Mets Merized Online » Bud Selig Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:23:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pete Rose Formally Asks To Have Lifetime Ban Lifted Mon, 16 Mar 2015 21:28:46 +0000 pete rose

Pete Rose has made a formal request to be reinstated to Major League Baseball, and new commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with Rose and hear him out.

“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said Monday morning, via ESPN. “I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”

I’ll tell you what, that’s big time progress right there. Bud Selig repeatedly rebuffed Rose’s efforts to talk to him and have the ban overturned.

Rose, 73, baseball’s all time hits leader with 4,256 hits, has never actually apologized to MLB although he’s shown remorse from time to time. Is he ready to formally apologize now?  And does an apology grant him a pardon and a lifting of his lifetime ban? What do you say?

mmo footer

]]> 0
Must See TV: Bud Bewildered By Wilde Moment Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:18:58 +0000 wilde selig bumgarner

You know that nauseating feeling you get whenever commissioner Bud Selig appears on your TV and his lips start moving?

Watching Selig’s reaction during the World Series MVP presentation to Madison Bumgarner last night, was priceless. In some small measure it felt like fate was exacting some revenge on my behalf.

In what may have been one of the most awkward World Series moments I’ve ever seen, Rikk Wilde, a marketing executive from Chevrolet, completely botched his presentation as he struggled to describe the Chevy Colorado truck that Bumgarner had won.

“It has “technology and stuff,” Wilde said as Selig agonized throughout the presentation, hoping someone would mercifully pull the plug.

Check out the video below, and remember, watch Bud…


]]> 0
Money Alone Won’t Buy Us Wins… Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:08:41 +0000 rice krispies treats

Money can buy you a lot of stuff but they say money can’t buy the really important things like love and happiness. Still it’s nice to think about what you might do if you had unlimited cash reserves.

I would get my dog his own live-in dog groomer for instance … tired of him stinking up my furniture … in fact I’m tired of him even looking at my furniture. It’s just as well though, if I had a ton of money I’d probably do really silly things with it like fortify my backyard bunker with a 50 year supply of Rice Krispies treats (they can double as soundproofing) and outfit my attack-pigeon training facility with state of the art equipment.

A lot of Met fans gripe about how the Mets are broke. The Mets are broke on account of a low-down-dirty weasel named Madoff who snookered our owners into his Ponzi scheme … for a really long time … this after they’d already been snookered into another Ponzi scheme by a different guy previously … I know, it’s funny how some guys get to be rich in spite of not being very bright.

It used to be that money could buy you wins in baseball. The Yankees and Red Sox have left a trail of success and championships over the past 20 years that is a testament to this. Earlier this season Brian MacPherson wrote a piece in the Providence Journal about the correlation between money and success in MLB, and he demonstrated, convincingly, that money no longer guarantees much.

MacPherson showed how 10 years ago a team’s payroll accounted for around 25% of its success. Since that time a lot has changed, namely revenue – its volume and dispersal. If there’s one aspect to Bud Selig’s legacy that stands out, it’s revenue. Baseball’s revenues have risen each year since 2003, surging from less than $4 billion in 2003 to more than $7 billion in 2011.

bud seligBud Selig has carefully navigated MLB into waters that are bubbling with cash. It reminds me of that H&R Block commercial where there’s an aircraft carrier with pallets of money on it. That’s pretty much MLB.

Through Selig’s deft undermining of free agency via subtle and not so subtle rule changes in the new CBA — allowing for instance the retention of coveted free agents through qualifying offers by handicapping the receiving team with a lost draft pick, and by instituting significant penalties in the draft for paying over slot which for years and years allowed teams with deeper pockets to continue to fortify their farm systems, from revenue sharing to the additional wild card, baseball has done everything in its power to establish greater parity and invigorate smaller markets.

Even the international talent pool has been regulated with predetermined pools of money that teams can use to acquire talent. Smaller market teams are allowed to spend more in addition (as of 2014) to being allowed to trade up to half of that money, which could leave the international talent pool as a kind of last refuge of big spenders.

What we have today is a situation where teams like the Royals and the Orioles and (gasp) the Pirates have as decent a shot as the Red Sox and the Dodgers. Each sporting a cadre of home grown talent and young, cheap, under control stars. Consider for a moment that Baltimore, Kansas City, and Oakland, all playoff teams, were 15th, 19th, and 25th respectively in payroll, and two of those teams are still in the hunt. As MacPherson pointed out, the correlation coefficient between payroll and wins this season is 0.202, which is about like saying there is a correlation between monarch butterfly migration patterns and the consumption of pilsner type lagers in Saskatchewan … I mean, there could be.

Selig has taken a lot of heat over the years for his exploits and oversights, from collusion to contraction to steroids, he’s had his share of ethical quandaries. He has however hoisted upon our Mets a General Manager who is uniquely tailored to the task of adapting a team to the dynamics of baseball in this day and age. From his stockpiling to his sustainability doctrine to his disdain for free agency, Sandy Alderson has positioned the Mets to flourish in an aggregate economy driven by controllable farm-raised assets. He has accumulated a projectable surplus in value irrespective of the negligible contributions (to the parent club) of this surplus, because it can be traded — the value is intrinsic and was developed for nickles on the dollar when you consider what free agents go for.

From a business standpoint the approach is undeniable, if you grow your own you don’t have to pay a premium, and if you have enough of a surplus you can sell at a premium (don’t ask me how I know that!) … So basically, if you grow and train your own attack pigeons for instance you don’t have to worry about having a “critical mass” of birds on hand when religious zealots on bikes or Amway salespeople come knocking. Those of you who laugh I’m guessing never had a pigeon crash into your face … it is not pleasant. You still have to secure the right pigeons and train them — preferably with life-size cardboard cut-outs of Jeff Wilpon and Sean Hannity (I have my reasons!), but this only points to why it is so important to have great scouts and a good development program. In the end, if you can avoid having to rely on free agency in conditions that make it prohibitive, you place yourself at a competitive advantage, it’s that simple.

Money can only go so far. Looking back at the past few off-seasons free agency has not provided the broad selection of elite talent as in years past. Teams are finding creative ways to retain valuable players well into their prime years. We may bemoan a past that afforded us the flexibility to spend, but that past is gone in more ways than one. Baseball, is, was, and will always be, a young man’s game, and those organizations who covet the development of up-and-coming generations of players will continue to thrive.


]]> 0
3 Up, 3 Down: Another NL East Rivalry Lives On Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:59:02 +0000 wilmer flores

Perhaps not as intense as the Mets and Nationals rivalry looks to be in coming years, but the Miami Marlins have played hard fought games against New York all season and like the Mets, they’re a squad that is centered around young talent and a low payroll.  The fish kept finding ways to get hits en route to taking 2 out of 3 games in this series, below are the usual takeaways in this edition of 3 and 3.

3 Up

  1. Wilmer Flores was incredible this series.  Apparently no one told the 23 year old Venezuelan that hitting for power in Citi Field is impossible because he made it a top priority the last three days.  Wilmer’s slugging percentage against Miami this week was 1.273, hitting 2 doubles and 2 home runs to go with 8 RBI’s.  Overall, he registered a .545/.583/1.856 slash line for the series.  It appears Flores has developed a repeatable approach at the plate.  He’s getting the barrel on the ball consistently and has an idea of what pitchers are trying to do to him.  6 of Wilmer’s 8 RBI’s came Tuesday night and the SNY crew flashed a very interesting statistic.  In Mets franchise history, only four players have had two separate 6 RBI nights in a single season.  Along with Flores, that list includes Carlos Delgado, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura.
  2. Lucas Duda regressed towards the end of August, but he has bounced back gradually, adjusting different parts of his offensive approach to remain productive.  It’s easy to dismiss Lucas when he isn’t hitting home runs, but he is much more of an all around hitter than he’s been given credit for.  In this series, Lucas went 4 for 9 (.444), but also drew 4 walks to give him a .615 on base percentage.  This as a major plus because the league caught up to Duda and he’s seeing mostly breaking balls, a common treatment in the majors for emerging sluggers.  Any elite power hitter goes through periods where the home runs slow down, so it’s imperative that Lucas finds a way to contribute when the quality of pitches diminishes.  A perfect example was last night’s game where he managed to punch in two runs with a slap single off a pitch that landed on the upper outside portion of the plate.  Would it have been more fun to see him crank a 3 run shot over the Shea Bridge?  Of course, but I’m firmly content having a 25-30 HR first baseman who also drives in runs with singles and doubles.  Additionally, as his power and average have dipped, his OBP has skyrocketed.  In the month of September, he’s getting on base at a .439 clip.  Eventually, this will come down, but with it, his home runs will go up as opposing pitchers will have to throw their fastball for strikes.  When they do, there will be misses over the plate, the Hulk will be unleashed and moonshots will resume.  One other thing, Duda is hitting .308 against left-handed pitching this month and getting on base at a .400 clip against them.
  3. Have to give the final “Up” nod to Jacob deGrom, his performance on Monday night was spectacular.  He made the first 8 Marlins batters look completely lost at the plate, striking them out one after the next in dominate fashion.  Ironically, the first hit came off of the opposing pitcher, Jarred Cosart, but deGrom got back to work and cruised up to the 7th inning nicely after that.  The outfield was playing oddly deep in that inning and the Marlins took advantage with a series of hits that landed in front Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares, allowing them to briefly take a 3-2 lead.  The Mets offense would come back with go ahead runs in the bottom of the frame, but the bullpen could not hold on to keep Jacob’s W in line.  Another hard luck loss for the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, but not before tying the major league record for number of consecutive batters struck out to start a game.  Congrats sir.

3 Down

  1. This isn’t an indictment of Juan Lagares, but the centerfielder may be out for the rest of the season after spraining his right elbow in the 4th inning of Tuesday night’s game throwing to second base.  This is a major downer, obviously there’s only 9 games left in the season, but Juan has hands down been my favorite player to watch this year.  He was also hitting .317 in the month of September, working hard to end his first full campaign on a high note.  First priority is to get healthy for next season though, so if Tuesday marked the end to Lagares’ season, tip of the hat to this young lad.  If he doesn’t win a gold glove award, I’m going to explode.
  2. Travis d’Arnaud has got to improve his footwork behind the plate.  Bobby Ojeda did an excellent job breaking down TDA’s mechanical flaws during last night’s pre-game segment with a side by side comparison to backup catcher Anthony Recker.  Travis comes up flat and doesn’t sets his throwing arm back far enough before firing to second, forcing him to add an extra hitch in his release.  This adds another second for the runner and more pressure to d’Arnaud’s timing resulting in rushed misfires over the second basemen’s head.  One second seems harmless, but it’s the difference between locking up runners and sailing the ball into center field.  However, like Ojeda, I believe d’Arnaud will improve in the offseason.  Also, his catching abilities are much more valuable than he gets credit for.  There were several pitches in this series that were clearly out of the strike zone before Travis snapped them back in with the flick of his wrist.  This ability, along with his game calling, are two very underappreciated aspects of his game.
  3. Last down goes to the farewell tour that stopped by Queens on Tuesday night.  Bud Selig’s vote of confidence for Fred and Jeff Wilpon is infuriating at this point.  Look, I understand that blindly spending money in free agency this offseason will not cure this Met’s post-season woes.  However, Selig is avoiding the bigger picture.  Financial prowess doesn’t just pertain to offseason acquisitions.  It deals with retaining talent that is set for a raise in the offseason.  It deals with acquiring talent midseason in the midst of a playoff hunt, when other players undoubtedly go down or underperform.  It deals with justifying the price the Mets charge their fans to go see a game.  This isn’t Oakland, it isn’t Kansas City, it’s New York.  No one is fooled by the numbers, the product, or the slick sales pitch.  The Mets are going to miss the offseason for an 8th straight year and despite having the pieces to build a dominant contender going into next season, it looks like the organization is instead banking on a miracle.  I’ll write later on about other options this team can exercise in the offseason, but regardless, the approach for next year should have been described as ”we’ll spend when the right opportunity presents itself”, not “we’re still broke, but it’s all good”.


MMO footer

]]> 0
Featured Post: Selig Declares Baseball A “Social Institution” Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:52:11 +0000 2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Bud Selig sat with SNY’s Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen during the early innings of Tuesday night’s 9-1 bashing of the Miami Marlins.  They discussed issues facing not only the Mets, but baseball as a whole and the back and forth was interesting to say the least.  The crew had their take on a few topics, including length of games with the now added challenge option,  but did their best to put Selig on the edge of his seat on more challenging obstacles facing the game.

Gary brought up the most important question because it indirectly touched upon the lawsuit brought forth by former Executive VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine.  As an employee of the Mets organization through SNY, Cohen is not in a position to raise the allegation of discrimination coming from COO Jeff Wilpon directly on air, but this is no ordinary group of announcers.  These men are pioneers at their positions and have a unique grasp on the pulse of the fan base.  This is of course, a fan base located in one of the most socially advanced metropolitan cities in the world.  A fan base that works and lives along side individuals of all genders, races and religious creeds, among many other identities.

Gary elaborated on the recent transgressions that have spun the NFL in a dreadful slew of disturbing allegations, cover-ups and mishandlings and posed the following question.  “What is the responsibility of the commissioner, of what you would call the public trust…to legislate that kind of thing”.  Selig’s response?  ”Baseball is a social institution” to which he believes the “players” have done a great job representing.  There was, of course, no mention of the other individuals responsible for the daily operations of major league baseball like owners, front office executives, coaches, etc.

Now, I don’t expect Selig to come on SNY and indict the Chief Operating Officer of one of the very MLB teams he oversees, especially when the legal proceedings are still in progress.  However, declaring baseball an institution that prioritizes high moral standards above anything else was poorly timed, particularly given the stadium he was in.

In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Rubin that took place only hours before the commissioner brought his farewell tour to Queens, Selig took a selectively indifferent stance towards allegations that a high ranking Mets executive, Jeff Wilpon, publicly humiliated and ultimately fired a former female employee because she was having a child out of wedlock.  In his position, this is a weak stance on moral high ground.

Honestly, both Selig and the Wilpons are vastly out of touch with many of the social obligations a major sports league has to the society it brings entertainment to.  Major League Baseball can be bigger than the court of law, they can be bigger than the government and certainly bigger than the Wilpons because they are a private organization.

As his tenure comes to an end, Mr. Selig could be on the forefront of defining the moral standard within the very social institution that has been under his control for decades. Instead, he appears to be relegating such an astonishing disregard for women’s rights as “employment ligitation” adding that “there’s nothing more to talk about”.

If Ms. Castergine’s allegations are true, I sincerely hope the individuals present during Jeff’s disparaging remarks come forth and have the courage to uplift Major League Baseball to the social institution Bud Selig claims it has always been.

P.S. – Did Bud completely forget the substance abuse allegations of his current and former “players” that has demolished the reputation of baseball for years now?  It took an act of Congress just to get the wheels moving on performance enhancing drugs.  This isn’t even old news, the Biogenesis scandal was last year for goodness sake.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Blow It Out Your Ass, Bud Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:31:12 +0000 SAY CHEESE: Looks like Fred and Bud are holding Mr. Met and the rest of the franchise hostage. (Photo by Newsday)

“Do I have any problem with the Mets’ finances? None.”

More lies, more misinformation, more deviousness. It’s not what any of us want, but it’s what we’ve all become accustomed to whenever the Wilpons or Bud Selig get behind a microphone and their jaws start moving. And Tuesday’s dog and pony show by Bud Selig was only more evidence of that. He brought no relief, only more grief.

The nerve of this traveling vacuum cleaner salesman insulting our intelligence by citing the Baltimore Orioles ($114MM) and the St. Louis Cardinals ($119MM) as evidence that a team can win with a Mets-sized $83 million dollar payroll – a payroll that will not go up in 2015. How dare he come here to a team that’s been ravaged and then try to pull the wool over our eyes with more untruths and bullshit.

But I wouldn’t expect anything less from the person chiefly responsible for allowing this Wilpon debacle to continue for as long as it has. If only his farewell tour had been in 2004 instead of 2014, perhaps a better man with more integrity and a true passion for preserving the best interests of the game would have seen fit to handle the Madoff matter and all its aftermath in a far more befitting way.

Wearing his cheap suit and donning his crooked smile, Selig praised Fred and Jeff Wilpon and told us we should be grateful to have them. Are you freaking kidding me? He chose to dodge questions about the latest Wilpon scandal, choosing instead to say they have always done everything right. It was enough to make me gag.

And yet of course, the Wilpon propaganda machine came out in full force soon afterwards saying ‘who cares about payroll’ and ‘so what if we can’t sign any significant free agents’.

Our patience has been stretched to its sheer limits, and still we watch and we hope for things to get better. But will they? Can they?

Upon arrival, the plan according to Sandy Alderson was to do some belt-tightening, some payroll slashing, and an intense focus on stocking the farm with high-ceiling talent through trades, International signings, and the draft. In a few short seasons when this talent began to make it’s way to the major league team, we’ll spend again to fill in any missing pieces.

With a hoard of young pitching studs already here and the emergence of Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and others on offense, you would think the time is ripe for a Mets run. But that’s not the case at all.

Sandy Alderson already forewarned that there will be no significant additions this Winter. The top priority for the Mets will be unloading the contracts of lone Mets All Star Daniel Murphy and at least two from a group of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.

With an $85 million budget and a burgeoning $22 million in raises due in 2015, the Mets are scrambling to clear a minimum of $20 million off the roster before Spring Training arrives. Any improvements will be strictly incidental. Winning be damned.

And knowing all of this, the world’s most famous used car salesman rolls into Citi Field in his limo to tell us everything’s great in Flushing and we should be grateful?

Blow it out your ass, Bud.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Bank of America Has Been Calling the Shots Sun, 09 Feb 2014 16:00:58 +0000 A taxi speeds past a Bank of America branch in New York's Times Square

When it was learned last week that the Mets refinancing removed previous covenants that capped the team’s payroll figure and restricted spending, it validated what I believed and posted many times that it’s the banks who have been calling the shots.

Explaining the consequences of that, the dangerous precedent it sets, and the ill-effects it could have on the game, is Kavitha A. Davidson of Bloomberg. She does a much better job of explaining this mess than I ever could.

Let me get this straight: The Mets — a team playing in the country’s largest television market, notorious for its inflated payrolls, in a sport that, unlike others, prides itself on the absence of a salary cap — have been operating under such a cap imposed by a third party? And Major League Baseball let this happen? Why hasn’t there been a public uproar against this?

She’s right. Imagine if more and more third parties took note and implemented the same restrictions on teams in exchange for loans?

Once it spreads, you may have what the MLB Players Association has been fighting for almost 50 years, a salary cap. And one that didn’t require any collective bargaining whatsoever.

Maybe this is why Bud Selig allowed this to fly. He of course being the mastermind in keeping his friends the Wilpons afloat while letting other owners in the same boat drown. Friends in high places.

And finally, closely reiterating what I wrote last night and have been arguing this morning in the comment threads:

But the Mets aren’t a small-market team, and their financial issues are the fault of its ownership. This is a team that, if run properly, would be able to take full advantage of a system that favors its position in the country’s biggest television market, as their crosstown rivals do, and in theory field an expensive, productive squad that would reap postseason rewards. 

Well said, Ms. Davidson, you have my applause. Read the article in its entirety here.

(Photo: Reuters)

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
MMO Fan Shot: How About A 211 Game Suspension For Bud Selig? Sat, 18 Jan 2014 14:51:07 +0000 2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

An MMO Fan Shot by Steven Pacchiano

Selig is the ninth and current Commissioner of Major League Baseball, he’s been at the helm since 1992. His reign began at in the steroid era, and that was his bad luck. He had the opportunity to protect the game at the time but chose the wrong path. He turned a blind eye to it when it served his needs and reaped all the rewards after the strike. Guys like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were at the forefront of the impending debacle in 1998 with their home run chase which sparked the MLB financial turnaround. Fans, owners and Selig all cheered them on. As fans poured into the seats money poured into MLB.

Bud’s resumé boasts that he oversaw Interleague Play and the World Baseball Classic, both of which I think aren’t good for the game, but lets not get off topic. I did like the addition of the Wild Card that came about during his tenure, but this was no genius idea, well maybe it was, but MLB just adopted it from the NFL, so lets give credit to the NFL for that one.

Bud’s true legacy is that of a commissioner who tolerated steroids to advance the game, then flipped on those players who re-populated the stands. These players, who we all cheered for, who brought baseball back into the spotlight and began the run of record-breaking attendance are now all tarnished forever. These players were thought of as living legends as we watched Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Piazza step to the plate every night. We all know the rest of the names of the best players that played in the 90’s and 00’s, we all had our favorites. Like a book with blank pages, the Hall of Fame – a history of the best players ever – over those 20 seasons will not have the greatest players of that era.

Some did it, some did not, no one stopped it, and everyone knew… That will be Selig’s legacy.

What’s the incentive NOT do steroids?

The player puts up numbers, helps their team win games, and makes a lot of money. The result is the Player, Owner and Commissioner are all happy.

If the player fails a test he’s suspended for 50 games and then gets right back to business. I can say, speaking for myself, that I would have no issue doing steroids if it meant being able to sign a nice contract that would take care of my family. Many players now don’t care about the HOF, they are looking for a big payday looking to take care of their family.

Lets not forget the owners, who don’t care either. When a player fails a test, let’s just take Jhonny Peralta for example; after the player is caught a team quickly signs him to a 4 year, $60 million dollar deal. It doesn’t seem that the teams care if they are on steroids or HGH or Fairy dust. The teams just want results and production. Owners are looking for wins and revenue and players are looking for a salary. It’s pretty simple.

If they really wanted to clean up the game, if a player fails a drug test, then the player would get his suspension, (50, 100 or whatever amount of games) but the team should also suffer a punishment.

What about if the team looses their First Round Pick in the upcoming draft if a guy on that team fails a test? Sounds good to me. And if there were two players on the team that failed a test, the team would loose their first AND second round picks in that upcoming draft. And so on.

That would make the team actually think, and say, “is it worth it to sign this player and risk losing a pick?”

If Selig and the owners want to really clean up the game I think this would be the best way.

Singling out Bonds, Clemens, and A-Rod, chasing them around town and spending tens of millions of dollars investigating them makes no sense. Hundred’s of players did it and no other professional sport hunts down clues outside of the sport beyond the basic random drug testing. Teams would actually police themselves and be responsible for their own players. MLB should randomly test players and the Owners should take care of their own locker rooms. Together they can clean up the sport, together they should be responsible.

The biggest joke is that Bud Selig intends to do a farewell tour of all 30 parks and say goodbye to all his loving fans. Hmmm wait a second, something’s wrong there. He’s not a beloved MLB player, jeesh he’s not even a player. I don’t think fans want to see him, at least no one I know does.

Does he think that chasing down three players who did steroids publicly will get him applause from the fans?

Does he think he transcends the game?

Is he admired by fans in the same way as The Mick, or Mo or even Chipper? Players who were worthy of doing a farewell tour?

I don’t think there will be any fan buying a ticket to go say goodbye to Selig, that is unless they want an opportunity to boo him. And I think he will likely get booed out of every park, maybe even Milwaukee where he was once their owner.

Maybe he’s delusional. Maybe he’s on something. Maybe Bud Selig should be suspended for 211 Games.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Steven Pacchiano. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

]]> 0
Is Sandy Alderson The Next Commissioner Of Baseball? Mon, 21 Oct 2013 19:16:08 +0000 sandy-alderson

Commissioner Sandy Alderson?

I get this question asked a lot, and three years ago I would have said yes. But a lot’s happened since then and today I don’t even see him being among the top five contenders.

There was a great article on this topic about three months ago by Jayson Stark of, who begins by saying that after so many previous occasions over the years in which Bud Selig has hinted at retirement only to stay on, he won’t believe Selig will actually hang ‘em up after 2014 until he sees it.

“The sport needs this sort of clear, forceful, no-wiggle-room pronouncement for one obvious reason: The commish’s history is filled with previous occasions when he has said he plans to retire at the end of his contract — only to keep right on commissioner-izing. So even though this time feels different and more people than ever believe he really does mean it — this time for sure, no kidding — the skeptics remain. And they’ll always remain until Selig, now 78, removes every shred of doubt. If that’s even possible.”

Stark then hypothetically asks, “What are the odds the next commissioner will be someone who doesn’t currently work in baseball?”

He gives a blow by blow accounting that ultimately goes on to disqualify the following contenders:

• Bob Costas, sportscaster
• George Will, columnist
• George Bodenheimer, executive chairman, ESPN, Inc.
• Dick Ebersol, former chairman, NBC Sports
• Rick Levin, president of Yale
• Kent Conrad, former senator
• George W. Bush, former president

Bob Costas and George Will have always been popular with the fans and their names often come up as potential baseball commissioners. However, they have no chance in my opinion. Yes, the baseball commissioner is supposed to protect the integrity of the game and those two would be great at it. But the reality is that the commissioner’s main job is to protect the profitability and revenue growth of the game, as well as ensuring healthy bottom lines for every individual major league team and their constituencies.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but decisions in baseball are driven by profit margins and not integrity. Or better yet, here is how Stark sums it up:

“But here is the most important thing you need to remember: Nowadays, the commissioner of baseball isn’t the commissioner of The People. He’s the commissioner of 30 people — the owners. Period.”

As far as Baseball Insiders who could be options, Stark composes the following list:

• Rob Manfred, MLB executive VP
• Tim Brosnan, MLB executive VP
• Bob Bowman, CEO, MLB Advanced Media
• Joe Torre, MLB executive VP
• Tony La Russa, special assistant to Bud Selig
• Sandy Alderson, Mets GM
• Paul Beeston, Blue Jays president/CEO
• John Schuerholz, Braves president
• David Montgomery, Phillies president/CEO
• Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president/GM
• Mark Shapiro, Indians president
• Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks president/CEO
• Stan Kasten, Dodgers president
• Terry McGuirk, Braves chairman/CEO
• Larry Baer, Giants president/CEO
• Mark Attanasio, Brewers chairman
• Andy MacPhail, former Orioles/Cubs/Twins exec

I don’t ever see the role of commissioner falling into the hands of a former player who was once active in the Players Union, so scratch that idea. The thought of Torre or LaRussa may sound nostalgic and have a nice ring to it in theory, but they don’t fit the mold of the commissioner’s other underlying responsibility which is to have a hard line against the lofty demands of the players union.

Of the GM crop, I’d say John Schuerholz and Mark Shapiro have a leg up on their competition including Sandy Alderson. In fact, Schuerholz is my favorite for the job followed by Rob Manfred who has tremendous political clout, and then Shapiro in that order.


Whomever owners do decide on to replace Selig, will require a super majority which means a minimum of 24 votes out of 30 owners and not just a simple majority. That may end up being more difficult than selecting a new Pope. So dont expect a billowing cloud of white smoke to appear anytime soon. There will be much debating and gnashing of the teeth amongst the 30 teams before someone everyone can live with emerges.

I don’t think Sandy is that guy.

]]> 0
The Curious Case Of PED’s Thu, 08 Aug 2013 21:29:33 +0000 gary keith ron sny

With the revelations of the Biogenesis investigation by MLB coming to the forefront this week, just about every sportswriter has put in his or her two cents regarding this story and how performance enhancing drugs plays into professional sports in general.  Even broadcasters are getting into the mix now.  The other night during the Mets/Rockies game, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez touched on the issue in a way that really hasn’t been by most sportswriters.  It doesn’t come as a shock to me since SNY’s Emmy winning team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are arguably one of the finer broadcasting teams in professional sports today.

Gary, playing devil’s advocate, described how both sides see the issue of PED’s.  One side taking the majority stance that there’s no place for PED’s in Major League Baseball. The prevalent idea is that if players are found to have used them, heavy consequences should follow, with the ultimate penalty being banishment.  The other side, which I found interesting in how Gary described it, was how some take a more “Libertarian” approach regarding PED’s, stating that if a player is willing to risk his health then it’s on the player.  There was a brief pause when Keith Hernandez, in a rare moment seemed totally engaged in the conversation, chimed in and said as I paraphrase, “You can’t say it’s a matter of being Libertarian if what you’re doing affects others negatively”.

After listening to Hernandez huff and haw all season long when the team would head into extra innings or deal with an unfortunate rain delay, it was nice to see Keith the curmudgeon not chomping on the bit to tell everyone to get off his lawn.  It was a brief moment but one that made me smile and I’m a Libertarian.  The funny thing about Libertarians is that we usually get attacked from all ends of the political spectrum for being what others claim to think we all are.

I’m not saying Gary Cohen was attacking Libertarians so much as he was simply trying to state a point, albeit a bit awkwardly. Not all Libertarians are cut from the same cloth.  Most teeter on the political spectrum depending on the issue – but in the end we all share the same edicts of individual liberty and freedom but, with respect to the law. Libertarians are not Anarchists.  Therein lays the difference between those who say PED’s should be allowed in professional sports and those who disagree, and no it’s not because of arbitrary drug laws.  It’s about fairness.  It’s about the law.  Sometimes laws are in place that we all don’t agree with but, that’s life in a democracy.

steroids peds

The idea of simply taking a drug that could, with the emphasis on could, make you better at what you do for a living is a tempting idea in spite of being morally suspect not to mention with the potential of being physically damaging.  In professional sports, especially Major League Baseball, it’s a misnomer to think that sticking a needle in one’s ass will turn a Felix Millan into a Ted Williams. With stringent drug testing now in place, including testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Major League Baseball is now one of the better examples of a professional sport trying to keep itself as clean and legitimate as possible.  How can the quest for legitimacy be a bad thing is beyond me?

When it comes to the use of PED’s in professional sports, many Libertarians, some of which I have a great deal of respect for, have said that PED’s, like other illegal drugs, shouldn’t be banned from professional sports no more than cocaine should be illegal for you or I. Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief of Reason magazine and, seems to think most sports writers are hyper moralistic on the issue of PED’s as he stated in a recent article regarding Ryan Braun.  I have a feeling that he’s not much of a sports fan especially based on how he views the majority of sports writers. Not well if you read his article.

But with all due respect to Nick Gillespie or even the great Greg Gutfeld, whom I’m told was very disappointed to find out that purple unicorn’s weren’t allowed at Churchill Downs; PED’s affect not just the players that take them.  They also take away jobs from those trying to do it clean.  Take this which was tweeted by former major league pitcher Dan Meyer:

Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot. #ahole

So, does this mean Dan Meyer should just shut the hell up, have a Coke and a smile? Should he just tip his cap to Bastardo (yes, that’s really his last name) shake hands and let bygones be bygones?  I’d be just as pissed as Meyer if I were in his shoes. I understand, but not totally agree with the logic that if PED’s and drugs in general weren’t illegal, the stigma which draws people to them in the first place would decline.

Sure in an academic hypothetical arena that may be possible but do I really want my daughter to be able to one day to walk into a 7-11 to buy a Slurpee and have an HGH power bar sitting next to the Twizzlers?  While we’re at it, put the cocaine pixy sticks next to the Sweet Tarts.  Sorry but the old curmudgeon in me says no to such a grand experiment.  I guess I’m not a real Libertarian huh?

The blasé attitude some have regarding allowing PED’s into professional sports stems from the idea that they believe that fans don’t really care how the players do the sometimes incredible feats that they do.  I disagree.  In a perfect world, I don’t even want to have this discussion with my daughter but when and if I do, I want to tell her that her favorite player(s) did it clean.  Let there be a level playing field and then let individual talent take over.  I look at it this way, would you be fine with allowing kids to take their iPads with them while taking their SAT exams?  Fair or unfair; you decide.

People often forget during this whole controversy with these players being caught taking PED’s, that PED’s are illegal unless prescribed by a physician for an actual medical condition, you know like dwarfism.  The last time I checked Eddie Gaedel hasn’t suited up in a few years and if he did I have a feeling Brian Cashman would’ve tendered him a contract by now.

Now get off my lawn!

]]> 17
If A-Rod Appeals, Selig Prepared To Invoke “Integrity Of The Game” Ban Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:24:23 +0000 alex rodriguez a-rod

Alex Rodriguez has remained intent on fighting whatever suspension Major League Baseball decides for the disgraced Yankee third baseman, and should he choose to do so, Bud Selig is prepared to use one of his most extreme powers as commissioner; the right to “take action to preserve the integrity of the game” reports the Daily News.

By invoking that rarely used power — embodied in Article XI, Section A1b of the game’s collective bargaining agreement — Selig would attempt to effectively keep Rodriguez from ever returning to the field by bypassing the grievance procedure outlined in the joint drug program MLB operates in conjunction with the Players’ Association, sources told The News.

Rodriguez would be suspended immediately for interfering with MLB’s year-long investigation into Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to the aging infielder and other players, and would later be hit with an additional suspension for violating baseball’s drug program.

MLB investigators believe Rodriguez attempted to intimidate witnesses and purchase incriminating documents to keep them out of the hands of baseball officials.

In an unprecedented action by a commissioner, suspensions for Rodriguez — once the sport’s biggest star — and 14 other players are expected to be announced imminently.

If these reports are accurate, Rodriguez will have the option of accepting a suspension through the end of 2014 without pay, or appeal and fight a lifetime ban on two fronts; all signs point to him opting for the latter.

It has become clear that MLB is ready to use any and all means to make sure Rodriguez is held accountable for his actions, even if it requires a long, dragged out legal process in order to do so, which they also appear prepared to take on as well.

The decision on A-Rod is imminent, but no matter the ruling, Alex Rodriguez is not going away any time soon. If Rodriguez and his camp choose not to negotiate, which they have repeatedly stated will be the case, then this ruling could result in an all-out legal face-off between them, MLB, and the union.

This is not the end, but only just beginning.

]]> 0
Wilpon Joins Alderson In Painting A Better Tomorrow, But I Need More Than Just Talk Tue, 18 Jun 2013 00:13:03 +0000 fred wilpon

Fred Wilpon spoke with Steven Marcus of Newsday on Monday and said he is confident in Sandy Alderson’s plan for the Mets. The Mets owner added that things will improve now that the big unproductive contracts are coming off the books.

“We’re coming to the end of the time when we have had an overhang of players who got hurt or didn’t play well, and I think that Sandy Alderson and his staff have a plan.”

“I know some people are impatient about it. But they do have a plan and they’re executing on their plan and I think things are in the right direction. It’s hard to say that when the team loses four, five in a row.”

“I get it, I suffer with it. I think that we have to see that plan become successful because in today’s world it’s not how much money you spend — although we have invested a lot of money.”

My position remains the same as always, I’ll believe they are spending when I see it. The onus is on them.

As far as I’m concerned Alderson was brought here by Bud Selig to keep the current owners from losing control of the team, and everything Sandy has done since taking over has been to that end. He has helped them to become entrenched and stave off any financial uncertainty.

Alderson actually spoke to fans on Friday and said he was ready to spend and add quality major leaguers.

“This is excruciating, I know,” Alderson said, “It is excruciating for the fans and excruciating for me. I know people don’t want to hear this, but we are approaching the end of the cleanup. I’m not using that as an excuse. I’m not writing off the season. But there are reasons why we are where we are.”

“People want to know when we’re going to have more good players,” Alderson continued. “I believe we’re about to have more good players. Zack Wheeler pitches Tuesday. And if the right trade presents itself down the line, believe me, we’ll make it.”

I wish I could believe that… But we were promised good players before the Winter Meetings. Where are they? We were promised good players after the Winter Meetings. Where are they? This is an awful team. The outfield is still a train-wreck, the bullpen is again the worst in the majors for the third year in a row, and now we have gaping holes at first base and shortstop with no solid options to fill those positions.

As for “The Plan” and the “Rebuild” that is not a rebuild, I’ll weigh in after I see at least one .500 season first. At least that would symbolize a modicum of some progress albeit a small one.

For now, the team is on pace for 100 losses. This much is true.

There’s still a lot of work to be done… We have been losing more games than we’ve been winning for three straight years now – five if you want to count the last regime. Meanwhile all we get is these semi annual pleas for patience…

It’s hard to smell any future success when we are still surrounded by the stench of failure.

Put your money where your mouth is, Fred and Sandy…

]]> 0
Avenging Angel: Will Botched Call Pave Way For Centralized Review? Thu, 09 May 2013 17:43:56 +0000 Angel Hernandez, Bob MelvinSusan Slusser of the SF Gate reported this morning on a botched call that resulted in Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s being tossed kicking and screaming from a game against Cleveland last night for arguing after a home run review didn’t go his way.

With two outs in the ninth, Adam Rosales hit a drive to left field that seemed to clearly hit a railing above the edge of the wall tying the game, yet somehow, crew chief Angel Hernandez ruled that there was “not enough evidence” to overturn the call. Apparently, actually seeing the ball clear the wall, is not enough.

”Everybody else said it was a home run, including their announcers when I came in here later,” a miffed Melvin said. ”I don’t get it. I don’t know what the explanation would be when everybody else in the ballpark knew it was a home run.”

”Clearly, it hit the railing. I’m at a loss, I’m at a complete loss,” Melvin added.

Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal are both calling for resumption of the game from the point in the ninth inning where Rosales tied it 4 – 4. While the chances of this happening are slim, MLB will likely offer some consolation in the form of an “official statement” … there may even be a “policy review.”

The term that’s being knocked around a lot this morning in light of this astonishingly bad call, is “centralized review.” Central review is similar to what is employed in the NHL, involving a team of officials monitoring a video bank (most likely in N.Y.) with access to all the video feeds of all in-progress games.

During the off-season MLB also agreed to test two advanced replay systems live during games, a radar-based system and a camera-based system, similar to the ones used in tennis for down-the-line fair-or-foul calls. Yankee Stadium and our very own Citi Field were chosen as guinea-pig parks for these systems, which have apparently already been installed.

So my question is, where were these systems during the botched call in the ninth inning the other night? In fact, where are these systems period? I don’t see them, are they so advanced they have “stealth” capabilities? Is the box that Buck crashed into last week that prevented him from making a play in foul territory part of these systems? Are they supposed to interfere with players that way? How are they testing these systems? Is there a team of officials umpiring certain games in a video room and comparing their results with the rulings on the field? A digital domain, if you will, where the alternate umps officiate in real time only instead of wearing black outfits they’re dressed in blue spandex dotted with blinking LED lights … Maybe instead of popcorn and hotdogs they snack on couscous and baby carrots …

In 2012, Ken Rosenthal, in the midst of his little conniption over Santana’s no-hitter, reported that commissioner Bud Selig remains wary of slowing down games for fear of a “robotization” that may eventually extend to balls and strikes. Robotization, yep, that’s the word he used … Bud Selig is afraid of a robot takeover. Can you imagine? A terminator-series cybernetic umpire? Hasta la vista Bob Melvin.

One thing is clear, in an age where video review is everywhere, where anything out of the ordinary can end up on Youtube in a nanosecond, MLB is well behind the curve.

The purists will tell you the game doesn’t need to be changed, but there is a growing consensus that technology has improved to such a degree that the game would be improved dramatically with the addition of these technological assets.

I’m all for it … in fact I don’t see what would be so difficult about equipping umpires with some high resolution 12 inch tablets with direct links to all the video feeds. Umpires could watch the game as it happens … shucks, they wouldn’t even have to be at the game, they could officiate from the comfort of their living rooms thereby also avoiding any potential bodily harm from fan riots.

Thoughts from John Delcos

There’s arrogance. There’s blind arrogance. And, there is Angel Hernandez arrogance, which by the way, incorporates a little bit of the blind.

bob melvin angel hernandez

Another night, another blown call, but Hernandez’s last night in Cleveland was compounded by his bullish behavior afterward, which should be met with swift and forceful action by Commissioner Bud Selig.

“Probably the only four people in the ballpark,’’ Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about the umpire’s non-reversal.

Replays clearly showed the ball struck a metal railing over the padded outfield wall. More to the point, after striking the railing, the ball ricocheted as you know it would when it strikes metal. Umpire supervisor Jim McKean told ESPN.

Hernandez, using the umpire’s stock get-out-of-jail-free card, said: “It wasn’t evident on the TV we had and it was a home run. I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there is 100 percent evidence and there wasn’t 100 percent evidence.”

Hernandez clearly didn’t want the interview recorded because he could come back and claim he was misquoted. The quote the reporter acquired the old fashioned way was damning enough.

The umpires use the same camera angle used in the broadcasts and have additional cameras. To suggest the reporters had different camera angles is absurd, not to mention a fabrication.

Hernandez was trying to cover up his own ineptitude with an outlandish story. Clearly, he blew the call, threw dirt on the system used to correct mistakes, and compounded his failure by refusing the interview to be recorded and his arrogant answer.

The ball now is in Selig’s court, and with his powers “to act in the best interest of baseball,’’ his reaction should be swift.

The call should be reversed – to hell with it being in the umpire’s judgment – with the game resumed after the home run. Any fines for Melvin and Rosales should be rescinded.

As for Hernandez, he must be fined and suspended for his actions. Selig needs to come down hard on Hernandez. Really hard. And, in the future, any attempt by an umpire to bully reporters by preventing interviews to be recorded should be met with similar punishment.

]]> 0
Bud Selig, MLB’s Push For Parity, And Its Impact On The Mets Thu, 09 May 2013 17:19:54 +0000 bud-selig 1Beginning In 1985, as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, Bud Selig and numerous other owners colluded to undermine free agency by agreeing not to sign other teams’ free agents. The owners were taken to court and eventually ended up paying 280 million in damages to the players. It was with this failed attempt at collusion that the seeds of the 1994 work stoppage were sewn. In 1992, Fay Vincent, then Commissioner of Baseball, openly criticized the actions of this group of owners by saying:

“They rigged the signing of free agents. They got caught. They paid $280 million to the players. And I think that’s polluted labor relations in baseball ever since …”

In spite of Selig’s unscrupulous past he was able to corral enough owners to his side in an 18 to 9 vote of “no confidence” to force Vincent out. Now, you’d think it would be difficult for an owner with a history of impropriety to ascend to a position best suited to someone who might inspire trust from both sides, not so. Selig took the commissioner’s chair in 1992, passing control of the Brewers to his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb.

Selig of course presided over the 1994 player’s strike. The 232-day work stoppage lasted from August 12, 1994, to April 2, 1995. What has since been described as the worst work-stoppage in professional sports history was precipitated by a collective bargaining proposal that included a salary cap. Tensions were exacerbated by the collusion attempts … Ownership dug in and the players didn’t budge. Eventually the 1994 season became a lost cause.

The strike damaged the game deeply, fans walked away in droves. There was a prevailing perception that the great American pastime had been irrevocably corrupted by greed. It was also during this time that steroids took root in MLB locker rooms. This issue was covered in a previous piece, so I will only note here that while it is true that the players shoulder a preponderance of blame, the owners did little to stop the spread of PED’s while they lined their pockets, and, in the end, the spread of steroids did occur on Selig’s watch.

The strike hurt the Montreal Expos more than any other team. Montreal had the best record in baseball at the time. The Expos were also lobbying for a new stadium, an effort that disintegrated with the work stoppage. Soon thereafter the Expos were sold to an art dealer named Jeffrey Loria who immediately demanded that the local government build him a new stadium. When this didn’t happen Loria eviscerated and sold the Expos to Major League Baseball for 120 million.

Loria used the proceeds from this sale to purchase the Florida Marlins. A suit was promptly filed by 14 minority owners of the Expos accusing Loria of conspiring with MLB (Selig) to dilute the minority partners’ share of the team from 76 percent to 6-to-7 percent. The suit went on to assert that Loria never intended to keep the franchise in Montreal and that he planed all along on flipping the Expos with an eye on the Marlins. Eventually the suit was settled with the former Expos owners receiving an undisclosed amount. As part of the settlement, none of the documents from the case were made public. This was in effect the second ruling against Selig in a 15 year span.

bud selig 5

In the meantime Selig continued to pursue a contraction campaign focusing on the now MLB run Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins (for which there was a glaring conflict of interest since the Brewers and Twins shared the same market). Selig himself (who was good friends with the obscenely wealthy Pohlads) had managed in 2001 to get the city of Milwaukee to build Miller Park with $290 million in public funds, so he knew the drill — threaten and lobby.

Selig’s efforts to contract the Expos and the Twins failed as a result of a ruling requiring that the Twins honor their contract to play in the Metrodome. The Expos were subsequently sold and moved to Washington. What remained unresolved for many fans, however, were the exaggerated claims of losses on the part of baseball owners who at the time argued that the market was stretched thin and that teams were being pushed to poverty by player salaries and crumbling venues.

The Twins did eventually get their stadium (with 250 million in public funding), and on the day of its unveiling in April of 2010, Selig, strangely, brushed aside questions about contraction by brazenly stating, “there was a lot of mythology” to it. These comments left many feeling as if contraction was an elaborate ruse to secure support from legislators for stadium funding, a ruse Selig’s old conspirator Jeffrey Loria went on to perfect in securing public funding for a new stadium in Miami. An endeavor that eventually left Miami-Dade County with a 2.4 billion dollar debt, an empty stadium, and a massive abomination of a fish sculpture.

What does all this have to do with the Mets? There’s a pattern of influence and impropriety here that stretches back quite a ways. Wilpon was able to wrest the Mets from the more belligerent and restive Doubleday with Selig’s blessing (and a handy low-ball MLB appraisal). Selig has also presided over an office designed, ironically, to help maintain the integrity of the game, turning it instead into a vehicle for charting new profit streams. In the business world Selig is considered by many to be the greatest commissioner ever, having overseen an era that saw profits increase by 400%. But if there is one thing we know about Bud, it’s his long-standing desire to undermine free agency and level the playing field for smaller markets.

Bud Selig may have seen a unique opportunity to bring down spending and bolster parity by recommending a high level MLB operative (known for his ability to slash budgets and operate on a shoe-string), for the position of GM of the NY Mets. What better place to promote a small market paradigm than the biggest stage in the world?

In 2010 two crises were raging in MLB. Frank McCourt of the Dodgers was running his team as a personal bank account during divorce proceedings that had brought him to the brink of bankruptcy, and the Wilpons in N.Y. were in danger of losing the Mets as a result of a massive stadium bill and a disastrous association with Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme. Selig all but guaranteed that McCourt would sell by imposing a heavy-handed MLB takover, while he quietly supported the Wilpons with loans and votes of confidence.

In the fall of 2011 Frank McCourt filed a lawsuit against MLB, accusing Selig of forcing bankruptcy on the Dodgers by rejecting a contract with Fox Sports. The Fox contract would have allowed McCourt to retain possession of the Dodgers, but as the Dodgers were under MLB control by then, Selig was within his bounds to reject it — even though it was similar in principle to contracts signed by many other MLB teams. The court sided with MLB, but not without a stern warning to Selig. Again Bud had deftly maneuvered borderline illegal practices with impunity. Selig knew the Dodgers would fetch an obscene sum in sale and he also knew that any buyer would have deep enough pockets to pour truckloads of cash into the franchise. The Mets on the other hand would receive the austerity plan, a painful rebuilding process focusing on cutting payroll and rejuvenating their farm … the polar antithesis of what transpired with the Dodgers.

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

A friend who was in San Diego during Alderson’s tenure there warned me, “Alderson,” he said “would chop the team up piecemeal and sell off the parts for prospects, it’s what he does.” I didn’t believe him. “This is N.Y.” I countered “Here you have to spend money to make money, the fans wouldn’t stand for it …” After losing, in successive seasons, Beltran, Reyes, and Dickey, with a budget effectively halved, I can only admit he was ostensibly on the mark.

The more pressing question, however, is one of influence. Selig has exerted his influence over the years with mixed results. His approach in 1994 backfired as the players hit back, and his attempts at collusion resulted in a 280 million dollar settlement against MLB … but his influence was largely successful in both the migration of the Expos as well as the funding of numerous new venues on the public’s dime. The real defeat he’s never been able to undo is his failure to limit free agency and his inability to institute a salary cap.

Bud Selig is friends with Fred Wilpon, but given Selig’s commitment to the almighty dollar don’t let a personal relationship fool you. Selig would just as soon pop open a can of Milwaukee’s finest than hesitate to throw Wilpon under a bus if it meant more money in the coffers. His reasons for coming to the rescue of the Wilpons while moving to oust McCourt, can only be explained with an eye on profit. You could argue this is contradictory, how would the “Met austerity paradigm” mean more money for baseball when the Dodgers just boosted values of MLB franchises across the country by raising the bar with their sale price?

It’s all about parity. As Jason Stark recently pointed out, MLB now features more parity than the NFL. If a small market approach can succeed in a big market it would effectively establish an operational model that could be duplicated in any number of cities big and small. Increased parity means more money across a broader spectrum of markets, precluding the need for revenue sharing mandates. Why didn’t Selig attempt a similar austerity program with the Dodgers? McCourt was himself imbued in impropriety and was openly hostile to MLB, his was a hopeless cause where the only resolution was a forced sale.

If Selig’s plan proceeds according to design, the Mets will benefit from a self sustaining minor league feeder system what will propel them to perennial contention while the Dodgers dig out from an array of bad contracts … but, there are no guarantees. Selig lost control of the Dodger situation once the winning bid was accepted. The Mets on the other hand were under his influence in so far as he was able to impress upon both the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson that they needed to cut payroll. Granted, under the circumstances the Wilpons didn’t have much choice, but when you consider Selig’s history and the fact that he got his man on the GM’s seat in NY, you have to believe he was pleased.

Whether or not this experiment benefits the Mets remains to be seen. Given the volume of pitching the Mets have been able to accumulate you have to feel good about the team’s prospects, no pun intended. The Dodgers on the other hand appear to be a flawed, injury prone, aging, and above all expensive mess. As far as business models, you can bet there will be lots of baseball minds keeping an eye on the Mets and Dodgers in the coming years.

]]> 0
Updated: MLB’s Very Bad Biogenesis Situation Sun, 24 Mar 2013 17:47:36 +0000 Updated Post 11:45 PM

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports posted on this today and I wanted to add some additional information that has surfaced that is relevant to my original post:

Ryan Braun's name is listed on several Biogenesis documents. (Yahoo)The government is in. Despite the failings of federal officials in past high-profile cases that married athletes and PEDs, the Florida Department of Health has started an investigation into Anthony Bosch, operator of the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly provided drugs to players, the New Times reported.

One notable figure is Marcelo Albir, whose name appears multiple times on a Biogenesis document obtained by Yahoo! Sports that initially linked Braun with the clinic.

Albir is a former teammate of Braun’s at Miami who investigators believe played an important role in Braun’s relationship with Biogenesis. Ryan Braun said he paid Biogenesis clinic operator Anthony Bosch a consulting fee during his appeal. (Yahoo)

The document lists Albir’s name next to Braun and Cesar Carrillo, a pitcher who was Braun’s road roommate at Miami. Underneath is a notation: “RB 20-30K,” with an arrow pointing to Chris Lyons, one of Braun’s attorneys in his appeal. Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers star playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, said he paid Bosch a fee for consulting during his appeal for a positive testosterone test that was overturned in arbitration because of chain-of-custody issues.

He did not explain what comes next in the document: One line reads “[follow up with] Lyons, Marcelo, Carrillo, 3K, etc.” On the next line: “Total owed 23-33K + Marcelo Albir,” followed by Lyons’ name and cell phone number on the final line.

Original Post 8:00 AM

louis pasteur

I was eating some gluten-free Rice Chex the other morning staring blankly at my milk carton and I saw the words “Homogenized, Pasteurized” and it got me thinking. Pasteurization, the practice whereby you heat and cool raw milk to kill dangerous microbes that might reproduce and create a gelatinous and explosive insurgency in your intestines, as discovered by Louis Pasteur. I remember one time I had some bad yogurt … it was “key lime” flavored and the thing about trying new yogurt flavors is you really want to be sure you know what it should taste like before you try it. I had no idea what “key lime” yogurt was supposed to taste like so it wasn’t until the 7th or 8th spoonful that I realized it probably isn’t supposed to taste like earthworms and bleach. It was a bad situation.

Anyway moving on, Pasteur also happens to be the progenitor of the theory of Biogenesis. Now when I see the word “Biogenesis” I automatically think the Genesis Project from Star Trek III, where they were able to convert a lifeless rock into a living breathing planet (kind of like the way they’re trying to convert Lucas Duda into an outfielder), but Pasteur defined it as generating life from other life forms. According to the theory you in fact cannot generate life from lifeless matter — which explains why Luis Castillo had such a hard time hitting balls out of the infield.

Biogenesis is also of course the name of the disgraced and shuttered PED distributor operating under the guise of an “anti-aging” clinic in southern Florida. Things didn’t work out that well for Biogenesis in Star Trek either as the planet imploded in a molten fireball within a matter of hours. Anthony Bosch, the owner of Biogenesis is currently the target of an MLB lawsuit. Makes you wonder what they were up to, whether they were on the verge of discovering the fountain of youth, or figuring out how to grow new oblique muscles from pork chops in Petri dishes, or clone body parts. I’d love to have a clone … I wouldn’t be very nice to him … probably keep him chained in the basement and feed him scraps and use him only when I need the garage cleaned or if my wife’s sisters are coming over.

Turns out this company had some pretty lucrative business clients, 90 of them were baseball players, many of them professionals. Some of the names have recently been leaked like green fluorescent goop dripping from a radioactive drum, A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera. Like the spoiled yogurt, it’s a bad, potentially explosive, situation.

There was a quote, however, that struck me as peculiar as I was reading about all of this. It was by MLB Vice President Rob Manfred and appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 20th:

“Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor,”

torches_pitchforksThe quote appears to fire a preemptive shot across the Union’s bow perhaps to diffuse any Union accusations that MLB is about to embark on a witch-hunt. Now I love a good witch-hunt as much as the next towns-person, but if you’re going to pass out torches and pitchforks it would behoove you to establish that there are in fact witches in your town right? So, my guess is MLB has indeed uncovered another wheelbarrow full of dirt in Biogenesis’ basement, only they haven’t, the Miami New Times has.

Here’s the thing. I know how much we all love Bud Selig, I mean he’s right up there with puppies and Santa Clause and cinnamon cannoli, but he’s been known to be somewhat dictatorial. I’m not sure if he’s actually royalty but he’s even earned the moniker “King” in some circles. The thing about Kings is, you don’t want to upset them because the can have your head chopped off. Even worse, they can threaten to suspend a player you just drafted on your fantasy team without just cause … because the player’s lawyer talked to someone named Bosch who happens to run a company called Biogenesis … that word again.

I know, you know, we all know Ryan Braun was guilty and should have served a suspension, but he didn’t and that probably doesn’t sit well with Bud Selig to this day.

We would all do well to recall, however, that Selig was the same commissioner who presided over the steroid era — a time when baseball was recovering from a damaging player strike. The increased offensive output put fannies in the seats and made a lot of money for a lot of people. Balls were flying out of parks at unprecedented rates, everyone was happy. But like many drug fantasies that start off with euphoria and cash, ours crashed in a big way as our collective moral conscience ended up staring at itself in a mirror wondering how it ended up broke in a seedy hotel room with a girl named Velvet. Morality caught up with our favorite pastime in the form of congressional inquiries culminating in the Mitchel report, which eventually produced a formal and stringent drug testing policy.

Don’t get me wrong, the players shoulder a hefty portion of the blame for this PED mess, but what we sometimes fail to consider as fans is that for more than two decades a PED arms race has been going on not just in the majors, but at all levels of the minor leagues. For many players using was the only chance they had at breaking in, even if it meant bouncing back and forth as a utility guy or a bullpen arm. It was the only way they might make enough money to set themselves up somewhere having dropped out of college to pursue their dream. For others using was the only way to maintain a competitive edge against other users. For every major leaguer who dabbled in PED’s there were countless more in the minors who we never heard about, who went on to sell insurance in Topeka or run their Dad’s hardware store in Sioux Falls until they went to see their doctor about a headache that wouldn’t go away and got some bad news.

Selig is no longer the laissez-faire monarch presiding over a booming baseball economy fueled by home run derbies and PED’s. He has taken the high road, claiming it was always the Player’s Union that stood in the way of testing, that the Union bullied our good owners into unwittingly pocketing billions in profits. Yes, the owners were the good guys, making truck loads of money and trying to get drug testing into Collective Bargaining negotiations that probably went something like this:

MLB Rep: “So, we’d like to institute mandatory drug testing, how does counsel for the Player’s Association respond to item IIIb. page 72?”

Union Rep: “Sounds fair, why n… “ a creepy guy with dark sunglasses in a black suit who no one remembers inviting leans over and whispers something into the Union Rep’s ear.

Union Rep: “Er, on second thought no we are categorically opposed to drug testing, peeing in a cup is gross, no one wants that, ew.”

MLB Rep: “Duly noted, moving on.”

Ok, so it probably didn’t happen exactly like that, but how many readers here think MLB made a serious attempt to curb PED use prior to congress becoming involved? If there is one thing we know about Baseball Owners, they don’t usually turn down money, or things that make money, or things that look like money.

So there’s an element of profound hypocrisy here when you listen to Ownership and Bud Selig carrying on as if they are the pious guardians of all that is morally good and wholesome in the world.

braun caughtEnter Ryan Braun, golden child, circa 2007. Braun is playing for the Brewers … hmm, now what is it about the Brewers and Bud Selig that I’m forgetting?? Oh yes, Selig’s family owns the Brewers. Selig loves Braun because Braun comes up and rockets to superstardom by means of his powerful bat and his ring-tailed lemur eyes. Braun, who bears some resemblance to a cleaned-up Tarzan, is making lots of money for the Brewers, and he’s a good guy, someone we can all like. He’s even friends with Aaron Rogers. He even looks like Aaron Rogers. The Brewers sign him to a lucrative long-term contract and Braun becomes the face of the franchise. Selig contemplates introducing Ryan to his niece Bethunia, everything is wonderful in the world. Then, just as the Brewers are gearing up for the playoffs in 2011, some urine from a cup that Braun peed into is found to have more testosterone than Bruce Banner with a stubbed toe. Bad situation.

What made it worse was that the courier’s delay transporting Braun’s urine violated standard industry protocol (not to mention raising chain of possession concerns) because he kept it in a little party fridge in his “den” over the weekend where he could have had his buddies come over and take turns staring at it for all we know.

“Dude, I’ve got RYAN BRAUN’S urine in my fridge.”


“No, I’m serious.”

“I’m coming over.”

Anyway, it was ruled that the integrity of the sample could have been compromised and the test’s positive results were invalided, even though it was virtually undeniable that the “triple sealed” sample did in fact test positive. MLB’s protocol for the handling of urine samples were not up to industry standards, as hard as that may be to believe. As Lupica said in the NY Daily News, Braun was acquitted, not exonerated. The penalty was overturned by an arbiter (who has since been banished to Bogeyland). Wonder if they had to draw straws deciding who had to break the news to Mr. Selig?

Now this kid (one of the 90 names) Cesar Carrillo, a minor leaguer, gets hammered with a 100 game suspension (50 for knowing Anthony Bosch and 50 more for “lying about it”) because he was not on his team’s 40 man roster and thus was not protected by the union. Also of interest is the fact that he knew Braun at the University of Miami and that the second 50 game suspension was really for “failing to cooperate.” Subsequent comments by MLB stress that those who fail to cooperate will be suspended (per the new CBA by-laws) and that those who do cooperate may be granted immunity. Meanwhile MLB continues questioning friends and family of Ryan Braun trying to build a case. In addition, MLB requested that the Miami New Times, the paper that broke this latest PED scandal, share their Biogenesis records with the Commissioner’s office.

Chuck Strouse responded on behalf of the New Times with the following:

Sorry, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. We won’t hand over records that detail the inner workings of Biogenesis, the controversial Coral Gables anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied prohibited drugs to six professional baseball players, including Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

The reasons are manifold. History plays a role in our decision. So do journalistic ethics and the fact that we have already posted dozens of records on our website. Finally, there is a hitherto-unreported Florida Department of Health criminal probe into clinic director Anthony Bosch.

It gets even better:

One of our most significant motivations for denying baseball is right here in the tropics. His name is Jeffrey Loria, and he owns the Miami Marlins, who start regular-season play in just a few weeks. A March 1 story in the Atlantic called the pudgy art collector’s stewardship of our baseball team, which has twice won the World Series, “the biggest ongoing scam in professional sports.” The magazine’s article describes, as New Times has in the past, how Loria hornswoggled $515 million in public backing for the stadium and parking facilities, then delivered a losing season and sold off all his best players.

The magazine blamed Selig: “If Marlins fans want results, they should send a few representatives to Commissioner Bud Selig’s office in New York. There’s a clause in Selig’s contract mandating that he act in ‘the best interests of baseball.’ Right now that would mean stepping in to prevent owners like Loria from using a big-league team as a front for squeezing money from taxpayers.”

So this is the guy who wants our records?

MLB went on to issue a 1000 game suspension to Chuck Stouse before realizing he does not play for MLB.

Think the union might have something to say about all this? Think MLB would have thought twice about starting this little PED war were it not for the 5 years they have left on their current CBA? Think maybe Selig has overstepped his authority? Was Braun really dumb enough to dabble in illegal substances again after what he went through in 2012, or does this predate those results? Think this may stink a little of a personal vendetta against a Mr. Ryan Braun? If it smells like bad yogurt and it tastes like bad yogurt, well …

One thing I do know. This isn’t going to end any time soon, and like that funny feeling you get after eating too many chimichangas, it’s going to get worse before it gets better, especially when the union pushes back … and they will.

Very bad situation.

]]> 0
Featured Post: My First Championship, My First Car, My Own Personal Evolution Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:59:02 +0000 Z24 - Copy1986 was a great year. Sure, there was Doc and Darryl, Keith and Kid, Mookie and Mitchell, slow rollers and swagger. But for me, personally, it was also one of the best years of my life.

I turned 21 that November. I was now ‘legal.’ I started my senior year in college, my entire life and all my dreams lay ahead of me. I got to meet and party with the members of Van Halen at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. One month after Jesse tossed his glove to the heavens I met the girl I’d eventually marry.

But 1986 also saw me get my first car. You always remember your first. It was a bad-ass silver Chevy Cavalier RS with black racing stripes. If you wanted to find me on a Saturday that summer, I’d be outside wearing my Mets hat, rock t-shirt and heavy metal spiked leather wristband. I’d be waxing my baby, using Armor-All and Windex, polishing her up—fenders, chrome, tires, windows. I had Van Halen, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Springsteen and a new band called Guns-n-Roses blasting from my tape deck. The neighbors heard me before they’d see me. Yes, 86 was a great year. My future—as well as the future of my Mets—was bright.

1989: It was sadly becoming evident that the Mets dynasty may not materialize the way we hoped. We were still reeling from the shell-shocking loss to the Dodgers in the LCS the previous October. Doc was having drug problems. Keith was battling injuries and played only 75 games that season. Mookie was sent away to Toronto—another country!!! In 50 games, 35 year old Gary Carter hit 183.

van-halen-183 - Copy

That summer my wife and I celebrated our one year anniversary. We had the discussion of ‘starting a family.’ Kids??? Hell, I hadn’t even grown up yet. I figured we should start slow. We bought a puppy instead.

I loved my Cavalier. I took care of it, did the routine maintenance, etc…But really, to this kid in his early 20’s, it was an expensive toy. Racing my friends, speeding and driving recklessly had taken a toll and after 3 years and just 51,000 miles, my car was falling apart. My wife suggested I look into buying a Toyota. She loved their cars. But not me. I was a Chevy man tried and true. Growing up, my dad had no loyalty to any particular auto manufacturer—as long as it was American made. There was no way I’d buy a ‘Rice Rocket’ and listen to my father remind me how his older brother fought in World War II.

And after all, the expression is not “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie…and Toyota?”

My second car, purchased in 1989, was another Cavalier. Sporty, equally bad-ass and blue (as in blue and orange.)

In October of ’94, the unthinkable and unimaginable occurred. For the first time in 90 years, not since Teddy Roosevelt was President, there would be no World Series.

Strike_display_image - Copy

That month I was also in the market for a new car again. My 2nd Cavalier was starting to fall apart. The repair bills were adding up. Now, as anyone who is married or who has ever watched an episode of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ knows, a home is not a home unless the wife is happy.

My better half again tried to convince me to buy a Toyota. This time I appeased her and went through the motions. I looked, I shopped, I test drove one. And then when I felt I ‘did my part of trying,’ I went across the street and purchased another Chevy.

Equally unimaginable to there being no Fall Classic that October was the realization that my 20’s were coming to an end. I was 13 months shy of turning the ripe old age of 30. My bad-ass cool looking sporty car was replaced by a nice, conservative, safe, economical 4 door sedan. Blue (as in blue and orange.) I drove off the lot in a Chevy Corsica.

With my 30’s unavoidable I was at a good place in life. And my Mets were also in a good place. Generation K were poised and ready to dominate the National League. We had Bobby Bonilla, Todd Hundley, promising youngsters named Jeff Kent and Robert Person and proven winner Bret Saberhagen, Yes indeed, the Mets future, like my own, was bright.

2001: By now, Generation K had become a punch line. Bobby Bonilla went on to be one of the most hated Mets in history. Jeff Kent was 3000 miles away in San Francisco and, teamed with Barry Bonds, was part of the most lethal 1-2 punch in the game.

However, the Mets were defending NL Champions.

Sure, we lost the previous Fall Classic to the roided-up Yankees. But things were positive. For the first time in our history we’d been to the post-season 2 straight years. We were led by the best hitting catcher of all-time, local hero John Franco, quiet star Robin Ventura, much loved Benny Agbayani and Timo Perez, lefty Al Leiter, the glove of Rey Ordonez and the hard-working Todd Zeile and Joe McEwing,

As 2001 wound down it became evident the Mets would miss the post-season. On Sunday, September 9, Steve Trachsel took the loss to Florida, 4-2. The Mets dropped to 71-73, 8 games behind Atlanta. Two days later, the unthinkable and unimaginable happened again.

As the nation came to realize we were not invincible, our own safety shattered and we began shooting questioning looks at each other while giving up many of our rights, American patriotism skyrocketed.

With bodies still being pulled from the debris of where the Twin Towers once stood, I was involved in a car accident. My Corsica was totaled. I was back in the market for a new car yet again. My wife made a half-hearted attempt to talk me into a Toyota. No way! If I never wanted to drive a foreign car before, there was no way in hell I’d drive one now.

Most of my friends and family urged me to buy a Japanese car. They all loved their Toyota’s, Honda’s and Nissans. I resisted.

I was in my mid 30’s and was doing well financially. I bought a fully loaded Chevy Impala. It was the most luxurious and most expensive car I ever owned. Huge payment, my first full size. It took me 6 months to learn all the bells and whistles.

Four months later, I found myself sitting at my kitchen table signing divorce papers. After almost 14 years, my wife and I decided we’d grown apart.

During the first ten years of the 21st century, as my 30’s ended and I entered my 40’s, with my future now uncertain, I realized I still could rely on my Mets.

Following the Mets personally is not always easy. The closest city to me that has a major league team is almost 300 miles away. Seeing my Mets live is much more difficult than simply hopping the 7 train to Flushing. It requires driving down to Los Angeles or San Diego. Phoenix, perhaps. It’s a weekend getaway that includes, not just the cost of the ticket and parking, but also gas, food and hotel bills.

Still, I was making good money and had no problem forking over hundreds and hundreds to see my Mets. And for spending money on Wright and Reyes t-shirts and Pedro Martinez jerseys. After all, our future was bright. In addition to David and Jose, we had Delgado, Beltran, Wagner, Shawn Green, fiery Paul Lo Duca, clutch Tom Glavine and promising young studs like Mike Pelfrey and John Maine.

54395334-unemployment-line - Copy

Then, once again, the fabric of this nation was torn apart. Thirteen years after the impossibility of the World Series being cancelled and six years after 3000 Americans were killed and an entire generation lost its innocence, we found ourselves in the worst financial crisis of our lifetime. We were now witnessing firsthand what we had only heard about from our grandparents.

I, too, found myself unemployed for an extended period of time. Credit card debt went up, savings went down. But still, I could count on the Mets. Granted, Yadier Molina’s HR in Game 7 of the 06 LCS and Beltran taking a called third strike left us all in shock. The following September, the Mets blew a 7 game lead with 17 left and collapsed.

Six month later, March 08, I found myself getting a paycheck again. I was making only 60% of what I had been.

And then, my expensive, fully loaded, luxury car fell apart.

My Impala, though recently paid off, was costing me more in repairs than my car payment had been. After just 6 years and only 71,000 miles, driving slow, less reckless, not having gotten a speeding ticket in almost 20 years, my American-made car was heading for the junkyard. Four new cars, all Chevys, and only one lasted more than 6 years and exceeded 82,000 miles. To say I was pissed and fed-up would be an understatement.

On a Saturday in early April 2008, I got in my car. Thankfully, it started. I drove a few miles, rattling my way down the street. I did slow a bit as I drove by the Chevy dealer. I proceeded on and drove my piece of junk Impala to Toyota. A few hours later, I drove off the lot in brand new Camry. Blue (as in blue and orange.)

Those who know me literally did not believe me until they saw my new car. There was no way—NO WAY—I’d ever not drive a Chevy. And no way in hell I’d lower myself to buying a Japanese car. But here I was.

In a couple of months from now, my Camry will be paid-off. Five years and not a single problem. I love my Toyota. But still, in spite of Chevy leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I still slow down when I pass the Chevy dealership. I glance over, check out the new cars and feel nostalgic. Chevy will always have a special place in my heart.

Baseball is a unique sport. It’s not like Football where you can be a fan of one team…but still root for a different one. The Mets are a lifetime commitment, a love that extends from childhood into old age. Sure, they frustrate me. Sure, they piss me off. Sure, if Sandy Alderson was crossing a dark street late one night and no one was around, I’d debate flooring it. (just kidding) But what am I going to do? Change my allegiance after 40 years? I’m not about to become a Phillies fan where I have a ‘P’ on my head or root for the Blue-Jays and wear…whatever the hell that logo of theirs is.

With the exception of a trip back to New York in the summer of 2011, my first and only time seeing Citi Field and going overboard in the gift shop, I’ve not handed over any money to the Wilpons in 6 years.

So, yes, I’ll continue to root for my Mets, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. But money is tight. Rooting is one thing—financially supporting them is something different. I don’t plan on driving down to LA and forking over several hundred for a weekend to see a sub-par product. (The same logic applies to forking over thousands to Chevrolet, what I personally consider another sub-par product.)

The Mets are 6 weeks away from embarking on the 2013 campaign, a season where we have no hope to compete. The best thing about this upcoming season will be that it gets us one year closer to ‘the future’ that Sandy Alderson keeps talking about.

People change. I loved my Chevy’s and I kind of always will. I love my Mets. And I always will. But people do change. As a fan, one can only get pushed so much. If this person who swore he’d drive nothing but a Chevy until the day I die can now drive a Toyota, anything is possible.

(as a side note, my ex-wife, who swore by Toyota now ironically drives a Chevy)

My approach to this upcoming season will be rather robotic. If they’re on TV, I’ll watch (probably.) But, most likely, I’ll check the standings, glance at the box score. I’ll see what David Wright did, see how Wheeler or Niese or Harvey pitched. I’ll look to see if D’arnaud is living up to the hype. And then, until we start competing, I’ll move on to other things.

My approach to the 2013 Mets will be similar to passing a Chevy dealer. I’ll look, smile, feel a bit nostalgic. And keep going.

]]> 0
Reign Delay? Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:59:00 +0000 As I was driving home the other night, I was listening to Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on the MLB Network Radio channel on XM. They were discussing with Jill Painter, the L.A. Daily News sports columnist, the Baseball Hall of Fame vote which took place Wednesday. This is the same Jill Painter, member of the Baseball Writers Association of America who thought it made perfect sense to cast one of her Hall of Fame votes for the former Blue Jay, Dodger, Diamondback and Met, Shawn Green. As she was engaging in verbal kabuki, explaining her vote, I could almost feel the indignation boiling over from the two hosts. Big kudos goes out to both Bowden and Stern for having the combined patience of a saint. That interview alone should earn them a few Marconi votes in my view.

It’s a good thing I don’t do radio; I wouldn’t have been nearly as diplomatic as they were. As if there wasn’t enough preordained controversy with this year’s crop of candidates, we get this nonsense and I’m not even going to enrage you with her supposed rationale. I have too much respect for you to even try. It’s almost as bad as the one vote that someone gave Aaron Sele. Again, not going to enrage you with the facts, you can look up Sele’s pathetic career statistics here if you wish. Then you have my permission to curse uncontrollably – - and yes you can practice reading that line in your best Bane voice. Or Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery as I believe they’re one in the same.

Call me naïve but I was always under the impression that those having been afforded the privilege of a Hall of Fame vote would show just a modicum of respect towards it. I’m not the only one who thinks this way as does the great Metstradamus. But this is unfortunately the year that common sense, fairness and respect for the game clearly went over the edge of the train tracks faster than a New York City subway commuter. Ouch.

Now I’ve been very sympathetic to the plight the writers have when it comes to wading through the waters that PED’s have polluted in Major League Baseball. But like Metstradamus, when voters use their privilege to make some grand statement (i.e. voting no one in), peppered with some who find it – I don’t know – comical, to vote for the likes of Sele and Green, it simply demonstrates to me that stupidity isn’t determined by who you write for or what and if you get paid for writing it.

When the likes of Marty Noble, someone I’ve always had tremendous respect for, thinks that because Mike Piazza had an abundance of—wait for it—back hair, during his time as a Dodger and decides to connect the follicles and assume that it meant Piazza used. It shows me just how far we’ve fallen as a people more than anything. We’ll believe the very worst of each other just to protect our own vanity because God forbid a player is later found to have juiced.

We can’t have writers dealing with pangs of remorse now can we? To top it off, Noble then ironically said that as a Met, Piazza had a hairless back, which is ALSO a symptom of steroid use. So if Piazza essentially played with Robin William’s back he’s using yet if he’s smoother than an Abercrombie model he’s also using? Absolutely pathetic, especially that never, not once, has Piazza been accused or named in any report or tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs.

I always believed that MLB needs to be far more proactive of a guide for the BBWAA when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and steroids. I wrote a piece for Metsmerized in early 2011 calling for Bud Selig to commission a panel exploring the effects that PED’s have on actual playing performance. Of course Selig and MLB want absolutely nothing further to do with this issue—at least not what happened in the past. One bright spot happened a few days ago when the MLB Players Association and MLB agreed to year round drug testing for Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone.

The BBWAA and their writers refused to vote for some players and based it on innuendo and unproven allegations; and that is shameful itself. In part I can understand their fear of enshrining someone who later is proven to have used PED’s as players elected cannot be removed from the Hall of Fame. My question is why is that? Hypothetically if a Hall of Famer does something illegal, whether during or after their playing career, why are they not immediately open to removal? That, in my opinion, would allow the writers to choose players based on their careers and not on speculation.

George Orwell was quoted as saying:

“Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.”

Now the real question remains, who was Orwell talking about; the players or the writers?

]]> 0
The More Things Change…The Worse They Get? Sat, 29 Dec 2012 08:17:50 +0000 1224 - CopyI would never get through the endless cold dark winters if it wasn’t for old Mets videos and Ken Burns. Last night I watched Shea Goodbye: 45 Years of Amazin’. A great documentary, it details the history of the Mets at Shea. As I watched Ray Knight round third with his hands on his head after Mookie hit a slow roller, I saw something I had forgotten about: The patch on the uniforms. 1986 was our 25th anniversary. Our Metropolitans had been around for a quarter of a century. A milestone.

2012 saw our Mets conclude our 51st season. Man, how time flies. The Mets are now in their second half-century. And it got me thinking (since I have no life) How does the Mets first quarter century compare with our second quarter century? For discussion purposes, I’ll refer to 1962-1986 (our first 25 years) as Act I. 1987-2012 (our next 26 years) as Act II.

When the Mets entered the NL in 1962 along with the Houston Colt 45’s, the baseball landscape was very different. Expansion teams were put together by cast-offs of other teams. Has-beens and never was’s. You couldn’t win a championship in five years like Florida did. Or get to the post-season in three like Arizona. You had to build from NOTHING.

Sure, the rules of the game were the same, sans DH. Although the game itself has remained relatively unchanged since the late 1800’s, the pennant races were very different.

The 1961 World Series was won by the Yankees. Led by the M & M Boys, The Bronx Bombers handily defeated the Reds in 5 games. New York won that final game, 13-5. The date was October 9th. Yes, that early. October 9th. In today’s world, we’re first getting our post-season feet wet. But back then, it was all over in early October.1st-1962-new-york-mets-yearbook-program-hodges-ashburn-stengel-marvelous-marv_271095103764 - Copy

There were no divisions, no LCS’s. Two leagues. 10 teams in each. You won your league and you immediately advanced token to the Fall Classic.

There were many great Mets memories in Act I. But man oh man, there was also endless suffering. Although the 60’s ended on a high, we spent the entire decade finding new ways to lose. In our first 7 years the Mets averaged 106 losses! We finished in 10th place five of those seven years, 9th in the other two.

Also in Act I was the post-Seaver era of Grant’s Tomb. In the six year period of 77-83 (I’m not including the strike-shortened 81 season) the Mets averaged 65 wins against 97 losses.

Basically 14 of our first 25 years were a joke. A waste. We were lovable…but we were a laughing stock. We were a doormat for the National League.

In 1962, only 1 out of 10 teams made the post-season. Baseball expanded in 1969 and with the creation of divisions and a “League Championship Series,” now 2 out of 12 teams would make the post-season. 2 out of 12. It remained this way through the remainder of Act I.

The Mets were 1794-2187 in those 25 years. For 15 of those 25 seasons, we finished under .500. However, we had 3 division titles, 3 pennants. 2 World Championships.

Act II: The Mets began Act II in a far better place than we started ACT I. Unlike 1962, when we started at the very bottom, the Mets started 1987 at the very top. Defending World Champions. Cant get any better.

84474313 - CopyJust 7 years into Act II, Bud Selig became the most despised man in Baseball since Walter O’Malley moved the Dodgers out of Brooklyn. Selig did the unthinkable and for the first time since 1904 there would be no World Series. Selig needed to do something.

In 95, Baseball was re-aligned. There would now be three divisions. And a wildcard! Suddenly 4 out of 15 teams would make the post-season. The Mets now had a better than 1 in 4 chance. Also making it easier for us was that Pittsburgh was moved to the newly formed NL Central. We now had only 4 other teams to beat in our division, not 5.

It didn’t help. In spite of less direct competition and more available post-season slots, the years continued piling up without the Mets playing beyond early October.

This past season another alteration was made to the game steeped in history. Another wild-card was added. Now, 5 of the 16 teams in the NL would see post-season action. Almost 1 in every 3 teams. And yet, the 2012 Mets were, for all intents and purposes, out of it by July.

For the 25 years from 62-86, the Mets compiled a 451 winning percentage. We were under 500 15 of those 25 years.

In Act II, the Mets won-loss record was 2091-2050, .505. Interestingly, however, of these 26 seasons from 1987-2012, we were under 500 13 of these 26 years.

How far have we come?

When you think of Act II, 1987-2012, there are lots of great memories.1987 would see our dynasty continue. We had taken New York away from the Yankees. The pinstripes were ‘the other New York team.’ Later on we’d acquire the best hitting catcher in Baseball history. There would be a Grand Slam single. Endy Chavez ‘saved the day.’ Benny Agbayani represented Hawaii, not Sid Fernandez. The future would be built around David and Jose, not Darryl and Doc.

But yet, in spite of starting ACT II in a better place than Act I, in spite of it now being easier to make the post-season, in spite of directly competing with 4 other teams instead of 9 as we did in 62, in spite of having a 1 in 3 shot of making the post-season as opposed to a 1 in 10, the Mets have fallen short time and time again.

There have been many more avenues to get to the Fall Classic over the last 26 years. But yet the Mets have only appeared in 1 more post-season than they had during our first quarter century.

It makes me feel that the more things change the more they stay the same. Or perhaps, the more things change, the bleaker they become. Something to consider…

mets chart

casey stengel - Copy

]]> 0
Bud Selig Officially Announces Mets 2013 All-Star Game Hosts Wed, 16 May 2012 17:13:05 +0000 Updated 5/16 at 1:30pm:

The Mets have been awarded the 2013 All-Star Game announced MLB commissioner Bud Selig today at a press conference at City Hall. In addition to Selig,  Mayor Bloomberg, Fred Wilpon and of course Mr. Met were on hand for the announcement.

“As we celebrate the franchise’s golden anniversary this year, I am pleased to award the 2013 All-Star Game to the New York Mets and their loyal fans. We are delighted to bring the Midsummer Classic to Citi Field, a wonderful ballpark that has carried on the remarkable National League tradition in New York City. The Mets will be superb hosts to next summer’s greatest sporting event.”
-Bud Selig today announcing Mets 2013 All-Star hosts.

This will mark the second time in franchise history that the New York Mets will host an All-Star Game, the last time being 1964 during Shea Stadium’s inaugural season. This marks the ninth time that the All-Star Game will be played in New York City, more than any other city. Baseball’s 84th All-Star Game will take place at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 13th, 2013.

Original Post 5/7 at 1:38pm:

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says to expect an official announcement shortly that the Mets will host the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field.

Expect an official announcement shortly that the Mets will host the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. It’s been locked in for over five years.

This has been expected for quite sometime but the timing of an official announcement has been a long time coming most likely because MLB wanted to be sure the Wilpons and their financial problems were settled and behind them.

In 2009, Kelly created some great mock-up logos/patches for the 2013 All Star Game and posted them on MMO. We even took a vote to see which one our readers preferred the most.

Here are the designs that you voted on…

Each design tells a story about the rich history and imagery of our team and our wonderful city.

*Click on each design to enlarge and see the graphic in high resolution.*

1. Mets All Star Skyline – The first entry is representative of the classic Mets logo with such aspects as the skyline and bridge and of course the shape.

Ranked #1 with 895 votes.

2. Big Apple All Stars – The Home Run Apple is one of the most popular and familiar Mets symbols. Many Mets fans remember campaigning to save the apple when the team moved from the beloved Shea Stadium to the new Citi Field.

Ranked #4 with 518 votes.

3. All Stars Across the Unisphere –  Arguably Queens’ most iconic symbol, the Unisphere is located in Flushing Meadow Park and not far from the home of the Mets.

Ranked #3 with 567 votes.

4. Mr. Met Is An All Star – A happy Mr. Met sits atop this All Star logo which is in the shape of home plate.

Ranked #2 with 725 votes.

Amazing job by Kelly on these and I’d wager good money that whatever the team decides to go with, their patch probably won’t be nearly as good as any of these.


]]> 0
Rejuvenated Mets Owners Pay Off MLB and Bank of America Loans Mon, 19 Mar 2012 13:01:28 +0000

Blue skies, smiling on me...

According to the New York Daily News, the Wilpons were quite busy this evening. They finished deals to sell 12 minority shares  - a $240 million cash infusion – and they have taken care of a few debts as well.

One debt that the Wilpons paid back was their debt to the MLB. That full debt was a total of $25 million.

Another debt they took care of was their debt to Bank of America. They owed the Bank $40 million.

All this coming after the Wilpons reached a settlement with the trustee before their case officially went to trial.

This really sets up the Wilpons being in charge for the foreseeable future, contradicting much of what had been reported by various media outlets.

By repaying these debts, especially the one to MLB, they have likely shown Selig that they can remain fiscally solvent and add money into the team when the right deals and players become available.

Hopefully that will be the case.

Thoughts from Joe D.

I wrote this in a post from February 9th:

Don’t wish ill will on a family who has done so much good for the team, and this city, and for veterans, just because Omar Minaya signed Jason Bay or Steve Phillips traded for Mo Vaughn. Let’s use some common sense and know that there is a difference between this legal matter and the operational choices the current Mets owners have made. It’s a vast difference, and one should have nothing to do with the other.

I have my opinion on all of this. I posted repeatedly not to believe all this bankruptcy stuff everyone is circulating, and that the demise of the Wilpons has been greatly exaggerated. I’ve said again and again that it was all just wishful thinking. I couldn’t care less that it put me in the minority and on the firing block, I blog for my benefit not yours. So let me close this out in the form that some of you will find somewhat familiar – a Haiku:

Justice will vindicate.
It was all folly.
You’ll see the rising son.

]]> 0
Joe Torre Resigns MLB Job To Join Group Trying To Buy Dodgers Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:33:54 +0000 Joe Torre has resigned as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations to join a group trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Torre managed the Dodgers from 2008-10, then retired and joined MLB last February as a top aide to Commissioner Bud Selig.

The Dodgers have been put up for sale by owner Frank McCourt, who put the team into bankruptcy last year as he battled former team executive Jamie McCourt in divorce court.

Initial bids for the team are due Jan. 23.

]]> 0