Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Go where, exactly?

ARodFail

I’ll have more to say on the latest episode of As A-Rod Turns tomorrow, and I don’t really intend to waste time sifting through all of the nonsense every columnist with a publisher puts out there, but this article from CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel is just too much to let go. Obviously there’s the head-desk worthy premise of “everyone should ignore this topic I’m about to write a whole column about, ya’ll,” but the media in general lacking in self-awareness is hardly a new thing. That said, I did find this to be a particularly amusing entry into the genre:

And [A-Rod's] not worth the attention we keep giving him. The New York tabloids have sent reporters to his minor-league games. Here I am somewhere above Albuquerque, and ESPN is probably about to talk about him some more. And look at me, writing about Agate-Rod from my seat in row 29.

[...]

If only we could start A-Rod’s five-year clock right now.

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A-Rod’s “plea bargain” makes no sense from either side

Alex Rodriguez

Yesterday, Bill Madden and Teri Thompson the Daily News published a report that Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball were considering a plea bargain of sorts that would see A-Rod accept a 150 game suspension over his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, in exchange for which MLB would not pursue a lifetime ban of the Yankees’ fragile third baseman. That’s quite the bombshell the be dropping on a Saturday night. Still, though the story is supposedly based on an account of information Anthony Bosch himself gave to MLB investigators, (A-Rod’s camp naturally denied it) there are more holes in this account than in the Yankees’ current lineup. In no particular order.

1. First and foremost, there is no such thing as a 150 game suspension under the Joint Drug Agreement. Punishment simply goes from a 100 game suspension for a second offense to a liftetime ban on your third strike. Though it might be theoretically possible for a new punishment to be carved out if the offending player agrees to it, you can bet the union is likely to fight that, given the long term consequences it could have for players who get caught up in the drug testing protocols.…

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Today in serious journamalism

I’ve long since given up caring about most of the nonsense that gets tossed around in the big time baseball press because, really, what’s the point of worrying about something stupid being said on ESPN when it keeps getting confirmed that ESPN wants their, erm, talent saying stupid things to get a rise out of the lowest common denominator, but this blurb from, surprise, another over-written hit piece on Alex Rodriguez deserves at least a quick mention:

Just about every bit of the imagined “adversity” Alex Rodriguez thinks he is confronting is of his own making.

That’s Wally Matthews, I’m sure 99% of you guessed, and it certainly isn’t any surprise to see that he again devoted hundreds of words to a meandering, overwrought (he compares Alex to a parent-murdering child and other forms of criminality), attack on A-Rod. But here’s the thing: his source material here is Bob Nightengale’s story on Alex’s attempt at getting back on the field, a story which doesn’t contain a single instance of the word adversity.…

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Brian Cashman needs to cool off. Now.

Brian-Cashman

It’s fair to say that Brian Cashman marches to the beat of his own drummer. Most general managers wouldn’t repel down buildings or sleep on sewer grates for charity, and that’s pretty cool. Most general managers wouldn’t tell the most iconic player on their roster to take his crazy contractual demands to other teams in his first stint as a free agent, and that’s kind of cool too (though your mileage may vary). And we won’t even get into that mistress/stalker business, because that’s just stacking the deck. Then again, no other general manager in the league would add fuel to a combustible situation involving a 23 year old who happens to be your most notable offseason acquisition in Spring Training, and that’s decidedly not cool. And I think it’s safe to say that no other general manager would tell one of his players to, um, STFU, and that is simply unacceptable behavior from someone in Cashman’s position.

Honestly, I’m not even going to hash out the details again, or make any effort to defend Alex Rodriguez for his tweet, because I don’t have to.…

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Who deserves blame for lackluster roster?

Oh, hey, I’m alive. And I remember how to work a computer and dashboard! So what, pray tell, could come along to rouse me from hibernation. Well a fantastically inept 18 inning loss, a relatively epic meltdown, and accusations of real-life Rachel Phelpsing will do the trick just about every time.

Now, given the amount of criticism I devoted to Plan 189 over the winter, it should come as no surprise that I agree that the Steinbrothers horrible, no good, very bad, half baked profit maximizing scheme is the biggest culprit when it comes to looking for an explanation for both an anemic offense and a depressed fan base. At best, Hal Steinbrenner really did believe that “you can be just as good on a $189 million payroll, never mind how much of it is already under the bridge” line he’s been pushing for the better part of a year now, at worst the team’s front office thought that their fanbase was a group of captive marks who would pony up their cash and leisure time no matter who was filling out those pinstriped uniforms.…

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Are the Yankees winning with “smoke and mirrors?”

I don’t really know why, but this bit of an aside in George King’s Post story on Hiroki Kuroda’s performance yesterday has really been stuck with me since I read it this morning:

Almost halfway through May, the biggest question is how long the Yankees can win with smoke and mirrors.

Wells, a member of the Angels last year when their horrific start put them in a ditch they couldn’t escape, believes the “It’s Early’’ phrase doesn’t apply.

“I learned last year you never say it’s early, good or bad,’’ he said. “You like to be in this situation, but at the same time the game has a funny way of slapping you across the face at any time. We go out and have the same mentality, continue to get great starting pitching and score enough runs to support these guys.’’

Now, the Yankees haven’t seemed particularly smoke-and-mirrors-ish to me, but then a) I tend to think of last year’s Orioles when I think of a team doing that, so maybe I’m grading too tightly, and b) I admittedly haven’t been able to keep quite as close tabs on the Yankees this year as I’ve been doing for the past three or four seasons, so maybe I’m just not seeing it.…

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Random thoughts after week one

So, this has been a fun week. After 2+ seasons of covering the Yankees on an hour-by-hour basis, I’m trying to consumer games like a normal person, and I must admit, it gives you an entirely different perspective on things. Instead of watching every pitch of every game and jotting down notes, statistical tidbits, internet column ideas, etc., I’ve done a lot more flipping through channels to different games when things have gotten a bit dull, and done a lot more juggling of chores during the games. Did I mention that this gives you a very different take on things? Because at times it’s felt like an entirely different game than the one I’ve been following since 2009 or so.

With that said, here are a few semi-connected thoughts after the first week of the new season:

1. On a league wide scale, it’s fairly amusing how much people overreact to these early games. I know I’m not breaking any new ground here, but it really remains striking how hard it is to remember that just because these are the first six games of the season doesn’t make them any more important or telling than any other six games stretch in the season.…

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Will Chavez’s death bring baseball “sweatshops” back to Venezuela?

Chavez

In case you don’t pay even a cursory amount of attention to world news: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of cancer last week. The controversial (yes, I hate that euphemism too) leader was best known as the most visible figure in the South American socialist movement, largely due to his fondness for loudly and prominently criticizing the United States government in the harshest of terms. His death and political divisions in the country are likely to create quite a bit of turmoil in Venezuela as various factions strive to seize control in the vacuum of power, and Major League Baseball sits among those who will watch with intense interest in the future direction of the nation that boasts more major league players than anyone other than the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

In recent years Chavez, a huge baseball fan, had been attempting to exert some control over MLB franchises’ academy system in Venezuela. In particular, Chavez wanted to levy a 10% tax on MLB for the signing bonuses the players received, and require MLB to pay to educate the players and give them job training outside of simply playing baseball, as noted by Dave Zirin at The Nation just after Chavez’s death:

He told MLB that they would have to institute employee and player benefits and job protections.

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Rivera’s legacy about much more than games saved

Mariano Rivera
Though yesterday’s reports that Mariano Rivera will be announcing his intention to retire after this season tomorrow were hardly surprising, they aren’t exactly welcome by any means. Much like last year, when Rivera seemed poised to announce it would be his final season before that torn ACL knocked him out of action for the final five months of the season and apparently caused him to reconsider, the realization that we’ll all soon be living in a world that does not include number 42 closing games for the Yankees is jarring, and should inspire a sense of loss in baseball fans everywhere.

The first baseball season I can consciously remember being aware of was the 1995 season, but given that I didn’t have ESPN at the time I didn’t get a chance to pay much attention to things going on outside of Cincinnati and whatever was being covered on the local news there. That was remedied the following season, so for all intents and purposes, my entire lifetime as a fan of MLB has involved Mariano Rivera.…

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