Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Archive for February, 2009

Koskie signs with the Cubs

Corey Koskie has been signed by the Cubs.  It is a minor league deal, so there is no risk for the Cubs.  He will be competing for the backup third base job.  I’ve always liked Koskie and I hope this is a sign that he will be able to get a job somewhere.  If he doesn’t make the Cubs, hopefully he will show something in camp that will get him noticed.  

Good luck, Corey.

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Crede Debuts Against the Yankees

Today Joe Crede makes his debut in a Twins uniform, against the Yankees. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Go-Go, CF. 2. Casilla, 2B. 3. Joe C., DH. 4. MVP ‘06, 1B. 5. Cuddy, RF. 6. Young, LF. 7. Red-Dog, C. 8. Harris, 3B. 9. Punto, SS. Pitching: Scott Baker.

Obviously it’s tough to put together the best lineup without Mauer, Span, or Kubel, but I actually like this one. I’m going to go ahead and overlook the fact that Gomez is leading off, and assume that the point is to get him as many spring PAs as possible. Having Crede batting third, in front of Morneau, is promising: I continue to hope Gardy’s willing to push Mauer up into the 2 hole.

But this lineup should be able to score some runs, and I’m excited to watch them. Wait, what’s that you say? The game is on at noon, and is not available on MLB.TV? Well what the hell am I paying you guys for?

Hopefully one of our readers is in Fort Myers right now and can give us updates on the game. I’m not confident that that’s the case, but I am hopeful.

Oh, and I wonder why Crede’s DHing today. Is his back okay? Just easing him in? Gardy prefers the defense he knows (Harris) over the unknown Crede? Absolutely not a big deal and shouldn’t be given a second thought?

Yeah, I think that’s the one. No big deal. Let’s just hope for some solid hits.

18 comments

Murray Chass Wants His Good Old Days Back

Murray Chass, the anti-blogging blogger, has dropped a new “column” (as he calls it), or “post” (as his fellow bloggers call it), or “pile” (as I prefer to call it). And it’s brilliant. I’m going to go ahead and fisk this thing. Bold is what Chass says.

If this is too much inside baseball, I apologize, but I am too devastated and outraged to write anything else at the moment. Major League Baseball, which can’t kill steroids, has killed the Red Book and the Green Book.

You haven’t explained what exactly the red and green books are, but I’m going to go ahead and assume they’re paper publications about Christmas, or shopping, or something. And that “ceasing to actively publish a book” is probably just about exactly as difficult as “ending the steroids issue/problem once and for all.” No reason to guess otherwise, really.

Baseball officials would say the books died of atrophy. No one was using them any more. But I used them, often on a daily basis. They sit on a shelf an arm’s length away from my desk. I can get them that quickly when I need information from them.

I’m sure they “would” use the word “atrophy,” but I’m also sure they “didn’t.” I’m going to go ahead and assume that the books are not muscle-bound, but rather leather-bound. [Insert punchline-drum-riff here.]

Also, “an arm’s length away” is not a measure of time, which is implied by the use of the word “quickly.” Murray, my friend, you’re trying to hard. Or not hard enough.

Right now the Red Book is on my desk open to page 161, American League Managers, 1901-2008. It is there because I was looking up information about a manager I had planned to write about before I got the news release from Major League Baseball announcing the demise of those trusty books.

So you’re telling me MLB has been producing a book every year that includes statistics like “every manager of every team, every year?” Doesn’t that seem like kind of a big waste?

But it is clear to me what MLB is trying to do here. Destroy history! If they don’t publish the books, Murray Chass will have no way to know who managed the Cleveland Spiders in 1899! Oh … wait … that wasn’t included in the books? Ever? I hope nobody ever wanted to find out.

What are the Red Book and Green Book? They are league reference guides for club executives and the news media, Red for the American League, Green for the National. They have more information than we need to know, but they have what we need when we need it.

Sounds like some other slightly-more-modern reference medium, which may or may not be less wasteful than producing the same information on paper hundreds of times every year. Like the internet. Which also has “more information than we need to know, but [has] what we need when we need it.” So you’re telling me I shouldn’t be that worried about this?

Each book has five pages on every team, each team’s won-lost record and place in the standings for every year of its existence, each team’s managers for every year of its existence, all sorts of hitting and pitching statistical lists, year-by-year list of 20-game winners, club leaders each year in hitting and pitching categories, teams’ top marks since their beginning, individual league champions, award winners, comprehensive statistics from the previous season, the previous year’s player transactions, relevant rules and that season’s schedule.

I only wish there was another place to find this information in a free, accessible, always-available format! Otherwise I might not be able to research statistics for my columns any more! 

The release announcing this development is shrewdly written. It doesn’t say the books won’t exist any more – that would be negative – but it says the books will be available exclusively online for the first time, as if that’s a good thing.

So the books aren’t really going away. All the information is still available, except you either have to read it on a computer screen or print it out yourself, rather than expecting someone else to print it for you and then mail it to you. Yeah … wouldn’t want to sound negative.

“The 2009 editions of the Red and Green Books,” the release says, “will mark the first time that these annual publications will be available online only.”

Okay, they’ll only be available online. I think that’s pretty clear.

Then it drops the bombshell:

A bombshell? What could it possibly be?! Expect to be surprised, readers, by the cruel audacity of Major League Baseball.

“While printed copies of the Red and Green Books will no longer be distributed by Major League Baseball, the publications will be available in an easily downloadable format on MLBPressBox.com.”

Um, they’ll only be available online. In what sense is “repeating the previous sentence using different and longer words” considered “a bombshell?”

With that wording, MLB is trying to make this a positive development, something good for me and my colleagues, but there’s a clue at the bottom of the release that indicates otherwise.

Okay, so it’s marketing. Do you expect them to send you a news release smeared in shit and tears? But it can’t possibly hurt you to have the exact same information available to you in an ever-so-slightly different format. Right? Or is it panic time?

Usually at the bottom of MLB news releases, it lists two names to contact if more information is sought or there are questions: Rich Levin and Pat Courtney. They are baseball’s top two public relations executives.

No, not panic time. It’s in-depth research time!

At the bottom of this release, however, there are no names, only telephone numbers, one for each book and one for Major League Baseball public relations. I called the numbers for the two books.

You mean instead of giving two telephone numbers, they’ve given three? Travesty! They’re withholding information!

“They’re no longer doing a publication; they’re available online,” said Andrew Davis, an aide to Katy Feeney, senior vice president for club relations and scheduling, who answered the Green Book number.

Okay, it seems pretty open and shut. Same info, different place, much cheaper to produce. No harm no foul, right?

Why are they no longer doing a publication? “I couldn’t tell you the exact reason.”

I thought we’ve been over this. Same benefits, much cheaper to produce. Why didn’t this happen 10 years ago?

Was that a permanent decision? “I don’t know. For 2009 it will be available at Pressbox.com. Beyond this year I don’t know. Nothing has been determined for future seasons.”

They don’t seem to be giving us any more information. I’d say this in-depth research thing is going swimmingly. Murray Chass is clearly an expert at this.

I called the Red Book number and left a message. Greg Domino returned the call.

Thank you for explaining how telephones work, presumably to the best of your knowledge. Otherwise I would not have known how you were able to speak to Mr Domino!

“That was a decision made not by me,” Domino, a public relations intern, said. “That was in the hands of my superiors, Phyllis and Katy, and everyone else.”

Everyone else? So you’re the only person at The Red Book Publishing Company that has exactly zero say in The Publishing Of The Red Book? And why are there separate numbers for MLB, Red Book, and Green Book? Are the AL and the NL so secretive that they have to hide in different companies while they produce a book of secret information that will then be available to anyone? Explain this please.

Why was the decision made? “To be honest I’m not entirely aware of why they decided to do so. I suppose to go green and to cut down in the repetition in other books.”

It was not your decision and you don’t know why it was made? Well, Mr Domino, then what in blazes are you doing answering The Answering Questions About The Decision Hotline? In any event, his guess is a pretty good one: it seems pretty wasteful to print that many pages when the exact same information could much more easily be made available in such a way that it’s free to distribute an infinite number of times. I hope we’re not still confused about this.

Would the printed books return? “I do not know the answer to that. You’d have to ask Phyllis or Katy.”

No, we’re still confused. Mr Chass, why do you even want the books back?

Phyllis Merhige is senior vice president for club relations. “We asked the clubs, and they said we should do it online only,” she said. “Nobody wants them anymore. You’re the only person. I take that back. Marty Appel wanted one.”

Oh, okay, we’re getting somewhere! The league asked the teams — the primary beneficiaries of these publications — what to do, and the response was essentially “We don’t care, we compile all our own information anyway, just leave me alone.” And the league, in conjunction with The Red Book Publishing Company and The Green Book Publishing Company, decided that it’s not really economically feasible to do a complete publishing run for two customers.

Wait, “not really economically feasible” is probably the wrong phrase. Please replace it with “monumentally boneheaded” and we’re getting closer, I think.

Appel is a former Yankees’ public relations director. In a column he wrote on his Web site, appelpr.com, he said, “The Red and Green Books are among the last things that have distinguished the leagues since the abandonment of separate league offices in 1999 and the end of American and National League presidencies.”

Ah. We’re now getting down to the crux of why the books are necessary. The color of the cover of the books is the last thing distinguishing the AL and the NL as different leagues since they merged into the same office building ten years ago. I mean, aside from the designated hitter, right? No, you’re right, this is a much bigger differentiator. The book covers must be brought back! Otherwise I’d be confused as to which league my team is in!

Merhige (left) and Feeney (right) didn’t let the printed books go easily. “It was very distressing to Katy and myself,” Merhige said. “People used to wait for those books on March 1.” But she added, “We asked the p.r. directors do you feel the books get used. They said no. It was an expensive book to produce, expensive to mail. We weren’t getting our money’s worth.”

Well, in economic times like these, nobody should be able to quibble with the “We stopped producing this product because it was expensive and had no customers” gambit. Companies should be more willing to make this gambit during any economic climate. Or just lose money hand over fist to make old fashioned sportswriters feel more comfortable with imagining that nothing’s changed since they were working in the mail room 50 years ago. That could work too, I guess.

Feeney noted that she had Green Books in her office dating to 1936. Asked if the books would ever return, she said, “If enough people say the loss of it is detrimental we’d go back to doing it next year in some form. That’s if enough people say they use it. Apparently people have said they don’t use it.”

73 years worth of books. 73 separate copies, printed on non-recycled paper with expensive black ink, of who managed each time from 1901-1935. And 72 copies of who managed each team from 1901-1936. And so on. Just in case the manager of the 1901 Washington Senators ever changes.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today is one reporter who uses it.  

So you’re saying we’re up to three!

“I loved the Red and Green books,” he wrote in an e-mail. “They were part of baseball’s fabric, and to see them suddenly disappear from print leaves a huge void in baseball. These were the bibles for every baseball executive and writer. You wouldn’t write a story without having them by your side.

And now the fabric of the game is torn. There’s a huge void left in baseball. This is just as bad as the steroids scandal! If not worse!

And because they’ve stopped mailing the books, in actual-book-form, to the writers, we won’t get the usual well-researched fare, heavy with statistical analysis that can only be enabled by the musty smell of a hardcover book. Instead, sportswriters will start crapping out substance-free crap that went completely unresearched and brazenly insulting anyone who attempts to learn anything new about baseball through unproven methods like “stats.” And that’s a change I don’t want to see.

“I know these are new times, the day of the Internet and all of that, but it was a rite of passage every spring to get those books and immediately thumb through them, even going to bed sometimes looking for tidbits. I miss them already!”

Oh, Bob, I miss them too. If only there were some way to read a PDF in bed before going to sleep. Like a Kindle. Or a netbook. Or a laptop. Or a bunch of paper printed out of a printer. Alas, none of these things exist in The Day of the Internet And All Of That.

The decision to eliminate the printed books probably should not be surprising. Two years ago MLB reduced the size of the books from 8 ½ inches by 11 inches to 8 ½ inches by 5 ½ inches. However, the number of pages rose from 112 to 187 (AL) and 208 (NL).

Yeah, they were already trying to cut down on the amount of paper they were wasting. And it wasn’t really working. I for one am glad to see they’re trying new things to cut down on useless costs.

One explanation given for the elimination of the printed books is the repetition of some of the elements of the books.

They do repeat 90%+ of their content every year.

The previous season’s statistics, for example, are in the average book that is published after the season. Rosters of the 30 teams appear in the spring training media guide.

What, that’s not what you meant? They actually produce two other books every year that contain most of the same information? Um, why?

The previous season’s statistics are also available, for example, on the internet. Rosters of the 30 teams appear, get this, on the internet, FOR FREE, EVEN.

But once spring training ends and the season starts, the spring training guide is put away, and the Red and Green Books become the references of choice.

Whose choice? My choice? Oh, no, you meant your choice. And the choice of two other people. Everyone else’s choice, including the executives of the thirty baseball teams, is … [drum roll please] … THE INTERNET.

I don’t blame MLB for abolishing the books. I wish they hadn’t, but if they find that no one uses them, it’s just another unfortunate development of today’s coverage of baseball.

It is unfortunate that a tiny, invisible thing changed in a tiny, invisible way that “negatively” effects three sportswriters, and nobody else, in the entire world.

Younger writers, more attuned to the use of the Internet than their older colleagues, may not have a problem with the disappearance of the books.

Yes, us younger internet writers are more able to use the internet than old people who shun technology in all forms which did not exist when they were, in turn, young people more in tune to radios than their father’s generation. And since the information is available on the internet, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s available in book form or not. So no, I don’t see a lot of problems with the disappearance of the books.

But in past years they didn’t have the Internet as an alternative reference site. They apparently just didn’t feel the need for any information the books provided.

Before these young people were young, they didn’t read books! That means that without the internet, they’d still be too young and stupid to write! They don’t understand baseball! Where’s my cane?!

I don’t see why “the ability to read information on the internet” should preclude someone from “the ability to read a book.” Murray Chass, however, seems to believe they are mutually exclusive skills.

That says more about them than it does about baseball’s decision.

I don’t know about that, Murray, but it says a whole hell of a lot about you.

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Gardy Snaps, Attempts to Kill LEN3

Here in Internetland, we all respect LEN3 as a good beat writer. That sentiment is apparently not shared by the enigmatic Gardy. Tell it La Velle:

I was almost run over by a Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot this morning as I rushed to make a 7 a.m. interview. That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but the Jeep did throw some dirt on me as I heard Al Green music blaring. The Jeep stopped…and out came Gardy.

“I could have taken your door off,” Gardy barked at me while grinning. The man is always fired up.

Great. In addition to not really knowing what’s going on during the game and an unhealthy infatuation with anyone who’s proven themselves to be bad at baseball, our manager also has some homicidal lunatic tendencies. At least he keeps it entertaining.

Oh yeah, and check out tonight’s lineup against the Reds: 1. Span, LF. 2., Gomez, CF. 3. Harris. 3B. 4. Buscher, 1B. 5. Matos, RF. 6. Dustin Martin, DH. 7. Tolbert, 2B. 8. Jose Morales, C. 9 .Plouffe, SS. Pitching: Blackburn.

Talk about a quintessential spring training lineup. I don’t think we’ll be going to 2-0. Especially since the Reds are throwing Votto, Bruce, Phillips, and Encarnacion at us.

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First Game of 2009: Twins Take an Early Lead in the Mayor’s Cup!

Last night, the Twins played their first game of 2009. In the Opening Day of Spring Training, Perkins got the start and went two solid, scoreless innings.

We played the Red Sox, in the opening game of the 2009 Mayor’s Cup, which goes to either the Twins or the Red Sox in the battle for Fort Myers superiority. We lost 3 games to 2 in 2008, which is pretty much totally unacceptable. But this time around, we ended up taking an early 1-0 lead as we won the game 5-2.

The early returns from the offseason eye surgeries? Morneau went 1-2 with a walk and a double … and an embarrassing strike out where he watched a fastball middle in for strike three. Cuddyer walked, grounded out while flailing at a pitch out of the zone, and grounded out easily to short. I wouldn’t call these great early results (or nearly a large enough sample size to even bother talking about it), but I’d take a combined .500 OBP from Morneau and Cuddyer.

We scored three runs in the second inning, scraping together singles and sacrifice flies, and hitting well with runners in scoring position. It’s the Twins way, after all.

Since it was just a spring training game, players were getting subbed out early, and managing the game is based on getting as many players into the game as possible. So there’s definitely nothing to question about anything Gardy did (though it was somewhat jarring to see Perkins leave after just two innings). But, like the Twins surely do, I have a few reactions about how some of the players looked.

Nathan (who pitched the 4th and gave up Boston’s first run) did not look good. He didn’t have a handle on his breaking balls and couldn’t hit the corners with the fastball; he got hit pretty hard. He’s clearly not ready for the season — but he also shouldn’t be pitching the 4th inning very often. I’m not worried about Nathan.

Ayala looked decent, not great. A fly ball, a popup, a groundout, and a line drive. His ball wasn’t fast, but it had a bit of movement. He could be a reasonably good addition to the bullpen if he pitches like that — the only baserunner he allowed was a (hard) low line drive off Pedroia that Morneau wasn’t quite able to handle. (In direct contrast to his fantastic pick on a line drive earlier in the game.)

Jason Jones has nice movement on the curve, but his fastball is too straight and he leaves it too high up. Especially since it’s not fast. He also seemed to get a little rattled as things went south for him. The biggest part of his game, at this point, is probably mental. Not really the kind of guy we can afford in the majors this year, but he seems valuable if the Yankees will take a very low level piece of crap to let us keep him AAA to see what the Cliburns can do.

David Winfree sucks in the outfield (completely botched a play and lost the ball, allowing a run to score when it shouldn’t have, and instilled zero confidence while catching the game-ending fly ball), and looked completely lost at the plate while striking out pathetically. His swing is really long and he has no strike zone recognition. This guy is not a prospect.

Danny Valencia is big. I expected him to be much smaller, but he looks really well built. And the ball just explodes off his bat. He looks like he could be good. Which is really promising, because we’ll need him in the next year or two.

I couldn’t tell much about Trevor Plouffe. He looks sure handed at short, but I couldn’t see his range. His swing looks a little long, he could stand to shorten it up. Time will tell if he’ll be able to replace Punto’s glove and bat at SS. [Insert short video of me coughing.]

Some of you may say that spring training games don’t matter. And, since they don’t actually count for anything, you’re partially right. But this one did count for something — it was Game One of the Mayor’s Cup, which is huge — and it was the first game of the year. For those of us who have been dying for the last four months without baseball, it was a beautiful day.

Go Twins.

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Boof Gets the Jesse Crain Special, Out for the Season

Well it turns out that Boof’s injury was a lot worse than anyone expected. His exploratory surgery today revealed a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff. In other words, he’s got The Jesse Crain Special. (So much for Rick Anderson doing such a great job of keeping the players’ arms from falling off, by the way.)

These injuries somehow evaded detection on multiple MRIs on multiple different machines, each of which was examined by multiple teams of doctors. So I’m going to go ahead and skip the part where we complain about the Twins’ (and Rays’) doctors all missing this one three months ago.

This was yet another case where the Twins tried to go the “rest and rehab” route with one of their pitchers, like they do every time. And just like every other time, it didn’t work out and surgery ended up being necessary in the first place. And just like every other time it took 3+ months to figure it out, which means instead of being ready to throw in time to get 6+ months in ahead of the season in which he’ll actually be returning, Boof’s arm will be ready in time to start getting ready for spring training.

As a result, Bonser/Neshek 2010 will be the same as Liriano/Crain 2008. (Except Liriano is better than Bonser and Neshek is better than Crain.)

It’s a good thing the Twins are learning their lesson.

But this does mean we can stick Boof on the 60 day DL and keep him on the team for another year without losing him on waivers. Although that seems to be mattering less and less with this guy.

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Boof’s Bad News

LEN3 is reporting the Boof is done for at least six months, but probably the year.  What we all thought was severe tendinitis, is actually a torn labrum and rotator cuff.  How in the hell did we get that wrong?  The two MRIs he had showed no damage, now we get this.  Quite the shocker.  I wonder if this will motivate the team to make a harder push for Cruz.  On the flip-side, I hope it doesn’t cause them to push TOO hard and give up too much.

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Punto’s firm beliefs

The always delightful Jim Souhan penned an article in the Star Tribune today about Nick Punto’s affinity for sliding into first base.  Head first. First off, Souhan compares this to some sort of drug addiction, which probably isn’t cool.  However, I’m not here to critique Souhan’s writing ability.  I’m here to discuss why Punto slides into first.  The answer is simple: he is an idiot. 

Punto isn’t so sure. “For some reason, I think it’s faster,” he said. “For all the people who have told me it’s not, I still think it is.
What does that even mean.  He has had experts from two different organizations show him on a watch that it is faster to run through the base.  How on earth does he think its faster when science tells him otherwise.  Does he not believe in dinosaurs either? Maybe him and Carl Everett should hang out and burn people at the stake or something. 

For those of you who can still put up with Rick Riley, he wrote a pretty standard puff piece today about role models.  The basic premise was athletes are role models to young people even if they don’t want to be.  Punto is setting a bad example for little leaguers.  Most young people probably look up to Nick Punto because he isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but he tries really hard.  Or some such nonsense that children believe.  Can you imagine a team from Minnesota in the Little League World Series, and all the players are sliding head first into first base? Our state would be the laughingstock of the country, not only have we had a pro wrassler as a governor, Stuart Smalley (probably the most unfunny character in SNL history, but that is neither here nor there) as a (potential) US Senator, and a bunch of kids who think sliding into first base is faster.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t live with that.

Punto’s coaches have tried to get him to stop.  To no avail.  I don’t care if this act gives off the appearance of his trying harder.  Plain and simple it just isn’t a good way to do things. So we have determined its slower.  That isn’t up for debate.  However,  Punto “firmly believes” it is faster. 

So not only does he choose to do something that is slower than the mainstream method, it is much riskier.  If he were to catch him thumb on the bag, he could easily dislocate his shoulder.  In fact, it happened to Nick Punto, Jr. (Matt Tolbert) last season.  It also happened to Glenn Williams a few years back. 

Is there anyone out there who likes that Punto does this?  It doesn’t mean he is “trying harder”.   If it were faster, Mr. Punto, why are you the only one who does it?  There are many things about Punto that infuriate me.  But two stand out.  1) Casual (and sometimes serious) fans’ irrational love for him despite his being a sub-par baseball player.  2) Sliding into first base. 2a) would probably be: Not only does he slide into first base but he is convinced it is the right thing to do.  That is just being ignorant.  Maybe one of the team leaders like Cuddyer or Mauer can address it in a serious fashion.  It seems like everyone says “that is just Nicky, nothing we can do to change it”.  I say fine his ass in kangaroo court (or with a legitimate team fine) every time he does it.  Hopefully that will teach him. 

Sorry for the rant, but it needed to be said.

8 comments

World Baseball “Classic”

Its really not a classic, the World Series (Fall Classic) is a classic because its, well, classic.  Anyway, the rosters were finalized last night and I thought I’d take a minute to look at the US roster and a few other teams with recognizable names. 

The starting rotation appears to be very solid.  Due to the schedule they only need a four man rotation.  That consists of Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt at the top, and Ted Lilly and Jeremy Guthrie at the back end.  Not bad.  Two aces, plus two solid middle rotation guys.  The bullpen is pretty crowded, with four closers in Nathan, Fuentes, Broxton, and BJ Ryan.  There are a total of 14 pitchers and 14 position players, so that makes for a crowded bullpen.  This is probably good news for the teams of the players, though.  The starters don’t need to pitch very deep into the game, with plenty of viable relief options available.

The same can be said on the offensive side.  Two all-star shortstops in Jeter and Rollins.  Two catchers, Mark DeRosa who can play pretty much anywhere.  Youklis appears to be the only true firstbaseman, and Pedrioa the only true secondbaseman.  Too bad for the Red Sox, I hate them anyway.  But I assume DeRosa will fill in at those two spots primarily, with Wright and Chipper Jones splitting time at third.  There are four outfielders, two of whom are centerfielders (Granderson and Sizemore) and two corner (Hawp and Braun).  It should be pretty easy to rotate those four guys, thus not overworking anyone. 

We’ve already discussed the legitimacy of this tournament, so I won’t get into that.  I think the US has a very strong squad.  Johan Santana is sitting out, so the Venezuela squad is missing its best pitcher, but it still has Felix Hernandex and Carlos Zambrano.  But one of them is offset by Carlos Silva.  They should also have a strong lineup with Magglio Ordonez, and Miggy Cabrera. Defense appears to be solid with the Isturis brothers on the roster, as well as Endy Chavez in the outfield. 

Another noteworth team is the Dominican Republic.  While their pitching staff isn’t overwhelming, they do have a nice lineup.  Hanely Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz are the big names. Along with Adrian Beltre and Robinson Cano.  They are lacking Manny Ramierz and Albert Puljos, two players I believe they had last time around.  The pitching staff has Johnny Cueto and Pedro Martinez.  Not much else in the way of starters. 

Of those three teams I looked at, I would think the US has the best squad, due to pitching.  The starters are very good, and so is the bullpen.  Obviously Japan and Cuba will have very good teams, but since outside of Ichiro I don’t know any of their players, I wasn’t going to bother looking at their rosters.  My guess is that the United States, Japan, or Cuba will win.  And two of those teams will be playing each other in the championship round.

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Twins Better Not Follow Yankee Footsteps

This season, the Twins will play in the third oldest stadium in baseball (behind only the Red Sox and Dodgers). It also happens to be one of the worst. But in 2010, we’ll be in the brand-spanking-newest stadium in the league, and the news coming out about it is increasingly great. Excitement is definitely building.

But the Yankees are doing what they can to strike fear into the fans of teams with new stadiums everywhere.

The Yankees deserve every pixel of bad publicity they receive over this, every blankety-blank karmic quantum of bad yankety-blank karma. My friends and I are hardly the only customers wronged in such a fashion; an informal discussion with a few other longtime Yankees ticket holders who write for various sites (including this one) reveals similarly shoddy treatment. Indeed, all of us who have something at stake short of a full-season ticket package are being screwed because the Yankees have bungled this so badly that they can’t possibly fulfill the demand. So naturally, their impulse is to trample the loyal customers who helped carry them past the three million and four million attendance milestones over the past decade. This is a story worth illuminating, not only to fellow Yankee fans who may commiserate about finding themselves up the same fetid creek, but to baseball fans everywhere.
Jay Jaffe is absolutely right about this. The Yankees are ignoring seating requests and moving their fans’ requested seating assignments to wherever they want (and to a more expensive, more distant, more obstructed location, no less). And they’re making a take-it-or-leave-it stance that can’t possibly make any of their fans happy. And bear in mind that these are loyal, long-time season ticket holders who signed up for their tickets at the new stadium as soon as possible.

If this can happen to Yankees fans, it can happen to anyone. All I can say is that the Twins had better not try to pull this kind of crap on their fans.

But just remember that if this is happening here, it can happen in your city as well. Even the green cathedrals of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park will someday fall to the wrecking ball, and when you emerge from the rubble with a lesser opportunity to visit your new ballpark, you’ll have plenty of company.
You’ve got that right. It’s getting pretty close to time for the Twins to show their fans that they respect and value their loyalty. Do the right thing.

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