Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Johan to the Mets

I can live with that. It will be fun to analyze over the next few years. Based on Omar's history of signing players, we can now expect Johan to suck or be hurt in 2009, floowing the lead of Pedro and Beltran.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The GYS Network began three years ago today. Happy Birthday all. I have to say: I think we used to ramble on about random things much more than we do now. So here's a conversation topic: why don't baseball teams record their own ridiculous songs and music videos? The NFL has the Superbowl Shuffle, Fear Da Tiger, and this bit of awesome piece of awesomeness which I learned about only today. Why can't the 2008 Red Sox record an early-90's-style rap video? That would be great.

Update: Holy crap. Via Deadspin today, here's another, which may be the best/worst.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Random notes for an endless offseason

  • Via FJM: Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi referred to the Red Sox and Yankees as "dirt bags". But he also said that about new Blue Jay Scott Rolen. And then Rolen himself announced "I need to play baseball and be a dirt bag." Apparently they think that's a complement.
  • Great article by Doug Glanville (remember him?) in yesterday's NYT on motivations for players to use steroids.
  • Q: How do you make Bud Selig and Rob Manfred seem like sympathetic figures, reasonable guys with cogent arguments? A: Pit them against the biggest blowhards of them all in this steroid mess, the World Anti-Doping Association. Apparently my favorite official, Dick Pound, stepped down as WADA head, and has been replaced by some guy named "Pubus Sweatsack". (Correction: his name is "John Fahey". My bad.)
  • Bill Simmons just keeps getting worse. As if the rest of the nation didn't need more reasons to hate Boston sports fans...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mitchell vs the blowhards

I've been following the testimony via NYT's Bats Blog, which is fun. I'm liking George Mitchell more and more:

“Why should cheating be a matter of collective bargaining?” [Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.] asked rhetorically to Mitchell – who, as usual, had a measured and informed response.

“It has been settled law in the United States for more than 20 years that drug testing in the workplace is a subject of collective bargaining.” Showing some restraint, Mitchell omitted the requisite “duh”, given the solemnity of these proceedings...

Shays continued, and later during his five minutes referred to Rafael Palmeiro as “Palmerry.” Mitchell kept his composure during a confounding question, regarding whether Palmeiro had tested positive “before his three-hundredth hit?”

A knowledgeable baseball fan despite recent events, Mitchell responded: “I’m sorry, before what?”

Just awesome. Hard to imagine Mitchell was once in Congress himself.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More inconsistencies

From 60 mintues:

WALLACE Did you know ahead of time what was going be in George Mitchell’s report?
CLEMENS I did not.
WALLACE Did Brian McNamee tell you what he was going to say to—
CLEMENS Didn’t tell me a word.

Yet now we learn that there is an audiotape of a conversation between McNamee and Clemens' investigators from the day before the report was released. Why would they be talking to McNamee? Seems odd to me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I am Getting Worried

Listen...Pitchers and catchers report in only a few weeks, and the Red Sox haven't filled a couple of key bench spots, yet...

Yes, they've won the World Series...Yes, they have an epic starting rotation...Yes, they have arguably the best closer...

But, besides Crisp, who backs up the outfield? Is there another backup infielder besides Cora? Who is this year's Eric Hinkse? Right now it is Chris Carter (X-Files Creator???)...

Ok, I was trying to rant here, but really this Sox team is ready (again) to compete. They do need to bring in a catcher (Cash, Mirabelli, or Kotteras), they need a backup corner infielder...

I hate to say it but it is a boring off-season because they are so set...Definitely not like only a few years ago...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jeff Passan fan club

So, as we all know, if you Google Jeff Passan, the second link that comes up (after Passan's column) is Dino's classic post from almost 2 years ago, "Reading Jeff Passan is like snorting coke off the back of Anna Benson's naked body". (Actually, now that I type that, I realize it makes no sense: "the back of her body"? Why not just "her back"?) And of course, even Mr. Passan himself emailed me to express his approval. Which is awesome.

Anyway, that post gets more hits than any other at The Network (other than posts about "Hazel Mae naked"). Check out the comments! There are around 50; sort of a meeting place for people to complain about the guy. Then the spambots come by and really mess things up. But they go away, and people keep posting. Most recent post was just over a month ago:

Jeff Passan is about as enjoyable as reading about natural disasters.

God I love the internet.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Class of One

No real surprise, given Keith Law basically tallied the votes beforehand: Goose Gossage made it in to the Hall, Jim Rice didn't. But Rice fell short by only 16 votes; next year he'll almost certainly get in because of the "sympathy vote" arising from his last year of eligibility. Here is Rob Neyer's argument that Rice doesn't belong in; he got almost 800 comments, yet no one disagreeing with him made a very strong point. Thoughts?

In any case, you have to wonder how much Gossage, Rice, etc. are benefiting from the weak field. As we've discussed before, there are many (20+) active major leaguers who are very likely to make it into the Hall, but only a couple retired ones (Rickey and Alomar) who are. I think this gives the borderline players a huge boost.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

60 Minutes

Anyone else watching? So far, not so good. Clemens looks really angry (I'm sure it was rehearsed); Mike Wallace is awful. Random moments:
  • Clemens argues that if he was using all these steroids, (paraphrasing) "Who I am getting them from? Why aren't they coming forward?" Uh, maybe because people who make a living selling illegal substances prefer not to announce that to the whole world?
  • Clemens said he couldn't have taken steroids because if he did "I'd have a 3rd ear out of my forehead, I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
  • The "Swear?" "Swear." exchange is as cringe-inducing as you'd think.
  • Clemens (correctly) argues that lie detector tests may not work, but actually doesn't sound defensive while arguing that.
  • He mentions he's a target because people will try to take you down when you're "High on the flagpole, people can see your butt." Probably best not to bring up your butt in this context, Roger.
...And suddenly, it's over. Now Andy Rooney is talking to me. Holy fucking shit, he's awful

Anti-trust exemptions

In the comments of the previous post, X calls me out for mentioning baseball's antitrust exemption as the reason Congress gets involved in baseball. He was right in that I had no idea what the "anti-trust exemption" actually means. But after some reading on the web, I'm pretty it's not a small thing. Here's my current understanding:

The idea of the exemption is based on two Supreme Court cases, 1922's Federal Baseball Club v. National League (which held that in baseball, interstate commerce "was not the essential thing") and 1958's Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc. (which held that "Congress had no intention of including the business of baseball within the scope of the federal antitrust laws"). But the antitrust exemption doesn't make baseball exempt from labor laws, thanks to Flood v. Kuhn, 1972.

Today there are basically two things that Major League Baseball (an umbrella organization of 30 privately-held companies) can do that most other interstate businesses cannot:

1) MLB can control franchise sales and moves, something no other organization - not even the NFL, NBA, NHL, etc. - can do.

2) The Sport Broadcasting Act of 1961 gives teams in ALL the pro leagues (though not the NCAA) the ability to pool resources to get exclusive TV broadcasting rights. This had previously been ruled illegal under antitrust laws.

As far as MLB is concerned, these are both a big deal. Without #1, baseball teams would be all over the place; for example the SF Giants would have moved to St. Petersburg in 1992. (Which probably means no Devil Rays*). Also, the whole possibility of contracting teams arises from this exemption.

Exemption #2 is probably even bigger - without it, broadcasts could only be made by individual teams, and national broadcasts basically would never happen (unless paid for by very rich teams). This was actually just in the news: Sen. Arlen Specter's threat to revisit NFL's antitrust exemption is why those of us who don't get the NFL Network got to see the Patriots play the Giants last Saturday.

* and if that's not an argument for getting rid of the exemption, I don't know what is!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Now the fun will begin

Clemens asked to testify. It is being called an invitation, not a subpoena. So we shall see if he attends.

We'll also see if Clemens learned anything from Bonds. He's kind of screwed. If he pulls the McGwire, he destroys his legacy. If sticks to the B-12, Lidocaine story, he will likely end up with every investigative journalist in the country following him around. A new book next spring - The Rocket's Shadow?

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Happy New Year everyone. The first month of this offseason was really great, but damn...it's been boring for a while. I suppose this is pretty awesome. Other than that...