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Monday, January 31, 2005

Memorabilia's Revenge

Ananova reports what can happen when memorabilia collecting becomes an all-consuming end.
It ain't pretty folks.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

First Base Defense - Who's On First?

We have to again give Theo his due - we did win it all, and through the wonders of the moves he made.
Yeah, but.........[as in, Yeah, But......]
We are surprised and disappointed at the trade of
Doug Mientkiewicz to the Mets, which obviously means we will see more of Kevin Millar at first, alternating with David Ortiz perhaps. I don't think Mientkiewicz really had a shot to show what he could do here, especially at the plate while Francona was patient with Millar's ice-cold slumps or Ofer streaks. And I shudder to think who Francona can put in at first for defensive purposes late in any close game.

Forget The Ball thing. Defense, we learned this year, is a key ingredient in baseball success. More plays are made (or screwed up) at first than any other base.
First base defense makes a real difference over a 162 game schedule, and especially in the playoffs.
Don't believe me? Don't think it is important? Ask Bill Buckner.

Slamming Sammy

Great article today by Cubbie maven Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN The Magazine on the ugly departure of Sammy Sosa from the Cubs to the Orioles. Sammy, it appears, had too much Diva in him, even for die-hard Cubs fans. The cardinal sin: he quit on the team - as unforgiveable in Chicago as it would be here. Sammy might find that there are smart baseball fans in Baltimore too.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Worcester Baseball: Start Out By Counting Correctly?

Hey, it is great baseball is coming to Worcester - an area that will support a team well I suspect. But an incongruity already on the Can-Am League Web site describing the team's new field, "Stadium: Fitton Field, Dimensions: 361-417-307, Stadium Capacity: 3,000."

Holy Cross notes, on its site however, "Fitton Baseball Field has a capacity of 1,000. The Holy Cross baseball team played its first game on this field in 1905."

An appropriate stadium has been the primary concern for any owner in thinking about bringing a pro team to Worcester. Maybe it still is.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Name the New Worcester Franchise

The Can-Am League has formally announced the awarding of a franchise to Worcester, MA as we reported - the team will play its 46 home games at Fitton Field on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross. The new team has a temporary Web site, www.worcesterprobaseball.com, which also gives fans a chance to name the new team with a “Name Your Team” contest, but submit your suggestion quickly as the contest is open only for one week.

League Release:
Contest Voting:

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Can-Am Franchise to Worcester in 2005

Worcester Magazine reports that the defunct Allentown Ambassadors of the Northeast-now-Can-Am League have been bought by an ownership group in Worcester and will begin operating this season. Still to be decided: where they can or will play. One related issue on this point is how the presence of a professional team will affect the availability of the field selected for amateur teams from Babe Ruth level to the various men's leagues.
We welcome the Can-Am League to Worcester - they will succeed there I am confident of that. But let's not punish great amateur programs in the process.
Great to have baseball in central Massachusetts - and let's find a way to have a for-charity benefit tournament among the Rox, Spirit, and the un-named Worcester team.


Land of the Rising Picket Line

First we exported baseball, very successfully, to Japan. Now, in due course, we have exported The Baseball Player Strike to Japan as well - a country widely respected for its harmonious management-labor relationships and lack of confrontational behavior (such as labor strikes). Apparently, the players union is upset at the possible loss of 100 jobs when two teams, the Kinetsu Buffaloes and the Orix Blue Wave, plan to merge. The merger is driven by millions of dollara (even more in Yen) in team losses. What will Ichiro say?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Rox Get Can(ned)

See this Story from CNN/SI: Oil Can Boyd, 45, announces at the Brockton Rox Winter banquet that he will mount a comeback with the Rox in '05. The Can says he still can hit 89 on the gun and wants to play.
Don't bet against him - he would be a great draw for the Rox and a fun ambassador for the Can-Am League.


Friday, January 21, 2005

NH HotStove Fun

The Annual NH Baseball dinner is coming up folks - featuring pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Lenny DiNardo, along with others, and all for the benefit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Hampshire. The dinner will be held Friday, February 4, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. The master of ceremonies for the event will be WMUR Channel 9 Sports Director Jamie Staton.
This is a great take - don't miss it.
More Info? Check the Nashua Pride or the Manchester Fisher Cats Web site.
See 'ya there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Navigators Facing Relocation?

Connecticut fans have it good - lots of good minor league venues to choose from, including the Can-Am league, Atlantic League, several NECBL teams, and two good affiliated AA Eastern League teams: the New Britain Rock Cats (Twins) and the Norwich Navigators (Giants). I like both venues, each for different reasons, but New Britain has been much more successful at generating fan support than Norwich - especially since the Navigators' affiliation with the NY Yankees ended several years ago.
The Navigator's Dodd Stadium, while no miracle of design, is functional and has good sight lines - but is located deep inside an office and industrial park, off the beaten path. The current affiliation, with the SF Giants, lacks any real local or east coast ties. If you have attended any Navigators games the past few years, you know that attendance has been an issue for the team. Today, there is a story that the franchise's new owner is considering moving the team if attendance does not improve.

Since I never been to a minor league stadium or game I haven't liked, my opinion doesn't count for much. But I really enjoy going down to Norwich, I hope they stay there, and I hope the local community and institutions can find ways to support the team better and keep them there.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Half a Pill, ...er, I mean Loaf?

OK, so the MLBPA and MLB, with a gun pointed at their heads and cocked by powers such as John McCain, decided to adopt at least a minimalist policy incorporating testing and penalties for steroid use. It is half a loaf, I fully realize. However, as awareness and acceptance grows for the policy, especially among the players, I expect over time the policy will become tougher and more comprehensive (Wishful thinking?). Face it folks - with the most powerful union in America on the other side of the table, this was about as good as MLB was going to get and we are better off than we were last spring training.

There has been a lot of public critisism about the lack of policy rules regarding the use of "greenies," or Amphetamines. I agree, but it seems that problem does date back all the way to the Hank Aaron era anyway - the 1970s (and I am not accusing Aaron BTW.) See this interesting piece by Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun on this issue. Maybe the next contract discussions can include a policy on greenies as well.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Slate Changes Up

Interesting piece today from Eric Liu at Slate: "How I Learned To Pitch -
A Seattle Mariners coach teaches me to throw a change-up, and much more." plus an audio feed from NPR you can listen to. (from the "pitching lesson on NPR's Day to Day.")

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Lowe Down? Thanks Derek.....

Sorry to see you go Derek (Mr. 3-0 in '04 Post-Season), I hope things go well in LA.
Most everybody (me included) thought that refusing the Red Sox offer of 3 years/$9M per/$27M total was a foolish move, but you and UberAgent Scott Boras - and a hyper-inflated pitching free-agent market - proved us all wrong. You did one year better - and at age 31, that is not so bad.

I hope the NL agrees with you, say hello to Nomah when you drop by Wrigley, and BTW, time to take BP!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Piling On? I am Guilty

Seen today headlining the ESPN.com site with an animated ad: 30-50% Off Customized merchandise at http://shop.nhl.com/.

The time to buy is now folks - and save these great momentos alongside those 1994 World Series Licensed souvenirs you have stored away.

Friday, January 07, 2005

If you didn't know what "hyperbole" meant

now you do:
Doug Mientkiewicz: "Personally, I went through hell and back this year."
Now that is the definition of hyperbole - exaggeration for effect . . .
For Larry Lucchino: Just say to Doug, quoting Keyshawn Johnson: "Give me the damn ball!"

It's not just New Englanders who care about the Sox-Yankees


great piece by Tom Boswell of the Post

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Mystery of the Knuckler

I don't ordinarily associate The New Yorker magazine and off-speed pitching strategies, but the link below will take you to an interesting piece from the famous magazine on the mystery of the Knuckleball.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New Year's Grumblings....

Boggs in The Hall: yeah good numbers and he did work hard at improving his shaky defensive skills as his career progressed. But honestly, I never liked the Chicken Man - he always seemed more interested in his own stats than the success of the team. I wasn't bothered much when he left.
His self-centered quote in today's AP wire story regarding his election says it all: "I wouldn't classify it as the end of the world had I not got in today," said Boggs, the 41st player elected on his first chance. "But it would have been a disappointment because of the numbers that I put up." Hey classless Wade - How about "It is such an honor just to be in the same company with ........"
Rice - Still HOF Viable: My sense is that Rice will make it next year. His HOF numbers went up this year, he finished fourth in the balloting, and the incoming crew next season is weak. At close to 60% of the votes, it looks like he is picking up momentum. Let's keep the heat on the BBWA members. Jim Ed. deserves it.
RJ to the Yanks: You knew Georgie Porgie was not going to take the ultimate humiliation lying down. Still, I agee with Tim's post - I like the Sox Rotation, as it stands today, much better that New York's. I think Boston's rotation has more upside potential than NY's, and so far, Beltran is not a Yankee. People talk about RJ vs. Schilling in Game 7 of the ALCS this year - I have a more fun matchup: RJ vs. David Wells.
Bye BY: Still a Red Sox, for now. Theo will move Kim soon, and hopefully get something for him rather than nothing at all. Note to Theo: package Millar with BY as a Special Value Meal to some dumb NL West team.
Millar-Mientkiewicz: This one is a no brainer in my eyes - Keep Doug M. - ship "sippin' whiskey Kevin," wherever. Millar, a clubhouse favorite, is a mediorce (I am being nice here) first baseman and a very streaky hitter - great when he's on, horrible when he is cold (remember last spring and summer?). Mientkiewicz is a much better-rounded player, plays excellent defense, and can hit - though he did not show it last season, and is more consistent (and sober) than Millar.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Pay It Forward

I am a skeptic.
For $100M, what will George really get - paper tigers or real ones? That's a huge bet for pitching, IMO.
I'll take Wells (on the mound or on the town); Curt in the Car; Hey, Wake(field) Up; Matt Chi-Guy Clement; and Braids Arroyo over Wall-Puncher Brown; Wrinkles Johnson; Brains Mussina; One-Good-Year Pavano; and Not Yet Wright.
You never know what you are really buying till the season is over, so let's play the games, then decide who's worth more.
Play Ball! (Oops, it's only January.)

Bargain Basement: Mugs, T-shirts, Players


I like the $10 AL Champs monkey. How about you?

Get the Nomar stuff while it is still lukewarm.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Baseball Wins, Losses in '04

The Game had a lot of high points in 2004 - especially if you are either a Red Sox or a drama fan. Even irked Yankee fans would have to admit the ALCS was an all-time classic baseball event - destined to be remembered and recalled decades from now, and not just because the Red Sox won.

High Points (IMHO):
- Red Sox Win WS, of course
- Theo proves winning the WS isn't just about spending more money than the other fellow
- Randy Johnson's season, playing on an awful Arizona team.
- Carlos Beltran, and the post-Jimy Williams Houston Astros'
- David Ortiz
- end of the Montreal Expos (a mercy move if there ever was one)
- Baseball returns to DC; let's hope it works out better than the last two franchises based there.
- Better umpiring
- The Class of Hank Aaron in the face of an unfair assault on his wonderous achievements
- Yanks $180M Biggest Payroll in Baseball History team delivers the Biggest Choke in Baseball History

Low Points (IMHO):
- Juiced stats, stories, lost integrity; the Game is humiliated and embarassed by its biggest star.
- MLB's botched DC move
- MLB's botched steroid policy response
- MLBPA's idiotic steroid policy response
- MLBPA's idiotic steroid policy response (worth two mentions anyway)
- A resumption of skyrocketing salaries; the 2002-2003 "market correction," appears to be over
- Red Sox and Yankees big dollar, gaudy post-season free agent signings prove that the dollar distance between the haves and have-nots in baseball is only getting worse.
- Classless Pedro leaves Boston by burning all bridges in his wake. You will regret this, pal.
- Nomah's unprofessional handling of physical and other adversity; don't try to tell me you earned the right to pout.

What's yours?