Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that was filled with heavy doses of sludging and drudging. It’s my hope that at the end of every week during the baseball season, at that moment that only occurs on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to check out some random observations and contribute your own opinions to ten stray thoughts on a Friday.

So, without further ado:

Big Carp

This is “Big Carp” by Miranda McGuire. Ms. McGuire is going to be doing a few illustrations for us as part of our MLB playoff coverage this season. This is but an example of what you can look forward to, along with our typical a-typical game summaries, daily podcasts and running dairies during all of the post season games. Yeah, it’s going to be pretty rad.

The Los Angeles Dodgers And The Sweetheart Deal

According to a report on Bloomberg.com by the esteemed John Helyar, (and also originally reported by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times back in May) the Los Angeles Dodgers won’t have to pay the standard 34% of whatever money they receive for regional television rights into the revenue-sharing pool. Instead, the money that they have to share will come from a capped amount of $84 million. Meanwhile, television experts have projected that a television deal could bring in as much as $225 million annually.

That might seem like a stark difference that would not only affect small market teams, but every franchise, as the extra income will allow the Dodgers to escalate salaries as they continue to spend as they’ve been spending since the new ownership group took over. However, according to Shaikin:

The Dodgers are expected to pursue a regional sports network, on their own or in partnership with Fox, TWC or another television outlet. Guggenheim could establish a media company separate from the Dodgers, then have the company pay the team in accordance with the proposed Fox contract and keep the remaining revenue.

So, the scenario according to the L.A. Times is similar to what happens in New York, Boston and presumably Toronto where the regional broadcaster and the baseball franchise are owned by the same corporate master. Instead of 34% of the actual broadcasting fees being paid to the revenue-sharing pot, Major League Baseball establishes a fair market value, which in theory would stop teams from manipulating prices of broadcasts in order to get out of sharing payments while still allowing the corporation to spend funds that make sense for the purposes of optimizing taxes and financial statements.

However, according to Bloomberg, these matters aren’t so clear. Helyar quotes Robert Manfred Jr., an MLB executive vice president who oversees revenue-sharing matters, as saying:

The basic treatment is exactly the same as every other team in baseball. Any dollar that’s actually received in rights fees or signing bonus by the Dodgers is subject to revenue-sharing.

Helyar continues:

Manfred said team owners were briefed on this provision of the settlement, but language of the “special terms” remains secret. How much money, if any, will be shared beyond the $84 million plus escalator limit depends on how the network’s contract is structured.

I can’t imagine baseball’s other franchises agreeing to anything that would give such an enormous advantage to the Dodgers. As I mentioned above, it would be far too disruptive to every other baseball franchise. And if clubs weren’t made aware of this supposed provision and it suddenly came to pass, we’d be seeing a whole lot of civil litigation.

It’s my guess that the so-called “special terms” refer to setting the favorable $84 million price in the event that the Dodgers take on ownership or partnership in  a regional sports network, and essentially begin airing their own games.

Doug Fister Struck Out Nine Batters In A Row

Amazingly, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister struck out nine members of the Kansas City Royals in a row during Thursday’s afternoon game. Here’s how he did it:

  • Vs. Salvador Perez: Called strike three on a fastball on the outside.
  • Vs. Mike Moustakas: Swing and miss on a change up on the outside.
  • Vs. Jeff Francoeur: Swing and miss on a slider on the outside.
  • Vs. Brayan Pena: Called strike three on a two seamer right down the middle.
  • Vs. Johnny Giovatella: Called strike three on a two seamer on the outside.
  • Vs. David Lough: Called strike three on a two seamer on the outside.
  • Vs. Alcides Escobar: Swing and miss on a fastball on the inside.
  • Vs. Alex Gordon: Called strike three on a two seamer up high.
  • Vs. Billy Butler: Called strike three on a two seamer outside.

Remarkably, the only called third strike for which he got the benefit of the doubt was against Alex Gordon, and it’s hardly egregious:

In fact, on the whole, Fister got a very fair strike zone from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson:

I think for a lot of his nine strike outs in a row, he merely lucked out in his attempt to induce bad contact by pitching away.

Kiss And Vizquel

I’m going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that the timing of Omar Vizquel’s recent comments to the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, coming on the same day that Manny Acta was fired as manager of the Cleveland Indians, was not coincidental. However, in his attempts to undermine the Blue Jays coaching staff, Vizquel comes across as foolish in his criticisms:

It’s part of the inexperience. If you make mistakes and nobody says anything about it — they just let it go — we’re going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We have to stand up and say something right after that mistake happened. We have to talk about it at meetings. We have to address it in a big way in the clubhouse. Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again.

No doubt this is a good young ball club. Obviously, they need some veteran leadership in here. I tried to do my best, a little helping here and there. But I think the coaching staff have a big responsibility to kind of get in there and tie things up a little, have a bit more communication with their players and try to make this thing happen the right way.

Look, I think a lot of mistakes were let go because its young guys. You expect mistakes from young guys. It needs to be talked about. It shouldn’t just be let go and say, ‘Ah, we have another day.’ You have to get on it. You have to say, ‘I didn’t like that play’ and let’s try and do something different. You have to talk it over and over again and how do you call it, be on top of that.

It’s as though he wants to sound like a manager, but it’s difficult when we remember that this was Vizquel’s response to the homophobic phrase written into Yunel Escobar’s eye black only a few days ago:

It’s just a word we use on an everyday basis. I don’t know why people are taking this so hard and so out of place or out of proportion.

And as for his record when it comes to clubhouse matters:

Call Me Uncomfortable Maybe

The Tampa Bay Rays rookies – as seen in the video above – dressed up in drag as they sang and danced along to Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, are funny to me. It makes me smirk. This is often the case when people seem to be enjoying themselves by doing something silly and out of the ordinary.

However, the fun being had at Fenway Park as part of the initiation rites of Rays players carries with it something of an expense. It’s a version of hazing, and while this might seem like relatively harmless fun, there’s an association with far more negative humiliations. It’s unfortunate that what could have been a fun practice was misused and abused in the past, and now carries with it such an unfortunate pairing with its shameful past use.

It’s a delicate balance, and I’m not really sure about which side I stand. On one hand, it’s funny and amusing to see people doing things out of character. However, the act itself represents more than what we’re laughing about.

Popular Players

Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:

  1. Adam Greenberg
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Chipper Jones
  4. Miguel Cabrera
  5. Albert Pujols

Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours have seen these player profiles visited the most:

  1. R.A. Dickey
  2. Dan Haren
  3. Mike Trout
  4. Doug Fister
  5. Chone Figgins

Shameless Self Promotion

Have you guys subscribed to the Getting Blanked Show on YouTube yet? All the cool kids are doing it because all the cool kids want to watch our daily video show where we talk about each other and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a derogatory manner.

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While we’re on the subject, feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed as well, which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge, including our daily show. And of course, buckle up for our coming post season coverage.

The Triple Crown Is Still Meaningful To Casual Fans

I posted this image earlier today, but I wanted to use it again as a means of expressing both how sheltered and how a-typical we (myself and I’m assuming yourself, if you’re reading this) are when it comes to our thinking on baseball. I think because of social media, and the general lack of conversations we might have with our grandpas, we tend to forget that the majority of the people watching games and taking them in, aren’t interpreting things in the same fashion as us.

We tend to take our frustrations over everyone not being on the same page as us out on beat writers and national reporters who continue to propagate myths about the game of baseball, and while there is certainly something of a responsibility to maybe raise the level of the lowest common denominator, you can’t really fault them too much for catering to it, given that it’s likely a more lucrative option than the alternative.

Mountain Out Of Molehill

I don’t know how much job security Bobby Valentine truly has, but reading anything whatsoever into this comment from General Manager Ben Cherington seems ridiculous.

One of the things that, as I look back on last offseason, that didn’t go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason and I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that’s for sure.

Come on, “less time” could very well mean no time at all.

Where Were You?

This happened a year ago today:

I was watching three different games at once on a television, a desktop computer and a lap top. It was an incredible night to be a baseball fan. The thing I remember more than anything else though was not being able to fall asleep after it was all over because of how excited I was. This happened despite not having any thing resembling a rooting interest for any team involved. I hope the drama from the end of this coming week is half as much fun.