It's not the crash that kills; it's the change of direction

Frankly, in a headline tailor-made for me here, I saw this “Money not an issue with Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia, length of contract is” and I had to pony-up. That’s like saying it’s not the ground that kills someone jumping off a building, it’s the change in direction.

With everyone and their mother using Santana’s contract ($137.5M/6 yrs, including deferred compensation) as a “comp”, it’s only logical that if C.C. hit the free agent market next year, he’d be in line for a similarly priced deal. Saying that the length of the contract is the main issue is only a cute way of saying, dig this, “it IS about the money, stupid“. Man, I love how this works sometimes.

Now, Sabathia may truly love playing in Cleveland and may choose to forgo a free agent-sized deal to stay (ie: home-town discount) like Peavy did in San Diego. If he chooses that, great for him, but it surely won’t be about the length of the contract.

Just don’t tell me it’s about the length of the contract and not the money. If that were the case, sign a 6+ year contract significantly below market value and stay.

Continue reading It's not the crash that kills; it's the change of direction

I can't, I just can't. Sorry.

Sorry. Really. I tried. I tried again. I failed.

I tried to recap the whole weekend of Clemens/McNamee related mess, from Debbie Clemens getting injected, to the “he was at the party”/”no he wasn’t”, to the UPenn debunking of Clemens’s agent’s “stat book”, to the agents’ rebuttal, to Rusty Hardin daring well-known pitbull/IRS agent Jeff Novitsky to show up at the hearings, to Waxman’s counter to Hardin’s dare… and quite frankly, I’m nearing the O.D. stage.

I’m officially going Clemens-free for the next 2 days, until he and great buddy former teammate Pettitte (and Knoblauch) appear with McNamee in front of Congress on Wednesday.

Pitchers and catchers in THREE days. Baseball previews and discussion on the docket this week. FINALLY!!! Continue reading I can't, I just can't. Sorry.

Floating the knuckler

OK, this isn’t the place you come for human interest stories; you can visit Oprah.com for that. However, thanks to the great baseball content aggregation site ballbug.com, I came across this story of a nearly-washed up pitcher named R.A. Dickey. He played for the Texas Rangers. Nothing special. Eminently forgettable. Arm problems, loss of velocity, promotions and demotions to Triple A. A story told a thousand times, if not more.

[Dickey’s claim to fame? In April 2006, he gave up 6 home runs in a game, one less than Charlie Sweeney‘s record. Nice.]

Then in 2004, “Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser watched him in the bullpen and suggested he could prolong his career if he would commit to the knuckleball.”

Last year he and his knuckleball had a breakthrough season in Nashville. He was virtually unbeatable the second half of the season, finished 13-6 and was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. About 80 percent of his pitches were knuckleballs.

It’s a pretty interesting story more for the mental challenges he faced when deciding to abandon his “conventional” pitcher approach than for anything else. It made me think of someone who lost a leg or arm and having to relearn how to do everything that once was “normal” to them.

Anyways, he was claimed by the Mariners and is making a go of it this year as a knuckler. Here’s wishing him luck.

BONUS STUFF:

Continue reading Floating the knuckler

Is 12 month interest-free financing available?

UPDATE #2: WFAN.com has a nice slideshow of artist renderings of TNYS along with actual pictures of the work in progress.

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UPDATE #1: Pete Abraham from the LoHud blog got to take part in the TNYS tour yesterday and had some great updates for us. Since you’re here, I highly recommend a visit (once your done here, not before!). Some great things he confirmed:

  1. There will be a MetroNorth station (no more driving for those living in CT or Westchester)
  2. An open concourse so when you get up to get food, you can still see the game
  3. The seats will be wider, deeper and have more leg room!
  4. As you saw below, the new scoreboard screen will be 6x larger
  5. There will also be hand-operated scoreboards in the fence in right center and left center.

Lots more after the jump to Pete’s blog. I am officially excited. Just guessing the anti-TNYS contingent will be thrilled once they step foot inside this new palace, an over-the-top display of spending befitting a team that’s over the top in spending anyways.

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Remember all those cost forecasts for The New Yankee Stadium (TNYS)? A cool billion? No problem. We’ll have the public finance a bunch of it. Then we’ll double the seat and parking prices. No worries. Except now the bill has ballooned to $1.3B, a 30% overrun. And, listen to Lonn Trost tell it, it’s all for you, Yankee fans.

We tried to reflect a five-star hotel and put a ballfield in the middle,” said Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost, who hosted a media tour Thursday.

There will be 51 luxury suites, two large outdoor suites and eight party suites with seating for up to 410 people in total.

The 58-by-103-foot center field television screen will be six times the size of the video screen at the current stadium.

Trost said the cost overruns included $150 million in enhancements such as the giant video screen, $138 million in food and beverage costs not included in the original estimate and $50 million from delays due to a lawsuit by community groups that sought to halt construction of the stadium.

Sounds great, though I fear they will price the tickets out of reach for the average fans and families. I know it’s already expensive to bring the family; I can’t imagine what it’s going to balloon to in 2009. Looks like I’m going to have to suck up to my Wall Street buddies who can get their firm’s seats.

As for the cost overruns, as Fletch said: Charge it to the Underhills.

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Related posts:

Continue reading Is 12 month interest-free financing available?

Schilling could be out for a while

UPDATE #1: Curt got around to updating his blog to give his side of the story. Love ’em or hate ’em, at least give the guy credit for opening himself up to the masses. Most athletes hide behind their agents and handlers, but Curt puts himself out there. We can agree that it might be self-serving, but we also have to appreciate his efforts.

In quickly scanning the comments at the bottom of the posting, most are overly dramatic (no surprise there, folks) or dripping with religious prayers and messages. No problem with people praying for whatever, but it just seems, I dunno, silly, to pray for a guy to heal to throw a ball for $8M a year. If there’s someone listening to prayers, I hope he/she picks something better to act upon (like me winning MegaMillions). One comment ended this way: “May science be with you”. Nicely done, son.

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Breaking news: Schilling’s got a potentially season-ending shoulder injury. Further complicating things is the fact that the Sox have inquired whether or not they can void his $8M contract.

Guessing this won’t make the blogger too happy. Though, if you read the comments from that article, seems that the RSN would be happy to see him go, which I found surprising.

I wonder if the Sox would have been more aggressive with Johan had they known this a week and a half ago. We can only wonder. Continue reading Schilling could be out for a while

Santana's a bad, bad man

Yep, that Johan Santana is a major bad-ass. Seems that $135M wasn’t HIS number; his was $140M and he was prepared to walk away from the Mets $135M offer. That, my friends, takes major league stones to do. Either he’s a helluva bluffer or he’s just the bad-ass that we’d like to imagine.

At 4:55 p.m. — five minutes before the Major League Baseball-mandated deadline — Santana told Wilpon that he was leaving and was prepared to pitch one more year for Minnesota before becoming a free agent.

I told you I wasn’t backing off my number,” Santana told Fred Wilpon. “I appreciate your offer, but I’m passing on it.”

Wilpon replied, “I’ve been in business a long time. That’s a lot of money to walk away from.

No disrespect to you,” Santana said. “But I deserve it. I’ll just go back and pitch and I’ll get it later. “

One of the sources said Santana told Minaya, “You get my clause, I’ll get my Cy Young.

Color me impressed. Not just that he personally came to the negotiation session, but that HE laid down the law. Not relying on his agent, but himself, to nail the deal down. Speaks volumes about him as a competitor, if you ask me. Good for the Mets. They need him to be just as driven and focused ON the field. Continue reading Santana's a bad, bad man

Get well soon, Voice of God!

I was bummed to read that longtime Yanks P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard is “is struggling to recover his health“. He’s been calling Yanks games since 1951. From Mantle/Maris/Ford to Munson/Jackson to Mattingly/Winfield to Jeter/Posada/Pettitte to Joba/Hughes, he’s called it all. As anyone who has ever been to Yankee Stadium, there are some great things and many not-so-great things. The one indisputable great thing is hearing Bob announce the game. Reportedly Sheppard’s son will audition as a possible successor.

Mr. Sheppard: GET WELL SOON! We need you to open the new Stadium next year. Wouldn’t be the same otherwise!

Quick Sheppard story: A few years back, he missed a few weeks due to illness. I happened to be going to the game with my father on the date of his return. We got to the Stadium a bit early and were walking around, killing time. We stopped in front of the player’s entrance for a few moments when this elderly man came walking towards us. “Dad, it’s Bob Sheppard, the voice of God“, I whispered. As he approached, all I could think of saying was “Welcome back, Mr. Sheppard. We missed you“. He stopped, turned and said “Thank you, young man“. (I was north of 30, but he still called me ‘young man’.) I swear, his voice echoed as if he were behind the mic inside the Stadium. All my father could say was “Cooool!“. Still is a top moment in my fandom. Continue reading Get well soon, Voice of God!