Can We Be Certain The Gunshot Wound Wasn’t Self-Inflicted?

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 4:27 pm by

Really, in light of Friday’s news that Jose Reyes isn’t coming back anytime soon, could you really blame Mr. Met?  The above garment is apparently a discontinued item from Philly tee peddlers Birdland, as tipped by MetsBlog‘s Matthew Cerrone.

4 whole days of nothing to blame on Tony Bernazard, and I’m feeling jittery.  Hey, guess which National League baseball club based in Flushing ultimately determined they were neither sellers nor buyers at today’s trade deadline?

Calcaterra : PED Users Have Rights, Too

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Law at 2:59 pm by

ESPN allowed alleged humorist Colin Cowherd to complain on Thursday’s “SportsCenter” that Major League Baseball had to stop the “drip drip drip” of slowly leaking names from the infamous gang of 104 PED users of 2003 by making the full list available (“the NFL would just release the entire list the day before the Super Bowl”, argued Cowherd). Presumably, someone at Bristol U. took time  to explain to the network’s prized mental midget that MLB isn’t the party responsible for a few of the names ending up in the New York Times.   In Chicago, Ozzie Guillen demanded “can somebody in baseball, please, we’re all begging people, get that stupid list out and move on. This is ridiculous. This is embarrassing.” To which Circling The Bases’ Craig Calcaterra replies, “Setting aside the fact that such a thing is practically impossible — actually releasing it all would require a court order itself, and no one else involved in the case has any incentive for it to be lifted — it’s also a horrible idea.”

The list, as everyone seems to be forgetting, would not have existed if the people whose names appear on it (and about a thousand others) hadn’t been promised that it would remain confidential while it existed and would be destroyed soon after it was created. Those promises were broken, first by the players’ own union, who violated the players’ trust, and then by the federal government, who, in the opinion of many, overstepped previously-established legal grounds to seize the information in the course of their BALCO investigation. An investigation, mind you, that had nothing to do with the vast majority of the players on the list.

The listed players have had at least two legal duties owed to them breached and two legal rights entitled to them violated: the fiduciary duties owed to them by their union, the contractual duties owed to them by baseball and the testing lab, their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and the right to have their medical information kept private, guaranteed by HIPAA. It’s too late for Manny, Papi, A-Rod, and Sosa, but around 100 other of these guys still have not been damaged by these egregious acts, though they will be if their names are released as everyone is so blithely demanding.

And what is to be gained by such a release? The satisfaction of the media, who would love to report and opine on this some more, and the satisfaction of the general public who either gets off on the salaciousness of it or, more commonly, simply wants this all to go away and thinks the quicker the names are out the more likely that is to happen. Call me crazy, but I don’t think my rights to privacy and to the security of my personal medical information are something to be preserved or denied based on how good a story this makes for someone.

Mushnick : Minaya Bashers Are A Bit Naive

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:35 pm by

Somewhat echoing the earlier comments of Murray Chass, add the New York Post’s resident conscience of all things sports media, Phil Mushnick, to the small chorus of those who find something slightly unseemly about the Daily News’ Adam Rubin receiving career guidance from Jeff Wilpon. While acknowledging Omar Minaya’s remarks Monday were “slathered with cheap desperation”, Mushnick protests “the sports media have a long and dishonorable tradition of trying to ingratiate themselves to the teams and people they cover in exchange for future considerations, be it access, a few bucks or a full-time job.”

The sports media know that “playing ball” can provide all manner of benefits, from regular paid writing gigs in team yearbooks and game programs, to team-site Internet gigs, to book deals, to front-office club and league positions, to full-time team TV and radio deals. Certain credentialed reporters, men and women, become looked upon by teams’ management and ownership as “our people,” often inexpensively compromised.

Just think of the beating a certain national all-sports network would daily be taking if so many big-time writers and columnists, throughout the country, weren’t on its payroll as contributors.

Does truth-telling suffer? Suffer? It’s often destroyed. And there’s no one who has spent more than a year on a sports beat who doesn’t strongly sense the co-opted among them.

That’s why some of the indignant and horrified fallout to Minaya’s ugly claim against Rubin was a bit much. Everyone knows half a dozen “house men” who trade on their media credentials. Make it a dozen.

Sir Bobby Robson, Dead At 76

Posted in Football at 12:52 pm by

Longtime England manager Bobby Robson (shown above in 1987, with Gary Linekar on his right and Bryan Robson to his left) passed away earlier today following a long battle with cancer. Though best known for a tumultuous spell managing the England team, Robson achieved considerable success at Ipswich during a club career that included tenures at Fulham, Newcastle, Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona. The following excerpt from the Telegraph’s Friday morning obit picks up around the time of England’s 1990 World Cup campaign, 4 years after Robson’s side was victimized by Diego Maradona in Mexico.

Robson again found himself pilloried by the newspapers. Not only had England performed wretchedly in the 1988 European Championships, but details of an alleged love affair had also surfaced, and the FA had crassly announced that whatever happened in the World Cup, Robson would be replaced at its end. Normally a genial man, for much of the tournament Robson wore the air of a man under siege.

The side was once more handicapped by the absence of Bryan Robson, and by the inexperience of some players caused by the ban on English clubs entering European competition after the Heysel disaster; but the emergence of David Platt, and Robson’s acceptance of the players’ wish to employ a sweeper system, brought the team through to a semi-final meeting with Germany in Turin. It was the first time that England had reached this stage since 1966.

Yet again, in a match that was always bound to be close, luck went against Robson. The Germans scored with a freak deflection off Paul Parker, and though Lineker equalised magnificently, the outcome fell to be determined by penalties. Waddle ballooned his over the bar, and England were out. They subsequently lost the third-place match to Italy.

There were many observers who felt that, had the result in Turin gone the other way, Robson’s side might well have prevailed in the Final against Argentina. Instead, the nature of his defeat haunted Robson for years afterwards, and he could never speak about it in a manner that implied he had come to terms with it.

Phillies to Billy Joel: Not In Our House

Posted in Baseball, decomposing composers at 11:05 am by

Billy Joel (above right) during his less acquiescent period

Billy Joel (above right) during his less acquiescent period

Perhaps overstating the current state of the Phillies vs Mets rivalry, the Phillies and Billy Joel are nonetheless taking no chances of provoking any overeager or fighting drunk Phillies fans during his appearances with Elton John at Citizens Bank Park. from Philly.com

In a bid to keep the peace at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies wanted to cloak or replace the 16-by-16-foot Mets banner at the top of the set decoration at the Billy Joel/Elton John concerts tonight and Saturday.

Alas, they could not find anything suitable.

Joel will wear a Phillies jacket for at least part of the show and will make some sort of joking reference to the Mets and their 10-games-back status

My colleague Bob Ford and I hear that the Phillies had reached out to the “Face 2 Face” concert to express concern about Joel’s New York-theme set.

It’s not that the Phils are worried about any kind of baseball rivalry, we hear; they just don’t want some yahoo having too much to drink and throwing something at it or starting a fight. The Mets banner was visible at recent shows at Nationals Ballpark and Wrigley Field.

Perhaps Joel will sing “Philadelphia State of Mind,” as well.

Nomar : ’03 PED List Includes Martyrs

Posted in Baseball at 1:55 am by

“David Ortiz looks like one of the television evangelists who gets caught in a seedy motel with a hooker,” sneers the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, adding, “the 2004 Red Sox really were Idiots. Just like the Yankees and everybody else.”  Oakland’s Nomar Garciaparra — previously implicated by proto-sports blogger Bob Ryan — collected a ring for his half season + contribution to Boston’s 2004 title campaign, and unsurprisingly takes a different view than the C.H.B.   To wit, Nomah would have us believe there are some players on the infamous List of 100 Offenders who intentionally flunked or failed the tests in order to usher in genuine penalties going forward.

Historic Ballpark /Bouton Haunt, Underwater

Posted in Baseball, Natural Disasters at 12:07 am by

In 1996, I had the pleasure of attending a Pittsfield Mets game at Wahconah Park, the venerable stadium that in recent years has been the beneficiary of Jim Bouton’s patronage and since 2005, served as the home venue for a Dan Duquette owned-NECBL team. However, after heavy rains in the Northeast, writes The College Baseball Blog’s Michael Radomski, “what was once a tourist attraction for many sports fans has now turned into a tourist attraction for water sports.”

Radio Norwich’s overnight man was unavailable for comment.