Beginnings & Big Innings



The remarkable thing about Sports is how they bring people together. Left, Right, Middle, Black, White, Latino, Asian, it doesn’t actually matter when the game is on the line and you’re holding your breath to see what happens. The unrestrained joy or shared disappointment will overcome pretty much everything else.

I guess for me, sports is more than just a game, especially Baseball. I love the game – second only to my family. And since 2008, it has become even more dear to me as I have been privileged to sit beside my friend, Zack, and watch some of the biggest names in today’s game make their way from High A Stockton to MLB diamonds all over the country and the world. After fourteen years in the minors, Zack got his reward yesterday. And it was glorious.

Meanwhile, Baseball once upon a time had a big problem with Steroids. The problem wasn’t what most people think it was. As it turns out, big league Academia has virtually the same problem…


SHOW NOTE LINKS

The conclusion of this paper is not that stars are bad, It’s just that, once safely ensconced at the top of their fields, maybe they tend to overstay their welcome.

Publishing leads to poverty


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Mike Trout, Angels deal | MLB.com

Just to be clear, a man who has “the highest WaR* in history” just signed a 12 year $400+Million deal.
In his time in the Majors, his TEAM has won one (1) Divisional Title. They were swept in three games in the divisional round of the Playoffs as he hit just .083.
Ticket prices go up. Concessions go up. And The Red Baron wonders why attendance is down?
Gotta be the lack of a pitch clock, right????
*WaR – “Wins Above Replacement” A meaningless SABERMetrics Stat that proves that individuals don’t win Championships, Teams do…

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels and Mike Trout have agreed to a record-setting 12-year contract worth $426.5 million, according to sources. The Angels have not confirmed the deal. Trout, 27, was eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season upon the completion of the six-year, $144.5 million deal

Source: Mike Trout, Angels deal | MLB.com

Trout, 27, was eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season upon the completion of the six-year, $144.5 million deal he signed in 2014. This new contract would add 10 years to his existing deal, making it 12 years total. There will be no opt-out clause in the deal, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Trout’s would be the first $400 million contract in Major League history, surpassing the total value of the 13-year, $330 million contract Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies earlier this month. It also will be the third record-setting contract signed this offseason. Previously there had been just one $300 million contract — Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million extension signed in November 2014 when he was with the Marlins.

When Manny Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres in February, it was the first $300 million contract given to a free agent. Then Harper signed his, signifying the most years given to a free agent and the largest contract by total value in North American professional sports history.

But now Trout’s deal, a 10-year agreement for $360 million added to the $66.5 million remaining on the two years of his current contract, takes the distinction of having most total value. With an average annual value of $35.83 million, it also will have the largest average annual value of any MLB contract, surpassing Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million per year in his current deal with the D-backs.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus was coy when asked about the deal on Tuesday, because it hasn’t become official yet. Trout wasn’t at Tempe Diablo Field but could return to play in a Minor League game on Wednesday or in Wednesday night’s game against the Indians in Goodyear.

“I don’t have a comment,” Ausmus said, before discussing Trout’s impact in the upcoming season. “He’s very important to me. I’m looking at 2019 and he’s the best player in baseball.”

Angels players, however, were thrilled with Trout’s agreement. Several talked to the outfielder on Tuesday morning via FaceTime.

“Mike Trout is the greatest player of all time,” said lefty Tyler Skaggs, who was Trout’s roommate in his first two years in the Minors. “He deserves everything. Five hundred, six hundred, eight hundred [million]. I’m really happy for him. I FaceTimed him today. Very Jerry McGuire-esque.”

“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen,” said right fielder Kole Calhoun. “He told me he wasn’t going to be here today and I said, ‘All right, congrats.’ I knew what was going on. It was just cool, especially for him and his wife and for his mom and dad. Everybody knows a lot about him and his life and what a great guy he is. Couldn’t happen to a better person.”

Trout, a native of Millville, N.J., is a noted Philadelphia sports fan and Harper had been vocal about wanting to recruit Trout to sign with the Phillies after the 2020 season. But Trout is comfortable in Southern California and has enjoyed his time with the Angels, although they’ve made it to the postseason just once in his eight-year career.

• Best players to only play for one team

Veteran Albert Pujols, who previously owned the record for the largest contract in Angels history at 10 years and $240 million prior to the 2012 season, said Trout’s deal shows the commitment of the franchise and owner Arte Moreno to win.

“Trout is one of those players who comes around once every 50, once every 100 years,” Pujols said. “I’m blessed to wear the same uniform as him.”

Reaction around the big leagues was swift and positive, as players were happy to see the consensus best player in baseball get a record-setting extension.

“It’s pretty cool to see that,” Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said. “He deserves every penny of it and more. I mean, the guy’s been the best player in baseball. He’s probably one of the best baseball players ever. I don’t even think there’s anything to question about him signing that deal. He obviously likes it in L.A. And now he’s there forever. That’s pretty cool. I’m happy for him.”

Said Cubs manager Joe Maddon: “He is the best player in the game. He deserves that. If there’s been any concerns about spending money throughout the industry, that kind of maybe squashed it.”

“If there is somebody who deserves it and has earned it, it’s him,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “He is the only one everybody will say, ‘He deserves it.’ Anyone who comments in a negative way doesn’t know baseball. He is the best player in the game. He shows up every year and you can always say the same thing about him. He is a humble person who plays the game the right way. He is the face of baseball.”

“Amazing deal for the best player in the game,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “It’s cool to see a team go after him and make sure they keep him like that. He’s probably the greatest five-tool player the game has seen.”

Said Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo: “He deserves it. If anybody deserves it, it’s him. You always like to see guys get paid what they are worth. It’s great for him and it’s great for the game.”

Trout, taken with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2009 Draft out of Millville Senior High School, won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, finishing second in the balloting for the AL MVP Award that year. He also finished second in the voting for MVP in ’13, ’15 and ’18, while winning it in ’14 and ’16 and finishing fourth in ’17. He enters the season with 64.3 career WAR, already 99th all-time among position players and more than numerous Hall of Famers. It’s the highest WAR by any player in Major League history though an age-26 season.

“He’s a different animal. A man among boys,” shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “When you think about the Angels, you think about Mike Trout.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Edgar Martinez, legendary Mariners DH, overcomes odds to make Baseball Hall of Fame in final attempt | The Seattle Times

In his 10th and final year on the ballot, Edgar Martinez joined Ken Griffey Jr. as the second player to wear a Mariners cap in the Baseball Hall of Fame, completing his climb from 25.2 percent of the vote to easily eclipsing the 75 percent needed for election.

Source: Edgar Martinez, legendary Mariners DH, overcomes odds to make Baseball Hall of Fame in final attempt | The Seattle Times

Red Sox’ radio makes a galling change; Play-by-play will be presented in a talk-show format – Sports Broadcast Journal

Let me be clear about hits – I despise the Red Sox.

And that was true long before last October. Since the day they “broke” the curse, they have been nothing but colossal jerks. And cheaters. They suck and I hate them. They have literally become the Yankees of the ’70s.

That said, this is an unbelievably stupid idea. It’s just more “dumbing down” of society and the worse, of baseball. Hopefully this… this… “experiment” will last about a day before the team realizes just how stupid it is.

That said, if the Red Sox need a play-by-play guy who both loves the Red Sox and has earned the chance, Zack Bayroute is still out there for you, Boston.

And even I would listen if he was your guy…

Tim Neverett is leaving the Red Sox’ radio booth after three seasons.

Source: Red Sox’ radio makes a galling change; Play-by-play will be presented in a talk-show format – Sports Broadcast Journal

At first, I asked myself why would rightsholder WEEI break up an excellent duo. Neverett and Sox’ radio immortal Joe Castiglione combined to bring listeners cadenced, entertaining and informative broadcasts; chock-full of anecdotes. They were becoming the accepted voices of New England summers.

When I learned why he’s leaving, I bristled. As it turns out, WEEI plans to transition its coverage from a golden play-by-play standard to in-game talk; a decision that renders Neverett superfluous. He’s a play-by-play announcer, not a young Eddie Andelman.

These Einsteins of broadcasting believe that it’s time to tear down seventy years of tradition, fostered in Boston by Curt Gowdy in 1951 and perpetuated by folks like Jim Britt, Bob Murphy, Ned Martin, Jon Miller, Jim Woods and Castiglione. Neverett wanted nothing of the change and WEEI  apparently wanted nothing of him. Neverett didn’t fit its silly new plan.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are saying little. They’re playing the card of innocent bystander. The fact is that they’re too busy counting the cash they get from WEEI’s parent, Entercom. There’s a line on Wall Street, ‘You’re only as good as your stock price.’ So if the Sox view the stock tables, it’s not a pretty picture. Entercom’s stock price is down about 40% in the last year. In other words, this whole think stinks.

Entercom’s programmers apparently consider play-by-play an anathema. The heck with the game. It’s for old folks. As Phil Mushnick might say, Yikes!

Wake up, WEEI. Young people, the 18-34 demo, don’t listen to sports talk anyhow and they certainly won’t listen to something labeled baseball play-by-play but is no more than a mask for a talk show. But as long as WEEI pays the fiddler, it can apparently call the tunes. It’s a desperate experiment.

As such, I guess that henceforth the station’s instructions to the announcers, whoever they are, will be:

  1. No more human-interest stories. Painting graphic pictures requires too many Twitter characters.
  1. Shun fundamentals. The nomenclature and vocal cadence introduced by the likes of Red Barber and perfected by Vin Scully are for baby boomers and they’re beginning to die by the day.
  1. Talk about the traffic in the Callahan Tunnel, the latest tattoos, Mark Zuckerberg’s battles in Congress, Warren against Trump or Robert Kraft’s personal life.
  1. Knowledge of pop-culture is a must.
  1. Don’t talk about dead people anymore as David Hill famously said when Fox bought the television rights and hired Joe Buck. Forget about baseball’s history. No one in Boston cares about Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski.
  1. Don’t worry about giving the score. Fans can get it on their Smartphones.
  1. Consider taking phone calls between pitches. “One and two on the hitter, tied game in the ninth, the potential winning run on third. Hold on, we have Frank from Roxbury on the phone!”

Where is this going?

  • It is just the beginning. Wait for the next generation. Radio and television listeners will be treated to AI, the next major technological wave. AI will pilfer mics from announcers and the broadcast booths will turn into luxury boxes. AI will be broadcast’s version of driverless cars.
  • If it’s a talk show, will the announcers travel with the club? Heck, the station’s general manager can save money if they don’t. Will home games be done from the studio? This way the radio booth can be rented to sponsors if there are any left.
  • Will the station’s GM come up with another brilliant idea? “Hey, if this is becoming a talk show, why are we overpaying millions for the rights. We can just continue doing it from the studio at no cost. it’s the same thing.”
  • Will this be the beginning of the end of play-by-play on radio? We’re seeing it in hockey; the new Carolina Hurricanes simulcast silenced arguably the NHL’s best radio play-by-play voice, Chuck Kaiton. The Devils, Lightning, Kings and Islanders are off traditional radio and available only online and through apps.
  • NBA radio announcers need helicopters to get them to their nosebleed locations every night.
  • Who’s listening to basketball and hockey anyhow? The numbers are frighteningly low; in the hundreds not thousands.
  • Fewer local radio stations buy NFL rights for big money anymore. The declining economies of the medium dictate otherwise. Dollars aside, four teams have ex-players calling games. None is exceptional or even very good. How can they be? They were never trained. Where are the greats? Gil Santos, Merle Harmon, Marty Glickman and Bill King are deceased. Greg Papa was let go by the Raiders this season. He was as good as they come.

I occasionally dialed up the Boston radio duo online to immerse and enjoy. The storytelling, the warmth, the anecdotes always made for a great listen; and through it all the two never missed a pitch. They laughed, chuckled and thankfully never screeched.  Through it all, the present tense play-by-play rudiments were untouchable and never compromised.

Castiglione and Neverett embraced the importance of consistently executing play-by-play essentials; spinning yearns, sharing tidbits without ever losing sight of what’s going on down on the field. It was right out of a textbook. Rhythmic elegance!

According to remarks from Tim, his relationship with the Sox was and is strong. But WEEI and Tim apparently realized that his traditional call won’t fit the misguided change that’s planned; whatever disruptive choppiness it brings. Joe Castiglione, 72, might as well be draped in the Red Sox logo. So he’s untouchable. But you have to wonder how he’ll deal with this monstrosity next year.

Somewhere up in the heavens, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Bob Prince, Russ Hodges, Gowdy and others are asking for a drink and a couple Motrins.

But wait a minute. What made the young and old listen to Vin Scully when he was either 25 in Brooklyn or 85 in Los Angeles? It was his perfect delivery, masterful storytelling and graphic descriptions. It wasn’t having Jim Rome call a baseball game. Different skill set.

If you’re going to do it, do it right! Goodness!

Some Days

Some days…

You have to understand how happy I was just a few hours ago. It wasn’t *just* a Homerun. It was a home run hit by one of my favorite players who once played for my favorite minor league team, the Stockton Ports. His career went south, but this season he was reborn and in a  moment of redemption for himself and his new team, my favorite baseball team, the Dodgers, it was a moment of elated joy that I literally had to stifle because it was well after midnight and the house was asleep.

And how do I awaken?

To the news that “All Jews Must Die!” being shouted as bullets rip into air and flesh at a synagogue.

From the heights of happiness to the despair of anger, fury, and sadness.

I want to be laughing at Mary Harts antics. I want to be celebrating with my friends. Instead, I am weeping and ready to tear up walls.

I watch the replays but there can be no joy in Mudville right now. Eleven lives are gone for what?

Hatred.  Joy is ripped from me. Replaced by incredible sadness.

And yes, anger. Savage Fury. 

At people with issues that transcend intelligence. At the idea that differences are worth taking a life over. At a media that glorifies violence. At a G-d who once again allows this.

Some days…

Racist Internet Dating | Plausibly Live

Hurricanes just suck.

I have way more experience with hurricanes than anybody raised in the Mountain West should ever have to have and I can say with authority and conviction that hurricanes just suck.

I continue to be amazed by our schizophrenic culture. On the one hand, tolerance! On the other hand, just say no to civility! On the other hand, tolerance! On the other hand, “I don’t want to date you because…” On the other hand…

Angel Hernandez sued Major League Baseball for racism because he wanted to be the umpire in a playoff game. That backfired on him. But it also raises deep questions about replay in baseball… and other sports…

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Source: Racist Internet Dating | Plausibly Live