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Baseball Wiseguys

Mostly Yankee talk, with a healthy sprinkling of other sports ramblings.

Updated: 2018-03-11T13:29:11.954-04:00


Wednesday June 22nd: Circle the date.


Day game after a night game against Tampa Bay in the Bronx.

Your starting lineup:

Womack 2B
Sanchez SS
A-Rod DH
Sheff RF
Sierra LF
Flaherty C
Giambi 1B
Rolls 3B
Glanville CF

Go to eBay ASAP to get your tix!

Donnie Baseball



Finally a decent article on Page 2 today...

Exhibit A in "Why I hate the Hall of Fame" (he received just 65 votes last year and is in real danger of slipping off the ballot entirely). More important than a ticket to the Hall is the quality of a man's game, from eye-black to eight straight games with a home run, from inside-out doubles to flawless picks off the infield dirt, and from sun-up to sundown. I know it makes me a bad scientist and a bit of a romantic, but Mattingly was an idea to me, he was the idea of baseball, in something like its pure Platonic form. (Bill James writes in the "Historical Baseball Abstract": "100% ballplayer, 0% bulls---")." Hit for average? Yes, sir. Hit for power? Done. Play stellar defense? Check. Do it all so well that you're universally recognized as the gold standard, not for a week, or a month, or a season, but for three straight years? Got that right. Forget the Hall, forget the Hall's fascination with longevity, put Mattingly in the Pantheon.

Wednesday Round-up


Never Trust a Politician Looks like the Nats move to DC is in serious jeopardy at the moment. The DC council met Tuesday to approve legislation that would allow a ballpark to be built for the Exposenators. And it was approved, but not before Linda Cropp added in a stipulation that half of the money for the new park would have to come from private financing. That would be all well and good, if MLB had known about this in September, when Mayor Williams brought baseball to the city under entirely different pretenses. Bud and Co. are going to be pissed off, and rightly so, enough that they could go find another city for the Nats to play in after the 2005 season. The scheduled jersey unveiling that was to take place today at ESPN Zone has been postponed, most likely so MLB can regroup and decide just how to respond to this traveshamockery. DC now has until June to find private financers to cover half the stadium cost. This is a serious setback, and even if Mayor Williams is able to find some backers, MLB may take revenge on the city and decide to move on once again. Here's a sneak preview of your jerseys folks. Buy them now; they're sure to be a collector's item when the Nats become the [Insert City Here] Gypsies in 2006. Yanks-Sox Rivalry News A lot to catch up on in the AL East Arms Race these past few days... Red Sox + Wells - Pedro + mystery SP = ??? Yanks + Wright + Pavano - Lieber = ??? Pedro to the Mutts is a huge blow to the Sox for '05 and possibly '06, but their fiscally responsible ways helped the team to avoid a long term nightmare, should Petey's shoulder start to break down. They are now scrambling to find another frontline starter, with possibilities ranging from AJ Burnett to Tim Hudson. Clement is looking at the D-Backs, so Boston may have to really open up the wallet to grab him quickly. Where the hell is Arizona getting all this money to sign free agents? Are they banking on trading RJ to NY, or do they simply think that since they're already bankrupt they may as well go down in flames? Hopefully it's the former, and the Yanks can pick him up cheaply if they panic closer to spring training. Choo-Choo! JMU's Dukes head to Chattanooga to take on Montana in the 1-AA championship game this Friday night, televised live on NESN3. It should be a tough game, as Montana will be heavily favored. But hopefully the fact that the 21,000 seat stadium is located much closer to JMU's fanbase than Montana's will give them a bit of a homefield edge. Both teams sports identical 12-2 records, and each got revenge last week for one of their regular season losses, JMU beating William & Mary handily 48-34, while the Grizzlies took down Sam Houston State 34-13. The Dukes are one of only a few teams in 1-AA history to reach the title game by winning three straight on the road. I don't have time to spew tons of stats, so if anyone is interested, a 61 page PDF of Game Notes is available here. Once again, all I have to say is GO DUKES! [...]

Dukes 48, Tribe 34


Can I get a hell yeah!





Hot Dog Fingers



A random steroid question that's been bothering me:

So BALCO comes up with 2 ways to take THG, orally via the clear, and topically via the cream.

This is a steroid, right? It builds your muscles up faster than people should be allowed to, right?

So do they rub the cream on their muscles with their bare hands? If so, shouldn't we be looking for sluggers whose fingers have 'biceps' between each knuckle? I'm talking big, gigundo, ripped digits?

Or is there maybe some skinny BALCO peon that did it for them, and all the thanks he gets is some autographs and an inability to dial a cell phone due to his huge hot dog fingers?

1-AA Does it the Right Way

JMU vs W&M tonight...wet weather in Williamsburg, as expected. Pound it on the ground, Madison.


Release the Hounds!


Around the Majors Baseball's arbitration deadline passed yesterday, which typically marks the start of impact free agents signing with new teams. As you might expect, a lot of deals were signed yesterday, all around the league. The Cubbies re-upped their double-play combo for one more year, signing Todd Walker at $2.5M and Ramon-spelled-backwards at $8M. I think the Nomar deal is win-win for both sides involved (forgetting for a moment the fact that Nomar turned down 4yr/$60M last winter) and am interested to see how 2005 turns out for him. Despite being a Yankee fan, I've always respected Nomar, and it was disappointing to see how he and the Sox both seemingly quit on each other last year. It was an ugly scene, so maybe a healthy '05 and a playoff berth can put a little shine back into his star. He's still only 31, and a possible 2005 projection for him, if healthy, could look like this (I am doubling his '04 stats since he played about half as many games as he normally does.) AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS Nomar02 635 197 101 24 120 63 41 .352 .528 .880 Nomar03 658 198 120 28 105 61 39 .345 .524 .869 Nomar04 642 198 104 18 82 60 48 .365 .477 .842 Proj05 646 198 109 22 96 61 44 .356 .501 .857 Brad Radke stayed on with the Twins for two years and $18M, and Matt Morris sticks with the Cards at one year and $2.5M plus possible incentives. And the market for FA pitchers grows thinner... Yankee News A lot of news late yesterday, as the Yankees inked Jaret Wright to a 3yr/$21M deal and Tony Womack for 2yr/$4M. I gotta say, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. I think I am going to rename the new 2B to Tony Woeful, because he seems to be just that. Yes, he is capable of stealing a base now and then, but he is basically the anti-Moneyball leadoff hitter, with a career OBP of .319. Yuck. He's basically an older, slightly faster version of Miguel Cairo, whom it seems the Yankees have cut ties with by not offering arbitration yesterday. Two years, for a 35 year old second baseman? Doesn't make any sense to me unless the Yanks are planning on signing someone like Polanco and use Womack as the back-up. The Wright signing is interesting. It most likely paves Lieber's way out of town; he is rumored to be headed to Philly for a 3 year deal. As much as I liked Lieber, he is a good deal older than Wright, so if the Yankees are going to throw a KrisBensonDeal at anyone, I'd rather it be someone younger. There are a couple of huge concerns with Jaret however. Can he stay healthy after years of injury struggles? And can he be the same pitcher away from NL hitting, and away from the stellar Atlanta pitching gurus? He pitched 186 innings last year, his highest total by far since the late 90' will be interesting to see if 2004 was the year he put it all together, or if the Yanks just pissed twenty mil down the toilet... Nats With one of my sleeper FA picks heading to NY in Jaret Wright, the Nationals will now turn to other starters on the market, possibly Odalis Perez. He's entering his prime years, and has throw three straight seasons of 180-220 innings, without any real sign of injury risk. Not much other on-field news involving the team, though I am still anxiously awaiting the availability of fitted Nats hats in local stores. NCAA 1-AA With all the bitching and moaning about the BCS of late, it looks even more absurd when you consider the fact that all of the lesser divisions of college football play a well constructed playoff system. I know the money is of another scale entirely, but there's still gotta be a way to make it work. The big game this weekend will be played on Friday night, as the JMU Dukes travel to Williamsburg to take on the Tribe in the 1-AA semifinal. W&M edged JMU on a late FG to beat them last month,[...]

Simple Numbers


Old Math

Hank Aaron > Barry Bonds

New Math

Barry Bonds + BALCO > Hank Aaron



Yanks So last night a 'story' that we've expected for months finally broke. Giambi admitted in front of a grand jury that he did in fact use steroids at various times in the past. This firmly entrenches Jason as the poster boy for 'roid use in the go from a .330 hitter to .208 in such a short time is stunning, especially for someone with as good of a batting eye as he has. We'll have to see what the Yankees' stance on this is, but I don't think trying to void his contract would be a good move, because what if more players are exposed down the line? Guys like Sheffield or Cairo or whatever- the Yankee brass does not want to put itself in the position that says, "We do not condone steroid use, but if you are productive you will still have a place on the team." Not a good message to send to future free agents. The best thing for the Yanks to do is just limit his playing time and hope he either starts to produce again if the talent is there, or retires and fades into Bolivian. And just to be sadistic, here's an '05 projection for Giambi based on my (not yet patented) 3 parts 2004, 2 parts 2003, 1 part 2002 formula. Not bad for $15 million, huh? GM AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS Giambi02 155 560 176 120 41 122 112 109 .435 .598 1.033 Giambi03 156 535 134 97 41 107 140 129 .412 .527 .939 Giambi04 80 264 55 33 12 40 62 47 .342 .379 .721 Proj05 118 404 102 69 27 76 96 85 .381 .465 .846 In other Yankee news, it seems Jeter wouldn't exactly welcome Pedro into the clubhouse with open arms. For someone who spends so much time cultivating his image to be almost as bland and non-confrontational as possible, this is quite a statement. (I also happen to agree with him.) Big Unit talks may be tabled for now, according to news reports. Arizona's demands seemed to be climbing higher every day, so they Yankees must either be really frustrated enough to call it off, or are confident that no one else will swoop in and grab RJ before the D-Backs start to sweat too much about paying him big bucks next year. Kenny Lofton to Philly for Felix Rodriguez? Do it. Nationals Not much news here lately. I'm not big on getting into the politics of the whole stadium deal; I prefer to deal more with the on-field product. With Paul Wilson having signed back with Cincy, Bowden will now turn his eye towards other mid-level free agent starters. I really hope that either Odalis Perez or Jaret Wright are in a Nats uniform this year. Both are fairly young and could pay big dividends without a major investment. Perez's stock dropped like a rock after his playoff performance, so now might be the time to jump at him. [...]

Around the Bigs


Nats... Tom Boswell has a column in the WashPost today that actually makes a few good points. After praising Bowden's moves so far this offseason (moves which seem to have been panned everywhere else) he goes on to talk about how the tide in the DC area may be turning ever so slightly away from all-Redskins, all-the-time. Damn, I hope so. Being a Yankee fan in this town is relatively painless, because the local media has not fawned all over the Orioles in my years here as they do the Redskins. But pulling for the Giants every year while hearing the Skins are Super Bowl bound from April onwards is a bit of a chore. Every year the Redskins manage to find a savior who will take them to the mountaintop, and every fan in the area runs out and buys another jersey and drinks this year's Kool-Aid. Now they can start acting like every other city's fans and pay attention to each sport in its season, and hopefully we won't have to talk NFL depth charts on a Saturday afternoon in May. The Nationals signed a backup catcher over the weekend- Gary Bennett. I don't know what else to say about him other than I hope Schneider is very durable. Bennett's 2004 EQA was .221, which puts him in vaunted company with Sandy Alomar and Brook Fordyce. (brain fart earlier today- not sure why Schneider slipped my mind- apologies.) In an effort to reach out to the community, the 'Spos will aim to rebuild some local youth baseball fields in the future, and align themselves with area Little Leagues. This is something the Nats will really need to exploit. For all the hype and excitement that I and my other young adult friends have, the only way baseball can survive long term in this area is by heavily marketing towards the future fans. The region around DC seems to be heavy into soccer, lacrosse, etc. in terms of youth enthusiasm, so pushing baseball as a primary sport will be a must. Yanks... Not quite Yankee related, but the Mets have made a high dollar offer to Pedro, apparently 3 years, $37.5 million, with a 4th year option. Not sure quite what to think of this but I have a sneaky feeling that unless big Stein gets involved, maybe the Yanks and Sox will both take a step back, content in the knowledge that the clown won't be pitching against them over the course of 19+ games next year, and happy to not have been the team to shell out for that many years. In other news, Donnie Baseball is still on the Hall of Fame ballot, though it's expected he will continue to fall well short of induction. The Yanks are close to re-signing John Flaherty, which could be a strong indicator that catching prospect Dioner Navarro will be traded this winter. Smart Kids? Yale pulled a major league prank on Harvard at their annual football game last weekend. Yalies acting as the Harvard Pep Squad handed out 1800 sheets of paper to the Harvard crowd, which they were told would spell out 'Go Harvard.' Turns out they actually spelled out, 'We Suck.' Your future world leaders ladies and gentlemen... Misc... Netflix is money. Been watching the early years of Seinfeld and season one of the OC nonstop lately. Backyard football is one of the best things about Thanksgiving; my dad, my bro and I lost a tightly contested shootout against our old friends last Friday by a final score of 70-56. (top that, Cincy-Cleveland). Little bro has grown into a Moss-type deep threat while I like to think of myself as a fearless, over-the-middle receiver in the mold of Hines Ward. Book recommendation: The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz is a real interesting look at the kinds of stats that have shaped baseball, and the people who developed and obsess over them. Another good winter read is this book about the Cape Cod baseball league, which if you haven't yet read, you should. After heading out to Lehigh last Saturday to see my alma mater, all I have to say is go Dukes. [...]

Cheeseburga! No Fries. Chips.


Figured out where the Nationals stole their logo from, and it made me hungry.



I smell a concessions license...

Get Your Nats Gear!


MLB now has their Washington Nationals shop up and runnning. Check it out. The logo seems a little too corporate and anti-septic, and I think using the old Senators hat is kind of a cop-out, but I won't complain too much.

The new name and presumably the myriad uniform combos will be unveiled this afternoon. Maybe it's the consumer in me, but seeing this stuff really makes it feel more like we're gonna have a local team than reading about the player moves last week.

Monday Chatter


A bit of a break from baseball this morning...

Eli Manning started his Giants career for real yesterday in a 14-10 loss to Atlanta. Manning was pretty bad in the 1st half, but much much better in the second. If not for a ton of dropped passes (anyone know if that's an actual stat and where I can find it) by Shockey and Co., and a bullshit roughing the Vick-er penalty that clearly showcased the NFL's version of the Jordan Rules, the Giants would have had a good shot to win the game.

I have nothing productive to say about The Brawl that hasn't already been written, but can I just say that while outrageous and bad for the league, it sure as hell made for good television. I watched yesterday's 4pm NFL games in a bar, and FOX repeatedly showed clips of the fight, to the delight of the cheering mob.

Washington Crapitals


Nationals It Is The Expos will officially be unveiled as the Nationals this Monday at Union Station. I guess that means I have to get all of my unfunny combo-names out of my system this weekend. Let's hope the Monday press conference shows us some new logos and uniforms for the Senaxpograytionals. Crapitals? Because if Bowden keeps making deals like Guillen for Rivera, that's a pretty fitting nickname. I'd thought any trade for Guillen would be for prospects and Rivera and Guillen would slot into some combo at RF/CF (see below), but I was apparently off the mark. Maicer Izturis was also sent to the West Coast in this deal. I only started following the Exposinators recently, so I ain't got nothin' to say about this guy. I don't like this swap one bit, and not just because of my fondness for Rivera from when he was on the Yankees. Rivera will make roughly 1/4 what Guillen will earn this year. He's over two years younger. And both players posted similar OPS last year. Rivera's one of those guys whose growth was stunted by being the last man on the Yankee roster for a while, but I always felt when he got a chance to play full time, he'd be a contributor. Maybe not THE power guy in a lineup, but in terms of cost vs. results, I think he's a better fit than Guillen. Let's not forget the reason Guillen was even available. Rumors have it that there was physical contact in the altercation between Jose and Scioscia, and I'm inclined to believe them, given the severity of the punishment even as the Angels were playoff bound. Here's Rivera's weighted 2005 projection, but showing only the percentages, leaving out counting stats since he has not put up any real full seasons yet. OBP SLG OPS Rivera02 .311 .361 .672 Rivera03 .304 .468 .772 Rivera04 .364 .465 .829 05 PROJ. .335 .449 .784 Again, not great, but the numbers are definitely trending upwards as he got more and more playing time. You could expect him to start to match Guillen's numbers as he reaches his peak age in a year or three. This trade will be a mistake. Given Trader Jim's week, it's a shame that GMs aren't subject to the three strikes and you're out rule... [...]

Hola Loco!


The ExpoNats have announced a press conference for 4pm today. The Angels have announced a press conference for 4pm today. Looks like Jose Guillen will be patrolling the RFK outfield in 2005. If this goes through they will have Wilkerson in left, and Guillen/Rivera in CF/RF, actual spots to be determined... Guillen will be 29 next year, and using my trusty weighted (1x2002+ 2x2003+ 3x2004)/6 formula (and doubling his 2002 numbers since he only played about half the year), perhaps we could expect to see something along these lines in 'o5: AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS Guillen02 480 114 50 16 62 86 28 .287 .367 .654 Guillen03 485 151 77 31 86 95 24 .359 .569 .928 Guillen04 565 166 88 27 104 92 37 .352 .497 .849 05 PROJ. 524 152 78 27 91 92 31 .344 .499 .843 Decent power and production numbers, but the walks totals and OBP are pretty poor, leading to an OPS that ranked 53rd in the bigs last year. Good but not great. Before I get too deep into these numbers and his impact on the locker room, let's see what the 4pm announcement says... [...]

Meet Your Montreal-DC Nationals Cock'n'Balls


Funniest uniform idea yet, developed by the Ball-Wonk, and actually displayed on the Page 2 section of the NESN2 website...if this design could somehow get OK'd, it'd be a new version of the old South Carolina 'Cocks' hats, and the term dickhead would take on a whole new meaning.

Yeah, I'm immature. Sue me.

Hot Ticket
In other news, the 'Spos have taken non-refundable $300 deposits from over 10,000 prospective season ticket buyers in the first couple days. Rumors out of the league office say however, that had tickets gone on sale before the dubious signings of Guzman and Castilla, the number would have been at least triple that.

Hoop It Up
Two bigtime NCAA ballers were on display last night at the World's Most Famous Arena. Hakim Warrick led Syracuse past Miss. St. with 21 points, most of them in the 2nd half. This guy is an absolute freak, and will put up a 20-10 spot almost every night. Beyond the numbers, he seems to be everwhere on the floor at once, and could probably jump out of the gym if it had no roof. A sleeper jumped onto the national stage in a big way last night, as Rodney Carney of Memphis shot the lights out in a dominat performance against St. Mary's. Apparently Carney was one of the final cuts of the US Young Men's National team this summer, despite having outplayed most of the guys in camp. He'll be one to watch in the deep and athletic C-USA this season.

All the News That Fits


The Nationexpos 2005 infield is now set, after yesterday's signing of 3B Vinny Castilla and SS Cristian Guzman. Paired with Nick Johnson and Jose Vidro, the 'Spos will now turn their attention to getting an outfielder who can hit, and possibly some bullpen help. Castilla will be 37 next year and signed for two years, $6.2 million, while Guzman will be a full decade younger and is on board for four years, $16.8 million. Neither was probably going to be offered arbitration by their former clubs, so I believe the Expos will be giving up some draft picks...not the best thing to do with their farm system as barren as it is now. I'd have thought they'd try and draft and develop in an intelligent manner, so as to have some contributors arrive on the scene as the new park opens in a couple years. Next year's PECOTA projections are not yet out, but I've done a (much) rougher approximation of it for these two players in this manner: average out the player's previous three years using a weighting of one part 2002, two parts 2003, and three parts 2004. For Castilla I only used his road stats and doubled them, to account for overinflated offensive stats coming from Coors Field. Here we go... AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS Cas 02 574 138 58 14 72 74 28 .275 .352 .627 Cas 03 592 162 78 32 92 100 32 .312 .497 .809 Cas 04 568 124 76 42 102 120 42 .281 .493 .774 05 PROJ. 577 139 74 34 94 106 36 .290 .471 .761 Simply put, Castilla is an older, less defensively adept version of recently let go Tony Batista. He hits for power and drives in runs, but hardly ever walks. Not sure how thrilled I am about this one; the OBP and OPS numbers just don't seem acceptable for someone in a position that requires production, especially in the Expos lineup. AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS Guz 02 623 170 80 9 59 79 17 .292 .385 .677 Guz 03 534 143 78 3 53 79 30 .311 .365 .676 Guz 04 576 158 84 8 46 64 30 .309 .384 .693 05 PROJ. 570 155 81 7 51 72 28 .307 .378 .685 Guzman does not get on base often enough, doesn't steal once he's on base, and can't slug his way out of a paper bag. To be fair, he is a switch hitter, and posted the highest fielding percentage among AL shortstops this year. Ladies and gentlemen, the Senaxpos have just signed a perfect shortstop if they plan on playing in the 1970's. I don't understand this move- there are a ton of SS on the market this off-season, so why jump the gun and go grab this guy. Yes he's young and in his prime, but if his prime ain't gonna be that great, why not take a chance on a Nomar for a year, or make a real run at Renteria or Cabrera? [...]

Yay, Monopoly!


In major news today, the Exposenators have announced that they have chosen Ticketmaster to be their official ticket retailer, and that season ticket deposits will go on sale next Thursday, November 18th.
The anticipated sales schedule will be patterned after those of other Major League franchises, starting with season ticket sales, followed by mini-plans and single game seats. Seating configuration and pricing structure are still in development, with average ticket prices expected to range from $24 to $26 and reserved seats starting as low as $7.

$7 bleacher seats ain't too bad, until you factor in Ticketmaster's obscene 'handling and bullshit' charges, which can sometimes effectively double the price of cheap seats. Let's use another local example. Say for instance I wanted to go see the Wizards play the Bulls on Saturday 12/4 (remember folks, this is an extremely hypothetical situation. the outrageous prices are the only real item here. if I wanted to see shitty hoops, I'd go down to the illegal immigrant playgroun in my neighborhood.) The end cost of buying two $10 nosebleed seats works out to $33.95 after the following add-ons: $3.85 per ticket 'convenience charge', $2.75 per ticket 'order processing charge', and $3.50 delivery charge, a total of a 70% marukp.

Rant ended.

Team president Tony Taveres has this to say about the tickets:

Tavares said the team will not sell out the entire stadium with season tickets.

"You've got to be available to everybody," Tavares said. "One of the things in sports that has evolved and become more prominent is the exclusion factor. We want to be accessible. We want to be affordable, and we think, with tickets as low as $7, we will be. We're in the business of building a fan base here, not extorting money from people."

No shit! You mean a crappy retrofitted MLB stadium and it's marginal team won't be selling over 43,000 season ticket plans? How generous of them!

Let the Games Begin


Superagent Scott Boras has already started the spin doctoring in the media with regards to Carlos Beltran. It's no secret that he wants the biggest deal possible for young Carlos, and that the team with the most resources to give such deal is the New York Yankees. One small problem. Seems that the incumbent Yankee CF is also a Boras client, and still playing under a huge contract that Boras himself negotiated in 1999. Boras claims in the NY Times today that Bernie has acknowledged that he will be a graceful vet and pass the baton to Beltran, while Williams maintains that no such conversation has been had...

Scott Boras, Beltran's agent, is also the agent for Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams. When Boras was asked about the delicate position of having one client take another client's position, he intimated that any potential problem had been remedied.

"That's something that's between Carlos and Bernie, and that's something that they've talked about and dealt with," Boras said Tuesday while attending the general managers meetings here. "And I'm going to leave their conversation among them private and confidential."

Beltran told Houston reporters during the season that Williams had told him he would step aside.

But when Williams was asked last month if he had told Beltran that he would surrender center field, he shook his head and said, "I don't even know about that."

Boras continued trying to minimize the potential for a controversy by reiterating that Williams and Beltran had discussed the situation.

"They talked during the season about this," Boras said. "More than likely, knowing Bernie Williams, and I don't know this for a fact, I would estimate that Bernie Williams initiated that conversation because he's always been kind of a mentor to Carlos."

Now I know and everyone else knows that Beltran is way better than Bernie at this point in time, and that Bernie is probably enough of a 'real Yankee' to step back and accept a DH position for the final year of his contract. I just wonder a little bit about how players' perception of Boras may change if they start to realize that once he negotiates your one big contract, all bets are off down the road; if one of his younger studs is gunning for your job, the concept of morality and any conflict of interest is quickly jettisoned from the agent's mind. Boras is probably rich enough to retire at some point soon anyway, so maybe he just says damn the consequences and will ride off laughing into the sunset.

Ms. Kropp, Expos(e) Yourself


Linda Kropp knew she didn't have the votes yesterday to move the proposed stadium to near RFK, so she did what any good politician would do: Drop a tantalizing (but likely false) hint about private investors who're just dying to drop $350 mil on a new stadium, and put any decisions off for another day. The Sports Reporters on 980AM last night were discussing just who might have these types of funds in the DC area that would be likely to invest in a stadium. I have my suspects too:
  • Dan Snyder: The Danny has plenty of dough and an ego to match. Perhaps he's jealous of Abe Pollin's ownership ties in the DC area, and he too wants to own two crappy franchises rather than just the Redskins.
  • Michael Jordan: MJ is a very rich man. MJ doesn't like to be out of the spotlight. MJ may want to come back to DC to continue wrecking Kwame Brown's life. MJ is due for another comeback and realizes that .202 hitting outfielders don't get benched if they own the stadium.
  • George W. Bush: Now that that pesky election thing is out of the way, Bush can go back to concentrating on things that matter, like the war on terrorism and the fact that even in Marine One, it's a bitch to get to Camden Yards during rush hour. So why not (make Halliburton) build a stadium for the people? (And if he trades Termel Sledge, hope his future career resembles the 2004 Sammy Sosa rather than the 1998 version.)

Around the Majors


Cubbies: Latest word out of Chi-town is that Sosa will not be traded and any differences between Sammy and the club are not irreconcilable. What a difference a week makes...

Washington Senaxpos: There's a vote this morning within the city council on whether the proposed ballpark should remain at the Anacostia Waterfront Site (this is the proposal that was in place when MLB awarded DC the team) or near RFK. Mayor Williams is confident he has the votes for the Waterfront. The Nats also cut former closer Rocky Biddle loose yesterday after posting horrific numbers in relief this year. In sunnier news, ticket sales and plans should be announced today and go on sale very shortly, so anyone looking to buy me Xmas presents, please take note.
Evil Empire: New rumors out of the Bronx say that Posada is available for the right price. I understand the knowledge that catchers have steeper and quicker declines at younger ages than other position players, but as we get further and further away from tha lasy Yankee championship, I'm not sure trading a fiery catcher in order to add the mask-wearing pansy catcher of your rival just to stick it to them is the brightest idea. And finally my updated wishlist of FA pitchers to look into: (re-sign Lieber), Pavano, Radke, and sleeper pick Jaret Wright.

Nationals Pastime


No Mo' Expos Heard on the radio this morning (980 AM) that the Expos will be renamed the Nationals when they begin play in DC. Didn't see a link on either the Post or NESN2 websites, so just take my word for it. Not sure how I feel about this choice of names, but I understand the hesitation to ring up the Senators again for a third go-round. I liked the idea of the Grays. Aside from those three possibilities, there's really nothing good out there, those 'hilarious' columnist suggestions of Pork Barrels, Wonks, or Crooked Politicos notwithstanding. And we all remember the fiasco that ensued last time the good people of the DC area were allowed to name a team... Team colors will continue to be red, white, and blue, though one would imagine the blue will be changed to more of a navy than the current royal. The script 'W' hat probably won't make a return, nixed in favor of something more contemporary. I'd have really liked the name Grays, along with a simple Gray, White, and Navy Blue scheme. At any rate, let's hope they can come up with something that manages to be both traditional, and original. The Boogiedown Rumor Mill Latest Yankee news is that Mel Stottlemyre, after hinting at retirement, is now planning to come back, and wants a raise. A raise for what?!?! Making Vazquez horrible? If he must come back, George should give him a higher salary than this year, but include a series of reverse bonuses that dock his pay for every negative influence he has: $750,000 base salary ($10,000) for every 0.01 above 4.25 for the team ERA. ($25,000) for every time a Yankee pitcher is sent to Tampa to work out his problems. ($5,000) for every home run Vazquez gives up on an 0-2 count. etc etc etc I had really hoped that the Yanks would have had a 2 year deal done for Lieber by now, at slightly less per year than the $8 million option for 2005 they are about to decline. Nothing's official yet, but with such a weak FA crop of starters, the Yanks can ill afford to let him even think about leaving. The guy eats innings and pitches on an even keel, quickly, and hardly ever gets blasted like the Browns and Loaizas of the world. Jersey Shore native Al Leiter may be about to hit the FA market as well. He could be a great fit with the Yanks, providing the lefty arm they so badly want. I could see it happening too, since Leiter's a local guy with family roots here. Also, any connection he can make/keep in the New York area will only help his budding announcer hopes once he retires. And with Big Stein having so much airtime to fill, likable Yankees aren't retiring in big enough numbers to keep him satisfied. Overpaid for a Decade Scott Boras claims Carlos Beltran is seeking a 10 year contract, worth about $18 million a year. I'm sorry, but the only way this is happening is if Boras invests some of his commission from the A-Rod deal to buy a time machine and turn the clock back to 2000. I am praying the Yankees don't attempt to sign him to anything longer than a 5 year deal, at no more than $14M/yr max; Beltran's an above average player, but he's no superhero. [...]

Hot Stove Part Uno


I think the Yankees need to try and swing a Kevin Brown for Andruw Jones trade.
Jones is not as good as Beltran but he'll come cheaper and has 3 years left on his deal, as opposed to at least 5 at mega bucks for Beltran; no more long contracts. Mel's not coming back next year, so the Yanks don't have to worry too much about their pitchers getting worse thru coaching over the course of a season.

I can't believe Jason Kendall is only 30, but I still hope the Yanks stay far away from him.

This Sosa thing is getting ugly; I wonder where he'll end up and what kind of production he'll have next year.

In 1989 I won a contest on WABC radio in NY where we got 2 tix to a Sunday Yankee-Ranger game, and for one inning we got to 'broadcast' the game from a fake booth, complete with stats and anecdotes, and they tape you. My dad said he watched the tape last week and it was a riot. The Yanks were absolutely miserable, and Sosa was playing in his 3rd MLB game. My dad did color, while I provided a horrible play by play, consisting mainly of, "And the pitch" over and over again.

All Time Awful Yankees Team


Yanks are tied 1-1 in the ALDS heading out to Minny, but there is some talk on the Yankee message boards about Sammy Sosa being traded to NY next year. There is not much merit to this talk, but it was brought up in print by a hack at the Chicago Sun Times today. I don't really want to talk about the playoffs, because everyone else has done that ad nauseum, so, since it's a slow work day, I'm going to make a list of my all-time sucky Yankees team. I'll limit the timeframe to 1989 onwards, as I was twelve that year, and realizing that not all (or not even many) of the guys in pinstripes were decent players. I'll also limit it to the single worst season a guy had, and they had to be a regular. Catcher: Bob Geren 1990. Bobby G. hit a whopping .213, 8, 31 in 110 games this year. His OBP of .259 was also a major highlight. He also handled a phenomenal Yankee staff which had no starter with an ERA below 4.00. 1st Base: Tough call here, but I'm going to have to hand it to my favorite player ever, Don Mattingly. His 1990 season was limited to 101 games, and he posted a line of .256, 5, 42, .308. This was obviously a down year for the Hit Man, but it also goes to show just how strong 1B has been for the Yankees in the Donnie-Tino-Giambi era (until this year's mish mash.) 2nd Base: Pat Kelly 1992. Pat batted .226 and scored 38 runs that year, while stealing 8 bases and being gunned down 5 times. And you wonder why these Yankee teams finished 10 games below .500. On an up note, does anyone remember Marian Duncan hitting .340 in 1996? Insane. Shortstop: Boy 1990 was a bad year, huh? Alvaro Espinoza's .224, 2, 20, .258 and 31 runs scored takes the cake, but anything pre-Jeter was pretty mediocre. 3rd Base: Many people forget that prior to sucking at 2B for the Yanks in 1992, Pat Kelly was equally bad at third in 1991. His .242/.287/.339 line (yes, that's AVG/OBP/SLG folks) made Yankee fans dream of the glory days of Pags's 20 HR/80 RBI seasons. Left Field: In our first entry from the chamiopnship era, Gerald Williams posted a horrible 1996. 5 dingers, 30 ribbies, and more caught stealings than steals does nothing to help your club, even if they did win their 23rd title. Center Field: Not many bad seasons in here, but before Bernie, Roberto Kelly played an average to good CF. We'll single out his 1992 line of .272 and 10 homers, which led the trade (even up, I believe!) for Paul O'Neill. Right Field: Where to begin? Too much money being thrown at too little production for years on end. Jesse Barfield's .240/18/56/122 K's in 1989 wins the prize. Starter #1: In 1990 (sense a trend) Tim Leary led the staff with a 4.11 ERA, and lost 19 games. Starter #2: Hmm, Melido Perez somehow got 25 starts in 1993, with an ERA of 5.19 and a record of 6-14. Go home, loco. Starter #3: Kenny Rogers stunk up the joint in 1997, posting an ERA of 5.65 and WHIP approaching 1.50. Starter #4: We all knew David Cone was done by 2000, with his ERA of almost 7! Being 10 games under .500 and having a WHIP of 1.76 can sure be quickly forgotten when your team wins a Subway Series. Starter #5: Jeff Weaver 2003. The Yanks rally to tie Game 4 of the WS, and hold serve just long enough to give up a gopher ball to Sea Bass in the 12th. Enough said. Rolaids Relief Man: I don't feel like looking thru all the stats on this one, so I'm going to hand it to a duo of current Yankees: Felix Heredia, for being an albatross to Torre's bullpen, and Steve Karsay, fo[...]

Barry Walk-er


As the Giants begin a 3 game series in Milwaukee with Mr. Bonds sitting on 699 homers...would anyone put it past Bud Selig to order his pitchers to pitch around Barry for at least the first two games, leading to increased box office receipts as the anticipation heightens?

Think about it- you have a sellout tonight with the possibility of #700, but if he actually does launch one in the first game, it kinda takes the bloom off the rose (not to mention money out of the bank) for the remaining two games.

Special Guest Blogger


We have a very special guest blogger today, turning the blog into Football Wiseguys for a change: Peter King, of has joined us, so without further adieu... Flight Check: Week One of the NFL Season What a week it was around the NFL. We saw the impact of new (old) coaches in Joe Gibbs' return victory in the Nation's Capital, coupled with the high impact debut of Clinton Portis in a Skins uni. The guy traded for young Portis also made a great first impression, as Champ Bailey came up with a nifty INT versus the Chiefs. And with 3 TD catches, T.O. turned heads in Philly, but not as many heads as the daughter of this writer, Mary Beth King, is turning in college up at Colgate this fall. This proud dad installed a tiny webcam in her dorm on move-in day, and I gotta say, she has really been popular so far, judging by the number of young fraternity men who have been paying her visits. 10 Things I Think I Think I think that if Chad Pennington wore a fur coat to the stadium one week, people might start comparing him to Joe Namath, since he's a young, successful Jets QB. I think that Kevin Yukklis of the Sox is gonna be a heckuva player, and I can see why Billy Bean wrote about him in his book Moneyball. I think if Jerry Rice's hairline recedes any further, he'll only have one cornrow left, and it'll look like a Croakies sunglasses strap. I think that too many Starbucks Double Overhead Cam Mochachino Lattes are the main contributing factor to me passing the 300 pound mark during training camp. I think Tom Brady is an absolute stud, and if I wasn't postponing coming out of the closet until the girls graduate college and I line them up with cushy jobs at Time Inc., I'd jump his bones in a heartbeat. I think I'm still sore from just watching that hit the Eagles put on Eli Manning this weekend.I think Brett Favre should be president of the United States, from the day he retires until the day he dies- he's just that good of a quarterback. I think that if LaDainian Tomlinson played for a team like the Bears, Giants, or Patriots, and had a normal name, like Peter Tomlinson, he wouldn't be as underrated as he is now. I think that if Notre Dame wants to have a good season, then they have to keep beating good teams like Michigan, AND not suffer more letdowns like they did at the hands of BYU. Heckuva coach, that Ty Willingham. I think that it's 1999 again, with Curtin Martin running for 196 yards, and Tiki Barber dropping 125 on the Iggles. Annoying/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week Settling in for the redeye from LA to Newark to cover Week 1 of the NFL Season, this guy on my plane is on the phone right up until the plane doors are shut, talking about his mother who is sick in the hospital. This guy is trying to coordinate visiting hours in NJ, from over 3,000 miles away! If that's not rude then I don't know what is. When the doors are about to shut, everyone should be off their phones, unless it's me and I'm talking to Bill Belichick or Brett Favre or maybe Priest Holmes (all of whom I have on my personal speed dial, in case you didn't know.) [...]