Tuesday ramblings

Due to a spike in workload (sorry, folks), here’s some random thoughts for a Tuesday:

I’ll try to break free later but I have GOTTA get started. Busy day ahead.

Continue reading Tuesday ramblings

I hate Kyle Farnsworth

I hate Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworthless. There, I said it. I feel better.

If you want to deliver a little payback for ARod getting drilled in the shoulder, fine. Just don’t be such a crappy pitcher that you throw it behind Manny’s head. Not only do you miss him, you like rekindle a fire that’s likely going get Jeter nailed on the wrist with a pitch soon.

Why can’t you stick one in his ribs or off his thigh like other well-meaning pitchers do? Why do you suck so much? Why do I hate having you on this team? Such a hothead with the typical million dollar arm and $0.50 head.

A plea to Cashman: Please dump this no-talent ass-clown on anyone, for anything. Pay full freight if you have to. He’s going to get someone hurt and if it’s one of ours as retaliation for his stupidity, I’m reserving the right to go freakin’ bonkers. Continue reading I hate Kyle Farnsworth

Team values and profit: related?

Are MLB team values and their profits positively related? Any correlation between the two? You might think that the Yanks, currently valued at $1.3 billion, would also be the most profitable, given their likewise ranking of #1 in revenue ($327 million). And since the lowly Marlins are only worth $256 million (last), one would think they suffer the greatest operating losses.

Guess again.

Yanks and RedSox ranked #1 and #2, no surprise there, in revenues but also ranked #1 and #2 in terms of least profitable. They also ranked #1 and #3 in team valuation (Mets clocked in at #2). The most profitable? The Nationals, ranked #13 in valuation but a mere #25 in revenues, posted a profit of $43.7 million. Note that the Nationals have been playing in RFK until this year, so expect that revenue ranking to spike. The Marlins, as you’d expect, rank dead last in revenues ($128m) but posted a healthy $35.6 million operating profit, good enough for #2 overall. Given how much they profit, can you now understand why the superpowers are crying for a salary floor or some sort of “rebate”.

Five years ago, 16 teams lost money. In 2007 only three teams–Blue Jays ($1.8 million), Red Sox ($19.1 million), Yankees ($47.3 million)–posted an operating loss. But even those losses are misleading. For the owners of the Yankees and Red Sox, the huge dividends they get from their unconsolidated cable networks more than make up for the teams’ losses.

I firmly believe that if you are just collecting the fruits of MLB’s enforced socialism, you should spend it on improving your organization in some tangible way. Lower prices for the fans if you are not going to invest in the players or development. Some way, other than lining the pockets of ownership. If those lower revenue teams don’t spend that money, the teams paying the luxury tax and revenue sharing should get some of that money back.

Here is the table, sorted by Revenues, courtesy of Forbes:

Continue reading Team values and profit: related?

Productivity buster alert

It’s a rare article or story that absolutely crushes any momentum or productivity at work. Usually I will print it and get to it later, or bookmark it, or simply forget it. During lunch, I meandered over to Rob Neyer’s blog on ESPN and after seeing a nice link to friend Shysterball (on an issue I feel strongly about and noted so in his comments sections; I do wish Neyer would swing by my blog one day), I came across this article, a must read per Rob. UNREAL doesn’t do it justice. Rob, many, many thanks for sending us to this one.

Select View Full Post to continue reading.

Continue reading Productivity buster alert

When fans go too far

I love Paul O’Neill. Loved his game. Loved his passion. Loved his roll over the pile in 1996. Loved how the fans chanted his name as he came off the field after his last game. Loved how he would practice swinging while in right field. Loved how he bashed watercoolers (most of the time, at least).

However, the hue and cry about anyone wearing #21 in pinstripes is overblown. Morgan Ensberg was randomly assigned the number in Spring Training and people howled. Ensberg took a different number once the team moved North.

So new Yank LaTroy Hawkins took #21, as a way to honor his boyhood hero, Roberto Clemente. This was not just being assigned a number and nothing more. Clemente is a legitimate icon within baseball and hero of many for his humanitarian efforts which ultimately lead to his death.

That Hawkins was hearing “numerous vulgar comments from Yankees fans during the Grapefruit League campaign” is so lame and disappointing, I don’t even know where to begin.

Hawkins eagerly accepted No. 21 as a tribute to Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente but quickly learned that a pinstriped No. 21 has other meanings for Yankees fans. Unaware he was donning a number that had not been worn since O’Neill retired following the 2001 World Series, Hawkins was booed when introduced on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Fans chanted “Paul O’Neill” during one of his appearances in the Bronx.

People, fellow Yanks fans…let’s get a grip on reality again. Paulie is an all-time favorite for all of us, but he’s not The Mick, Joltin’ Joe, Cap’n Jetes, Thurman, etc. But it’s ONLY A FREAKIN’ NUMBER! We need Hawkins to have a good year if we want to go far. Heckling this guy for a number choice, and with good reason behind the choice, is just DUMB. Paulie is not in the Hall of Fame. He might be in OUR Hall of Fame, but c’mon people, let’s regain some perspective.

We all want to relive and remember the “good old days” (hence the Yanks being forced to overpay for our own stars) so badly that we’re willing to haze the current players? How crazy is that?

So where does this end? With a great punchline, of course. What number will Hawkins don going forward? #22, last worn by…. Roger Clemens. Who, I am guessing, will also not be in the Hall of Fame, by the way.

Fans, I beg you: Cheer the hell outta LaTroy Hawkins next time he takes the hill, no matter how good or bad he performs.

Continue reading When fans go too far

Change happens…fast

I think the leadership of MLB, NFL and NBA should all take note at what the NHL did yesterday when confronted with a situation that demanded an immediate response: They dealt with it immediately. No off-season Rules Committee boondoggles. No seeking consensus amongst the owners. Find it, fix it, now.

Here’s the setup: Steve Avery, recognized as one the best/worst (depending on your affiliations) cheap shot artist in the NHL, was waving his stick blade in front of Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur. This was not against the rules, though it clearly violated the spirit of the interference rule.

Here’s the evidence:

Here’s the result: Within hours of Avery’s shenanigans, the NHL amended the rule to specifically include language that makes this sort of stuff a penalty:

An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play,” Colin Campbell, the NHL director of hockey operations, said in a statement.

That is how you operate a league. Act quickly and assertively. Right a wrong before others do it. The NFL should have done something with the new “call a timeout as the ball is snapped before a FG attempt” rage. The NHL has it’s own set of issues to deal with, but when you see swift leadership, you have to be at least a little confident that they can help re-emerge as a major sport in the USA.

The (non-)Vegas odds have Avery taking a stick to the ribs, or worse, in the next game.

More on Avery: “The players do not *love* Sean Avery, and voted him to be dirtiest SOB. One player even suggested banning him for life. That’s a little extreme, but shows you how annoying the little pucker really is.”
Continue reading Change happens…fast

Honoring #42

I think it’s great that they took a request from Junior Griffey last year and have allowed it to blossom into allowing every player who wants to to wear #42 today as all of MLB pauses to honor Jackie Robinson.

Jeter was interviewed on the subject and two of his responses are here:

MLB.com: The percentage of African-Americans in baseball has been declining in recent years. What do you think are the contributing factors and what can baseball do to generate more African-American players and fans?

: It’s unfortunate. In some ways, I think other sports have done a great job marketing their games and I think baseball has taken steps forward in doing that the last couple of years. Then again, I also think that kids nowadays look at football players and basketball players in college, and then the next day you turn on your TV and they’re in the NFL or the NBA. In baseball, there’s the Minor Leagues and you’ve got to do all that. I think there’s more attention paid to the other sports. Even the [MLB] Draft was only televised for the first time last year, so maybe that will help. But I think kids nowadays look at guys going from high school to the NFL or NBA and it looks like an easier route. Baseball can continue to market. They’re doing some great things in the inner cities and RBI and those kinds of things. I think they just have to bring awareness to the sport, that’s the biggest thing. They’ve got to get kids excited about playing baseball.

: What would you say to Jackie if you could speak to him today?

: I probably wouldn’t talk too much. I’d probably ask him about how he was able to deal with those things, how he was able to block things out. I think it’d be more off-the-field questions than on-the-field questions. Everybody could learn a lot from him if they listened.

Leave it to Jeter to say it the right way “everybody could learn a lot…if they listened.” So true. Continue reading Honoring #42

Playing along with the schtick

Do I think Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and the Steinbrenner progeny really believe that the buried jersey in the cement would bring about a “Sox pox” (my creation, feel free to send me the residuals)? Of course not. But I thought it was good fun that they played along with it. Calling the press to make it an event was a bit much, but I thought it was fun that they actually went and dug this sucker up.

Randy Levine, the Yankees president, and Lonn Trost, the team’s chief operating officer, presided over what Levine called an “excavation ceremony.” The New York Post had reported Friday that a Red Sox-rooting construction worker hoping to curse the Yankees’ new stadium had buried a Red Sox jersey at the site last week.

The Sox/Yanks thing has been built up for generations. The fans genuinely hate each other. As someone who had to spend time in Boston every week for a year, I felt how much they hated the Yanks. It allowed me the perspective to see the passion up close. Up through mid-October 2004, the Yanks fans didn’t hate the Sox quite as much as the Sox fans hated the Yanks and the reason was obvious: The Sox never won.

It was like wrestling with your little brother. Your little brother wants to beat you more than you want to beat him. You only need to beat him and that was generally a given. You’re bigger, stronger, faster. You had an insurmountable psychological advantage. Except one day, you’re on cruise control, or your brother gets bigger, faster, smarter and suddenly, like in that fateful day in October 2004, the roles reverse. Suddenly the little brother has learned the ways, studied and practiced harder than you and next thing you know, the little brother has got you pinned. [My personal moment with my little brother came once I realized that he was bigger than me and maybe it’s time to stop wrestling him. I can still take him, in Tiger Woods golf on the Wii, though. Except he’s got me by 25 or so pounds so I don’t rub it in anymore.]

That brings me back to the Sox/Yanks, the buried jersey, any hexes, etc. Keeping the idea that there are supernatural forces in play just makes this battle that much more fun. So long as no one really takes it that serious, it’s all good and fun and I think it’s great for the rivalry.

That they are doing this only goes to prove my point:

Levine said the extracted jersey would be cleaned up, put in a display case along with a Yankees Universe T-shirt and sent to Boston. There, the Ortiz jersey and Yankee T-shirt will be auctioned to benefit the Jimmy Fund, the Red Sox’ primary charity, which is affiliated with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

That’s awesome. The two fan bases could learn a thing or two from this: It’s just a game and no matter how seriously we take it at times, let’s have some more fun with it. We can still root like mad but let’s maintain perspective now that both heavyweights have won recently.

Good job, guys. Now, go fix Phil Hughes.

Continue reading Playing along with the schtick