A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

From the basement March 18 07

I keep saying that I don't think baseball fans outside of us chattering classes care about steroids, beyond hating Bonds. Evidence supporting my theory; Sports Business Journal reports in their most recent edition that MLB could well set a fourth consecutive attendance record this season. Teams across the board, from big market to mid to even Tampay Bay, are experiencing sales ahead of last season's record pace. How pissed can John Q baseball fan be if they are buying tickets in record numbers? Money talks, bs walks. Bonds is going to draw big, disdainful, loud, crowds and they will love every moment of hating him. What a contrast to the McGwire All American love in.

I've been wondering why Arte Moreno's reaction to the Gary Matthews HGH / steroids story was so unusually visceral and public. A good take on this subject by Thom Loverro in The Washington Times http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20070317-124332-3687r.htm Mr. Loverro also speculates on Commissioner Selig's very public support of Mr. Moreno's loud sabre rattling. Mr. Loverro thinks that Selig's words on the Matthews situation are meant to position himself on his seemingly imminent castigating of Bonds ( in whatever forms that will take ). Mr. Loverro agrees with opinions previously expressed here, that Selig will use the Mitchell report as a springboard to disciplining / embarassing Bonds. He also speculates that post Mitchell we could see another round of steroid hearings in Congress. No doubt, Bonds is so unpopular that some politicians won't be able to resist the opportunity to score some easy points at his expense. The steroids story is about Bonds and nobody but Bonds.

Commissioner Selig has done an extraordinary job as Commissioner ( if you're an owner, and only their opinion matters on this subject ). The industry's revenues have grown massively during his tenure. There has been unprecedented labor peace, which every baseball fan should be thankful for ( record revenues can solve a lot of labor issues ), and parity has largely been achieved through Revenue Sharing, Luxury Taxes and the increasing amount of cash being distributed via the Central fund. Unfortunately, Selig's legacy will be largely determined by how he treats Bonds after he hits # 756. Most fans and baseball media are not interested in the aforementioned industry issues, but they are interested in how Selig will treat Bonds. Selig will put Bonds "in his place" ( infer from that what you wish ) to the appeasement of baseball fans across North America. Bud will finally "get it right" with the fans after years of unpopularity.

SBJ reports that the Mets are projecting record attendance of 3.8 million this season, double the numbers they attracted a short 4 years ago. The Mets are joining the Yankees and Red Sox as the superpowers in MLB. With the launch last season of SNY ( the Mets RSN ), and Citifield opening in 09 the Mets will have levelled the playing field with the Yanks and BoSox.

I've long thought that Pete Rose is dumb and not because he got caught gambling on baseball. I think he is dumb because he has so consistently and so completely botched his attempts to gain readmission into the closed club that is MLB. All Rose had to do was make a very humble and very public apology to the "game", cry a bit, tell us how ashamed he is, grovel, enter a "recovery program", tell us what a poor role model he has been to "the youth" , and how grateful and humbled he would be to be considered for admission into Cooperstown, admit that no one indiviual is bigger than the "National Pastime" etc. In fact MLB would've loved it, for christs sake they would even have scripted the whole goddam show for him. Most importantly, fans loved Rose and would quickly have forgiven him had he sold it properly. He's the type of player fans like, caucasian, Charlie Hustle, little guy, big heart, great work ethic etc. Instead we have this most recent ham handed attempt at restoring his image with this new claim that he bet on the Reds to win every night when he was their manager. Not only does it contradict his earlier statements about gambling on Reds games but John Dowd and Fay Vincent are still around to tell anyone who wants to listen that Rose's most recent comments contradict drastically with the findings of their investigation. Is it too late for a redemptive ending to this tale? Has Rose lost all credibility? I have no sympathy, I thought he was an ass when he played.

Canuck update.

According to ROTOWIRE March 16, local guy Pete Laforest is in contention to break camp as the Padres #2 C. As I noted a while back, Laforest started camp as the #4 or #5 C, but with Todd Greene hurt and Rob Bowen struggling....I'm skeptical. I wonder if the Padres are trying to motivate Bowen by telling the press that they are considering other options for his job.

Reds GM Jim Bowden is on the record as saying that hoser Shawn Hill will break camp in the Nationals rotation. I think the Nationals will be a story this season. I think they will be historically bad, I'm hardly alone, I've seen them described as a team of 4A guys. Save for about 6 guys, Schneider ( former Lynx ), Johnson ( hurt ), Lopez, Zimmerman, Cordero & Patterson, yes I agree. Buster Olney reports that Major League scouts are engaging in a new sport, predicting the number of Nationals losses this season. "The low end is 105 losses," one scout said, "and it goes up to 130. And so far, most of the action is near 130." I think Bowden has to deal Cordero, he is just waiting for some closers to implode or get injured around the league, which will increase Cordero's value. The Nationals will be so bad for at least the next few years that having a quality closer is of no benefit to them. They need prospects, Cordero will bring them 2 or maybe 3.

1 comment:

LynxFan said...

Hey Pete,

Just a couple of thoughts - bang on about Pete Rose. First thing to do when you find that you're digging yourself into a hole: Stop digging.

On drugs, again, I think you're right, MLB won't really get concerned until it starts to impact the bottom line. When will that happen? Look to European cycling. When did they really, really get concerned? Hint: it wasn't when extremely fit Dutch athletes began dying in their sleep from heart attacks (Google: Dutch+cyclists+EPO for more), but when corporate sponsors began abandoning the circuit following the Festina Tour de France debacle in 1998. That's when the long whispered rumor of drug use in the peloton became undeniable. I think that MLB is one camel's straw away from that tipping point - if the BALCO story ever conclusively takes down a series of athletes, and MLB starts testing BLOOD (which they may, displaying my ignorance here) then things may really change.