My father took me to my first baseball game in 1949. I cannot recall when I saw my first baseball game on television but it was probably in that timeframe. Over the years, I have seen all or part of at least 5000 games and probably more. There is a baseball saying that every time you go to the stadium, there is a chance you will see something you have never seen before. Fans in Seattle who went to the Marlins/Mariners game last night probably did just that.
For openers, the Florida Marlins were the home team playing the Seattle Mariners in Seattle. That is odd enough; the Marlins had to abandon their home field to accommodate a rock concert that had been booked there. However, that had happened twice before on this very weekend in Seattle so by the time of last night’s game, it was starting to approach the category of “old hat”.
However, in the top of the tenth inning with the score tied and a runner on third base with one out, the Marlins called for an intentional walk to set up a double play to get out of the inning. That is hardly baseball strategy at its most arcane; the Marlins did not need to have an 80-year old manager in the dugout to figure that one out. What happened was that the Marlins’ pitcher threw a wild pitch on “ball-three” that went to the backstop and allowed what was the winning run to score.
I have never seen that happen. I doubt that I ever will.
Gregg Drinnan had this comment about Jack McKeon taking over the Marlins in a column last weekend in the Kamloops Daily News:
“The Florida Marlins named Jack McKeon as their interim manager earlier this week. McKeon is 80 years of age. On Tuesday, he asked outfielder Logan Morrison, 23, what he had going on that night. Morrison told him he was going home to play with Twitter. McKeon replied: ‘Oh, what kind of dog is it?’ “
Staying with baseball for the moment, the LA Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware today. The papers filed in court list the assets for the team between $500M and $1B; the liabilities are listed as $500M. Those are not the typical kinds of numbers you see in a bankruptcy filing. The Wall Street Journal has a copy of the full court filing online here.
Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt says that he hopes that this filing will put the control of the Dodgers franchise in the hands of someone other than Commissioner Bud Selig. I have no idea what the upshot of all this will be except to say that Frank McCourt might be on his way to setting a world record for legal fees amassed in a single year.
McCourt says that he has acquired interim financing of $150M so that he can meet payroll and continue to control the team. He needs the court to approve that financing and if that happens the one thing that seems certain is that the contentious issue of LA Dodgers’ ownership will be around for a lot longer than many folks thought.
If you want to see an example of the dark side of baseball finances, the list of creditors for the LA Dodgers as a team is an example of money poured down the drain. Consider:
Manny Ramirez ($21M)
Andruw Jones ($11M)
Kiroki Kuroda ($4.5M)
Chicago White Sox ($3.5M) – - to take Juan Pierre off the Dodgers’ hands
There continues to be a lot said and written about the resignation of Washington Nationals’ former manager, Jim Riggleman. The theme of much of this exposition centers around Riggleman’s feeling of “disrespect” and whether or not that justified his resignation. Consider the following.
In 2009, the Chicago Cubs had a “less than robust” team batting average of .255.
Starting in 2010, the Cubs hired a new hitting coach, Rudy Jaramilo, to improve that. In 2010, the Cubs team batting average was .257.
Jaramilo made $800K per year; Riggleman made either $600 or 650K depending on which report you read.
Forget whether or not Riggleman felt disrespected by the GM over picking up the option on his contract for next year, he should have felt underpaid – - if not disrespected – - simply because the hitting coach for a miserable Cubs’ team was making about 30% more than he was as a manager.
CBS.Sportsline.com has a report this morning that Terrell Owens underwent knee surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews. Thus far, there is no official word about what happened, but the reports say that Owens injured himself in a private workout and that the surgery was to repair a torn ACL. If that were the case, Owens would be sidelined at least 6 months, which means that he would be unable to play for anyone until the final week or two of the NFL regular season. Owens is a free agent and he will turn 38 during this NFL season.
What is the Over/Under on the number of sports columns written around the subject of where Owens will sign once he is finished rehab to upgrade the receiving corps of a contending NFL team? I figure there will be at least 50…
I found this item in a column by Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian- Pilot over the weekend. Is this an ominous note or just something said in passing? You make the call:
“Him again: Brett Favre says he’s done… really done. Still, he wants everybody to know, ‘I can still throw the ball as well as I ever have.’ Uh-oh. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.”
Finally, here is a note from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Ex-Olympic softball star Jennie Finch and former big-leaguer Casey Daigle welcomed their second son Sunday — and named him Diesel.
“His baby carriage, we assume, is an 18-wheeler.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…