And the hammer will drop…

Looks like Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., is ready to drop the hammer on ALL FOUR of the major sports leagues in the US (and yes, hockey is still considered #4 so don’t look so shocked!).

Rush’s planned bill likely will demand at least five surprise drugs tests on each professional athlete each year, along with penalties far stiffer than any now in place under the union contracts that currently govern testing and punishment in the four major professional sports: baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

The anticipated proposal from Rush and others on the committee would call for suspensions of half of a season for a first offense, an entire season for a second offense, and a lifetime ban for a third offense.

Seems that the commish for each of the Big 4, plus each respective Union leader, along with several others, including Myles Brand, the president of the NCAA; Jim Scherr, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee; and Travis T. Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will be there.

The punchy quote coming out of it all is this doozy:

cheating should not be collectively bargained” — Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

The meeting is today.
More to come as I learn more.

Continue reading And the hammer will drop…

Under/Over Win Totals according to Vegas

I guess the sportsbook at the Hilton in Las Vegas knows I’m heading to Vegas in a smidge over a week and were kind enough to post their 2008 win totals for under/over betting. I’ll take a deeper look at these shortly (I have a ton of work to get going on, sorry!), but here are the totals, with a few quick comments (in red):

2008 MLB REGULAR SEASON WINS
DIAMONDBACKS 87.5 (I’d take the over)
BRAVES 84.5
ORIOLES 64.5
RED SOX 94
CUBS 87
WHITE SOX 80.5
REDS 78
INDIANS 90
ROCKIES 83 (I’d take the over, seems low)
TIGERS 93.5 (I’d take the under by a little, pitching concerns me)
MARLINS 69 (I’d take the under)
ASTROS 75.5
ROYALS 73.5
ANGELS 92
DODGERS 86.5
BREWERS 84.5 (I’d take the over)
TWINS 75.5
METS 93.5 (I’d take the under, by one or two)
YANKEES 93.5
ATHLETICS 73 (I’d take the under)
PHILLIES 87.5
PIRATES 70.5
PADRES 84.5
GIANTS 73
MARINERS 85.5 (I’d take the over)
CARDINALS 76.5
RAYS 75
RANGERS 77
BLUE JAYS 85.5
NATIONALS 72.5 Continue reading Under/Over Win Totals according to Vegas

Great moments in subtle sexism

Buried within that Billy Wagner article is a quick little dig at female umpires. Evidently they missed a call. I’m not sure if it was a bad miss or not, but all four initially missed a HR call. It happens. It’s also Spring Training, so let’s all remember that everyone, umps included, are using this time to train and get ready for the real games in April. But David Lennon of Newsday thought it was worth noting the missed call this way (emphasis mine, of course):

Michel Abreu smashed a drive off the hitter’s eye in centerfield, but stopped at second when the umpiring crew — made up of four women — did not signal a home run.

Nice subtlies, David Lennon. Let’s also note that after a few minutes, Abreu was awarded the HR.

Continue reading Great moments in subtle sexism

Billy Wagner is nuts

A college kid squares to bunt against you in a scrimmage and you want to drill him with your next pitch? C’mon Billy, take it easy.

Wagner, clearly annoyed, shook his head a number of times, and Cislo wisely swung away, grounding out. Wagner said he couldn’t believe that Cislo, a junior, bunted.”If he got that bunt down, I would have drilled the next guy,” Wagner said. “Play to win against Villanova.”

It’s a freakin’ SCRIMMAGE. Let the kids play hard and maybe go home with a story for their grandkids. Drilling a college kid for trying is just dumb.

Continue reading Billy Wagner is nuts

Why pitchers scare me

Another reason why pitchers would scare the bejesus outta me if I were a GM pondering offering a long term deal to ANY of them, even Johan. No matter how good any of these guys are, they are so fragile, like a thoroughbred horse, it’s tough to bet long term on them. When your manager says this, it’s not a good thing:

He came out, just didn’t feel right and said, ‘that’s it.’ … I didn’t see it. I didn’t see any of the throws. I didn’t see any of the grimace. I didn’t see any of that stuff. I just saw him walking off with his head down, so I knew something was bothering him.”

I hope Kazmir’s OK, but it’s another example just how rare the durable pitching stud really is.

Continue reading Why pitchers scare me

Reading the tea leaves

Buster Olney brought up an interesting point when discussing the long term impacts of the Ryan Howard arbitration award:

Looks like the Brewers won’t reach a contract agreement with Prince Fielder and will instead renew his deal, writes Tom Haudricourt. Again, here is an example of a growing disparity problem for mid-market and small-market teams. Because of Ryan Howard’s arbitration victory, the Brewers might have to pay Fielder around $10 million next year, and then presumably $15 million or more in 2010, when he’s still two seasons away from free agency. Sooner than later, the Brewers will come face-to-face with this problem: Either they invest huge dollars in Fielder, at annual salaries of $18 million-$20 million for 2011 and forward, or they’ll have to consider trading him.

Can’t see this being a good thing for mid-market teams, much less the smaller market teams. There is no “Larry Bird” rule which enables teams to maintain a competitive advantage over the other teams with regards to keeping their own players. Will this further divide the teams to the Richie Rich All Stars (Boston, NYY, Mets, Angels, Springfield Isotopes, etc.) and the Little Sisters of the Poor (Pirates, Royals, Rays, Marlins, Washington Generals, etc.)? Continue reading Reading the tea leaves

Clemens to get body cavity search?

Well, it looks like Congress wants to give Clemens a deeper probe.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has drafted a letter recommending that the Justice Department launch a criminal investigation into whether Clemens committed perjury during his testimony on Feb. 13.”

So what does a letter recommending such an action really mean? Glad you asked:

A letter from the committee is not binding in any way, and federal agents were present at the Feb. 13 hearing anyway.

It simply puts informal public pressure on the Department of Justice to take a look at it and respond in some way to Congress’ action,” Todd D. Peterson, a law professor at the George Washington University School of Law who worked in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the 1980’s and 1990’s, told the Times.

Wonder if Roger’s regretting forcing the Hearing to take place. I’d guess so. Continue reading Clemens to get body cavity search?