Trying to destroy a narrative

The following is going to be a bit rantish, but I’m okay with it. Over the last few days, we learned that Alex Rodriguez “begged” the Yankees to re-sign outfielder Melky Cabrera. Melky isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, so I’m glad they didn’t heed A-Rod’s talent evaluation and acquisition advice, despite Brett Gardner‘s performance (or lack thereof) to start the year. In the comment section of that RAB article, and the comment section of my piece about Gardner from yesterday, people brought up the fact that Melky and Robinson Cano were good friends when they were both on the Yankees. This, of course, was in the context of my least favorite Yankee narrative: Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano goofed off together too much and it led to Cano’s bad year in 2008 and Melky’s absence skyrocketed Cano to superstardom in 2010. Shoot me in the face. Gag me with a spoon. Whatever.

Why do I hate this narrative so much?… Click here to read the rest

Colon strikes out seven, picks up first win as Yankees beat Blue Jays 6-2

Consider this my official truce with the Kreme. Bartolo Colon continued his resurgent season Wednesday night with a dominant start in Toronto. Bartolo allowed only five hits with two walks over 6.2 innings of work, giving up just two runs while striking out seven. He was efficient, throwing only 89 pitches, and showed strong command of those pitches. His fastball topped out at around 93mph, with late movement in the zone and he complemented it with swing and miss breaking stuff. Colon only got himself into trouble in the seventh inning, and had retired twelve consecutive Blue Jays at one point in the game.

The Yankees also got it done on the offensive side of the ledger. Coming into the game Mark Teixeira had a .176 BABIP, which was clearly due for an upward regression. He got that, in a big way, with three doubles, getting hits from both the right and left sides of the plate. Alex Rodriguez saw his first action since leaving Sunday´s game with an oblique strain.… Click here to read the rest

Baseball Deep In Debt (Part 1: The Scope of the Problem)

It gets worse. Baseball teams are often owned by other business entities, and these owner businesses also carry debt. The Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy was not caused by Texas Rangers’ debt, but by the debt owed by the Rangers’ parent company. It can be a difficult matter to consider what debt to assign to a baseball team that is owned by another business. For example, consider that the Toronto Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications, a company with more long-term debt than is owed by all thirty baseball teams combined.  Should we factor in any Rogers Communications corporate debt in determining how much the Jays team should be allowed to borrow?

Still other teams are responsible to repay “off balance sheet” forms of financing – these are obligations that are not treated as “debt” by the accountants, but look a lot like debt to the rest of us.  For example, the Yankees spend over $60 million annually to repay the bonds used to finance the new Yankee Stadium, but these bonds are not counted as “debt” owed by the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

Game 16: Yankees 6, Blue Jays 2

The pitchers controlled the next couple innings, but the Pinstripes’ bats struck again in the top of the fifth.  Swisher led off the inning with a single on a hard grounder to third.  Teixeira followed with another double and Rodriguez’s sac fly to center scored Swisher.  A sac fly by Cano brought Teixeira home and the Yankees had some breathing room with the score sitting at 5-1.

Colon worked his way into the seventh inning.  After getting Adam Lind to fly out, Colon gave up a double to Edwin Encarnacion.  Arencibia walked.  Snider singled to right and a bad base running play by Arencibia led to two Toronto players on third and Teixeira tagging him out.  Still, the night was over for Colon, and David Robertson came in to relieve him.  Nix singled to center, allowing Encarncion to cross the plate, but Robertson came back and struck out McDonald to get out of the jam. Granderson added a solo homer in the top of the ninth to give the Yankees a 6-2 edge, but the Blue Jays would not go away that easily.… Click here to read the rest

Selig Takes Control of L.A. Dodgers

Ultimately, it appears that Selig’s goal is to force McCourt to sell the Dodgers. The Dodgers are estimated to be worth anything from $800 million to over $1 billion. But the ability to sell the Dodgers may be complicated by Frank McCourts’ ongoing divorce proceedings with his ex-wife Jaime.  The McCourt divorce court has ruled that Jaime co-owns the team along with Frank.

(For the best coverage of the McCourt follies, the ongoing mismanagement of the Dodgers and the resulting financial crisis surrounding the team, please read our friend Josh Fisher over at the terrific web site Dodger Divorce.)

Both the Dodgers and the Mets have received considerable attention here and elsewhere for the large amounts of debt they have taken on in recent years, apparently in violation of baseball’s rules restricting team debt. But these two teams are not the only ones in deep debt. Tune in tomorrow, where I hope to post a piece on the issue of baseball and borrowed money.… Click here to read the rest

Great Moments In Fandom (Part 2, Philly Fan Redemption)

Seriously.  I am 55 years old, and when I was a boy I was promised that by the time I turned 55 I’d own my own personal robot servant that would wear a tuxedo bow tie and clean my room for me.  I’m a little bitter that this hasn’t come to pass. If the Phillies’ robot is state of the art, then the best I can hope for is a robot that will go to the fridge, grab me a beer, then drop it 30 feet from my barcalounger.  Boo!  Boo!

If I’d been at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, I would have booed too.  Or maybe not.  The robot couldn’t throw a ball 60 feet 6 inches, but that doesn’t mean the robot didn’t have had laser beams in its hands or eyes that could scan the crowd along with a cell phone to recommend the booing fans for I.R.S. audits.

Don’t be fooled by the benign appearance of this particular robot.… Click here to read the rest

Imperfect Perfection: A Closer Look at Mariano Rivera’s Failures

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Mariano Rivera’s accomplishments can’t be overstated. But, what can we say about his failures?

Mariano Rivera has seldom had reason to hang his head during his illustrious career.

Over 17 seasons, the reliever has consistently dominated the opposition, compiling an astounding ERA+ of 205, which is the highest total by any pitcher throwing over 1,000 innings. Incredibly, he has been even better in the post season, where his 0.71 ERA in 139 2/3 innings is without compare. In other words, Rivera’s superhuman reputation is certainly well deserved.

Because there are so many ways to trumpet Rivera’s successes, it’s easy to take him for granted.  That’s why it’s still a shock when the Yankees’ closer blows a save. Even at the age of 41, Rivera still portrays an air of perfection, so those startling glimpses of his mortality can often be unsettling.

Despite the considerable amount of evidence suggesting otherwise, Rivera is a human being.… Click here to read the rest

Minor League Update

I want to try and do this once a week and I’ll probably be messing around with the format until I find something that works. My only goal here is to make it easy for everyone to see what’s happening in the minors in a condensed fashion. If you have any preference for the format at all or suggestions, anything of the sort, just let me know. Thanks.

Scranton AAA

Jorge Vazquez and Jesus Montero continue their show on offense and both continue to display an aversion towards walking…As Matt alluded to earlier, the candidates to hypothetically replace Brett Gardner are all here. Justin Maxwell has hit well and still displays his plate discipline but still strikes out a ton… Chris Dickerson hasn’t gotten off to a great start and has only 3 extra base hits… Greg Golson has also started fairly decently… The pitching hasn’t lived up to expectations quite yet but I’m sure they’ll get it going soon enough.… Click here to read the rest