Monday, February 23, 2009

From The Department Of: "What's The Big Deal?"

  • The Nats prospect/age scandal:
I'm not sure why this is such an issue. In case anyone missed it, there's a conniption fit going on because a prospect who said his name was Esmailyn Gonzalez and claimed to be 16-years-old when the Washington Nationals signed him to a $1.4 million contract three years ago, is actually Carlos David Alvarez Lugo and was 19 when he was signed.
Okay, so? What's the big deal?
When signing players from countries that are dirt poor and have slipshod systems of keeping records, how is anyone supposed to know how old a player is? Years ago there were questions about the ages of players like Luis Tiant; and it's now coming out that established players such as Miguel Tejada lied about their ages. So? There's no way for anyone to really know how old a player is; the only thing a scout or interested team can truly know is what the player tells them and by examining the documents they can get their hands on; and what if they are older than they say they are? Are the Athletics going to discount all the numbers and the MVP award Tejada won when he was their shortstop? Are the Indians, Red Sox and Yankees going to strike Tiant's numbers when he pitched for them because he may have been two, three or five years older than they thought?
The age thing is only a scouting protective device anyway; they might've known that the guy was probably not who he said he was and wasn't the age he said he was, but what's the difference if he can play? A scout signing a 16-year-old----good; a scout signing a 19-year-old----bad. This Lugo or Gonzalez or whatever his name is looks like he can play a bit based on his numbers; so what if he's a couple years older that they thought? The guy wanted to play baseball professionally; apparently has some ability; and he took the steps to make it a reality. Why is it that everyone's flipping out about this when more damage was done to the game's reputation by the wink, nod and blissfully intentional ignorance that baseball itself utilized in inflicting the damage of the PED scandals? This is a non-story.
  • Jim Bowden as Fredo Corleone:
The list of reasons for the Nationals to replace GM Jim Bowden are vast, but it's starting to look like he's a wannabe Don King, and is in reality, Fredo Corleone. There's a new investigation by the FBI about skimming of signing bonuses with Bowden involved----ESPN Story.
I have no idea what Bowden did or didn't do, but when's enough going to be enough with this guy? The Nats farm system is hideous; he's turned the big league roster into a halfway house for wayward youth; he doesn't know what he's doing; and he's not particularly well-liked anyway. It's as if he wants to be a criminal mastermind similar to King, with brilliance and always plausible deniability combined with a logic that is the hallmark of an evil genius, but instead screws everything up like Fredo Corleone and is best kept in the background or dispatched before things get even worse.
  • I watched five minutes of the Oscars and remembered specifically why I don't watch it:
I thought that the new administration was clarifying the lines of torture. You'd never know it from the few minutes I spent watching the Oscars.
Without getting into detail, what was the purpose of having those former winners standing on stage as a group and having an ass-kiss fest of the nominees for this year? It was like being dragged across broken glass face first and it didn't want to end. I kept flipping channels and going back and it was still going on!!!! As far as I know, it hasn't ended yet. Does anyone even watch the thing anymore, or do they just wait to see who won? Good grief!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Lightning 2.22.2009

  • Bursting the bubble of innuendo about trainer Angel Presinal:
Peering through the subterfuge about personal trainer Angel Presinal, the implication is that any kind of involvement with him at all by any player means that they were automatically using his apparent familiarity with steroids as basis for conviction of guilt, and it is----in the court of public opinion. The truth is that simply because the man knows about steroids and probably provided them with guidance in their correct usage to certain players, that doesn't mean he's on a level with Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee as a dealer/enabler.
As someone who's done research into steroids; has friends who are serious, competitive bodybuilders; and has worked in gyms, I'm here to tell you that because someone has a certain knowledge about the usage of PEDs, knows where to get them and how to apply them, it doesn't eliminate any training knowledge they have or disqualify them from helping those who want to play clean. I know about steroids but have never used them and, truth be told, I don't think they're that dangerous if used correctly under medical supervision; it's not as cut and dried as is implied. had a story about Presinal posted yesterday----LINK. Reading between the lines through the gray areas and knowing what I know about personal trainers and steroids, here's what I think goes on with Presinal: he knows about steroids; he knows how to beat drug tests; and if a player asks about them, he tells them what the deal is. He neither recommends them, nor advises against them; if a player wants to play clean, he can help them get into condition without them; if they don't, he has the knowledge to help them there too.
Because a person has knowledge about a certain subject doesn't make them guilty. People believe that competitive bodybuilders are muscleheaded idiots, and some of them are; but they also have to know about nutrition; and I'm not talking about basic carbs, proteins, fats; I'm talking about everything about how each and every single thing a person ingests affects their body and performance; that includes water intake, how many calories to consume, how to gain and lose weight and be in peak condition on a particular day at a particular time. It's a science. So as the media tries to turn this Presinal into the devil incarnate and assume everyone who's had any dealings with him whatsoever is, by proxy, a steroid user, the fact is that they might be; but they also might not be; but you'd never know that by the ominous way in which he's portrayed.
  • When (not if) Manny signs with the Dodgers, he'll be looking for someone to blame for his "substandard" contract:
After Manny Ramirez finally rejoins the Dodgers, I've said all along that he's going to publicly fire Scott Boras for not following through on his promises to get him $100 million. Then there's going to be the sticky situation of an irritated Manny because he had to "settle" for around $25 million for one year. That's the thing with Manny: he seems to blame others (even those that are trying to help him) for his problems. Boras does deserve a chunk of the blame for what's gone on with Manny from the way he forced his way out of Boston and behaved like a fool; but Manny's not as stupid as people tend to believe; he shares in the responsibility as well. One thing that has to be worrying to the Dodgers is that Manny is going to show up in a bad mood because he didn't get the multi-year deal he wanted even if was the Dodgers who wanted him and paid him.
It reminds me of when the Oakland Raiders drafted Lester Hayes far later in the NFL draft than his talents indicated he should've gone (Hayes had a stutter which made people think he was stupid); he showed up to camp all angry because he was passed over by so many teams; Raiders coach John Madden had to explain to Hayes that it wasn't the Raiders he should've been mad at because they were the ones who did draft him. If Manny's on a one-year deal, it shouldn't be a problem because he'll still be motivated to give the big money another shot next year, but if they give him a two-year contract, who knows what Manny's frame of mind will be as he sits there and stews?
  • Circumstances could save New York Rangers coach Tom Renney:
The NHL is a league that tends to fire their coaches first and ask questions later and the Rangers coach Tom Renney is right in front of the firing squad for several reasons, not the least of being how awful the team's been lately. Even with that, he probably has tonight to get the team straightened out because of the accident of circumstance that two of the team's old-time players----Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell----are being honored at Madison Square Garden tonight. After the ceremonies, they're playing a rebuilding team in the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom they should beat; and if they don't, they're not playing again until Wednesday in Toronto against the same team which is plenty of time to make a change.
Not wanting to distract from a celebration is a strange way to save a coach's job, but these things happen and sometimes they turn out to be for the best. Many coaches and managers have been days, hours and minutes away from being sacked, and are spared for one reason or another out of sheer luck and turn things around. Firing Renney wouldn't solve the Rangers problem of not being able to score, but the players do seem to have tuned him out; and he's not blameless in this whole mess because his team plays a lackluster offensive style, has been hideous on the power play and he has a lot of say-so in the composition of the roster.
They're still in a relatively secure playoff position and there's no team in the conference that they can't get past in the playoffs, so a change, even if it's just for the rest of the season (the NHL also tends to fire coaches briefly, then bring them back sometime during the next season) might be a wakeup call. Team president Glen Sather is close with veteran coach Pat Quinn and he's a successful, respected coach; Peter Laviolette is still out of work; and the Rangers employ a "fixer" with a history of having his teams burst out of the gate when he takes over in Jim Schoenfeld. Then there are the less intriguing names like Bob Hartley, John Tortorella or Robbie Ftorek. One way or the other, Renney had better get the team back on the right track, because if they lose again and look like zombies, he'll be out. (Following is a great clip of Schoenfeld confronting a referee in the runway while he was coaching the Devils):

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Players Are Scrambling

  • What collusion couldn't do, the economy is doing:
Years ago, the owners tried to band together to keep player salaries down by lowballing stars or not even bidding on them. It worked for a couple of years as stars like Kirk Gibson and Tim Raines were unable to find even one team that was willing to try and sign them; of course the owners got sued; of course they lost; and of course it cost them a fortune in compensation. Now salaries are being stifled; players are forced to take one-year deals; and money is way down from what the same players would've gotten in more affluent times and teams are getting bargains because of it.
What would Bobby Abreu have gotten last year had he been a free agent? Manny Ramirez? Orlando Hudson? Francisco Rodriguez? With their resumes, they would've broken the bank. Even injury prone and slightly above average players like Joe Crede would've cashed in due to the desperation. Now we see Abreu taking an incentive-laden, one-year deal from the Angels; Manny's sitting out and seething; Hudson signed with the Dodgers for one-year; K-Rod took a three-year deal from the Mets for reasonable money after saving 62 games last year; and now Crede agrees to terms with the Twins.
Some teams, like the Yankees, are still spending wildly; and most of these owners could lose 90% of their fortunes and wouldn't even notice, but the situation has gotten to the point where the players are back on their heels and interested teams are secure in the knowledge that there aren't any options available for the players to be fussy. What collusion couldn't do, the econony is doing and knowing the owners, they'll still find a way to screw things up, but as of right now, it's a bliss for teams who always wanted to set a dollar value on players and come somewhere close to achieving it in reality and for 2009 at least, they're getting the bargains they've always wanted, but couldn't figure out how.
  • Does this sound like a mentor?
Here's some quotes from Tom Glavine on his return to the Braves:

"I don't necessarily want to be the guy who has to pitch 220 innings and win every time he goes to the mound..."

"I’m looking forward to this stage of my career where I don’t have to deal with that kind of pressure and can be more of a complement to our rotation."

I'd hate to inconvenience Tom with the nuisance of having to win.
It's like he's doing the Braves a favor by gracing them with his presence as he finishes the yard work in his Atlanta home. For a guy who was an eloquent spokesman for the game most of his career, Glavine is not only hanging on too long with his pitching, he's hanging around too long with his mouth. His indifferent reaction to his non-competitive performance on the last day of the season for the Mets in 2007 as they completed their collapse was what angered fans more than anything else; it's one thing to get pounded; it's another to sound like you're just shrugging your shoulders about it as you pack up and head back to Atlanta.
I've always been an advocate of getting players to sign with clubs by convincing them that they can flourish in the venue; it's been necessary for New York teams to cajole certain personalities into coming into the fishbowl; but in recent years I've come to the conclusion that if a player is truly enthusiastic about playing in New York and getting with the program, he doesn't need to be begged. Another example of setting a standard is when the Rays got rid of Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes; my new philosophy for an organization would be, "if you don't want to be part of this, then we'll move you; if you don't want to be here, we wish you all the luck in the world and we'll get someone else." I don't care who the player is and what he can do; no one's irreplaceable; and if someone is acting like they're doing me a favor, then I don't need them that badly.
If anything should convince the Braves that it's time to move forward, it's these stupid comments. They've lost John Smoltz; no one wants to play there anymore; and they need to rebuild. If Glavine doesn't show anything more than he did last season in the spring, they should tell him he's not making the team and he should retire before they cut him. The major leagues isn't a retirement home and for all the ridicule the Braves used to heap on the Mets, they're looking an awful lot like those Mets of the late 90s and early 2000s; I can tell them first hand that's not the direction they want to take.
  • Comments:
I'm still having trouble figuring out how to add a commenting thing to For now, if people would prefer, they can comment via Email (click on Contact Me) and I'll publish them in a posting. (The interesting ones, anyway.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Money Down The Tubes And ARod's Links

  • Tom Glavine returns to the Braves for $1 million+incentives:
If Glavine can provide anything----leadership, a few innings, a win here or there----I suppose it's worth it, but the Braves have some young pitching that would undoubtedly deliver more on the field than Glavine can at this point. It's easy to look back and say he should've retired after that final game debacle for the Mets in 2007; and I probably wouldn't have wanted to go out on that note either; but he returned to the Braves, didn't pitch well and got hurt. Truth be told, he looks like he's got nothing left in the tank. The Braves have James Parr, Charlie Morton and Tommy Hanson off the top of my head who deserve the rotation spot more than Glavine does based on ability alone.
I only hope for Glavine's sake that he'll know when to quit if he pitches poorly and his body doesn't respond in spring training. It's obvious why the Braves are bringing him back: if he can pitch, he can be of some use; they're reeling from John Smoltz's stunning defection and recent comments about the organization; and they're being loyal to Glavine for his years of service. This, however, is a major part of the Braves current problems; they're clinging to the past and reluctant to do what needs to be done to rebuild the orgnanization properly; and part of that is cutting ties with the past and guys who can't do it anymore like Tom Glavine.
  • Nothing more needs to be said about this:
This guy's in trouble. Read this link to the story about Alex Rodriguez: NY Daily News Story and I'm sure you'll agree.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Most Important Thing About Junior Returning To The Mariners

  • Ken Griffey Jr. returns to the Mariners:
Never mind that Ken Griffey Jr. will finish his career with the club he, in retrospect, never should've left; never mind that he's going to put some enthusiasm into the fan base in Seattle coming off 100 losses and give the fans a reason to go to the games as the club starts a retooling project; the most important part of all this is that I don't have to change the first draft of my baseball guide.
Having generally assumed that Griffey would return to the Mariners when I wrote that selection, I took the artistic liberty of adding Griffey into the equation as if he'd already been signed. I wavered as the rumors of his impending agreement with the Braves was stated in various terms as being "done", but left the manuscript as is and was rewarded. Clearly this should be seen as the most important development of the whole thing----that I wasn't inconvenienced.

All (half) kidding aside, the Mariners and Braves are going to end up with win totals in the low-to-mid 70s; the Mariners with a total of around 70-73 and the Braves with maybe 75-79, there isn't much difference between the two; and I'm not buying this stuff about Griffey making a pledge to finish his career as a Mariner either; you have to wonder what's going on with the Braves and why so many players are reluctant to join them unless the money is above-and-beyond what others are offering.
Is this a divinely intervened comeuppance for all those years of consecutive division titles? The Braves were an arrogant team during those years; they played and behaved professionally, but there was a smug condescension to their opponents that may have contributed to the determination the more feisty teams like the Phillies, Marlins and early Yankees teams had when denying the Braves their self-anointed place in history. Now they've been bad for three straight years and aren't getting any better; in fact, they're getting worse. Players are shunning them for other options and one has to wonder whether GM Frank Wren's relationship with Cal Ripken Jr. as the GM in Baltimore has something to do with it.
In September of Wren's lone year as Orioles GM, Ripken was stuck in traffic and called ahead to the team as they were set to take off on a chartered flight to California; Wren ordered the flight to take off as Ripken arrived moments later and had to make his own travel arrangements to join the club. In doing something so self-immolating, you have to wonder what's going through Wren's head; and you also have to wonder whether Ripken, who holds a lot of sway with a lot of people, has let it be known to steer clear of any organization that's being run by Wren.
The Braves used to laugh at the Mets when their organization was so shambolic that they were unable to attract even the most negligible free agents (the most notable being journeyman catcher Henry Blanco, who spurned the Mets higher offer after the 2004 season to join the Cubs), but now it's probably not so funny because the Braves are appearing similar, if not identical, to those mediocre and poorly run Mets teams. On the bright side, the Braves winter has been so hideous that the actual season can't be much worse. (Or can it?)
  • The funniest part of Greg Maddux's role as a spring training instructor for the Padres:
Greg Maddux was a pitching craftsman during his career----Prince of New York Blog 12/6/2008----and has a lot to offer as a teacher, but the Padres are in such a state that if their "spring training instructor", the 43-year-old Maddux, were activated, he'd be their number three starter on opening day; then their number two starter when Chris Young begins running out of gas at mid-season. If I were a Padres fan, Jeff Moorad couldn't arrive soon enough.
  • Arrogance unfettered:
With the economy in the state it's in, the Yankees have been having trouble selling their most expensive seats for the upcoming season in the new stadium, so they've taken to advertising in the newspapers, something they haven't had to do in years; there's nothing wrong with that, but the ads themselves are giving me shaky chills at the obnoxious arrogance. The one line that stands out: "Own the Greatness".
Own the greatness? Own the greatness?!?! Uh, let's take a step back, shall we? The last time there was any evidence of "greatness" was eight years ago. If any organization at this point has a right to say they're "great", it's not the Yankees, but their rivals, the Red Sox. Own the greatness indeed. Did Michael Kay write that copy? My God....even the hardest core Yankee fan must squirm at this nonsense even more than they did during ARod's press conference. Yeesh.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ARod A Pathological Liar

  • A very brief note about Alex Rodriguez's press conference:
I'm not getting into any in depth stuff about ARod's press conference because the story's already beyond tiresome; I was pretty well on the mark with my "preview" of the charade yesterday before it took place. One thing I'll say is that ARod is either totally surrounded by sycophants who aren't bright enough to advise him to tell the truth and get it over with; or he won't listen to anyone who isn't an enabler. He's not telling the truth about what happened and I'll add one prediction to this whole thing: He's going to be asked about it all year and his list of excuses and anthology of stories are going to change by the day; Alex Rodriguez is never going to give the real story because he's incapable of differentiating from the truth and what he wants to be the truth. This would all go away if he made the simple statement:

"I tried it to see if it worked; it was a mistake and I wouldn't do it again."

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Let's move onto some more interesting subjects, shall we?
  • Ian Kennedy does not know when to shut up:
Has everyone seen this article from the NY Times the other day about Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy----link?
The guy does not understand the concept of keeping his mouth...shut!!!!
Here are the relevant quotes from the article:

“I’m probably more driven,” Kennedy said. “I wouldn’t say I was content last year; it’s nice knowing you have a spot. But this year, knowing that I can compete to possibly be the first guy called up, I think that’s going to bring the best out of me this spring.”

“The whole year was a learning process,” Kennedy said. “I think if you’re not confident in yourself, who’s going to be confident in you? I believe in myself. That’s why it comes off wrong or it’s perceived wrong by some people.

“People that know me know that I try to be as humble as I possibly can, but you’ve got to believe in yourself.”

Good grief!!!
Rookies who come up and do well are barely allowed to yap this much; and after the way he pitched last season and how he was raked over the coals for his nonseniscal statements and borderline indifferent reaction to getting pounded in a game against the Angels in August...

"It's always disappointing, but it's my first bad outing in a long time, since the All-Star break," said Kennedy, whose previous seven starts were in the minor leagues.

"I felt like I made some good pitches and got out of the second inning. I am not too upset about it. You move on, and I have already done that. I am not going to look too much into it."'d think he'd have been told by someone to answer with the following well-practiced cliche to any and all questions posed to him this spring: "I had a terrible season last year in all facets; I worked hard over the winter and hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and reward the Yankees for their faith in me." And that's it!!! He doesn't get it.
Veteran players only tolerate a big mouthed rookie if he performs. The Red Sox put up with Dustin Pedroia because he's the type of player who performs better when he's being obnoxious; Kennedy seems to be missing the fact that he was terrible last season; and the simple reality is that he's not all that good to begin with.

I don't know if anyone from the Yankees has spoken to him (my guess is they have), but he's either not listening, not comprehending or is too arrogant to believe what they're telling him. I was against giving Kennedy away as some were advocating last season, but after this it's clear that something's not getting through and I'd try to rehabilitate his career at Triple A and hope someone wants to ante up a couple of prospects for him. He's a hopeless cause.

  • Something strangely funny (and sad) about MLBlogs:
I haven't posted anything there other than links to my new site and I'm still getting close to the same amount of hits as I did when I was laboring to write interesting and coherent analysis. On the one hand it's funny; on the other I was clearly spending a chunk of the past three years wasting my energy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The ARod Press Conference----A Preview

  • Much ado about nothing:
If you think Alex Rodriguez is going to come out with any kind of unrehearsed, freewheeling and spontaneous response to any question at today's press conference, you can forget it. Here's how this thing's going to go:

  1. The "supportive teammates" will stream out in front of ARod (Derek Jeter will be there, although everyone knows that he'd prefer to be spreadeagled and coated with honey over a pair of warring nests of red ants than be at that press conference) along with manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman; the Steinbrenners won't be there. Making themselves inconspicuous in the background will be the army of lawyers, PR people and image consultants that ARod has employed, along with ex-wife Cynthia. (Madonna will be at power yoga and unable to attend.)
  2. ARod will give a short statement, adding a bit more flesh to his evasive responses to the softballs Peter Gammons hurled at him, but not saying anything of consequence or, more importantly, to incriminate himself. There will still be a plausible deniability as to the amount of stuff he used, when and from whom he got it. The statement will be rife with contrition and regret and clearly written by someone other than ARod.
  3. He'll take questions from the press, but won't answer them directly; he'll be more forthcoming than he was in the Gammons interview, will defend himself with a smile and repeatedly apologize for lying to the kids of America who look up to him; to his family and friends. Instead of pulling a Roger Clemens and playing the slugging boxer, trying to do battle with those that dare question his integrity and motives, ARod will dance. Rather than bore in as a two-fisted slugger like Roberto Duran, he'll pull a Sugar Ray Leonard; prancing around, answering but not answering; never being specific and sticking to his script. The press will unload on him afterward, saying that he wasn't more upfront and honest than he was in the Gammons interview, just more slick, more polished and more prepared. He'll be ripped in the media and by anonymous teammates for being a poser and this story will continue to be a distraction throughout camp and at least until the season starts.
  • On a more interesting note, I did some in-the-trenches research into ARod's choice of PEDs:
I dug out one of my hardcore steroid books (don't ask): The Underground Steroid Handbook by the late Dan Duchaine and found some interesting (and unintentionally funny considering ARod's image) facts about the drugs he was supposedly taking. Duchaine was known as a steroids "guru" and was unabashed about helping his clients procure and use the drugs correctly and assisting them in passing drug tests when they were using. He also formulated a dieting system somewhat like a souped up version of that Atkins Diet for bodybuilders to lose fat and increase definition. (I suspect relatively strongly that before he died, Duchaine was involved with some major league players; Ken Caminiti advocated a diet that he used during his steroid years with the Padres that sounded eerily close to Duchaine's "high-fat" diet and Duchaine was based not far from San Diego.)
The Underground Steroid Handbook isn't written by a doctor or for medical purposes, but it effectively describes what was once exclusively for bodybuilders and strength athletes and was tacitly allowed to creep into baseball through lax enforcement and the absence of rules prohibiting them. Primobolan is considered, without trying to be humorous, a steroid for those that are afraid to use the real deal PEDs like Winstrol, Sustanon, Deca Durabolin and Dianabol. ARod was never specific about how he took the drugs, but there are the pills and shots and it seemed to be implied that he took shots; the following describes the shots since the pills are predominately used by women, which may or may not exclude ARod. (The book was published in 1989):

This short-acting injectable form of Primabolan has a cult following of competitive bodybuilders in America. It is now only manufactured in Germany . European athletes used to regard Primo Acetate injection to be for children because the dosage is so small.

I don't consider Primo Acetate injection effective for anyone unless used in large doasges. There are other steroids just as safe to use and more effective...

This is a longer acting Primobolan than the Acetate and is usually taken weekly. It is thought to increase muscle size by decreasing muscle density, although this view is held by athletes, not scientists.

It's side effects are less that Deca's; it may not raise blood pressure as much as other injectables. Primabolin Depot in America is an 'I'll try it for a while.' kind of drug.* (*Italics added.)

The very idea of ARod----at age 25; as cautious as he was with his body; and as serious as he was about his place in history----was going to take anything without knowing what it was is ludicrous; it's beyond ludicrous. The information above isn't what you'll get off the internet, but the facts about the drugs, who takes them and why. Those steroids themselves are considered kind of "juice for fairies" who are afraid to take the full step and take the hard core drugs that most everyone else was taking. ARod was never (and presumably never will be) specific about what he was taking, but it's clear from the descriptions of the drugs that it was Primabolan Depot that he was taking and he wanted to try it to see if it worked.
The sickest part is that what he was taking probably didn't help him all that much, if at all; and the conscious choice of taking PEDs with limited side effects (and of course, limited effectiveness) is circumstantial evidence that ARod knew damn well what he was taking and wanted to give it a shot (pardon the pun). Had he stayed clean, his numbers probably would've been at or close to what they were with the drugs; but now ARod's tainted forever even if he was taking "juice for fairies" and even if he does the unthinkable and spills his guts sometime in the near future, nothing's going to change that and he did this to himself and no press conference with the entire Yankees roster standing behind him is going to help him regain what he lost with his stupid insecurities.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why I Left MLBlogs

I've resisted doing this, but the actions of the MLBlogs administration has forced me into a detailed list of reasons that I took my work to my own website. It's one thing to be rationally self-absorbed; it's another to unilaterally erase someone as if they've been cast out completely because they made a conscious choice to leave. In yesterday's posting of the MLBlogosphere community blog, the "rankings" were again listed. My blog, Prince Of New York, which is still on MLBlogs despite my posting of nothing but notes and links to my new home,, has received enough hits to be at least in the top 15 of their rankings. In what can only be seen as a decision based on my departure, it was omitted completely as if it never existed and doesn't count in their rankings. I haven't wanted to do this; haven't wanted to let my longstanding feelings known about the way the MLBlogs site is handles because there wasn't really a point, but if this is the vindictive way in which the administration is going to run things, I have no choice but to state my case and let readers come to their own conclusion.
  • The site is handled unprofessionally and promoted cluelessly:
If you Google the terms "baseball blogs", you'll notice that the "official affiliate/unofficial opinions" outlet directly connected to comes out ninth.
Think about that for a second. Ninth.
Would the NFL, if they had a site for fans to blog, allow whoever's in charge of that site to remain in their current position if there was such a lack of knowledge of its existence? If they spent so much time and money creating the site, working on it, using it to promote and sell items and then allow it to be such a non-factor on the web? Say what you want about the cold and ruthless way the NFL does business; about how it's a cutthroat entity with inordinate power that wears out their assets and dispatches them; but they have their house in order; and if something's not working or living up to expectations, it's fixed. Can that be said about Major League Baseball and their affiliates?
Do you have any idea how many people who are now regular readers of my work have said to me (in various different presentations of the same theme): "I only recently found your blog and would've been reading it all along had I known it existed"? I was writing on that site for almost three years and I've developed a loyal following of readers, but to be completely honest, nowhere near as many as the work itself deserves. That's fact, and it's a clear problem with the way MLBlogs is run.
Do they not realize that the site can be used for selling Alyssa Milano's hoodies and promoting the MLB Network and being a spot for qualified analysts to have their work shown and read? Do they not understand that with their selfish and random ignorance that they're not administering to their clientele? Are the bosses at MLB even paying attention to what's going on?
Last year, the site publisher was changed from Typepad to Movable Type; fair enough. Maybe it was a business decision or an honest attempt to improve; but the change was made not in January or February when traffic was probably at its lowest; no, it was made on opening weekend of the 2008 season. This isn't just an accident of circumstance, it was pure stupidity and incompetence.
The act itself was the final straw for some longtime and hardworking bloggers who'd been with MLBlogs since the very beginning and were the lifeblood of its existence. Matt at Diamondhacks; Michael at Some Ballyard; and Russell at Arizona via Slough all left after that debacle and started their sites elsewhere. I hedged; I started a duplicate site at Blogspot, but maintained my presence at MLBlogs. For awhile, late last year, it looked like it would pay off. My blog was heavily promoted on the front page of and on the homepage of MLBlogs; then it all just stopped.
The site was once a paid service of $50 a year; then, like that commercial for The Ladders, it went free and everyone and anyone started a blog. The quality work was caught up in people trying to sell stuff; starting a blog on whim and never contributing anything; ignorant fan rants; or just colossal self-promoting wastes of time. Just like that, the entire site was saturated and it diminished the quality even further.
For a brief while late last year, it appeared as if quality was being promoted intentionally by the administrators of the site. My blog, along with Jeff and Allen at Red State Blue State and Jane at Confessions of a She-Fan were featured regularly on the MLB front page and on the front page of the blogsite; then after the new year it became a free-for-all with random blogs who weren't putting in the time or the work to warrant the attention. The importance of promoting the selling of items or that interminable MLB Network took precedence over pure baseball talk and the result was the lack of traffic to qualified blogs such as mine and then led to my departure.
  • The rankings:
Whether or not you realize it, the rankings are twisted, manipulated and skewered. Certain blogs that make "stunning leaps" into the top ten are only there because they spent a week or so sitting on the front page of the MLB site. And just having web hits doesn't mean there's anyone actually reading the blogs. I haven't posted anything of note there in almost two weeks and my traffic is cut in about half from what it was. The people who read what I was writing came to my new site along with me. The other hits are either people who are looking for tickets to the Artist once again known as Prince in New York; want to find a photo of some player or person I've embedded into one of my postings; need information about Tim Lincecum's mechanics; or are googling some random person I happened to mention. Many times they're on the site for too short a period for them to register as having been on for any amount of time at all...but it's still a web hit. The spammer blog known as The Rumor Mill was a prime example of this phenomenon.
The Rumor Mill deserved credit for one thing: coming up with a clever, hittable title to draw traffic, but that doesn't mean there was anyone reading it, because there was nothing to read other than links to betting sites; ticket exchanges and other crap, but until recently, he was always at the top of the rankings because he got a lot of hits whether he was posting anything or not. If there are those who sit around and post comments all day on other blogs and Twitter; who are poring over the rankings to boost their own numbers for some kind of ego boost to be "number one", they either don't know or care that no one's reading the thing. And that's fact.
  • It was a losing proposition in which I was getting almost nothing of consequence from my participation:
After being a member in good standing (with the daily postings to prove it) for three years, it was easier to stay than it was to start my own site. I've owned the name since I got my publishing contract for my novel in 2000. I never did anything with it in the eight years since; but in looking at the traffic and who was reading my work, there was no reason for me to stay at MLBlogs if there wasn't going to be any promotion done for my work. No reason to sit there and waste my time when I could just let my loyal readers know where I was going and have them follow me.
What kind of an organization is so inept that they just let big news pass without promoting those that are discussing it? There are of course the huge stories like ARod and steroids that warrant their attention and a link from the front page of the blogsite, but do you know how many times I had to let them know that something big was happening in baseball and they needed to mention it on the front page? When Willie Randolph was fired from the Mets in the middle of the night, half of the next day had a series of links promoting "hot interleague matchups"; the manager of a huge market team had just been fired clumsily and this was what they were interested in promoting. That's either a case of people being asleep at the switch or just not caring about what they're doing; of looking forward to some other avenue for their career without paying attention to where they currently are or what they're doing; and just like eliminating my justified spot in the rankings, that's a self-centered and embarassing way to conduct oneself and if that's how they want to be perceived, as a flunky who's looking for a way out, then fine. But until MLBlogs gets it's house in order from the top, there's never going to be anything more than what there is now, whatever "it" is.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Blog Is Being Restarted

Upon my next post, this blog will be restarted as of February 4, 2009.