Any poor souls caught working this lamest week of the year are to be pitied. Pitied and supported to the best of our collective abilities. While some spend the dwindling hours of 2012 lamenting our collective greed and wondering if all the new Christmas clothes still fit over our engorged bodies, others must return to whatever task keeps their lights on.
If you are the type of person who normally fritters away your work day on the internet memeing and comedy pyramiding, your need for fresh content cannot go unsated. Our interests are not dissimilar. In honor of those currently mailing in two days in December I offer a year-end baseball listicle which just might keep your attention for three or four minutes. Please to enjoy…
You Don’t Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson is the final film in the latest burst of ESPN’s 30-for-30 project. The documentary debuts Saturday December 8th at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPNHD, immediately following the conclusion of the Heisman Trophy Presentation.
Director Michael Bonfiglio’s You Don’t Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson makes no bones about perpetuating the mythos of its subject. This is kind of the point, though. Bo Jackson was far from a perfect baseball player; he struck out a tonne and couldn’t draw a walk to save his life… but man, could he hammer the ball and make nice plays in the outfield. Bo Jackson spurned professional football when he was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986, only to partake in an NFL career as “a hobby” when the Los Angeles Raiders came knocking in 1987. A hobby, “like fishing and hunting” Jackson told a gathering of reporters. Bonfiglio presents Jackson as a super hero, which is an embodiment reinforced by the countless former teammates, coaches, and media members interviewed throughout the film.
Hey, friends. Are you enjoying the Winter Meetings so far? No? Didn’t think so. Well, they’re about to improve, as Getting Blanked is hosting a Google+ hangout to wrap up all the moves and non-moves of this year’s Winter Meetings tomorrow, Thursday December 6th, at 11 am EST to break down the moves that will help shape the 2013 baseball season.
“Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Which are good? Which are bad?”
The melody and lyrics of the vintage public service announcement still resonate, but not because of a nostalgic lesson learned. It’s ironic detachment that fuels our memory. We’re taught from an early age that some drugs are good, and some drugs are bad. However, as we get older, we learn that nothing is truly as black and white as we’re initially led to believe.
This is a lesson gone unlearned by professional sports that still prefer to exist in a sort of Neverland, remaining aloft in ideals that ultimately prove childish. The issue of drugs in sports, as in all walks of life, requires nuance, but the major professional sports leagues insist on handling it with definition that doesn’t actually exist.
No greater example of this can be found than in the recent voter approval for possession of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Despite the evidence of social progress that the vote represents, imagining that the results would change the rules for professional sports in those states is, pardon the expression, a pipe dream.
The 2012 baseball season came to a conclusion a little more than a week ago when Sergio Romo struck out Miguel Cabrera to earn the San Francisco Giants their second World Series title in three years. There were, generally speaking, three reactions to this finale: 1) From Giants fans: “Woohoo!”; 2) From Detroit Tigers fans: “Noooo!”; 3) From all other baseball fans: “Meh” (or else, “Of all the seasons I’ve ever followed, this was certainly one of them.”).
Due to its structure, which includes scheduled competitions almost every day for seven months, Major League Baseball tends to be followed by fans in a different manner than the avid followers of other sports. We typically cheer for our favorite teams, but don’t necessarily care all that much about what other clubs are doing so long as it doesn’t affect the one that we support. This is a by-product of there being such an ample supply of baseball to be followed. We have to pick and choose, or else we’d be reduced to living our lives without much in the way of variety.
This is likely best seen by comparing nationally televised games of baseball to nationally televised games of football. While baseball plays out a 162 game schedule, the National Football League’s regular season schedule consists of a mere 16 games for each team. Nationally broadcast games of football absolutely slaughter nationally broadcast games of baseball in terms of television ratings partly because there’s a more limited supply of content for fans to consume and more meaning behind each game. This caters to the neutral observer in a way that 162 game schedules simply can’t.
Despite the differences in the way that baseball is played compared to other sports, stories still emerge throughout each season that transcend the boundaries that normally govern our favorite team-based interests. Here, in my opinion, are the top ten stories to do this from the 2012 Major League Baseball season.
In the National Basketball Association, each franchise is allowed to waive one player prior to the start of any season from 2011–12 through 2015–16 without having their salary count toward the team’s salary cap or luxury tax. The team must still pay the player they waive the previously agreed upon salary if he goes unclaimed, and if another team does claim the player, the claiming team acquires him at a reduced rate with the waiving team paying the balance owed on the contract.
The transaction rule is unique to the NBA, but with the National Hockey League recently triggering a lockout while it negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with its players’ association, The Score’s hockey blog, Backhand Shelf, imagined a scenario wherein the NHL adopted this specific NBA policy. From there, Chris Lund went through every team and estimated which contract would be the most likely to be let go.
Of course, Major League Baseball’s lack of a salary cap and the extreme structure of its luxury tax policies wouldn’t lend itself to a similar rule being enacted. However, since we’re dealing with a fantasy world here where we make the rules, let’s pretend that there exists a unique brand of amnesty that allows MLB teams to drop one contract from its payroll without any repercussions.
This is obviously something that the MLBPA would never allow to take place, but let’s go through each team and figure out what contract, if any, is most burdensome to its success.
Getting Blanked caught up with Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos at the end of last week for an extended chat about the current state of the team, changing philosophies, injury woes and his self-critical ways.
Interview was conducted before the Yunel Escobar situation came to a head. Also: the quote in the headline actually came from a line not included in the text below. I just liked the way it sounded. Apologies if it is misleading in any way.