Around the World of Baseball

February 16, 2011

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Once again, Albert Pujols is front and center in the world of baseball.  As I write this, we’re closing in on the deadline Albert set for striking a deal.  It seems increasingly unlikely that Pujols will sign a deal prior to the deadline – setting the stage for his possible departure from St. Louis.  While there are a lot of teams that would love to have Pujols in their lineup, are there any willing and able to pony up $30 million per year?  The Yankees and Red Sox have a franchise 1B locked up, and those are usually the two teams with the most cash.

Of course, Pujols played third base earlier in his career.  The Yankees would play him at 3B, move A-Rod back to SS, and turn their aging SS into a utility player.  (I kid, John, I kid.)

Speaking of Yankees … CC Sabathia showed up at camp considerably lighter.  That’s a relative concept for a guy who lugs around 300 pounds on his 6’7″ frame, but he claims to be down 25 pounds from last year.  Based on the photos, I can believe it.  The one concern I always had with CC was his weight.  I always thought that it would eventually cause him to wear down at the end of the year.  It hasn’t happened yet – with Sabathia winning at least 17 games, pitching at least 230 innings, and posting an ERA of 3.37 or better in each of the past 4 seasons – and the weight loss might make him even more durable.  With 157 wins on his resume at age 30, Sabathia remains a solid candidate to be come the next 300 game winner – especially if he can maximize his wins the next few years, before the Yankee core declines too much.  There’s also the possibility that Sabathia could opt out of his deal, but I don’t see that happening.

Off the field …

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama recognized former Cardinal Stan “The Man” Musial with the presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.  The greatest Cardinal of them all was a 24 time All-Star (note that there were two All Star games each year between 1959 and 1962, with one game benefitting the players’ pension fund).

The ownership of the New York Mets is in flux.  The owners are looking into the possibility of selling a 25% share of the team.  The owners are being sued by Irving Picard (no relation to Jean-Luc), the trustee for victims of Bernie Madoff.  Picard alleges that team ownership withdrew large amounts of false profits from their accounts with Madoff, and should have know that fraud was occurring.  This is the latest in a recent string of off-field issue affecting teams.  The McCourt divorce is still casting uncertainly on the future of the Dodgers.

Spring Training has begun, meaning that winter is officially over.  This means that any subsequent snowfalls will be in violation of federal law.

My picks for the World Series?  As much as I’d like to pick the Rockies, any team with Cole Hamels as their #4 starter  is going to make some noise – so I pick the Phillies from the NL.  In the AL, I’ll give the nod to the Red Sox, who added an extremely good player in Adrian Gonzalez.  My player to watch this season is Homer Bailey.  Although many have already given up on him as a bust, the kid won’t turn 25 until May.  I think he has enough experience under his belt to put together a breakout season in 2011.

Wednesday Wisps

July 1, 2009

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The big news story of last week was the death of pop icon Michael Jackson at age 50.  News accounts have indicated that Jackson left behind $400 million.  Jackson’s estate does, of course, contain some valuable assets.  Most notable is his music portfolio, which includes his own music, as well as a portion of royalties from The Beatles.  The day after his death, 9 of the 10 most downloaded iTunes albums were Jackon’s.  This also underscores the ability of digital content providers to be able to seamlessly adjust to spikes in demand.  If stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Sam Goody sold out of Jackson CDs, they would not be able to satisfy the demand until they were able to restock.  Since the demand will likely dissipate as time passes, they will likely lose some of the impulse sales.  Digital providers such as iTunes are immune from this.  iTunes can’t “sell out” of a CD.  They just throw more hardware into the iTunes Music Store to handle the spike in volume.

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was sentence to 150 years in prison.  If Madoff serves the entire sentence, he would be 221 years old when he is released.  Essentially, the judge gave Madoff a life sentence.  Madoff will likely spend his remaining years in a medium security prison (a prison with bars on the windows and a fence) rather than a country club of a minimum security prison, due to the length of the sentence and the corresponding flight risk.  The judge also ruled that Madoff must also forfeit $171 billion.  It seems impossible that such a large amount will be recovered.

Minnesota finally has a winner in their Senate race.  The state supreme court unanimously declared Al Franken to be the winner, and challenger Norm Coleman has given up his fight.  The win by Franken mkaes it easier for the Democrats to invoke cloture (a procedure to end a filibuster and force a vote on an issue; 60 votes are required for cloture).  I have a question, though – does Franken get paid the salary of a Senator for the last 8 months?  Or does the money that was allocated to his salary go somewhere else (Chrysler, perhaps?).  I wrote a humorous article about the Minnesota Senate situation a couple of months ago.

Another Airbus jet suffered a deadly ocean crash.  This time, a Yemeni jet plunged into the Indian Ocean with 153 people on board.  At the time this story was written, one child had been found alive, and authorities were hoping that other survivors would be found.  The Airbus jet involved is this crash is a different model that the Brazilian jet that crashed on June 1, leaving no survivors.

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford admitted having an affair with a woman in Argentina.  This came to light after Sanford recently was unreachable by his staff.  As it turned out, he was in Argentina at the time.  Many politicians include Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, have called for Sanford to step down.  If Sanford does step down, Bauer would stand to gain the most.  He would become governor, and this would greatly aid his 2010 run for the office, as he would be elevated to incumbent without being voted into the office.

Manny Ramirez will rejoin the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, after a 50 game drug related suspension.  Ramirez has played 5 games in the minor leagues in an effort to get back into playing shape.  I disagree with this aspect of the suspension.  Some would argue that preventing a player from playing in the minors during the suspension would essentially turn a 50 games suspension into a 55-60 game suspension.  My opinion is that if the player can’t hitting the ground running on day 1 after the suspension, that’s his problem, not mine.  He should not be allowed to play any games during the suspension, whether it be in the minors or majors.