Employee of the Month

Yep, this is a sports blog, but sometimes there are other things worth mentioning, especially when it’s of historic size or value.

One futures trader cost French bank Societe Generale $7.14B. That’s Billion with a big old capital B! That’s pretty damn impressive, no matter how illegal. It’s on thing to commit fraud, it’s wholly another to crank it up to the tune of multiple billions before getting nabbed.

The man admitted to the fraud, the bank said, and was being dismissed.

gee, ya think?
Until last year, the trader had been betting that markets would fall, but then changed his position at the start of this year to bet they would rise.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our Employee of the Month.

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Following up: Place of birth vs. Testing Positive

Butch, from From The Cheap Seats, posed a question in the comments section in an earlier posting of mine about the concentration of players who tested positive for PED use since 2005. He was curious to see if the %’s of those testing positive matched the % of geographic origin.

I promised a follow-up when I could track down the info, and the good folks at Baseball-Reference.com were kind enough to show me how to find the data I needed.

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What's a little extortion amongst friends?

I mean, who hasn’t tried to shake down a friend, a colleague, a former co-worker?

Jose’s at it again.

Scott Boras, Ordonez’s agent, filed a complaint with the FBI after Canseco spoke with a Boras employee and said Ordonez would be “clear” if the outfielder invested in the movie project, the newspaper said.

Shyster’s on this, too. Continue reading What's a little extortion amongst friends?

Great moments in HOF voting

On the heels of Goose getting elected and the requisite hue-and-cry about Jim Rice not, I present this (belatedly, sorry), from This Day in Baseball History for January 23rd, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com (emphasis mine):

1979 – Outfielder Willie Mays, considered one of the greatest players of his generation, is elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Mays garners 409 out of 432 votes and becomes the 14th man to gain election in his first year on the ballot. Mays will officially enter the HoF on August 5, along with Veterans Committee selections Warren Giles and Hack Wilson.

That Willie Mays could only muster 95% of the votes, or 23 voters thought otherwise, is a ridiculous joke. Goes to show, even back then, in the good old days that the BBWAA were so incredibly full of themselves, so self-important, so self-appointed guardians of the game. Know who else got 95%? Carl Yazstremski. That seems about right, doesn’t it? (banging skull on corner of desk)

A further look at B-R’s HOF vote tallies illustrate some other surprising, shocking (insert your adverb here) results. Rather than list them all, I have taken some of the biggest names in MLB’s history and here are their HOF voting results. Tell me, what on Earth were these voters thinking?

Name Votes Pct. Ballots

Willie Mays 409 95%
Babe Ruth 215 95% Initial HOF Class
Honus Wagner 215 95% Initial HOF Class
Bob Feller 150 94%
Jim Palmer 411 93%
Roberto Clemente 393 93%
Stan Musial 317 93%
Ted Williams 282 93%
Brooks Robinson 344 92%
Christy Mathewson 205 91% Initial HOF Class
Joe DiMaggio 223 89%
Mickey Mantle 322 88%
Sandy Koufax 344 87%
Yogi Berra 339 86%
Nap Lajoie 168 84% 2nd HOF Class
Walter Johnson 189 84% Initial HOF Class
Warren Spahn 315 83%
Joe Morgan 363 82%
Roy Campanella 270 79%
Jimmie Foxx 179 79%
Jackie Robinson 124 78%
Cy Young 153 76% 2nd HOF Class

Seriously, Big Train got “only” 84%? Mickey Mantle and Joltin’ Joe could only muster 88% and 89%, respectively?!? Cy FREAKIN’ Young, in the 2nd HOF class ever, got only 76%? Talk about a writer bias, huh? Speaking of bias, how does Jackie Robinson only get 78%? And someday, when I am long gone from this world, maybe I’ll get a chance to meet some of these writers and ask which 5% thought Babe Ruth wasn’t HOF worthy, in the INITIAL HOF CLASS EVER!

The rant is over, please resume your normal activities. Continue reading Great moments in HOF voting

Traditionalists are rioting in the streets!

Warning: Contains high levels of sarcasm.

Hide the kids! Hide the women! Avert your eyes! Remember this? More to come!

MLB and infrastructure provider EMC have announced that they have teamed up to sponsor the Red Sox – A’s game in Tokyo March 23-25. What does this mean? It means traditionalists will freak out by seeing EMC logos and sleeve patches, along with one touting the event “Japan 2008”.

EMC, already a corporate partner and the official information infrastructure solutions provider of the defending World Series champion Red Sox, will commemorate the event with specially designed sleeve patches featuring the EMC and “Japan 2008” logos to be worn by manager Terry Francona and all Boston players. This will be the first corporate logo on a Red Sox uniform. EMC is also expected to participate via stadium signage and other events surrounding the games.

Yet, the traditionalists conveniently forget what stadiums used to look like, back in the good old days. Like this:

Whatever. It’s for a few games in Japan so let’s not freak out too much.

Continue reading Traditionalists are rioting in the streets!

Busting on Buster

Yes, I am a Buster Olney fan. He posted on his blog today, which is among my daily must reads no matter what else is going on, a snippet on every team and the questions facing them. What I have presented below are some of the more curious, obvious, silly, etc., ones that I thought he should have done more with. My comments follow each. This is not meant to be a rip on Buster, mind you, just a rebuttal.

Rather than post 2-3 points on each team, why not profile a team or two a day and get that in-depth goodness that we know Buster is good for? OK, maybe he was told to do it this way, maybe he just opted for the USA Today approach (an “economy of words”).

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Dana Jacobson update: Suspended

UPDATE #3: Visual proof (no pun intended, I promise) of Jacobson swilling right from the bottle! Also, seems that there will be a protest at ESPN HQ.

Looks like Ms. Belivdere, aka Dana Jacobson, has been sent to the pine for a week to dry out and rue her poor choices in words and actions at the Mike and Mike roast last week.

At the roast, Jacobson made a rambling speech that included vulgar references about Notre Dame. Jacobson is a Michigan graduate, and she and Golic, a former Irish defensive lineman, often have exchanged barbs about the rivalry between the schools. One eyewitness labeled it an “embarrassing display,” and a newspaper account said the crowd booed Jacobson.

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Bitter truths and tough perceptions

Was skimming ESPN’s baseball section this morning before my day gets devoured by deadlines and such. Now, it’s become fashionable to bash ESPN at every turn (see Deadspin, as well as the post above this one as hypocrisy lives here, too!) and sometimes it’s justified. I happen to be in the camp that believes their baseball coverage, while understandably tilted Eastward, is pretty darned good. [And people, if you can’t get over that “understandably” in the previous sentence, it’s time to.]

Guys like Rob Neyer and Keith Law provide solid, objective analyses, while reporters like Peter Gammons and Buster Olney cover the happenings. Crasnick and Stark cover the rest, including quirky stuff. Overall, I like their content. Doesn’t mean I agree with 100% of it, but it’s broad AND deep, which is a good thing.

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Today in baseball history

Between the stock market disintegrating today, Super Bowl stuff and very little actual baseball stuff to discuss, I came across this tidbit on Baseball-Reference’s TIBH section:

1997All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly officially announces his retirement at a media conference in Yankee Stadium.

And then this:

2003 – Former Minnesota Twins backup David Ortiz is signed by the Boston Red Sox, where he will start a successful and productive career over the years for coming.

As if the market being down 300+ points wasn’t depressing enough…
I’m flooded with work today so I will try to find some time to break away and post something else later today. Pitchers and catchers report in HOW LONG? (Feb. 14th, for those keeping track)
Thanks for dropping by.

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