No doubt bemused that talk of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s prowess has reached the venerable Popular Mechanics, CBS Sportsline’s Greg Doyel plays the contratrian amidst Gyroballmania.

They’re bidding now, as we speak, for the next Ichiro. Or maybe the next Irabu. You can never tell with Japanese players, although most of them aren’t nearly as good over here as they were over there.

Don’t listen to the anonymous scouts slobbering in the New York City papers, because nobody knows how good Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will be in the major leagues. All we know is how much he’ll cost, because slimy super-agent Scott Boras has planted a $20 million seed in newspapers all over America, suckering reporters who repay a return phone call from Boras into doing his negotiating.

Anonymous scouts — is Boras a scout? — are telling the media that Matsuzaka, 26, is a No. 1 starter in the majors. We’ll see. Matsuzaka is said to throw in the mid-90s with six or seven pitches he can locate for strikes, but that sounds like fantasy. The reality is, he’s a small guy (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) who has thrown 1,400 innings over the past eight seasons, with astronomical pitch counts typical in Japan. He’s an arm blowout waiting to happen.

Odds are, whoever wins Matsuzaka has already lost. They’re playing poker with Scott Boras, who’s not only the slickest guy at the table, but the guy dealing the cards.

Doyel’s points about Matsuzaka’s slight build and prior workload are well taken, but the pitcher’s performances during the WBC were hardly conducted in top secrecy. Nor is Japanese professional baseball any harder to follow for an industrious big league club familiar with obscure tools known as “overseas scouts”, “video footage,” etc.

With the A’s expected to announce plans for construction of a new, 36,000 seat ballpark in Freemont, CA, Sports Business Solutions’ Zennie Abraham blames Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown for the move. (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Jerry does not care about Oakland or the maintainance of sports in our town. What Jerry cares about is the maintenance of his insecurities about sports — regardless of the cost.

This is a man who once yelled at house guests to “turn off that damn set” in the middle of the NBA Finals. This is a man who not only could not wrap his mind around my plan to use the Super Bowl as a tool to gain a $200 million naming rights deal for the Coliseum Stadium and Arena, but openly questioned it before myself, NFL Commissioner Paul Taliabue and then-NFL COO and now Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2000. Both Tagliabue and Goodell believed my plan was both sound and innovative. But Jerry just didn’t want it to work.

I’ve always believed — from experience — that Jerry Brown associated a love of pro sports with not being an intellectual. But what I’ve said then and say now is that anyone who thinks of sports that way is only being a pseudo-intellectual. For a real intellectual can embrace the need for an “industry of play” in a city with as many problems as Oakland. That person was not Jerry Brown.

Hey, not only that, but he wrecked Linda Ronstadt’s career (well, that and all the Elvis Costello covers).