Baseball Wiseguys

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Cowboy Down

So Yee-Yah it is.

This Bud's (Not) For You

The Washington Post had a very illuminating one, two, three part series on the business side of baseball which has only fueled my hatred for that rat bastard Bud Selig.

Part 1 discusses the snowjob Selig and the Brewers did on the taxpayers of Wisconsin, ultimately getting Miller Park built with absolutely no capital expenditures from the team or its owners, and subsequently using the increased revenues to service old debt rather than build the team up.

Tucked into the legislation was an unusual side deal Thompson had proposed to Selig. The governor had arranged to have a quasi-public agency, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), lend the Brewers $50 million. The team would use the money as part of its $90 million contribution to the stadium. The $90 million was key: Lawmakers wanted to know Selig, too, was chipping in.

The WHEDA loan was a political solution to a hard reality: The Brewers didn't have the money. The team came up with the remaining $40 million by selling the ballpark's name to the Miller Brewing Co., then using the 20-year, $41.5 million contract as collateral to obtain more debt. In other words, the Brewers' only financial contribution would come from selling the name of a ballpark for which Wisconsin taxpayers had paid.

As much as Selig is to blame for ramming this stadium deal through, I have to put some blame on the people of Milwaukee and their elected reps for not having the balls to demand full disclosure of the Brewer's financial status before allowing the park to be built.

Part 2 talks about Selig's near universal powers he holds over the game, and the subsequent dragging out of the Expos relocation process. The power he holds allowed him to swap franchises among favored friends like they were nothing more than trading cards.

A quick synopsis: Jeffrey Loria owned the Expos around the time contraction was brought up. He knew his team stunk, but he wanted to stay in baseball. So he feigned outrage at contraction, thereby upping his buyout price, which allowed him to sell the Expos to MLB at a grossly higher value than they were worth. This enabled him to buy the Marlins from...

John Wayne Henry, who wanted out of Miami after he realized that buying a World Series team that had been stripped for parts isn't the brightest way to do business, especially with a fickle fan base that has a wealth of other entertainment options at their fingertips. Selig stepped in and played matchmaker, lining Henry, Lucchino, and Tom Werner up to buy the Red Sox, at a price that some say was not the highest offer, but was pushed through due to their special relationship with the old car salesman himself.

Apparently there were other swaps discussed, all of which involved Selig's cronies.

Selig was asked where Washington fit in to baseball's baffling jigsaw puzzle. Would the nation's capital finally get a team?

Perhaps Selig's mood got the better of him. "I'd have to say that given the demographics of the area and all the people who want it, they are the prime candidate," he said.

Relocation, Selig said on Jan. 17, 2002, was coming "in the near future."


Part 3 sheds some light on how Selig manipulates people and franchises to the benefit of himself, his buddies, and the Milwaukee Brewers.

One Major League Baseball official who has worked closely with Selig described him as "an expert in behavioral modification."

"Some of his preferred tools are off-the-record character assassination made to the media and other owners, and minimizing [owners'] participation in high-profile committees," the official said. "Remember that the majority of the owners are egocentric and want to be respected and admired by their peers. Most have paid a significant price to become a member of this exclusive club and hate the thought of being publicly or privately shunned or minimized by other members."

Selig's most successful project has been Angelos. "If Peter was backstabbing Bud and screwing the industry, we'd have a team in D.C. right now," said the official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. In fact, Selig and Angelos are "almost linked at the hip," the official said.


To this day, neither Selig nor his top aides have officially discussed the Expos-in-DC proposal with Peter Angelos for fear of pissing him off. We are currently two years into the Expos wandering in the desert, with an apparent All Star Break deadline to announce their plans, and they have not even started to talk about the bribe it would take to put the Expos near Angelos' franchise?

But we wouldn't want to piss off a filthy rich lawyer who has run his team into the ground, content to let Camden Yards be the attraction rather than the players on the field. Slick Pete has practically been building a case against DC by shooting himself in the foot.

The more I read this stuff, the more pissed off I get.

Can't wait to watch the Portland Expos next year.

I'm out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

NL Roundup, Beeyotch

A division by division look at the playoff races...

NL WEST

Fast Times at Petco Park
Jeff Spicoli scored from second on a routine grounder that the D-Backs booted, and the Padres won last night to hang tight at 2.5 games back in the NL West. The Pads have been a pleasant surprise this year, with a young team playing very well. Former Little League hero Sean Burroughs has hit well, though he could be part of a package to obtain Carlos Beltran. A rotation of Jake Peavy, Brian Lawrence, Adam Eaton, Ismael Valdes, and old man David Wells has looked solid in the tough NL West. One down note however, is the Padres #1 pick in the draft a few weeks back, Matt Bush, has already been suspended indefinitely due to his involvement in a bar fight. Maybe the little Weaver pothead would have been a better pick, at least he'd be a little more mellow...

Welcome to the OC, Bitch
The Dodgers are currently one game back of San Fran in the NL West, having fallen off the pace over the last 10 games. Led by psycho Milton Bradley and a surprising Adrian Beltre, they have hit better than they did last year (as if they could do any worse.) Billy Beane recently tried to swing a deal that would have brought the Dodgers Carlos Beltran and sent Guillermo Mota to Oakland, but GM Paul DePodesta obviously thought the better of trading with a guy whom he watched fleece the rest of baseball for the past 4 years, and the deal fell thru. It might be a good thing in the end, because Mota, Darren Dreifort, and Gagne have combined to form one of the best bullpens in baseball, rarely relinquishing an inherited lead.

Flowers in Your Hair
The Giants have surged into first place on the strength of an 8-2 past ten games, riding the hot arm of unheralded star Jason Schmidt. Schmidt threw a 1-hitter at the Red Sox on Sunday, further strenghthening his case as the top starter in the NL this year. Barry Bonds continues to hit, and his 7 to 1 BB/K ratio is absolutely stunning. Rubber chickens have become Giants fans' way of expressing their displeasure with those who continue to pitch around Balco Barry.

NL CENTRAL

The Kid Returns
The past few years, it seemed like Ken Griffey Jr had an extra first name, "Oft Injured", but the Kid of old is back again, launching bombs with his seemingly effortless swing. He, along with Sean Casey and big Adam Dunn, have slugged the Reds into contention. Save machine Danny Graves and solid Paul Wilson lead a bit of a patchwork pitching staff that will need a lot of help to hang in this tough division as the season progresses. Help could come in the form of recently acquired Porn Stache White, but that is doubtful.

Big Shoulders, Great Pitching
The Cubs have the 3rd best team ERA in baseball, despite losing Mark Prior and Kerry Wood for stretches of time. Carlos Zambrano has turned into a bona-fide stud, at 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA and WHIP of 1.13. Bodily functions have played a big role this year, as Sammy Sosa went on the DL after sneezing, and we found that Moises Alou likes to relieve himself...on himself. Aramis Ramirez continues to blossom, leading the team in batting and RBI's, and still only just shy of his 26th birthday.

Cards in 1st, Nelly Still Sucks
St. Louis is doing their damnedest to hold off the surging Cubs, currently one game up, and with the 2nd best record in baseball. Albert (24 years old, my ass) Pujols and Scotty Rolen are slugging their way through the league this year, both posting an OPS of over .1000. The starting pitching hasn't been great so far, with most ERA's in the 4's, and with Prior getting back to speed and Maddux settling in, the Cards should be worrying about the Cubs soon enough.

NL LEAST

Meet the Mets
If any team with a $100 million payroll can be considered scrappy, it may be the 2004 Mets. Or it could be just a .500 ballclub in a crappy division, but they are now sitting 2.5 games out of first. Their hitting is terrible, but the best team ERA in baseball is allowing the Mets to hang around. Elder statesmen Tom Glavine and Al Leiter lead the way, but it's probably only a matter of time before the Mets' appearance on the back pages is due less to their play than to their antics. Six games vs the Yankees over the next two weeks should help push them back down to familiar ground.

Ph the Phillies
The Phils are 18-16 both at home and on the road this year, leading one to believe that they are not fully acclimated to their new park enough to make it an advantage yet. Jim Thome continues to mash, and has to be the second most feared slugger in the NL after Boston Bonds. Rollins, Abreu, and Burrell are all having solid seasons once again, but Kevin Millwood, with a WHIP of almost 1.50 has been a disappointment. They will most likely need to add a quality arm out of the pen, or get a better showing from the rotation to contend even in this weak division.

Thanks for Coming Out
The defending champion Marlins continue to show why baseball does not belong in Miami, drawing a sad 23,000 per home game, 20th in the bigs. Ace Josh Beckett has been on the DL and is scheduled to make his first start back this Saturday. This could provide a much needed shot in the arm for a team that has gone 4-6 over their last ten. Miguel Cabrera, at age 21, continues to show why he will be one of the better players in baseball for a long time, playing solid defense and posting an OPS of over .900. Carl Pavano may be one of the best unknown pitchers in baseball; look for him in the All-Star game this year and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Rollin'

The Yanks have won 18 out of their last 21 games, bringing their record to 42-21, with a 5.5 game lead over Beantown.

Jeter and Bernie have been on fire over that time period, each raising their once horrible averages to around .260.

I don't know about you, but I think BH Kim has All-Star written all over him.

Nomah is sad, poor thing. I'm sure he'll be happier when he's playing second base for the Yanks next year.

Bud Selig update: I just checked, and he is still a lying scumbag.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Shut It, Fatty

There once was a knight from Aruba,
Whose body was shaped like a tuba,
He talked trash to the Yanks,
And twice he was spanked,
Have another twinkie, you goober.

The fattest knight in Aruba, Sidney Ponson made some noise yesterday:

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Sidney Ponson stopped short of declaring a victory over the New York Yankees, the team with the best record in baseball after the Orioles 13-4 demolishing of the Boston Red Sox earlier tonight.

"I was laughing after my last start because I had them in the palm of my hand, leading 3-0 and I wasn't even pitching my best. I really (bleeped) up a chance to beat them. People misinterpreted what I did on the mound and after the mound. I think their pitching is average at best and if we had the money to compete with them, we'd be right there. We have only 6 less wins than them for all their money spent, so what does that say about them? I think I will stymie them today."

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada did not see the same thing as Ponson
"We beat him and his team last week. He has to be able to say what I just said about me and my team next week, otherwise he should shut up."


After last night's game, his line vs New York on the year looks like this:
0-2, 13.07 ERA, 2.57 WHIP, 4 HR allowed.


This guy is crazy.

Anyone hear about the latest board game from Milton Bradley?
It's called "Pin the Five Game Suspension on the Crackhead."