About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

It’s #AutismAwareness month

This is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I won’t get into the details because they are not mine to share but this is something we support without thinking twice.

A long time FOTB and major player in the sports/business writing world, Maury Brown, has a 7 year old son with Autism and it’s a tremendous challenge. There is no off days, no rest time, no breaks. The financial side of caring for a young child with this illness can be tremendous, making the mundane a huge undertaking. Maury writes, today: Continue reading It’s #AutismAwareness month

About the Madoff/Mets settlement

From our step-brothers over at Metsblog and ringleader Matthew Cerrone:

Mets ownership is due money back, as Rubin points out, which means the money from the settlement isn’t due for another 3 years. … What’s more, people in New York finance today all tell me talk of the Mets looking to sell shares has quieted, which might indicate the fund raising is complete as well. And so, they’ll likely have the cash to pay back short-term loans to Bank of America, MLB, etc… so, at the very least, it buys them more time, during which they could also try to refinance other long-term debt (especially given today’s news and given the eventual billion-dollar sale of the Dodgers).

In other words, as I’ve heard from three different legal people this morning, none of which have anything to do with this case or the Mets, but who are Mets fans who have been following it, they all interpret today as good news for the team’s ownership, who have repeatedly said they intend to continue owning the Mets for as long as they can.

I’ll have more thoughts on this when news slows down and I think about it more. In the meantime, as a Mets fan, the only news I really care about right now is that the trial ended before it even started, and will not get dragged out for a year with appeals. It’s over and the page can officially turn to baseball, which is the real way the Mets will get back to being a respected and successful franchise.

You can read more here and here.

(click “view full post” for related video) Continue reading About the Madoff/Mets settlement

What to worry about with Kuroda

ESPN’s Mark Simon is a great guy as well as a champion of statistical analytics. His foray into Hiroki Kuroda’s tendencies and pain points was very well done, even if it only resurfaces many of the concerns we all have about NL guys coming into the AL East, specifically guys coming from pronounced pitcher’s parks…

Lefties hit 33 fly balls and line drives against Kuroda along the right field line (we started at that line and extended out 15 degrees from that point to define this area). That’s a rate of about one per game.

Those 33 fly balls traveled an average of 315 feet, the furthest for any pitcher in the majors last season. Ex-Yankee A.J. Burnett ranked second, 310 feet.

Why is that particularly worrisome in Yankee Stadium? Remember the distance from home plate to the fence in the right field corner?

It’s 314 feet.

Yikes.

That’s not to say he will suffer a similar fate this year in YS, of course. But it’s something that will be watched. Continue reading What to worry about with Kuroda

What they’re saying about Andy’s return

Quite the bombshell out of Tampa today, eh kiddies? Raise your hand if you saw THAT coming? Yeah, me either. Because we’re a full service shop, here’s the best of what the other sites are saying about Andy Pettitte‘s return to pinstripes:

  • HBT #1 (Calcaterra):

“At the moment, the fifth starter’s job is down to Garcia and Phil Hughes. Hughes has worked from the pen before, however, and Garcia is just not suited for it according to most folks. So the Yankees break camp with Garcia in the five slot and Hughes in relief. But once Pettitte is ready, Garcia has no place. They could attempt to keep him around as a long man. Or they could try to trade him. And assuming he gets one or two halfway decent starts under his belt before then, there may very well be a market for him. But they could also simply DFA him and see if he’ll accept a trip to Scranton. Doubtful he would, but worth a shot.”

“Pettitte has been a low-maintenance superstar throughout his career. He won’t change now. The worry, though, is that Pettitte’s presence might affect the young starters who may fret that their jobs are in jeopardy. Let’s say Pettitte is ready to pitch by mid-May. How nervous might Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Phil Hughes be right around then?”
“Wow. Just wow.”
(click “view full post” to read more)

Continue reading What they’re saying about Andy’s return

Goldstein on Banuelos

Some gushing comments from Kevin Goldstein (via ESPN Insider):

Manny Banuelos had a coming-out party for Yankees fans last spring. But while he enjoyed his first fully healthy season in 2011 while reaching Triple-A, he also struggled with his command and control while walking 71 batters in 129⅔ innings as part of a 3.75 ERA spread across Double- and Triple-A. Still, he’s impressed once again this spring.

“I had not seen him since last spring, and he just looks strong and more poised,” said a National League scout. “He’s 93-96 mph and showing three above-average pitches right now. I saw [Michael] Pineda the following day, and while I know that’s not the same Pineda we saw last year, based just on those two looks, I’d take Banuelos.”

So the negative stuff on Michael Pineda continues (I refuse to get worked up based upon mixed results so far and I don’t even want to entertain any ‘Pineda to AAA’ stuff either, OK?), but the Banuelos love is always welcome. Is that selective hearing on my part?

If you are into reading the ups and downs of other prospects, have a read of the full article. Continue reading Goldstein on Banuelos

A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats

Back in December, I briefly discussed the new rule in the CBA governing the usage of low-density (LD) maple. A reminder on the rule in question:

The ban would only apply to new major leaguers. Other players would be grandfathered and could continue using low-density bats if desired.

As you might remember, too, I have been pretty darned vocal about this shattered bat thing for, well, ever. Because of this obsession of mine, I developed a new BFF in the baseball universe, Wendy Thurm from FanGraphs and Baseball Nation. She asked me a few questions via email and I send a whole mess of a response her way. She turned it into something much better, as you can read here. Like the pro she is, she took only a quote from me:

I’ve been as outspoken as anyone about this issue. The new restriction on bat density for new players is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.

A number of potential solutions have been developed. Some include radical multi-piece bats that will likely never see a major league game under current MLB Rule 1.10 as they fundamentally change the time-honored equipment of the game. Other solutions include ultra-thin polymer films that wrap the bat to keep the barrel and handle in place should the bat suffer what the manufacturers call a “multi-part failure”, something that has passed significant MLB-approved testing at their Lowell, MA facility. [videos here]

Regardless of the possible remedies available now or in the future, as long as the players want the thin handle, heavy barrel bats that create a whip-like action, bats will continue to shatter. According to MLB regulations, the difference between the bat length and weight can be no greater than 3.5. In other words, a 35” bat cannot be lighter than 31.5 oz. Bats with bigger barrels and narrower handles that push the limits of physics and this rule (or exceed them due to player modification such as sanding the handles for weight/narrowness) all greatly contribute to this problem.

If you want to see/read/learn a bit more about bats, low-density vs. high-density, maple vs. ash, read on friends. After the jump, be warned, my mess of a response to her questions in its completeness. So yeah, I ramble a bit. Sue me.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats