Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Michael Weiner’s head still firmly buried in the sand

MWeiner

It’s been a rough 15 months or so for the Major League Baseball Players Association. After hastily and enthusiastically agreeing to a new collective bargaining with the league amidst an unprecedented lack of rancor and with very little push back against Commissioner Selig’s top priorities, the players and union officials were quickly confronted with the realization that, no, the days of baseballs’ owners constantly trying to get one over on the players were not over, and that the unions desire to take a business partner like approach with the league was not going to be reciprocated.

The rude awakening really began with the overturning of Ryan Braun’s PED related suspension last winter. Despite the fact that MLBPA has been as agreeable as any sports union out there to drug testing, pushing well into the realm of vigorously supporting efforts to catch players taking banned substances, the league reacted to long time and well respected arbitrator Shyam Das’ decision not with respectful acceptance of the decision and the union’s pro-testing position, but by blasting the decision, making laughable threats to appeal the ruling in federal court, and taking the downright remarkable step of firing the jointly employed arbitrator for having the nerve to rule against their position in a high profile case.…

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The last chapter of The Joba Saga?

joba frustrated

Has there ever been a more bizarrely polarizing player than Joba Chamberlain? Don’t get me wrong, there have certainly been more polarizing athletes than Joba, but in general you can understand why these players produce the strong reactions in people that they do. To break it down, there are two main categories of really polarizing athletes. Your first group, best embodied by such luminaries as Barry Bonds and Ray Lewis, are the all-time great caliber players who are absolutely beloved by their own fan base, but pretty roundly disliked by everyone else. The second group consists of obscenely talented, almost always extremely young, players who seem to absolutely dominate their competition without even breaking a sweat, causing some people to admire them and other to buck the crowd and despise them. Lebron James and Alex Rodriguez are the two examples of this group that immediately come to mind.

But by and large, there’s one nearly unfailing thread that binds all of these players together as a group: they’re really good!

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How dire is the 2013 outlook?

As the weather warms up and the Alex Rodriguez scandal fades a bit with real baseball games being played, expect this to be the new top problem for the Yankees:

You have to go all the way back to 1992 for a spring training of lower expectations than this one for both the Yankees and the Mets, where in both cases, our locals have a better chance of finishing last than finishing first this season.

[...]

When last seen, the Yankees were being booed out of the Stadium amid a blizzard of strikeouts en route to being swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS last October, while the Mets, after playing above .500 baseball up until July 20, limped home with a 12-18 September, in front of a lot of empty seats, finishing fourth, 74-88.

Unfortunately, the offseason bore little fruit for either team in its hopes for a better ending in 2013. In the Yankees’ case there is sufficient evidence that they’ve regressed while GM Brian Cashman has sat back and watched one prospective improvement player after another go elsewhere, the latest being switch-hitting shortstop Jed Lowrie, who had 16 homers and 42 RBI with the Astros last year, and went to the Oakland A’s for defensively challenged first baseman Chris Carter and a couple of so-so prospects.

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Hal speaks on A-Rod, Cano

Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner just spent some time talking to reporters in Tampa, and with plenty to talk about with less than five days until camp officially opened, he dropped a handful of interesting tidbits. Here’s a rundown:

  • The Yankees are concerned about the latest allegations of PED usage by Alex Rodriguez, but the situation is ot of their hands. MLB is investigating the matter and the league, not the Yankees, will be responsible fo handing out any punishment Alex might be in line for.
  • The Yankees have talked about an extension with Robinson Cano “recently,” and Hal would like to see Robbie as a career Yankee.
  • The Yankees are still looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, and Hal thinks there’s still time to find one. Ya know, no one has ever stipulated that the Yankees are looking for a good one…
  • And finally, Hal still doesn’t understand why people call him cheap, referencing the one year pacts the Yankees gave Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte as his counter-examples.

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Dave for the Cave

On Wednesday night, Stacey and I hosted David Greenwald as our guest on On the Money. Dave is vying for a spot in MLB’s fan cave, and is the only Yankees fan from New York left in the running, which is about all it takes to get the coveted IIATMS endorsement in the contest. So if you’ve got a minute, consider giving Dave a vote, and enjoy this video he made as an application.

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On the Money 2/7/2012

A steroids free show for you tonight! Eschewing talk of doping and media reports for the evening, Stacey and I discuss the Mariners giving Felix Hernandez the largest contract ever for a pitcher, and then we wrap up our tour of the A.L. East competition by breaking down the division’s prohibitive favorites north of the border with Ruhee Dewji of Double Switching. Enjoy!

Listen to internet radio with IIATMS Radio on Blog Talk Radio

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Wait, why shouldn’t the media cooperate with MLB?

As the Biogenesis scandal moves into its next phase, the obvious question is what repercussions, if any, the players associated with Tony Bosch will face. MLB would like to investigate the matter, but most of the records are in the possession of the Miami New Times, and they aren’t sure they want to hand them over to MLB:

Here’s the truth: We haven’t yet decided what do with the records from Tony Bosch’s clinic. We’ve shared many of them already, posting them online last week after carefully redacting names of people we didn’t think were well enough confirmed or sufficiently newsworthy.

The question of whether to release the records is thorny, and there are few precedents. They were given to us by a source who requested anonymity. We will not divulge that person’s name. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Moreover, reporters are not law enforcement. Nor do we discipline anybody for anything. Our job is to transparently lay out the facts and let the public — and responsible parties — decide whether action is needed.

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Miami New Times explains cautious PED reporting

Via Dayn Perry, the Miami New Times has released an editorial explaining why their initial reporting on the Biogenesis scandal included only some of the players apparently implicated in Anthony Bosch’s records. I don’t really have anything to say about it, but I have voiced some feelings to the effect that they may have sensationalized the first reports over the past few days, so it’s only fair to re-post the statement here:

Yahoo!’s story raises an obvious question. If Braun’s and Cervelli’s names appear in the Bosch records at the heart of New Times’ investigation — and indeed, Yahoo!’s report does appear to match New Times’records — why didn’t we report them in our first story?

Simple: an abundance of caution.

As Yahoo! notes, the records do not clearly associate either Braun, Cervelli, or a third player who this morning denied all ties with Bosch (Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia) with use of supplements. Yahoo! apparently obtained copies of just these page of Bosch’s notebooks independently of New Times.

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Nova confident of place in rotation

2012 was not a good year for Ivan Nova. After a very strong finish and 3.70 ERA in 2011 catapulted him into the role of number two starter for the 2011 ALDS, Nova became an extra base hit allowing machine and saw his ERA balloon to a whopping 5.02 before a shoulder injury ended his season early. So after coming into camp as a hot commodity, this year he’s damaged goods fighting a battle for the final spot in the starting rotation with David Phelps, who will be playing that same darling role Nova occupied last spring.

Nova, however, remains confident in his abilities, and isn’t outwardly worried about his place on the team. “I’m going to be there,” Nova told Anthony McCarron after a workout in Tampa yesterday. “Just do my work. It doesn’t cross my mind that I’m going to be in the minor leagues. I’m going to be in the rotation, that’s what I’m working for.”  Nova also told McCarron that he falls into a habit of throwing pitches even though he knows he can’t command them, which is probably not a good approach.…

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