Don't Tase Me, Bro!

Unreal. (emphasis mine)

Tampa Police arrested Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Al Reyes early this morning, saying the reliever was drunk and disruptive after falling down, picking a fight and spitting blood at the patrons
Witnesses told police the incident started around 2:30 a.m. at the Hyde Park Cafe, 1806 W Platt St., when Reyes fell against a ceramic pot inside the bar. Thinking someone had pushed him, police said Reyes began exchanging words with patron Eduardo Mora.

Mora then punched Reyes in the face, getting the attention of the Hyde Park Cafe’s bouncers. Meanwhile, police said in a news release, Reyes “began to spit blood on the people in the area and began to swing his arms about.”

The bouncers tried to control Reyes, but the 6 foot 1, 230-pound right-hander kept pushing them away. A Tampa Police officer working extra duty at the bar tried to calm the fracas, but Reyes “continued spitting blood and thrashing about,” Tampa Police Lt. William Ferguson wrote in the release.

Moments later, the officer Tased Reyes, knocking him to the bar floor. Ignoring police commands to stay down, authorities said Reyes got up and was Tased a second time.

Happy birthday, Al. Way to celebrate.
I can’t wait to see the DL report: Reyes, Al (taser burns)

Continue reading Don't Tase Me, Bro!

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

Strangely, I was waiting to see if the IOC was going to do this, and they did: they are stripping the medals from Marion Jones’ teammates due to her use of PEDs during the 2000 Olympics. I call this bullcrap. It flat out stinks. There’s no way to know if these other three women were PED-free or not, but to strip them of the golds is just cruel.

My way of bringing it to a baseball analogy: Can you imagine if Selig stripped the Yanks (or any other team, for that matter) of their WS title(s) for the teams which had any player that was proven (let’s say the Mitchell Report qualifies as “proof”) to have taken PEDs? Can you imagine the outcry? The chest beating?

Jones’ teammates had previously refused to give up their medals, saying it would be wrong to punish them for her violations. They have hired a U.S. lawyer to defend their case, which could wind up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision was based on the fact that they were part of a team, that Marion Jones was disqualified from the Sydney Games due to her own admission that she was doping during those games,” IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. “She was part of a team and she competed with them in the finals.

Now, I readily recognize that one woman (Jones) represented 25% of the winning team and no team sport can have one player account for that much, but I just don’t think it’s fair to penalize the team. Especially since we have no idea if the silver medal winning team was 100% clean, either. We have to presume they were, of course, but to try to take the golds back is not right. If you, the IOC, want to award golds to the silver medalists, silvers to the bronze, etc., that’s fine. Create a few more medals and charge it to the USOC. Better yet, charge it to Jones. Just let the women keep the golds.

Continue reading Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

You don't even need to test positive anymore

Not sure if many of you caught this, but it surprised me. Not that a highly thought of prospect got nailed with a 50 game suspension for HGH. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that he didn’t TEST POSITIVE. He got dinged due to circumstancial evidence only. MLB is calling this a “non-analytical positive“, a new term in my book, and quite fascinating.

This is the first player to get nabbed by MLB’s new gestapo, the Department of Investigations, a direct recommendation by The Mitchell Report.

Two sources said Wednesday that Jordan, regarded as Atlanta’s future center fielder, received the growth hormone from someone close to him but outside the organization, and that a player who had previously violated MLB’s anti-doping policy informed baseball officials that Schafer was using the all-but-undetectable drug.
Schafer’s suspension was the result of a “non-analytical positive,” meaning MLB was able to establish that he obtained or used HGH through other means.

This is a very interesting precedent. Suspicion of PED usage can release the MLB hounds and if they find any semblance of a link to known PED sources, you might be sitting.

Also interesting is that there seems to be an active player working as a mole. The guess here is that if the mole is ever unearthed, he’d be ostracized rather than applauded by the Union. Is it hypocritical to cheer a player, already a violator of the drug policy, for turning in a fellow player and possible PED user?

Continue reading You don't even need to test positive anymore

Deconstructing Hughes

On the heels of a truly lousy outing yesterday (yes, it was damp and cool, but no ‘scuses here), the excellent scouting minds at deconstructed Hughes’ mechanics, trying to find the source of decreased velocity. Supposedly it’s down a few MPH. Is it due to a change in mechanics or is he compensating as a result of his torn hammy last year? Here’s some of their analysis, which is pretty darn good:

In ’06, Hughes throwing right over that front leg. It was firming up beautifully and his rear leg was lifting straight up. I’ve been trying to think of the best way to describe this, but the only thing that keeps coming into my mind is that it looks like his right shoulder is pulling or leading the rest of his body here in ’08. In ’06 it was leg drive making his follow through work. Also take note that his head seems to get turned or snapped at the end of his arm action in ’08. This was not the case in ’06. His head in ’06 was still upright and turned toward the plate. In ’08, his head is being pulled down by his aggressive front shoulder pulling downward.

His conclusion speaks to his possibly favoring that front leg, the one which he hurt last year, which is what I alluded to earlier:

The change I did touch on however, I do think could be a direct cause of his lessened velocity since over the past year. Is it because of the hamstring injury? I can’t say for sure either way, but considering much of my focus in this article has been on that front leg in question, it is certainly possible.

Let’s hope Hughes gains some comfort in that front leg, if indeed it is the issue. Continue reading Deconstructing Hughes

Moment #25

The Post is taking the Top 25 moments at Yankee Stadium, one a week, to count down the last season before the Yanks move across the street into TNYS. The Post is also doing the same for the Mets but, well, you know…

Moment #25: Oct. 10, 1926: Game 7 of the World Series
Grover Cleveland Alexander already had pitched two complete-game victories for the Cardinals in the Series when manager Rogers Hornsby called for him to come in from the bullpen in the seventh inning of this one. The legend is that Alexander was sleeping in the bullpen when Hornsby wanted him, recovering from the celebration of the victory the night before.
[Alexander] wound up walking [Babe Ruth] anyway, bringing up Bob Meusel, a .315 hitter who had doubled and tripled off Alexander the night before. On the first pitch to Meusel, Ruth took off for second base and was caught stealing by catcher Bob O’Farrell to end the game and the World Series. It remains the only time a World Series ended on a stolen base attempt.
{see picture on right, Ruth, before using numbered jerseys}

Unbelievable. I wonder if Ruth was crucified like he’d be today. Then again, if he makes it and ends up winning the game, he only adds to his legend and gives Dave Roberts a run for the “best SB in playoff history”.

Continue reading Moment #25

Boras, Prices and Rigging the Draft

An interesting article today at which discusses how superagent Scott Boras seeks to control his draft-eligible players and their eventual location. Seems that some think Boras wants to set artificially high prices to his players to determine where they will play, namely the richer teams drafting later.

We’ve seen the issues, loopholes and drawbacks in the draft pay off well for teams like Detroit, who have thumbed their nose at MLB’s suggested draft slotting prices. Detroit sent highly regarded (and paid over-slot) Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, plus others, to the Marlins to get Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. They would not have been able to make this trade if they stuck to MLB’s suggested slotting prices. The Yanks and RedSox are also guilty/successful at getting players that otherwise should not have been available to them late in the first round due to these players’ contractual demands (aka signability).

The bloom is off the Boras rose this Spring after a Winter of discontent via ARod and other clients bailing. Still, Boras remains the alpha dog of the agent world.

Some industry insiders suggest Boras derives these numbers from blindfolding himself and throwing darts with the names of his top talents on them at a dartboard of numbers $5 million and greater, then uses that number (and other randomly-generated numbers, depending on the situation) to teams to figure out who will pay the most. He then does whatever he has to, to steer his players to that team or teams, including throwing out an even higher number to ensure his player slips, usually to the rich teams later in the draft.

This sounds like a good strategy, if not an incredibly irritating one for everyone involved. The reason Boras doesn’t get every amateur player to go with him is three-fold: 1) he hasn’t gotten the best deal every time lately (the A-Rod press hurt him) 2) he doesn’t talk to the player/family at all between hiring him and signing the contract and 3) similar to #2, he has an enormous ego.

The Tigers were able to nab uber-prospect Rick Porcello late in last year’s draft by paying him like he was the #1 pick. So long as there is no mandatory slotting system (Union would NEVER agree to this) and no penalty for ignoring the “guidelines” suggested by MLB, the wealthier teams will continue to make a mockery of the draft. I think this is a great strategy for these teams.

The truth is, any team can do this, but few do. The cost to overpay for talent before it really blossoms is much less than trying to pay for it once it does. Also true is the fact that “can’t miss” prospects do miss sometimes. But for teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City and Florida and Tampa Bay, it might make fiscal sense to spend a bit more early than choose a lesser player to save some money. Given the amount of money these smaller market teams are receiving from Revenue Sharing and Luxury Tax payments, this seems an area to be investing those payments.


EDIT: For those directed here from Shysterball, welcome. Feel free to look around the place and make yourself at home. Craig’s been a wonderful help to me as I was starting this blog a few months back. This is a mostly baseball blog with a Yankees bent, but not a blindly homerific view (so I think). As usual, comments, criticisms, praise, mockery are all welcome. Continue reading Boras, Prices and Rigging the Draft

Interesting Rivera tidbit

Over lunch today, I happened upon Buster’s blog from yesterday, comparing another pitcher to Mo Rivera. What made me say “really?” was this (emphasis mine):

Rivera was a mediocre starting prospect in the mid-’90s for the Yankees, needed major arm surgery, and after he returned, the Yankees were thinking about trading him to the Detroit Tigers — until, quite suddenly, Rivera’s velocity jumped from the high 80s to the mid-90s, quite literally in the span of a couple of weeks, and little more than a year later, Rivera was serving as an imperturbable set-up man for John Wetteland.

I can’t remember the rumor mill from 15 or so years back and certainly that was mostly pre-Internet days (no yet), but I found that really wild. Imagine the Yanks without Mo. I can’t. Talk about one of the best trades never made, eh?

Also interesting in that one little paragraph is how Rivera’s velocity jumped “from the high 80s to the mid-90s” in a few weeks. Just sayin’…how cynical have I become that my first thought was to wonder if anything was taken/given to Mo to give him that boost.

Suffice it to say that Mo is probably the main reason why the Yanks had that incredible mid-/late-90’s run (along with Jeter; don’t get upset Jeter-philes). Imagine if he wasn’t human and hadn’t blown the save in ’97 to get them to the W.S. and the Game 7 save in 2001….coulda been six straight. Oh well, four in five years was still transcendent!

Continue reading Interesting Rivera tidbit