- The limited options for Johnny Damon:
The Braves have reportedly offered Johnny Damon a 1-year deal that's for as little as a $2 million base salary with another $2 million in deferred money. The options for Damon have dwindled so rapidly that he's either going to have to take a lowball deal; hope for a miracle; or sit out and wait. There's no chance now that the promises and demands of agent Scott Boras will be met and Damon's trust in his agent has cost him a lot of money and may cost him a job in 2010.
Of the three options, the best one remains a miracle that's unlikely to happen. That miracle would be the Rays managing to find some poor, brainless soul (maybe they should keep calling the Royals GM Dayton Moore) to take Pat Burrell and his $9 million salary for 2010. Then they could use that money to sign Damon, but the chances of that happening are non-existent.
So for Damon and Boras, it's a matter of saving face. I'm sure Damon would be somewhat embarrassed by turning down so much money from the Yankees and winding up with the Braves offer, but it wouldn't be as pronounced as the humiliation for Boras as he demanded so much guaranteed money----money that any fool could see wasn't available----and saw his client reduced to a 1-year deal for a pittance in comparison.
Ably assisted by his unthinking client, Boras made this mess. Now, the player has to either sit out or take the short money that's offered. Damon can handle the ridicule; can Boras? And will that affect him allowing his client to take the best deal offered so he can play? We'll know soon enough. In his career, Damon's shown no ability to think on his own to do what's best for himself and his family; there's no reason to believe he's going to start now.
- Carlos Delgado may retire:
It's surprising that a team like the Mariners hasn't made a serious move on Delgado as a DH option. Their season is likely to come down to the lack of production they're going to deal with from having used sentimentality rather than reality in signing Ken Griffey Jr. for another year. (They actually should've signed Jim Thome.)
With Delgado, it's clear he's not going to be able to play in the National League. Supposedly he's completely immobile at first base; so he's going to have to DH somewhere. The issue with Delgado is similar to that of Damon----how much is pride going to influence him in his choosing whether or not to play?
Delgado has to be realistic. At his age (38 in June); and coming off of a torn hip labrum, he'll have to take a very low base salary rife with incentives. My guess is that Delgado can still hit even if he's gotten off to a slow start in Puerto Rico. His bat will be able to help someone in 2010 if he chooses to play.
- One of the best sports moments.....EVER:
Today is the anniversary of one of the most memorable sports moments in my lifetime----Buster Douglas coming off the canvas to knockout Mike Tyson in what was probably the biggest upset in boxing history.
I was 18 and had just gotten off work the day after the fight; I had no clue what had happened. I walked into the house, glanced at the NY Daily News sitting on the table and went into my room.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
I walked back into the kitchen, looked at the headline again.
BUSTED: TYSON KO'd in 10th.
I walked into the living room and said to my father, "Mike Tyson lost?!?"
He started laughing.
This wasn't just the upset to end all upsets; it was inconceivable that a journeyman boxer like Douglas, who'd quit in his only previous title shot, would KO the seemingly invincible Tyson. But it happened.
Douglas, with a world of boxing talent and lacking the killer instinct to be a truly vicious, great boxer, put it all together for that one night and----aside from the one gaffe that Tyson exploited in the 8th round with a lightning fast, reactionary uppercut---was flawless.
The nuances of what goes on in the boxing ring are easily missed, but if you watch the sequence of punches that led to the knockout, you see that Douglas slapped Tyson's glove out of the way just as he was firing the brutal uppercut that sent Tyson's head snapping into another dimension. Douglas then fired a a left, right, left combination, the final punch being a chopping blow that sent Tyson flying backwards, his mouthpiece flying into the air. Tyson stumbled to his feet, but the fight was over and it was the clearest indicator that the Tyson monster was coming apart.
The downward spiral had begun soon after his greatest performance in the ring----a 91-second dispatching of Michael Spinks in June 1988----but no one saw this coming. Incompetence in his camp; apathy; and arrogance pulled apart the Tyson construct and the Douglas KO was only a symptom of the fall.
Everything about the night was historic in boxing. The magnitude of the upset; the stunned disbelief on the part of the announcers (Jim Lampley sounded like he forgot Douglas's name at the knockout blow); and the way the story neatly encapsulated Tyson's stumble from grace much like the drunken stagger Tyson did right after the fight.
Of course, like most fairy tales, the Douglas Cinderella story ended the next fall when he looked fat and disinterested---nothing like the trim and focused champion he was vs Tyson----and got knocked out by Evander Holyfield. But for that one night, he was the king.
Here's the clip of the knockout; a sports moment never to be forgotten. By me anyway.
- Viewer Mail 2.11.2010:
Gabriel (Capo) writes RE parity:
Stupidity won't be cured by parity, granted, but maybe by restructuring the way the contracts are made the teams would have a better chance of keeping a franchise player (see Lincecum, Tim) and competing more often. It always comes to how big a deal Pujols and Mauer are going to get, and how big a hometown discount they're going to give, instead of focusing in the holes. Big contracts are detrimental to the organizations (see Wells, Vernon), and I think limiting them would give the teams more room to correct their mistakes and rebuild faster.
Even if there was a salary cap, teams would still find ways to waste money. The Blue Jays had a budget, but they laid out that money on Wells. (I have to say that it's becoming clearer that former GM J.P. Ricciardi, for all his mistakes, was forced to sign Wells to that deal and wouldn't have done it on his own.)
Pujols and Mauer aren't cash whores as Alex Rodriguez has been. ARod wanted his money; that's how he wound up in Texas. There's being a businessman as Mark Teixeira has been in wanting every penny he can get; and being a money whore. I really do prefer seeing teams like the Marlins scrimping, saving and finding players off the scrapheap and managing to compete. It also helps that the Marlins don't use a set of principles/stat zombie tenets in coming to their conclusions.
You're right about teams being able to keep their stars if there was a finite amount of money available; but never underestimate a front office's ability to be stupid. They'd figure out a way to screw up badly whether there's a cap or not.
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE David Wright:
David Wright must be salivating at the thought of the stadium's new CF wall. The pitchers? Not so much.
Wright's going to have a big comeback year with MVP numbers.
Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE the salary cap:
"Logic would dictate that if money was the final factor, then the Yankees and Red Sox would be in the World Series every year without exception regardless of variables."
No, it would have them in the playoffs every year. The Yankees missed the playoffs once this decade. The Red Sox made it more often than they didn't.
And doesn't the Twins payroll somewhat reflect what they actually make from *baseball?* Why should they have to invest money from other things back into their team when the Yankees and Red Sox make way more money from actually selling tickets and all that good stuff?
As far as clutch? ARod wasn't clutch at all in the playoffs, seemingly, until this season. Then all of a sudden he tears it up. No one builds there team around the perception that a guy is "clutch." That would be stupid.
The Red Sox used to spend tons of money and screw up every year pre-Theo Epstein/John Henry. Look at the Mets; the Tigers; the Orioles of the early part of the decade. You can't spend your way out all the time.
As for the "clutch" argument, are you really going to sit there and dispute the fact that players like Dave Henderson, Jim Leyritz, Lenny Dykstra, John Smoltz and Reggie Jackson came up big in the playoffs? When others like Dave Winfield----a great player----fell flat on his face?
If I needed a player for the stretch run and I had a choice between one who had slightly better production, but had faltered in the post-season; and another who had the resume for making things happen like the above-mentioned players, I take the player who's been "clutch" every single time.
David writes RE parity and the salary cap:
I'm going to play devils advocate to Joe for a minute even though he makes a lot of valid points. Let's step away from the NFL comparison and look at the NBA. They have one of the lowest caps in sports and Stern is considering lowering it even more. Yet with all that said, the NBA has a system where two teams consistently dominate and make the playoffs every single year - The Lakers and the Celtics. Small market teams have that even playing ground, and if you go over the cap, you are charged equally, which heavily discourages the richer teams from doing so. So where does the cap help this sport? Not anywhere if you ask me. In fact the NBA is sinking because of it. Baseball doesn't need a cap, and the Yankees are just one team that shows the downside of having it. Prince makes the best point in all of this: If Boston and New York are the highest paid teams (which they are) then why are the playoffs such a mixed bag every year. It's why I love baseball.
The NBA system has the ability to pay much more to keep their stars than other, more financially powerful teams can. I remember when the Lakers signed Shaquille O'Neal and they'd cleared a load of money to make it possible to get him. It's a big risk to do that if you don't wind up with the player.
As long as there's a salary cap, there are going to be smart people who find a way to stickhandle their way around it as the NFL did with up-front bonuses right after their cap was implemented.
In addition to that, as history has proven, there aren't a bunch of dumber people running organizations than you'll regularly find in baseball; and that's part of the charm.
John Seal writes RE Willy Taveras and the A's:
Um, I got nuthin.
Oh, wait, In Billy We Trust!
Yah. Good luck with that.
Actually, I came up with a pretty clever #fakebillybeanequote on Twitter yesterday that summed up the Taveras episode quite well:
I saw Willy Taveras in the window and hadda have him. Then I got him home, changed my mind and drowned him.
Hang in there John, it's starting to look like Billy's gonna be gone by the end of the year. The David Forst-era is set to begin.