Butler – Duke

I was on the phone with DirecTV diagnosing why, exactly, my receivers were not picking up the MLB Extra Inning package (despite being signed up several weeks ago) and managed to miss much of the NCAA championship game.

I did manage to catch the last 12 minutes or so of the game.  I was pulling for underdog Butler.   When they missed a shot with less than 5 seconds remaining, I thought that they were finished.  I was stunned at how close Gordon Hayward’s desperation shot came.  Had he made the shot, I would have ranked it as the best moment in the history of the NCAA tournament.

It’s time to close the door on another basketball season and transition to baseball.

Is There an Editor in the House?

Earlier in the week, USA Today announced that their annual survey of baseball salaries indicated a 17% drop – saying that the average player’s salary dropped from $3.2 million in 2009 to $2.7 million in 2010.  A number of sites reported this news, only to later print news of a correction.  Player salaries actually ticked slightly upward (less than 1%).

I can understand some Mom and Pop sites believing this news, but struggle with how a big organization (ESPN, I’m looking at you) fell for it.

There are a number of ways to calculate this, but if we assume simply the 25 man rosters of each team, a $500,000 decrease per player would have been a $375 million decrease across baseball.

This really should have begged the question – where did this money come from?  Sure, there were some players taking pay cuts, but others signed contracts that paid them more money.  A few notable players retired, but they didn’t take hundreds of millions of dollars in salary with them.

I think one thing that may have made this believable was that the crop of free agents didn’t sign for as much money as last year’s crop.  However, that doesn’t mean that salaries declined – it’s a completely apples to oranges comparison.  The fact that Matt Holliday signed for less money this year than Mark Teixeira did last year doesn’t mean that this negatively impacted salaries.  Holliday isn’t making as much as Teixeira, but he is still exceeding his own 2009 salary.  That’s what we should be looking at.

Much of the blame should go to USA Today, of course.  They’ve been generating these reports for many years, and yet nobody realized that there was no basis for the reported decline.  The amount was large enough that it should have caused raised eyebrows and verification of the data.

The Resin Bag

I’m going to call this section – with short blurbs – The Resin Bag.  Welcome aboard, Resin Bag.

Tiger Woods fielded some questions from reporters and once again apologized for his actions.  OK, at this point, you either believe that he is contrite, or you don’t.  Is repetition going to change your mind?  Let’s move on.

Kurt Warner threw out the first pitch before the Diamondbacks game on Opening Day.  It was a bit to the third base side of the plate, but not a bad effort compared to the typical first pitches we see.

Marc Bulger – who replaced the “injured and washed-up” Warner as quarterback of the St. Louis Rams and was expected to lead them back to the Super Bowl – was cut loose by the team after a 1-15 season.  The consensus thought is that the Rams are paving the way to select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the #1 pick in the draft.

Fantasy baseball heartburn began early this year, with the Youra Peeins third baseman Ian Stewart teeing off of Peeins teammate Yovani Gallardo.  It’s always a bittersweet moment when one fantasy player succeeds at the expense of someone else on your team.  In this case, Stewie is not only a Peein, but also a member of the real life Colorado Rockies – making it easier to cheer for him to succeed.

I also got roped into a “straight” league (as opposed to my Alphabet Soup League) as a last minute spot filler.  I haven’t even had a chance to take a close look at the rules, so the other teams will probably chew up Bats in the Belfry.  On the plus side, it’s an opportunity to compete in a CBS league – which I’ve heard good things about.