Dreams Blog

April 25, 2014

Thin Bench
All the latest pitch-count restrictions have created a big problem for MLB managers in how they can use their players. Most teams carry 13 arms on the pitching staff. That leaves only 3 extra players after the nine starting players.
The final game in the recent Boston and NY series, saw the problem. Back-up catcher, Francisco Cervelli played 1B for the injured Texeira and when he was hurt Carlos Beltran came in from right. Solarte hurt his leg in the 6th but had to stay in the game. The only catcher, McCann took a pitch off his forefinger but stayed in the line-up getting x-rayed after the game
Give ‘Em The Hook
Thomas Boswell (The Boz- DC Post) wrote about Bryce Harper’s lazy run to first on a grounder, “Yes, Harper was benched for lack of hustle. Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams cited the outfielder’s “inability to run 90 feet.” When Harper’s spot in the batting order came around in the ninth inning of a close game, it was Kevin Frandsen grounding out while Harper watched from the dugout. “That’s a shame for his teammates,” said Williams, making it clear that Harper had forced the move and failed the team.
This is far more than a full-snicker moment. No player is so publicly shamed before a sellout home crowd — with a full explanation of the mid-game exodus given during the postgame news conference — unless there is plenty of backstory and an understanding within the organization that an issue needs to be addressed.
The problem of Harper’s lack of hustle when he’s sulking extends back to last year at least. In fact, several days ago the entire team was warned that the next man who didn’t run out a ball was coming out of the game. Teammates like Harper, but they back Williams.
The gap between the reality of Harper — the good but miles-from-great player, the very good but immature young man — and the five-year-long hype of Harper as a two-time all-star and a future face of baseball needs to narrow considerably, for both the good of the Nationals and the 21-year-old Harper. His sixth-inning quick hook was the first step. No one knows if more will be needed.”
Sometimes A Picture Isn’t Worth Two Words
Ron Borges (Boston Herald) complained that the same poor eyes may be looking at replays. “Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis lashed Lackey’s opening delivery right down the left field line. When the ball landed it sent dirt, but not chalk, flying and left the kind of dent in the earth any tennis player worth his or her salt would have walked over and pointed to with their racquet. There’s no need for such demonstrations in baseball anymore because they now have instant replay, a system that for Sox manager John Farrell has proven far from instant and seldom accurate. Farrell, who was fined last week for saying what everyone in baseball has been thinking — which is to say it’s hard to trust a system that has more bugs in it than a Skid Row flop house — came roaring out of the dugout to challenge the call. Frankly, in this case the umpires didn’t have to go to the videotape to get it right, but they did. All they had to do was sashay to the left field corner, which isn’t a long walk at Fenway, and sees the chalk remained intact while a large crater was evident outside the still pristine line. If you were of a conspiratorial mind you might wonder if something more than that followed judging by the ruling on Markakis’ suspect double. Farrell chose not to go there. One fine was apparently enough to disabuse him of that notion. “There’s no reason to look,” he said. “Video is available to us. We followed the steps. Unfortunately, the call stood. We challenged it. It becomes inconclusive.”
We saw evidence of this when the Yankees recently played the Rays. With runners on 1st & 2nd , a ground ball went to third, the Yankee went to 2nd and the second baseman caught it, took a step, pivoted, and took the ball out of his glove to go to first. The ball squirted out of his hand and the umpire signaled safe. It was reviewed and the safe call was confirmed- unbelievable but true that’s the new rule.
Jolly Rahja Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) wrote about Roger Staubach’s recommendation, “Staubach is the latest to endorse Johnny Manziel, saying he would take him with his first pick in the NFL draft. It’s worth noting, though, that the former Cowboy doesn’t have a first pick, so his professional reputation won’t hinge on Manziel panning out. He’s just speculating like the rest of us. In his day, Staubach’s swashbuckling style was similar to Manziel’s, though Roger had a bigger frame and stronger arm. And not to cast aspersions on Johnny Football, but nobody ever – ever – worried about Staubach’s attitude.
Bob wanted to know, “Whether it’s the Yankees’ Michael Pineda or another MLB pitcher, can you really accuse somebody of applying a “foreign substance” to the ball if the substance comes from the U.S.?”
Longhorn Money-maker
The Sports Curmudgeon sent along this wild idea from U. of Texas, “Here is a college football note that had me shaking my head. In its latest way to try to dip into the wallets of its fans, the University of Texas has come up with two new fan items for sale. For $40, you can purchase men’s and/or women’s fragrances designed for Texas fans. Here is part of the description of the product intended for women fans:
“A spirited new fragrance created to pay tribute to the University of Texas women opens with a sparkling top note of Bergamot, and Ruby Redcurrant. The heart of the fragrance is an addictive floral blend of Orange Blossom, Mimosa and Jasmine. Aromatic Patchouli, Creamy Vanilla and Musks round out the background ensuring a long lasting fragrant appeal.”
A couple of questions for everyone here:
Do you really know what Patchouli is?
Moreover, might you know the difference between “Aromatic Patchouli” and “Stinky Patchouli”?
C’mon, I thought Patchouli was a girl I dated in high school…”

Dreams Blog

April 18, 2014

The Ball Will Find You
Wallace Matthews (ESPNNY.com) wrote, “That’s what baseball people like to say about a weak spot in a team’s defense. If there’s a bad glove out there, there’s no sense in trying to hide it. Because the ball will find you.
Well, the same goes for a roster. If there’s an area that’s a little thin, a little shaky, or lacking depth, that is sure to be the first area that will be exposed.
And so it has been for the New York Yankees, who spent all winter spending nearly a half-billion dollars — $438 million, to be exact, on four players — to shore up sections of their aging roster, only to find that the two areas that most needed shoring up have been the first to break down.
Friday night, it was Mark Teixeira, the only legitimate first baseman on their roster who was coming off a season-ending injury, being felled by a hamstring strain.
And on Monday, it was David Robertson, their anointed successor to Mariano Rivera, going on the disabled list with a groin strain.
But you get the feeling it’s going to take a lot to save the Yankees now that the baseball has found the holes, as it always seems to.”
Questions For Eli
Dan Graziano (ESPN.com) asked, “There are those who wonder whether Manning is a player in decline at age 33. This is a question that has not gone unasked within the ranks of the Giants’ front office. It is part of the reason the Giants decided not to try this offseason to extend Manning’s contract, which runs through 2015, even though doing so would have offered them significant salary cap relief. They would like to see him pull out of his downward trend before they commit to his late 30s. Their hope is that he has a big year and that extending him next offseason makes sense.
But there’s no way to know, and the Giants didn’t exactly load up around Manning this offseason. They brought in a couple of new offensive linemen who may or may not be upgrades. They added a running back who’s probably better than what they had in the second half of 2013. They did not upgrade at wide receiver or tight end. Manning is going to have to make his recovery more or less on his own. He’s going to have to find a way to improve the aspects of his performance that were his fault in 2013. The Giants hope that, in doing so, he can elevate the personnel around him on the offensive side of the ball.
New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, if it bears any resemblance to the one in which McAdoo worked in Green Bay, is likely to rely on quick decision-making (a Manning strength) and short-range accuracy. The old reliance on downfield timing and the ability of his receivers to read coverages exactly as he does from play to play could dwindle, and with it the interception total.”
Coach John Calipari Calls In ESPN.com wrote about, “The outspoken coach has numerous ideas as to how to reform the college experience from the athlete’s standpoint, but he says his suggestions have fallen on deaf ears from the NCAA. “I think we could have gotten somewhere with me as the point man, but the NCAA was not interested in my help,” Calipari said, according to the WSJ. “The message I got, between the lines, was, ‘No, not you. Not Calipari. We don’t want him involved.’ “Among his ideas presented in “Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out,” which is scheduled to be published on Tuesday, the WSJ reported that Calipari presents a 13-point plan for NCAA reform. Among them: • Players should receive stipends of $3,000 to $5,000;
• The NCAA should cover eligible players’ insurance premiums; The outspoken coach has numerous ideas as to how to reform the college experience from the athlete’s standpoint, but he says his suggestions have fallen on deaf ears from the NCAA. • The NCAA should cover eligible players’ insurance premiums I believe the tide is turning. The NCAA will soon have to reform itself or it will not remain the dominant force in college athletics,” the WSJ quoted Calipari from the book.”
Eli’s Ankle
Dan Graziano reported the release from “Giant-ville,” “New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle Thursday, the team announced. Manning said in a release issued by the team that he expects to be able to run again in about six weeks. He sprained his ankle in the final game of the 2013 season against the Redskins and has spent the offseason rehabbing it. The procedure was described as a debridement of the ankle and was performed by foot and ankle specialist Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. Manning has been in North Carolina this week working out at Duke with some of his receivers. “I went through the recovery and rehab after suffering the sprain,” Manning said in the release. “I was still experiencing some discomfort as I began my normal offseason preparation, and after consultation, we felt the right thing was to have Dr. Anderson clean out the ankle.”
I don’t know if this is ONLY a debridement (sucking out of some loose tissue & bone chips caused by the sprain) or if we’ll be hearing more about that pick-up b-ball game at Duke.
Molinaro Maranara Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) told us that, “Could this have been a case of special effects run amuck? In Exeter, England, a showing of “Noah” was postponed when a faulty ice machine flooded the theater. CBS will again carried the Masters even without the presence of needle mover Tiger Woods. The network’s heart may not be in it, but what the heck, the ads are sold. ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted that Arnold Palmer received $20,000 for winning the Masters 50 years ago. This year’s champion will receive $1,440,000.
Stable teams that keep players for four years – take Virginia – become more relevant in the national picture. It’s why we shouldn’t have been so surprised that UConn, led by seniors, defied tournament predictions.”

Dreams Blog

April 11, 2014

Confusing Color Blindness
John Shea (SF Chronicle) told us what you might not know about baseball’s new replay system — but ought to.
“After a third out, a manager who’s considering a challenge must be on the field within 10 seconds and has another 30 seconds to challenge. The crew chief is supposed to hold the defensive players on the field. And TV can’t go to a commercial. Through it all, if the crew chief thinks a club is too slow to challenge, he can rule the play won’t be reviewed. The call would stand. A “field timing coordinator” is to manage TV breaks. He is to flash a red card to the press box (and communicate via headset) to show the inning break has commenced. A blue card shows a pitcher is throwing his final warm-up and that 45 seconds remain in the break. A yellow card shows the batter is leaving the on-deck circle and heading to the plate and that 25 seconds remain in break. A green card shows the break is over. The umpire can’t resume play until a green card is flashed.
In Proper Perspective
The Sports Curmudgeon looked at Miguel Cabrera’s recently signed contract and wrote: “Overshadowing any news coming out of March Madness results is the announcement that the Detroit Tigers will pay Miguel Cabrera $292M over the next ten years. The way it works out, Cabrera gets an 8-year extension (at $248M) on top of the two years that he has left on his current contract. Moreover, there is a vesting option in the contract that might extend the deal two more years beyond the basic 10 years and those additional years will harvest $30M each for Cabrera. That would bring Cabrera’s total compensation for this contract extension to $352M. Let me put that figure into perspective for you. According to United Nations data for 2012 (latest figures I could find), there are 7 member states of the UN whose GDP is less than $352M and there are 3 additional “dependent territories” with GDPs less than $352M.”
Frail Pitchers
Gene Collier (Pgh. Post-Gazette) wrote about big ticket pitchers and their disabilities. “There’s no point in suggesting that baseball players operate under a drastically different physical ethos than, for example, hockey players, even if it sometimes seems that in baseball you can make your way to the DL with bruised feelings while some hockey players can bleed enough to fill a trash barrel and not miss more than a shift.
All right maybe two.
Injuries are inevitable, obviously, but you would think that four or five months away from the game would be enough to get just about everybody ready for a couple of pennant races. Spring training was once a vehicle for getting everyone in shape and ready for a six- or seven-month grind, but now it’s an apparent quest to see how many pitchers you can injure in six or seven weeks. Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million deal pushed him to the head of the income class past Detroit’s $180 million Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46 last year), Seattle’s $175 million Felix Hernandez (12-10, 3.04), the Yankees’ $161 million C.C. Sabathia (14-13, 4.78), and Sabathia’s new rotation mate, Masahiro Tanaka, who has secured a $155 million deal without the inconvenience of actually having to throw a major league pitch yet.
Now will that cost extra?
At these prices, it’s no wonder owners and general managers and player development wizards are so careful with their investments — counting pitches, calculating arm angles, plotting the day when MRIs are routinely done between innings.
Presumably, all this caution will one day result in fewer arm injuries and intact rotations on the eve of opening day.
Pitchers are advised not to hold their breath though. They’ll probably blow out an elbow.
I Still Bristle A Little
Every time I hear that Dr. Frank Jobe saved the careers of countless major leaguers I feel that I have to yell out, “Hey what about Dr. Anthony Pisani.” He was an innovative orthopedic surgeon who worked with the football- Giants more than 20 years earlier and also worked on me.
He inserted a 5” woodscrew through the tip of my humerous, into my shoulder blade allowing me to raise my elbow paralyzed, from polio.
Molinaro Marinara
These thoughts are from Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com), “When “student-athlete” is thrown around at the Final Four, it’s impolite to ask how many class days the players have missed the last month.
What’s even more thought-provoking than Angels outfielder Mike Trout signing a six -year, $144.5 million extension is he’ll be eligible for free agency when he’s all of 28. What kind of record-setting contract might he command then?”
Greg Cote’s (Miami Herald) Notes
“ Dodgers hitting coach Don Baylor sustained a broken leg while catching his team’s ceremonial first pitch on its Opening Day. Maybe someone said “break a leg” to wish him luck, and he took it literally. Parting thought: Still don’t have enough reasons yet to hate Johnny Manziel? Here’s another. His lawyers have filed a trademark claim on the phrase, “The House That Johnny Built.” (Lord how I wish I were kidding.)”
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) Patter
“Andrew Wiggins didn’t really just say that, did he?
‘I wish I just had more time,’ the freshman phenom remarked upon declaring he was heading for the NBA after seven months at Kansas, ‘College goes by so fast.’”
One this year’s top fantasy-baseball team names, from SportsPickle.com: Honey-Nut Ichiros.
“Alan Ray, questioning the logic of baseball’s new instant-replay system: ‘You really want to watch the Mets do that again’?
“Did any pro athletes’ ears perk up when President Obama spoke about the importance of increasing the minimum wage?
In the NBA, minimum salary is $507,336… $500,000 in Major League Baseball…$420,000 in the NFL…”
“What do you get when you cross Ben-Gal with Ben-Gay?
Answer: Brenda Gold, who is trying out for the Cincinnati Bengals cheer squad.”
Entitlement
There seems to be a growing false sense of entitlement among some of our ELECTED officials. These “Pols” make appointments for which they are terribly late or absent all together. They aren’t that big a deal that they can continually ignore the “little people.”

Dreams Blog

April 4, 2014

Yankees And Mets Total Wins
I agree with the ESPN.com guys (Matthews & Marchand) about the Yankees outlook. I’m guessing, because that’s really all it can be right now, that the Yankees will ring up wins in the low 90’s and squeak into the post season as a wild card.
The Mets on the other hand have too many questions following them north from Florida- hitting, fielding, pitching. If I had to guess, I would say between 80 and 85.
Big Bat
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) quoted Darren Rovel (ESPN.com), “Miguel Cabrera will earn $46,423 PER AT BAT over the next decade- median household income of a household in Michigan: $48,471.” Never mind Michigan; New Yorkers would like a chance to swing a bat for that.
Woody’s Warning
Rich Cimini (ESPNNY.com) wrote about some changes in Woody Johnson’s thinking, “”I’m not going to use the word ‘patient’ anymore,” Johnson told reporters. “We want to do it now.”
Rex Ryan doesn’t have that much time. If he misses the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, it would be difficult to see him keeping his job. Yes, he received a contract extension after a better-than-expected season, but all that did was give him an extra year of security, with guaranteed salaries through 2015.
Demonstrating his win-now approach, Johnson confirmed the team’s interest in Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who reportedly is on the trading block (for allegedly having gang affiliations). It was stunning because of tampering rules — team officials aren’t supposed to comment on opposing players — and because of the Jets’ secretive ways.
I say, “Good for him.” Finally, a straight answer from a Jets official.’
The Jets have acquired three new players in free agency, all on offense — Decker, quarterback Michael Vick and right tackle Breno Giacomini. The defense is worse than it was at the end of last season. The Jets still have the draft, and still have time to plug holes. But the expectations are higher than 2013. They got even higher Sunday, when Johnson opened his mouth.
“Look at the difference between last year and this year,” Johnson said. “The team can turn very fast in the NFL. You saw Seattle. I’ve seen a lot of teams that came from the bottom … that weren’t doing that well, to winning Super Bowls. So, it’s there. I think we’re trying to put ourselves in position to accomplish those objectives.”
No Demand For Pay
John Feinstein (DC Post) wrote about that union vote by Northwestern football players, “Let’s be clear: At no point has anyone involved in the Northwestern case on the players’ side suggested they be paid. Unions are formed when management refuses to discuss any change in working conditions and employees’ only recourse is to band together and try to force change. For years, the NCAA has refused to consider any real changes to its treatment of athletes in revenue sports. It is spending millions of dollars to fight a lawsuit that would allow athletes to share in any licensing revenue from video games in which their likenesses are used. The NCAA essentially behaves as a 2-year-old: Everything, every dollar, is “mine.” The NCAA should stop whining about how much this might cost, stop spending millions on legal fees, stop trying to scare people and sit down with the players and negotiate. That would be the right thing to do. It would also have the extra benefit of being the smart thing to do. Now that would set a precedent.”
Rutgers Hoo-ha
Andy Katz (ESPNNY.com) gave us some background, “Two former Rutgers basketball players (Jerome Seagears and Robert Lumpkins) filed a civil suit in a New Jersey court Thursday against the school, former administrators, ex-coach Mike Rice and current coach Eddie Jordan. Seagears transferred to Auburn after Rice was fired, but stayed only a few weeks before returning to Rutgers. He played this past season, but reportedly will transfer again. The lawsuit claims that Seagears was removed from the starting lineup, was kicked out of practice and suspended from the team without reason or justification. Jamon Hicks, who is representing the two former Rutgers players and filed the suit Thursday in Middlesex County Superior Court, said Jordan retaliated against Seagears for seeking legal counsel. “As to Coach Jordan, we believe the evidence will ultimately show that the coach retaliated against Mr. Seagears after a Feb. 4, 2014, newspaper article announced that Mr. Seagears had exercised his constitutional right to obtain legal counsel,” Hicks told ESPN Thursday. “He retaliated against him by drastically reducing his minutes, removing him from practice on several occasions without cause, and removing him from the team without cause. All of these actions were done in violation of Mr. Seagears’ rights.”
Injured Boxer
William Weinbaun (ESPNNY.com) writing for ESPN alerted us to something that has the potential to turn into an industry changing event. “The family of brain-damaged Russian heavyweight boxer Magomed Abdusalamov filed a lawsuit against multiple parties — including five New York State Athletic Commission doctors — alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice.
The lawsuit comes nearly five months after Abdusalamov suffered traumatic brain injuries during a 10-round loss to Mike Perez. Other parties named in the lawsuit include the referee, the commission’s inspector, Madison Square Garden and K2 Promotions.
After Abdusalamov was battered and bloodied in going the distance the night of Nov. 2 against Perez, he was brought by taxi from the Theater at Madison Square Garden to Mt. Sinai Roosevelt Hospital some 25 blocks away. He underwent life-saving surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain nearly three hours after his fight ended, but the native of the Republic of Dagestan suffered multiple strokes and was in a coma for weeks.”
First of all, Perez hit the victim with a clearly foul blow with his forearm. Perez should have been DQ’d at that point with Abdusalamov going for x-rays of his face and head. When the victim got back to his dressing room, the commission DR’s allowed Abdus, to travel to the hospital by taxi not thinking his complaints of headaches were that serious.