Baseball – – In The Middle Of November

Here we are in mid-November, and baseball takes center stage in terms of the US sports scene today. In the last 24 hours, we have had two announcements from MLB; one had exactly no shock value and the other was a big surprise…

The announcement that was about as obvious as could be was the naming of the Rookies of the Year for 2012. Mike Trout won in the American League and Bryce Harper won in the National League. Those were pretty obvious choices from what I saw. This is akin to MLB announcing that night will follow day once the sun goes down…

The surprise announcement was a “mega-trade” between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Marlins held another fire sale; they traded away José Reyes, Mark Buerhle, Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonafacio. In return, the Marlins get 7 “prospects” the most famous of whom would be Yunel Escobar. His “fame” does not come from great exploits on the field in the game of baseball; no, he is the guy who wore eye black last summer with an inscription on the eye black that was a gay-slur.

The Marlins pretended for years that they could not afford a big payroll because no one went to their games in their old stadium in Miami. Therefore, the folks down there saddled themselves with a whole lot of public debt and built the Marlins a new stadium. The team went out last year, signed a ton of talent, and hired Ozzie Guillen to be the manager. People went to the games at first but the team never clicked and attendance sagged. So now, the “new Marlins” are like the “old Marlins”. They shed payroll to get young players who command nothing in the way of salaries.

Before this trade, the Marlins had already ditched Henley Ramirez (to the Dodgers), Heath Bell (to the D-Backs), Anibel Sanchez and Omar Infante (to the Tigers) and Edward Mujica (to the Cardinals). As of the moment – unless I have miscounted – the Marlins have given up 10 major-league players for prospects in about a year. So, where are those “additional revenues” from the new stadium that the fools – I mean folks – in Miami built for the Marlins going to wind up?

I do not want to make it out to be that the Blue Jays got such a ton of talent that they are the new juggernaut in the AL; they did not. But:

    A. Buerhle is a solid pitcher who will give them 200+ innings next year even at age 34

    B. Johnson was a Cy Young candidate a couple years ago and is in his mid-20s but with a history of injuries and impending free agency

    C. Reyes has a batting title to his name and is always a top candidate for narcissist of the year

    D. Buck is a catcher and catchers always have value – and –

    E. Bonafacio is a utility player who can be inserted into a game without any fear that he will throw up on his shoes.

For the 2013 season – and probably for a couple of years – the Jays come out ahead on this one even though they took on about $150M in salary here. Having said that, here is the bigger winner with regard to this trade… Ozzie Guillen!

When the Marlins fired Guillen after a hugely disappointing season in 2012, here is what the President of Baseball Operations for the Marlins said:

“Our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture.”

And this is what the folks in “Baseball Operations” consider to be “roster improvements”? Ozzie Guillen is lucky to be outta there.

Darrell Royal died last week and in his honor, Texas ran their first play from scrimmage in last week’s game from the wishbone formation that Royal’s Texas teams made famous in the 60s and 70s. That was a nice gesture – – except:

    Texas pitched the ball out and threw a pass off that lateral which Darrell Royal would only have done as a ransom to free his entire family from a band of human traffickers.

    I guess they meant well…

As of this week, Andrew Luck has started 9 games in the NFL. In those 9 starts, he has thrown 10 TDs and has run for 5 more TDs.

Andrew Luck’s father, Oliver Luck, played four seasons in the NFL mostly as a backup to Warren Moon in Houston back in the 80s. Oliver Luck also started 9 games in his career and participated in parts of 11 other games. For his career, Oliver Luck threw 13 TDs and ran for 1 TD.

It looks as is Andrew Luck is destined to eclipse his father in terms of prominence when it comes to a discussion of NFL quarterbacks. I suspect that “Dad” has no problem with that…

Let us play the Sesame Street game where we identify the thing that does not belong on in this group. The subject is the Big East Conference and their alignment into two divisions next year when they add a bunch of new teams. Here – in alphabetical order – are the teams in the West Division:

    Boise State – check
    Houston – check
    Memphis – I guess so
    San Diego State – check
    SMU – check
    Templesay what??!!

In case you do not know, Temple University is in the heart of North Philadelphia, which would make it an appropriate member of the West Division of a conference where all of the rest of the schools were in New Jersey. Next year, the San Diego State Aztecs will begin a process of traveling every other year about 3000 miles to play one of their division rivals at the rival’s home stadium where the crowd will be in the range of 15,000 souls.

Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald regarding the Miami Marlins from about a week before the mega-trade that was announced yesterday:

“Parting thought: This is not a good sign. Mike Redmond has been the manager for four days now and the Marlins still have not won a game. Owner Jeffrey Loria is getting impatient.“

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • David Egbert  On November 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    So the evil Bud Selig’s answer to every problem in baseball….build a stadium with tax payers money….didn’t work. I’m shocked!

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      David Egbert:

      I do not fault the owners for asking for new stadiums at taxpayer expense. I fault the taxpayers and their political representatives for giving in to those demands.

      Check out Los Angeles as a model. No public money was involved in their stadiums and none is proposed for either of the football venues for which there are “plans”. Other cities and states should follow the same rules: You want a stadium, you pay to build it.

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