I must tell you that I have had more than enough of the formulaic stories perpetrated by baseball writers on two topics this winter:
- Rumors about where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign.
- The lack of movement in free agent signings and the dearth of long-term deals.
Regarding all the rumors, if someone went back and stitched all of them together, you would probably find that Harper and Machado have been linked to every possible venue including teams in the Martian League. If you allow me to offer up 30 variants here without calling bullshit on me, I will be certain to have gotten it right once either or both sign whatever deals they are going to sign. The fact that established baseball writers have had to resort to multiple “rumor-mongering expositions” tells me that they are not nearly the “insiders” that they portray themselves to be.
Regarding the second set of reports/columns that has been done to death this winter, it takes two sides to make a deal. The presumption in 99% of the reports I have read is that the owners are sitting on massively fat wallets and not offering contracts that the players/agents think represents market value. The reports often allude to possible collusion to drive down wages – – but so far no one has offered a shred of evidence to support that other than lots of clubs seem to be making lower offers than were expected so – – ipso facto – – there has to be collusion. That is the essence of conspiracy theory thinking; the absence of real evidence becomes evidence of the conspiracy.
It takes two sides to make a deal – and even to enter into negotiations to see if there is a deal to be made. Are we certain that the agents for all these players have been making offers to the clubs as a way to start negotiations – – or are they sitting back waiting for clubs to come to them? I don’t know the answer to that, but I would expect that the “baseball insiders” might be able to ferret that out.
Regarding “long-term deals”, my sense is that many of them have not gone all that well for the teams that offered them up:
- The Angels will pay Albert Pujols a total of $87M for the 2019 – 2021 seasons. Let’s call that a cautionary tale.
- Do you think anyone in the Yankees’ organization holds up the Alex Rodriguez 10-year deal as a model the team should follow in the future?
- Jayson Werth signed a 7-year deal with the Nats and his final two years on that deal were almost embarrassing.
I am too lazy to find other examples of long-term deals that went off the rails but maybe these are the reasons that GMs are not falling all over themselves to sign Machado and/or Harper up for the next 10 years…
Having enumerated my lack of continued interest in these stories, let me offer up a couple of other stories that I think are about to “break” and will be way over-exposed:
- Will the Mets call up Tim Tebow to the parent club sometime in 2019?
- Where will LeVeon Bell play football next year?
- Where will Antonio Brown play football next year?
- Will the Cleveland Browns “shock the world” next year – – or better yet, are the Cleveland Browns emerging as the next great NFL dynasty?
- Who will coach the Lakers once LeBron James gets Luke Walton fired?
- Will Tom Brady retire – – or alternatively – – will Father Time finally catch up to Tom Brady? [Substitute Gronk’s name here too…]
Greg Cote had two items in the Miami Herald yesterday that summarize two sporting events to the degree that we need to know about them:
“Tiger opens season at Torrey Pines: Justin Rose carries a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Tiger Woods, in his first event of the new season, made the cut but is 13 off the lead. Except on the attention leaderboard, where he remains on top.”
“The Senior Bowl was Saturday, because apparently an entire season is insufficient for scouts to know about players.”
Ticket resellers say that the average price of a ticket to this year’s Super Bowl is down almost $1000 as compared to last year; a pair of “good seats” in Mercedes Benz Stadium next weekend will set you back somewhere between $7000 and $7500 a piece so do not shed too many crocodile tears for the people doing the selling. I saw one report where a ticket broker attributed this price-drop to “Patriots fatigue”. Here is the gist of that argument:
- This is the ninth time the Pats have been to the Super Bowl. It costs a pretty penny to book a flight, rent a hotel and pay those kinds of ticket prices so most of the Pats’ fans who have the means to take in this “once in a lifetime experience” have already taken it in.
I can buy that to some degree, but I think there is a parallel factor here that is as plausible as “Patriot fatigue”. Let me call it “Ram apathy”:
- LA fans are not – as a class – nearly as rabid about their teams as fans in various other cities are e.g. Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Philly, Seattle, Dallas, KC … Possibly, there are not nearly as many LA fans chomping at the bit to head to Atlanta to see their beloved Rams in this game as there would be with some other opponent for the Pats. It’s a thought…
Finally, here is an item from a recent edition of Sideline Chatter by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“A Manhattan science teacher piloting a small plane with engine trouble made an emergency landing on the Paramus (NJ) golf course.
“It was a textbook up-and-down, witnesses say but style points deducted for not replacing his divot.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………