sheffield leaned over the tarp to presumably make the play. He didn't, as the ball hit in the middle of his glove and bounced out landing harmlessly in the stands. No error was scored on the misplay, but I always remembered how much that play bothered me, so much so that it is all I can recall from that game. When I later heard, after being traded to San Diego, that he admitted to intentionally tanking, It further confirmed my suspicion that he dropped that ball on purpose. I can't say for sure; I'm just relating what I saw, and how I felt at the time.
The message is there are plenty of ways to hurt your team that don't show up in the box score. Sheffield put up great numbers in his career, but that type of play should have no place in the major leagues, much less the HoF.
The Cubs have the good fortune of playing in one of the most beautiful ballparks ever built, while also having the marketing might that comes with being televised nationally on cable superstation WGN. These factors virtually guarantee sellouts and advertising revenue whether they win 95 games or lose 95 games. Thus, their good fortune becomes a curse in that it removes much of the incentive for management to build a good organization. The bottom line is this organization needs to be entirely reconstructed, from ownership down, for the Cubs to win a World Series.
Too often we don't fully appreciate the careers of players who fall short of the HoF, and let their retirement pass into oblivion. Not every player can be a HoFer, and just because they fall short of that line doesn't mean they weren't valuable to their team or entertaining for the fans. Each player should be remembered and appreciated for their own merits. Andy Pettitte was a quality pitcher and fascinating to watch. He will be greatly missed, even by those of us who aren't Yankee fans. Great article Jay, and good luck Andy Pettitte!
I'm with CK on caring less and less each year about the HoF voting. The whole process reeks of hypocrisy. To repeat her point for those who have a hard time reading: If a sportwriter suspected steroid usage then it was (and still is) their job to investigate and find the proof. Most were/are too lazy or too cozy with the players to do this, and therefore bear much responsibility for the "steroid era." In doing this, they gave up their right to be indignant a long time ago. For the most part, I believe the character of the voters is more suspect than the players in question.
Also as an aside, Pat Gillick was a GM throughout the steroid era and must have had knowledge of it's widespread use. I don't ever recall him calling anyone's attention to it. He's just been elected to the HoF, with near-universal media praise, and deservedly so. The hypocrisy comes when you ask the question, "How come he isn't judged through the same lens as the players?"
We should remember to ask this same question in a few years when Steinbrenner and Selig are elected.
I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the Tony LaRussa/Colby Rasmus ordeal, and how you would handle that in the best interests of the organization.
I agree with all these points.
This GM for a day article had the most lyrical quality of any submitted so far.
Thank you for taking time to respond to my comments. In reply to your response I must insist that I did not misquote Ken Burns, but instead you missed my point which is that baseball is just as polarized as the rest of society, and that as a historical filmmaker he should express that when asked about it. An example of this is baseball’s inequality in its salary structure, as the vast majority of professional ballplayers are super-exploited minor leaguers. Here is what they earn after any signing bonus:
First contract season: $1,100/month maximum. After that, open to negotiation
Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas as mandated by INS (Immigration).
Meal Money: $25 per day at all levels, while on the road
Those talented and fortunate enough to reach the major leagues have their wages suppressed in their pre-arbitration and arbitration years. Only the tiny few who ever reach free agency earn the right to negotiate a fair market salary. All the while these players make profits for the baseball owners, who in reality contribute no actual value to the game. This example (one of many in baseball) genuinely reflects the exploitive and parasitic nature of contemporary capitalism.
As to the subsidizing of stadiums, it most certainly not an issue of whether it generates extra tax money. BP contributor Neil deMause and other researchers in this area have proven over and over that the increased revenues from new stadiums are gained at the expense of already existing entertainment venues such as malls, theaters, museums, etc. The issue is whether billionaire owners should be subsidized with taxpayer money. Most people would argue that spending for public facilities, infrastructure, and schools would be a better use of tax dollars. The handout of public money to the super-rich in the form of tax breaks, favorable legislation, sweetheart deals, and direct subsidy is perhaps the defining feature of our current political economy.
When I referred to the cost of tickets to the ballgame, I was not making it a moral issue; you came up with that on your own. My point is that even the cheap seats are becoming increasing unaffordable for many fans of our national pastime, and great seats are simply out of the question. It is an economic reality that many working families are no longer able to afford luxuries that used to be commonplace, and this in turn is a reflection of increasing social inequality.
DL: How does baseball mirror society when it comes to politics?
KB: I don’t think it mirrors that so much.
As a filmmaker interested in history, Burns should know better.
Baseball mirrors society when billionaire owners lobby politicians for taxpayer money to build them new stadiums they don't need, while urban infrastructure such as public schools decay due to lack of funding.
Baseball mirrors our polarized class society when tickets to the ballgame for a family of four cost over $200 in the cheap seats, and several thousand dollars behind home plate.
Baseball mirrors society when players take steroids to improve their work performance (maximize income) at great risk to their current and future health, like many "regular" working people do by taking caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
Baseball, sports, and the entertainment industry in general provide never-ending storylines, heroes, and scandals that are meant to distract us from what is really important.
I love baseball and so does Ken Burns, but he should know better.
We can also add to his resume-- squeezing the NYC taxpayers for a new $2.2 billion stadium that they didn't need. Not that it makes him any different(except in scale)from any other owner, but it should be noted.