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.... Bambino's Curse

My friend and co-blogger, Edwards Cossette, didn't take to kindly to my Move On post and accompanying email. However, the omission of his site from my roster of links is an oversight, not a response to our friendly disagreement. Should any of my readers stop by his site, please inform him that I have rectified the situation.

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 30, 2004

.... Sabean speaks

I found this interview with Brian Sabean at Steve Shelby's SF Giants Diary. The piece starts out noting that since taking the reins in SF, he (and the Giants) have compiled the third best record in baseball, (647-486). OK, I'll say he deserves some credit for that, but with the absolute best player in the game enjoying one of the two or three greatest offensive runs ever, you'd better be able to win some games.

As for the interview, a couple of Sabean's comments stand out.

"In 2002, we were the hottest team in baseball. Unfortunately, we ran into a team that was as hot or hotter, a team with the home-field advantage. But I don't look at Games 6 and 7. We blew Game 2."

"I agree with (A's general manager) Billy Beane that the first round is like the NCAA basketball Tournament. It's such a springboard. Ask the Braves. The playoffs are a crapshoot. "

(On Neifi Perez playing short everyday) "He has in the past and won a Gold Glove (in 2000 with Colorado)."

(On JT Snow) "He's a professional. His overall demeanor, his approach to the game is what you need in the clubhouse. And there's no telling how many runs he saves you on defense. You can't quantify it."

(Does he think Bonds uses steroids) "No, because he has been big for a long time. I've been with the Giants organization since 1993, and he was a physical specimen then. Nobody works as hard as this guy does."

I had almost forgotten the Giants blowing Game 2 (11-10). That was the Russ Ortiz meltdown game, and Sabean's dead right, the Giants never get on the plane, Bonds wins the WS MVP, and all of SF explodes if they hold on in that game.

As for the rest, well, I hope he doesn't put too much stock in his terrific performance. Without Superman, his and the Giants record would probably look a lot more like the Dodgers.

As for Perez, Snow, whoever the hell he puts in right field and 300 at bats for Pedro Feliz, the Giants better get some serious breakout seasons from Alfonzo, Durham and Piernizkiskiszki [I guess I'd better figure out how to spell his name soon] ;-)

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 30, 2004

.... News and notes

The Giants have made the news lately, what with SBC claiming naming rights at Pac Bell, and now Robb Nen claiming closing rights for 2004.

Two things stand out in Nen's situation. First, he has now had three operations since he last pitched in the 2002 World Series; and second, should he fail to complete his comeback, he will have earned just shy of $19 million dollars for throwing exactly zero pitches in '03 and '04. Can you say ouch? As the Giants attempt to balance their books against their title hopes this season, how much do you think it pains Sabean to imagine having access to that kind of bling? My word.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have apparently no real options at third base now that Aaron-I once hit an important home run-Boone is done for the year. Rob Neyer imagines the Yanks could make a run at Adrian Beltre should King George decide that they cannot have any weaknesses in their lineup at all. I've heard it tossed around that they could try to take A-Rod off Tom Hicks' hands.... I mean, hey, he and Derek are best friends, no? ;-)

We'll see how that shakes out, now that A-Rod has been named captain.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 29, 2004

.... Politically incorrect

OBM friend and inspiration, Christian Ruzich of the Cub Reporter, sent me this link to an ad that CBS has apparently decided to censor during this week's Super Bowl. I happen to be againts virtually everything Bush stands for and is doing to this country in the name of patriotism and all that, so I am not the least bit concrened about mixing politics and baseball. Sorry if I offend anyone.

Comment on this   [4]  »  January 27, 2004

.... Third time a charm?

The Yankees have just found out that their often useless and once-in-a-lifetime brilliant third baseman may miss the entire 2004 season due to a knee injury suffered playing basketball. Aaron Boone's season appears to be over before it's started, and his injury cause, a contract-restricted game of pickup basketball, may end up costing him millions.

The speculation in NY now centers on the vast list of third basemen available, ahem, which is to say, virtually none. However, I believe the best possible third baseman out there already plays for the Yankees. He is a World Series MVP, has collected the most hits in baseball since the day he first made the majors, has four championship rings, a rifle for an arm, and is the team captain.

Derek Jeter would be far more valuable to the Yankees as a third baseman than he is as a shortstop, (and he is the most valuable Yankee on the team at that position) for two main reasons; he would shore up a perennially weak position for the duration of his contract, and he would allow the team to utilize a defense-first player at short, the only spot (other than catcher) where it is truly applicable.

His defense at short over the last several years has been mediocre, obvious to anyone watching the games, and obvious by all means of analysis. Over at ESPN, you can see that Jeter's standing amongst all major league shortstops is abysmal. He's the only shortstop listed with a range factor below 4.0 (3.75). He ranks 20th in fielding percentage, 20th! He was 13th in 2002, 12th in 2001. In all three seasons his range factor was below 4.0.

Well, I could go on and on, in fact, I have. We'll see if Brian Cashman, Joe Torre and Derek can see the obvious as well as I can.

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 27, 2004

.... Hmmm

Alan Schwartz dials it in for anyone not closely affiliated with Bill James' writings in this special to ESPN. To my friends who still want to debate the "value" Neifi Perez may offer the Giants defensively vs. Rich Aurilia's offense, I refer you to Mr. Schwartz's final paragraph:

"Many studies over the last three decades have suggested that defense is less important than many people think, because the difference between the best and worst teams amounts to no more than about one play per game. But if you want to know which team's pitchers are getting the best glove support, Defensive Efficiency is a great place to start."

I have been taken for task for stating almost exactly the same thing. Ouch.

Comment on this   [1]  »  January 26, 2004

.... The song remains the same

Mike Lupica is making noise about the deal going down in the NBA, with the New Jersey Nets having been purchased by Bruce Ratner, (a developer with ties to, among others, the NY Times). Ratner has a plan that involves dislocating three or more blocks worth of Brooklynites as part of his huge arena and mall complex that he will build in Brooklyn, with the Nets being a big part of the lure.

Keep in mind that he will be ignoring zoning laws, eminent domain laws, and that New Yorkers will end up paying well over half of the estimated $500 million dollars or more it will cost to complete this mammoth undertaking.

Keep this in mind when you read about the 10,000-fold profit our suddenly aware commissioner earns after finding some sucker to take the Brewers off his hands now that he has changed the rules of baseball so blatantly towards generating that profitability.

It's all about the money at the top, never more so than in todays' world, with Selig's friend George Bush, who turned a $600,000 investment in the Texas Ramgers into more than $16 million after exactly the same type of bullshit deal, a publicly-financed ball park, built on land essentially stolen from taxpayers.

Greed is good, no?

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 26, 2004

... The company you keep?

I found this Art Thiel piece over at Will Carroll's blog. Art addresses one of Seligula' conflicts of interest:

"In Selig's statement regarding the sale (of the Milwaukee Brewers), he said in part, " ... While I have played no role in the administration of the Brewers, putting my ownership share in trust in 1998, I am convinced and have been for many years that it is in the best interests of the game" to sell.

Really? If my math is right, that means it took two years less for Selig to realize he was compromising the game than it took Rose."

Nice to see a newspaper noticing the obvious.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 20, 2004

.... Superman

Alan Schwartz reminds us that Barry Bonds needs just 56 home runs to match Babe Ruth. Don't forget he's also just two, count 'em, two home runs away from his Godfather, Wille Mays.

All in all, a hot start for Bonds, and the Giants could see him hit 660th, 700th, 714th and his 715th home run, all in one season. Not to mention that he's just 120 walks away from Rickey Henderson's record 2190, and needs just 59 runs to reach 2000 for his career.

Should be a banner year of milestones for Barry.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 16, 2004

.... Rose redux

Baseball Prospectus' main man, Joe Sheehan, has an editorial on Pete Rose today. It's a BP Premium article, and if you're here often, you should be a premium subscriber.

In the meantime, I'll let you know that Joe and I are in agreement on this:

"To those who would argue that Rose's career as a player outweighs his actions as a gambler, I point out that many of his on-field accomplishments are a part of the Hall of Fame, as they should be. Achievements should be celebrated, and the many great moments of Rose's career have a place in the museum along with the many great moments of players who didn't violate 21(d).

But a man who broke the game's biggest rule, and showed a complete disregard for that game through three years of betting and another 14 of lying, has earned exactly what he's getting. Rose should have no place in the game, and he certainly should not be eligible for the its highest honor."


Comment on this   [0]  »  January 16, 2004

.... Don't poke the bear

Brian Sabean was pretty unhappy with the SF sportswriters yesterday, as they had the temerity to ask him questions during his conference call to announce the signing of superstar (wink) pitcher Brett Tomko.

He feels that the Giants have done all they could to strengthen their team this offseason, that the financial issues plaguing the team are real and immovable, and that come spring training, the Giants (and their fans), will see a real team that is capable of competing for a championship. He feels that the team is no different from the past two WS winners, the Angels and the Marlins, in that those two teams won with defense and pitching, (along with a lot of timely hitting).

We'll see. Sabean has been a fairly effective GM for the Giants, and they've been competitive for a good long while. That said, I don't believe that the team he's constructed will be as good as he thinks. I think that the area of weakness that spelled doom for the Giants in last seasons' playoff loss to the Marlins, (forgetting for a moment the uncharacteristic defensive miscues) was a lack of a hitter (or hitters) other than Bonds' to change a game. In fact, since the end of the 2002 WS, the Giants have subtracted power from their lineup at an alarming rate.

Here's what Sabean thinks....

".... the Giants got to the 2002 World Series on the backs of their starters, and to the seventh game of the Series on the strength of their bullpen."

That is flat-out untrue, and if Sabean and the rest of the brass really do think that, well, Giants fans are in for a tough spell. It's hard enough to compete for a championship. harder still to do it over a period of time. Incorrectly assessing the foundation of your success is a sure-fire way to fail in those efforts. In 2002, the Giants came within a few outs of a title on the strength of a league-best offense, not pitching and defense. Since then, they've lost about 50 points of batting average, 50 points of OBP, some 70 points of SLG, and (obviously) almost 200 points of OPS. I put this in a post a while back....

2002 Road Production .273/.350/.471 126 HR's 426 Runs 416 RBI's
2003 Road Production .250/.325/.418 98 HR's 357 Runs 335 RBI's

I think 2004 will look something like this....

2004 Road Production .230/.315/.402 80 HR's 315 Runs 315 RBI's

You think that's a pennant winning offense? I don't. That looks like mediocrity, regardless of Nen and Schmidt. And by the way, if either of those two guys doesn't pitch to form, you can flush the season.

What Sabean and company have failed to realize, as they whine about revenue's falling and how the economics have changed, is that their window of opportunity, courtesy of Superman, is closing fast. This team, A.B. (after Barry), will be a 90 loss team for a long time, simply because the successful shell game Sabean has been playing with their wafer-thin farm system depends on a game-bending superstar to make it work. Plugging in league average players around Barry has made Sabean look like a genius, but if Barry were, say, Jim Edmonds or even Albert Pujols, this team would have been an expensive pretender the last five years.

In two or three years, his security blanket will be gone, and if he hasn't won a title by then, exactly how will he do it afterwards? There are no hitting prospects in the Giants system (and haven't been for years), essentially no pitching prospects, so you can bet the Giants won't be able to match the Yankees efforts of a decade ago (Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Williams and Pettitte, the core of their run, all from within).

And that's the real reason Giants fans are grousing. They see through Sabean, and realize that the fun is over, that the Giants ownership is tired of spending big money, and the time for penny-pinching has arrived. The biggest complainer should be Bonds, who stayed home in hopes of bringing a title to the city by the bay, and now looks to be the only reason people will come.

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 15, 2004

.... Not only baseball matters

For readings outside the world of fun and games, I heartily recommend the writings of Greg Palast for anyone who wonders, as Neo did, whether the wool is being pulled over your eyes.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 14, 2004

.... Black Eyed Peas?

Anyone (Hello, Mad Dog) still unclear about the damage gambling can cause, just check out the latest black eye the "sport" of boxing has received. Boxing has been on the downside of fan interest since well before Mike Tyson went to prison, and the latest scandal is os ho-hum, it hardly merits a mention. If this were a baseball story, it'd be on the front page of the newspaper. In boxing, it's the eighth most important sports piece on a slow day.

Picture baseball without Landis, without the cleanup, and boxing's what you see, a "sport" so corrupt it's well on it's way to becoming irrelevant.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 14, 2004

.... Embarassed?

Murray Chass says the Yankees have been embarassed by the Astros, after their press conference yesterday announcing the signing of Roger Clemens to a one year deal. I heard Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker on WFAN last night, and he said the deal included a 10 year personal services contract as well, so all that bluster about Clemens being a Yankee for life is pretty much over too.

I have to agree with Chass, in that Steinbrenner dropped the ball on Pettitte; regardless of any debates about whether he is very good or great, he has been a terrific part of the Yankees rotation for 11 years, is one of the premier left-handers in today's game, and absolutely should have been a Yankee for life.

Clemens' about face only happens if Pettitte is in Houston, so, Cashman's "we weren't invited" comments ring hollow. Of course, Cashman almost certainly wasn't invited when Steinbrenner decided not to aggressively pursue Pettitte either, so take that for what it's worth.

So far, the Yankees off-season has been odd, to me. Instead of grabbing the 27-year old Guerrero to solve the right field problem for the next decade, they chose a stop-gap approach and got a three year attitude problem. They're efforst to improve the outfield defensively seem like a fools ploy. (Does anyone really think Lofton is that much better than Bernie? Or that Torre will sit Williams?)

They're efforts have weakened the infield defense, as Boone plays starry-eyed in NY, and Giambi everyday is.... well, he's no Johnson, and that's not saying much. They still have a learning the position second baseman, a third baseman playing short, and a catcher with a mediocre arm. The fact that Jeter has the best arm of all the Yankees means a whole area of defense (throwing the ball) is still unavailable to them, and that's without mentionioning the Yankees have virtually no team speed).

Yes, Vasquez looks like a good young pitcher, but Brown is a complete question mark, as is Leiber, Contreras is mostly unknown, they have no lefty in the rotation... I don't know. Lots of money guarantees nothing, as the Yanks have now lost to the eventual champ three years running; right now, they look more like the best softball team in the world than the best baseball team.

Comment on this   [1]  »  January 13, 2004

.... Number two?

You know, there's another team in NY, and once upon a time they were pretty damn good. The Mets were the better team in NY when I lived in Manhattan, up until the drugs destroyed their young stars, Gooden and Strawberry. Bob Ojeda was brought in and he helped them win a title, and he was known as a stand up guy and real competitor.

He's leaving the Mets organization now (he's been a minor league pitching coach for a couple, three years now), and he says the reason why is that they are clueless. I don't know Ojeda, and I don't know that he is a quality pitching coach or not, but I know this. The Mets are bush league, have been every year but one (2000) since the the eighties.

They finish second in everything they do, whether it's getting a player, beating the Braves, handling their own problems. They will not recapture the hearts of New Yorkers until they move past this problem, and seems to me, a guy like Ojeda is the type of guy who you would want to fight to keep around, not drive away.

Then again, they're the Mets, and as currently assembled, they look a lot like the SF Giants, good, not great. A lot of mediocrity, surrounding one great player, (in the Mets case it's the aging Piazza).

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 12, 2004

.... How about some talk about the good guys?

The Baseball Crank has a post about the best players in the game. He uses Win Shares and other stuff to come up with an established level of performance to discover that the best player in the world is...


Now that's an unusual conslusion. Just kiddding. It's good stuff, and there are some interesting players in his top 25. Go, now.

Comment on this   [1]  »  January 12, 2004

.... Rose, finalmente

I just found this column by John Dowd while I was over at Baseball Musings. In it, Dowd reveals that, after all these years, Pete Rose was given a specific, detailed and fair opportunity to come clean, rehabilitate himself, and get back into baseball's good graces. After being stonewalled by Rose, Giamatti asked Dowd to find a resolution.

"Bart (Giamatti) and I agreed on the fundamental points of such a resolution: Pete would have to reconfigure his life. He would have to stop betting. He would have to make a candid response to all of the hard evidence. He would have to explain his association with all of the characters in the betting operation. He would have to submit to, and complete, a full rehabilitation. During his rehabilitation, he would be removed from the game of baseball.

I had been advised by federal authorities that if Rose agreed to these terms, he would not be prosecuted for tax evasion but would have to pay all taxes, interest and penalties due. Upon successful completion of his rehabilitation, he would have been readmitted to the game of baseball and could receive all honors which come with achievement and good conduct. He would have been eligible, if chosen, for admission to the Hall of Fame.

I worked for a month with Pete's counsel. They tried but could not get Pete to admit the truth. They asked if I would meet with him alone and talk to him. They believed I could bring him around. Bart approved and I agreed to talk to Pete. But Pete's agent vetoed the meeting.

We were at complete loggerheads. Pete's criminal counsel wanted the resolution we were working on but his agent would not budge. Bart, then-deputy commissioner Fay Vincent and I met with Pete's agent. He told us that Pete was a legend and would not admit to any of the allegations. It was a short meeting.

I then tried to find some friends of Pete's -- Reds teammates -- we could call upon to reach out and help him in his obvious time of need. I was told Pete had no friends in baseball."

First of all, I think it is fair to ask why this information had not been revealed before? We, the fans, the baseball public; have been told to just shut up and read the report, it's all in the report, over and over again; when, in fact, it wasn't all in the report.

Knowledge about an offer that fair and decisive would have answered many of the questions that the puzzling agreement raised. (some of which can be found in this post I wrote earlier this week):

".... how could they think they were going to able to ban the all-time hits leader without a fuss? And if they could prove (he bet on baseball), why the hell did they write such a namby-pamby agreement? Why put in the agreement that no determination that Rose had bet on baseball would be made? WHY HAVE AN AGREEMENT AT ALL? Did they need Rose's permission to ban him? What, he was going to sue them if they did without his say so?"

If baseball made a mistake here, it was in keeping this offer private. In asking Pete to make a full public disclosure, they also should have done so. It would have made everything that had transpired more sensible, and much of the following confusion and polarization would almost certainly not have happened.

That said, I think that, in light of this new information, many (if not all) of the questions have been answered. I think it's pretty damn clear that Pete Rose failed in the toughest test of his career. When he stood there, guilty as the day is long, and refused to take advantage of the opportunity being offered to him by Bart Giamatti and baseball, he created this mess he's in. He is responsible for all of this now, everything.

At some point, this BS has to be over. For me, that point has arrived. Rose should never be re-instated, and he should not receive a plaque in Cooperstown.

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 11, 2004

.... I still can't get e-Neif

So, now we read that Rich Aurilia was signed by the Mariners for one year at $3.5 million? That makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. It makes me sick because Rich is a solid player and deserved a better deal, and it makes me sick because Neifi-the outmaker-Perez will earn only about a million less while making about twice as many outs, and generating about 25% as many runs.

One more nail in the coffin for 2004, and for Giants fans. Hey Barry! Still glad you stayed?

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 8, 2004

.... More more more

Rob Neyer has a terrific piece on the history of gambling in baseball on ESPN today. Here's a taste:

"The 1919 World Series is remembered by most fans as an isolated incident. It wasn't, though. Other World Series -- in 1903 and 1912, to name just two -- were played under a cloud of suspicion, and of course Hal Chase had been throwing games for years. What's more, Chase certainly wasn't alone; he was merely the most brazen of his crooked peers. The fact is that baseball players in the early 20th century were generally expected to make an extra buck from time to time."

It's important to remember that Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis was hired by the baseball owners to remove the stain of corruption that threatened the standing of baseball as the national pastime. The 1919 Black Sox made the headlines, but gamblers had been involved in baseball for almost as long as the game had been played. Once it was headline news, something had to be done. Well, Landis done done it. He wrote the rules (in 1927) that Rose broke, and they have remained unchanged since.

Rose knew all about this, as most anyone who loves baseball does. The question of whether the death penalty (for betting on games you are involved in) should still be enforced some 70 years after baseball's problem has been cleaned up, well that hasn't been adressed; and isn't likely to. Until it is, Rose's tough times these last 14 years are irrelevant, as is any conversation about him having paid for his crime.

The interesting point here, though, is that had Giammatti, Vincent and Dowd slammed the door on Rose 14 years ago, none of this would be happening. There'd be no book, no apology, no nothing. Rose would be signing baseballs two doors down from the Hall of Fame every spring, and no one would be there but him.

In the interest of keeping you informed, here again is the text of the agreement between Rose and baseball. Read it closely, and see if you agree with me; that it sure does seem to suggest that Dowd and Vincent did not have the ability to prove their case conclusively, facts under the light, under public scrutiny. And I ask again, without being able to prove it, conclusively; how could they think they were going to able to ban the all-time hits leader without a fuss? And if they could prove it, why the hell did they write such a namby-pamby agreement? Why put in the agreement that no determination that Rose had bet on baseball would be made? WHY HAVE AN AGREEMENT AT ALL? Did they need Rose's permission to ban him? What, he was going to sue them if they did without his say so? Who cares.

According to them, they had the evidence to prove that he had bet on baseball some 400 times. Isn't that what they have been repeating over and over these last 14 years? Why not put it behind them? Were they afraid of a scandal? Were they worried about the media circus that would come out of banning the all-time hits leader? Please.

I'll tell you why they came up with the idea of an agreement. They thought it would be nice and easy if they got him to agree to the ban. No lawsuit, no media circus, no nothing. So they let him believe that the ban was only for a year, that if he played nice, let the smoke clear and the cameras go away; after a year, he could apply for reinstatement and all would be forgotten. Did Giammatti have a side agreement with Rose that he took to his grave? We'll never know. It wouldn't surprise me if he did. It doesn't matter if he did. Rose knew that he could apply for re-instatement in a year; and he believed that his re-instatement would be a formality. That's why he signed the agreement, and whether he was led to believe that, or he and his lawyer were astoundingly inept, doesn't matter anymore.

Read the history of all the scandals that took place in the 1910's and 1920's. The list of Hall of Famer's involved would startle the casual fan. Many of these stars were allowed to stay in baseball after private meetings with men like American League President Ban Johnson, or with Landis; seems like almost as many as were banned. Maybe Giammatti, a student of history, sought a similar accord with Peter Edward. But if he had, he never should have violated the agreement, at the press conference announcing it's signing! By doing so, he blew it. He forced Rose's hand, forced him to deny it publicly. If he had just defered all questions to the text of the agreement, (and if he had lived longer) maybe none of this would have happened. You know Rose would never have admitted it, and maybe he would have re-instated him a year or two later, with little or no fanfare.

Of course, once he passed away, all of that went up in smoke. His two cronies, perhaps angry that their hard and dirty work had been undermined by the weak wording of the agreement (along with having to listen to Rose's denials), immediately went to work attacking Rose. They came right out and said it, over and over; Rose bet on baseball. Nobody's bigger than the game, never forgive him, they cried. They tried to convince everyone that there was no doubt. Bullshit. There was doubt, plenty of it. There was either doubt that they could prove he bet on baseball, or more importantly, doubt that they had the right to declare the all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, Charlie Hustle, permanently ineligible.

Because, as Landis understood 70 years ago, it was the fans who were the final arbiter of any decision they made. If Landis had banned, say, Babe Ruth for his barnstorming tours of Japan, (something he threatened to do, by the way); well, the fans wouldn't have stood for it, would they? When Landis suspended Ty Cobb for hitting an umpire, the fans almost burned down the ballpark, the rest of the Tigers went on strike. Ban the all-time hits leader, one of the all-time fan favorites? That's a big deal. You'd better think it through before you try and do that, because if nobody was as big as the game, well, this body was pretty damn close.

Giammatti wanted the Rose scandal put to rest. The talk out of Cincinnatti about Rose being a big gambler had been going on for years. It was time to put it to rest. He wanted it to be over, and he put together a (flawed) plan to get it done. The whole idea that it was really going to be forever, I don't believe that that was his intention; that seems to me to be more the vindictiveness of Dowd and Vincent getting in the way of Giammatti's real intentions. Nonetheless, he wanted it over, and he wanted the media to start focusing on baseball again, not gambling and scandals and Pete Rose.

You want something, you gotta pay for it. You can pay now, or you can pay later; but you gotta pay. The only difference is that when you pay later, you pay interest and penalties. Well, baseball's paying some interest and penalties for this, wouldn't you say. I'd guess more words have been devoted to the Pete Rose scandal than every other baseball story combined over the last 14 years, with many more to come. Dowd and Vincent and Giammatti dropped the ball on this one, and that's why everyone's still writing and talking and thinking about Pete Rose. The very thing they were trying to avoid, a never ending scandal involving the core of baseball integrity, is what they created.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 8, 2004

.... I just can't get you out of my mind

The never-ending Rose saga takes another turn today with the release of a more thoughtful and contrite Rose apology, as covered here by the NY Times Richard Sandomir.

Also covered (and confirmed) in his statement is the timing of his book and public confession, which apparently he had little to do with. It still looks like he has a tough road to hoe.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 8, 2004

.... What's in a name?

The powers that be running the Giants have begun the process of taking down all of the Pacbell Park signage and replacing it with SBC Park. Right.

Memo to powers:

A name isn't something you just change whenever you think it's OK. You don't just change your name from John to Max because you think your parents had it wrong 39 years ago. Names become a part of one's identity, even if that identity is only a few years old. Pacbell Park was a good, almost great name, even though it was corporate logo. I, for one, will never refer to it by any other name, and as you would have realized if you paid the least bit of attention to that 3Com Park/Candlestick disaster, no one else, (uh, the fans) will either.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 7, 2004

.... A Rosy outlook?

Here's a look at what a couple of the writers from around the country have been saying about Peter Edward....

Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News... "If he thinks that by coming clean he is going to get another shot at managing in the big leagues, he is at least only lying to himself now. Pete Rose will never have a field position in baseball, whether Commissioner Bud Selig reinstates him or not. And that reinstatement is no more of a sure thing now than before Rose finally came out on his gambling."

Bill Madden of the NY Daily News.... "Rose's admission after 15 years of denial that he bet on baseball is seen as his desperate last attempt to get reinstated to the game by commissioner Bud Selig and finally become eligible for the Hall of Fame."

Gwen Knapp of the SF Chronicle.... "In writing this book, Rose didn't stand up. He sold out. It defines him as an entertainer and salesman, not a sportsman. And we all know what hucksters have in mind when they write books or movie scripts: Save something for the sequel."

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.... "Only a man who has lived by his own version of the law, or no laws at all, could make as hollow an attempt at confession and restitution as Rose has."

Wow. There's not too many nice things said about him out there.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 6, 2004

.... More on Rose

Check out David Pinto's opine on Peter Edward. He offers some healthy skepticism on his Hall of Fame chances.

Also chiming in is Mike Carmiati, who shares my cynicism with MLB's handling of the entire Rose affair.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 5, 2004

.... Odds and (Rosy) ends

So the Yankees think Javier Vasquez, who has never thrown a single pitch for them, is worth 4 years and $45 million, but Andy Pettitte, a Yankee all his life, who has won more postseason games than anyone in the history of baseball wasn't? Talk about bad karma.

And finally, after all the BS they took from Seligula and his cronies, it turns out the boys at Baseball Prospectus were right after all, as Pete Rose's new book apparently reveals that he did bet, did lie, and that he admitted this in a November meeting with the commisioner, according to this story in Sports Illustrated. Oh, and of course, he is now using his admission and accompanying apologies to seek reinstatement from Seligula, which will almost certainly happen.

So, Fay Vincent and John Dowd got it right, and now they are bitterly demanding apologies. Well, they won't get one from this writer. They did it wrong, all wrong, when they railroaded Rose, and they are part of the reason this BS went on for all these years. It was obvious from the minute Rose signed that agreement that something smelled funny, and when Giammatti immediately violated the agreement, (as did Vincent and Dowd, every time they opened their mouths over the last fourteen years), they made all their posturing and bluster irrelevant. If they had him, they should have taken him out, clean, with no slippery slope. They didn't, and then they went and made it seem like if they said they did loud enough, that would be the same as getting it right the first time.

They didn't get it then, and they don't get it now; they are the reason he's on the cover of SI today, after all this time, trying to get back into a game that he betrayed. They gave him the legs to get to today. They could have and should have forced him to make this same admission back then, especially if they felt so strongly that they had him dead to rights; and more so since they were giving him so much. They couldn't, wouldn't and and/or just plain didn't, and now Seligula has, and for finally coming clean, Rose will be allowed back into baseball by a commissioner who has plenty of 'splainin' to do of his own most days.

I need a shower.

Comment on this   [2]  »  January 5, 2004

Rosy outlook?

Over at David Pinto's excellent Baseball Musings, I read that Pete Rose is apparently going to finally admit he bet on baseball. Well, as a writer who has consistently argued that he was denied a fair hearing, railroaded out of town, and completely turned on by all of the media-types who deified him for all those years; I have to say that his admission doesn't change my tune very much.

As I have said before, if you believe he bet on baseball, (or if he just plain did bet on baseball) then he should never be allowed back. If he didn't, or if you just believe that he didn't, then he should never have been banned in the first place.

Seligula is almost certainly going to screw this up, just like everything else he makes key decisions on, and allow him all the way back with little or no remorse or accounting. One more black eye for a man who could hardly be more beaten up.

Comment on this   [0]  »  January 3, 2004

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