Saturday, January 30, 2010

Here Comes The Passive Aggression From Johnny Damon

  • Johnny Damon's anger begins to manifest itself:

That didn't take long.

The public facade of understanding and acceptance that the Yankees didn't value Johnny Damon's contribution to the club as much as Damon and Scott Boras did is gradually resulting in an anger that he's not going to get the big contract he expected. In fact, he's going to get a fraction of the Yankees final offer and he may have to go across the country to Oakland for a job.

Damon was classy in his initial interviews...until he popped out with the following nugget about Derek Jeter:

“I hope he is not offered a 45 percent pay cut.”



I have some news for Damon that might well come from Brian Cashman himself: Johnny, I work with Derek Jeter; Derek Jeter is a friend of mine. Johnny, you're no Derek Jeter.

Did it occur to Damon that the Yankees offer to him was affected by the fact that they know they're going to have to pay Jeter after 2010 and need to save some space on the payroll? Or is he so oblivious to reality in his Boras-cage that he hasn't caught on?

Like Joe Mauer with the Twins, Derek Jeter is going nowhere. Ever.

Johnny Damon----with his mercenary tendencies, high salary demands without leverage and reviled agent----was in no position to be so hardline with the amount of money he wanted. Blindly trusting the "process" as Boras and Cashman call it resulted in Damon leaving Boston when he didn't want to; and now the Yankees as well. The main difference is that when he left the Red Sox, he had a comfy and lucrative landing spot in New York; now he doesn't. Now he's about to land somewhere where everyone knows he doesn't want to be; somewhere where he'll either hope to be traded to a contender at mid-season, or to have a big enough year that he'll hope for a better economic climate and be able to cash in next winter with a large market club----like the Yankees.

It's showing in his comments.

This Derek Jeter silliness was the first in what will be a string of passive aggressive statements from Damon as he's poked and prodded by an all-too-eager press corps for something juicy to write about; something to create a fissure between the Yankees and Damon despite the "good terms" they're trying to maintain after this rejection.

Who knows whether Damon has people whispering in his ear that he was done wrong by someone, be it the Yankees or Boras? Clearly, he's upset about the break, but he's more upset about the money; and even someone as spacey as Damon must realize somewhere deep inside that his trusted agent did him wrong; that he's screwed.

It's understandable that he's going to utter these obvious messages. But he'd be better off either not doing the interviews at all or sticking to the generic ballplayer script that keeps them out of the papers or is more easily ignored. The Jeter comment wasn't opaque enough to explain away. What made it worse was that it was inaccurate and stupid. His handlers better rein him in because it's going to get worse as the winter rolls on.

  • The change in tune from PECOTA:

If you remember the 2010 PECOTA predicted standings from earlier in the week, they've now been changed. The bizarreness of the original predicted standings that had the Rays winning the AL East for example, was said to be because of a mistake in the algorithm they used to come to their conclusions.*

*Right there, the word "algorithm", should be a warning sign that they need to re-think how they interpret the game.

My suggestion to the good people at PECOTA (and I'm being dead serious about this) is they would've been better off leaving their predicted standings as they were. Changing them now under fire is a sign of weakness even if there actually was a mistake in the algorithm. Their increasing panic will be even more evident at the decision to make the adjustment. Their method of assessment is dying anyway, why exacerbate it with desperation and alterations?

And I'm still moving forward with my bombing campaign. There's no saving them now.

  • My own contradictions:

As concerned as I am about Tim Lincecum's small stature and his durability, it occurred to me after re-reading my posting from yesterday that I discussed the horrendous mistake the Dodgers made in underestimating the determination of Pedro Martinez to transcend his limited physicality and become one of the best pitchers of this generation----just as Lincecum is on his way to doing.

I'm still concerned about Lincecum's size; his quirky exercise regimen and whether he can maintain his stuff into his late 20s and early 30s; but as with Pedro, perhaps it's better to focus on the artistry of unique beauty he crafts with his natural gifts and ignore dogmatic and perceived limitations as the Dodgers did with Pedro----much to their regret.

  • Viewer Mail 1.30.2010:

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE PECOTA:


You're full of shit.

The Oakland A's are gonna win the West with 87 wins? The White Sox will have a losing record? The Yankees will miss the playoffs?

At least two thirds of the above predictions are as sound as Carlos Silva is reliable.


It's hilarious that they altered their projections. If anyone has a copy of the original somewhere, please send it to me. Are they hoping that we're still in the halcyon days of people simply accepting their nonsense as sacrosanct? Moneyball is over, my good stat zombies; the end of days is coming; and along with it, carnage and destruction.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE PECOTA:

Go get those PECOTA people and make them recant - and maybe even watch a baseball game or two.

They've already recanted. Forgive me if I don't accept their change-of-heart and react with sympathy. I know not the meanings nor the significance of the words "sorrow" or "pity". The die is cast.

Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE PECOTA:

Do you have proof that you beat PECOTA last year? Actual, wins and losses proof? Pecota looks off this year, no doubt, I don't disagree with that. I just want proof!


Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with skills; men without fear.

Who's gonna do it?


I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for PECOTA and hype up your out-of-context stats; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know.

And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you WANT me on that wall, you NEED me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to the stat zombies who alter their beliefs and perceptions based on what's convenient to try and save themselves; what's the safest and most expedient way to protect their faulty and collapsing revolution.

I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Either way, I do not give a DAMN what you want!!!

(You can find the "proof" you seek here if you scroll down and click the links under the bulletpoint "The Prince vs PECOTA". That should occupy you for much of the day.)

John Seal writes RE the Athletics:

Be gentle, big guy. You and I both know the A's aren't going to win the AL West...let me down easy, okay?

Not a believer in PECOTA, John? I never pegged my West Coast spiritual adviser as a member of the stat zombie cult anyway----and I'm pleased.

Why don't you join Twitter? You'll be able to enjoy my hilarious #fakebillybeanequotes and more!! Plus you get official, public recognition as a made member of the Prince of New York Family. Upward mobility is prevalent and based on quality of work and loyalty. I'm a benevolent Boss.


Gabriel said...

This is the most I could do in a hurry. And they still bombed them. The A's in first is as unrealistic as the Jays in second.

Gabriel said...

Oh, and excellent Col. Nathan R. Jessep.

She-Fan said...

Sorry Damon fired off that last shot. I'm sure he wishes he could take it back.

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Jeff said...

I was gonna make a real comment about all this Damon drama and then I saw this:

"You can get interested, if there are such firms?"

...and now I can't stop laughing.