Archive for the ‘Monday Morning Memo’ Category

Division Series - Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants - Game Two

It doesn’t take much to create a lasting legacy. We aren’t even talking about a first impression, just the kind of performance that lines but with the kind of snap judgements that we all use to streamline our lives.

Bronson Arroyo doesn’t throw hard and he sort of looks ridiculous when he pitches. He was never a great pitcher but was an especially bad pitcher in 2011. He gave up about a zillion home runs and was really, really bad. But one year does not a distinguished career as an innings eater make.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey

So. Football eh? How bout that? Really something. Big, if true. Russell Wilson? Did you know he was an accomplished baseball player as a younger man? Bet you didn’t. Hardly ever gets mentioned.

The C-Word

The market is slow to developing. This is a slow-developing market. “February 1st is the new January 1st”, as one MLB front office exec said last week.

We can chalk it up to teams finding their way through the CBA and figuring out just how much draft pick compensation costs. Or we take the next (illogical) step and drop a c-bomb all over the free agent market. No, not the one featured prominently in every Guy Ritchie film, we’re talking about collusion.

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MLB: Texas Rangers-Press Conference

God bless Fanfest weekend. Just when the natives reach peak restlessness, the baseball powers dust off a few players and fan favorites and invite everybody down to the ballpark, or the mall, or the hotel convention space, to celebrate the beginning of the season and pass the hat for season ticket holders.

It is a wonderful time of year, full of hope and promise. Management uses this platform to made great pronouncements for the coming season or, in the case of the Brewers, they finally announce/confirm a big free agent signing. (Matt Garza, finally an official Brewer!)

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Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays

The term 24-hour news cycle gets thrown around a lot but, even in here in the baseball margins, it’s a real thing. There are always column inches to fill and content creators gotta create more content. Which gives us Hot Stove Season and Ballot Outrage Season and Arbitration Season and, most recently, Prospect Season.

Prospect rankings are perfect for the voracious online audience because they are a) lists and b) hold promise for the future. Collated and organized every which way, the best prospect rankings combine personal observations with industry consensus to provide a snapshot of the minor league landscape, hoping it provides a look to the future of the bigs.

Like the draft, it is an inexact science. Any objective ranking will be. But that is what makes it so brilliant as a “content strategy” at this time of year. So much margin for error but when you’re selling hope, folks aren’t buying precision. They buy the idea that all the team’s ills lay in wait in the low minor leagues. This desperate hope serves as the foundation for a fierce loyalty and belief in heretofore unseen prospects that does not die easy.

Prospect list debate is the natural evolution of the rooting for laundry phenomenon. Stumping for a prospect who is yet to wear the clothes of choice but will one day and, when he does, look out – things are going to be different.

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Puns are not for the weak, Alex

Puns are not for the weak, Alex

Are you familiar with Alex Rodriguez? You probably heard his name a lot this weekend. Turns out he’s one of the better baseball players in the history of the game. It also turns out he’s probably not a saint. Or a good capable of making good decisions in an optics sense.

You can’t throw a kit bag full of testosterone lozenges without hitting an Alex Rodriguez think piece right now. Wait, think piece? Hit piece. There isn’t an easier target for columnists seeking the moral high ground. Winning points on A-Rod’s back is easy.

Rodriguez makes it easy. He might well love shooting his body full of chemicals to make it stronger. Or faster. Or healthier. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he didn’t do it. He probably did. But he’s not the only bad guy in this story. After last night’s 60 Minutes interview, the list of bad guys just keeps getting longer.

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics

The calendar turned to 2014 less than a week ago, which means we’re closer to the beginning of Spring Training than we are to the end of the World Series. It is a time to celebrate, sort of.

Unless you’re one of the remaining free agents, that is. If you’re a position player sitting by the phone, well, you know there isn’t a Tanaka Bump on its way to bail you out. Instead, you’re Kendrys Morales. You’re Stephen Drew. You’re Nelson GD Cruz. You struggle to breath under the qualifying offer yoke. And you’re doomed. DOOMED.

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MLB: New York Mets at Colorado Rockies-Game One

…and now, the off-season truly begins. We had our fun, warming our hands on a prematurely heated hot stove. The Winter Meetings ended up as more of a “cupboards are empty because the food is on the table” letdown but there was still plenty of player movement to keep the hardcore fan happy.

But now, it’s over. A few big pieces remain on the board but the vast majority of dominoes already fell. We’re living on scraps from now until Spring Training, a truly horrifying thought.

Until we have something bigger to, ahem, chew on, we must make due with the measly crumbs we’re fed in the interim. Onward and upward, amirite?

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