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Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Congratulations to George O’Leary and UCF



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It was a big win for coach George O’Leary last night as his UCF Knights beat the Baylor Bears 52-42 in the BCS Fiesta Bowl

For O’Leary, this is a well-deserved exclamation point to his second chance at coaching.

Remember that in 2001, O’Leary left Georgia Tech for his dream job as head coach at Notre Dame. A few days after his hire, however, discrepancies and lies in his published biography came to light and O’Leary was forced to resign. After a few years in the NFL, O’Leary started coaching at UCF in 2004, and now he has a BCS victory to add to his new, unpadded resume.

Of note, George O’Leary has a better record in BCS games, 1-0, than Notre Dame, 0-4.

Now, resume padding is bad and all, but so is letting your team practice in a windstorm that leads to the death of your team’s videographer. Why was Notre Dame harder on O’Leary than Brian Kelly?

 

Tags: NCAA

Tony Parker Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Gesture



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Spurs point guard Tony Parker apologized earlier today for making an anti-Semitic gesture linked to French comedian Dieudonné:

The photograph shows Parker and a French comedian making a gesture known in France as a “quenelle,” which critics describe as inverted Nazi salute. Parker said in a statement released through the Spurs that the photograph was taken three years ago.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said. . . .

Parker did not speak with reporters after practice Monday. He said in his statement that he would never repeat the gesture again.

“Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt,” Parker said.

Another friend of Dieudonné, West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Alenka, has refused to apologize after performing the gesture during a match on Saturday, and the English Premier League may ultimately suspend him.

More here.

Tags: NBA

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Terrorism Threatens the Sochi Olympics



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The IOC is putting on a happy face, but two bombings in two days in the city of Volgograd are a concern. ESPN reports:

IOC President Thomas Bach expressed full confidence Monday that Russian authorities will deliver a “safe and secure” Olympics in Sochi despite the two deadly suicide bombings in southern Russia that heightened concerns about the terrorist threat to the Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee said Bach wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin to offer his condolences following the attacks on Sunday and Monday that killed more than 30 people in Volgograd.

A suicide bomber killed 14 people aboard an electric bus during Monday’s morning rush hour, a day after a bomb blast killed at least 17 people at the city’s main railway station.

“This is a despicable attack on innocent people and the entire Olympic Movement joins me in utterly condemning this cowardly act,” Bach said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims.”

Volgograd is located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, which will host the Olympics from Feb. 7-23. Russia’s first Winter Games are a matter of personal pride and prestige for Putin.

Russian authorities believe the two attacks were carried out by the same group. No one claimed responsibility for the bombings, which came several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov threatened new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Olympics.

Here’s a map of the region, to give you a sense of where things are happening. Volgograd is the “A” in both maps (Sochi is at the bottom-left in the first map):

 

And Sochi is due west of Grozny, Chechnya, and is about a 13-hour-drive: 

 

Tags: Olympics

Re: ‘Tis the Season to Fire NFL Coaches



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Shanahan fired by the Redskins

Schiano and G.M. Mark Dominik fired by Tampa Bay.

Jim Schwartz fired by Detroit

To be continued. . .

Tags: NFL

Alabama Fans Name Baby ‘Krimson Tyde’



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Well, I guess going to college at Auburn is now out of the question

Tags: NCAA

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‘Tis the Season to Fire NFL Coaches



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As of 10:00 a.m. on Monday, we have Rob Chudzinski fired by the Browns and Leslie Frazier gone from the Vikings. 

Detroit, Oakland, D.C., Tampa, and Dallas are on the clock.

Tags: NFL

Reveille 12/30/13



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your final Monday of the year a bit more bearable:

  • “Wait, Manny [Ramirez] was in the Rangers’ organization this year?” Indeed, Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation reminds us. That and other kerfuffles are examined as Brisbee takes us through “the forgettable stories of 2013.”
  • Beyond the Boxscore’s Alex Skillin thinks that a solid bullpen may be constructed on the cheap with some of the relievers who remain on the open market.
  • The next post is dedicated to editor Nick Frankovich as well as other fans of the Tribe — Bruce Bialosky, William Daroff, Sheldon Green, and Gregg Rickman. Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times profiles how close the 1918–21 Indians came to achieving dynasty status. Here’s Jaffe summarizing what went wrong: 

Part of the problem in the early years was their manager, [Lee] Fohl. He just wasn’t very good. After Cleveland dumped him, the Browns picked him up. He ran the most talented unit they ever had, and he still couldn’t quite deliver. Then he went to the Red Sox when they were totally starved of talent. They got worse the longer he was there and got better as soon as he left.

Fohl consistently got the least out of his teams. The Indians probably should’ve made Speaker their manager sooner than they did.

In 1921, injuries clearly played a role, especially on the pitching staff. If [Jim] Bagby’s arm was just a bit stronger, they could’ve repeated. (Oddly enough, it’s not clear how much it cost them to lose [Ray] Chapman [to a fatal beaning]. Even in 1921, the 22-year-old [Joe] Sewell was a fine offensive force at shortstop.)

Oh, and there is one other lurking variable: Ruth. What if the most talented player of the 20th century had come along at any other point in that century (or at least been in the NL at the time)? His pitching helped them miss the 1918 World Series, and his bat helped push them back in 1921.

The main answer is this, though: it’s mighty tough to be a dynasty. Sure, if they had the right manager all the time, and they didn’t have injuries in 1921, and if timing worked out better. Sure, you can point to all of that. But that means if everything worked out perfectly, maybe they could’ve done had a pennant-winning run. Well, how often do things work out perfectly for any team in just one season, let alone four straight?

For all the preaching about cheating, no one has differentiated one form of cheating from another. A splitter killed a batter, one Hall of Famer wrote a book about throwing one 50 years later. The day after Sammy Sosa was caught with a corked bat, I participated in a two hour ESPN special in which one writer demanded Sosa be suspended; never mind that one of Ted Williams’ teammates regaled me with a story about Ted’s corked bats, and we all laugh every time we think about the superballs out of Graig Nettles’ bat. …

Some writers say their eyes are judge and jury. Some go by hearsay; Ken Caminiti told many that Jeff Bagwell was a juicer, and it is accepted, yet one time Caminiti, a sad character, cornered me at a Players Choice Awards function and ranted about Steve Finley also being a steroids guy, which I do not believe. In any way. Or care, because Caminiti turned into one of those “everyone did it” persons. …

Oh, we also have players who have tested positive for amphetamines. Are they now supposedly ineligible for Cooperstown? Greenies and beans were rampant in the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, eyesight’s were affected and the ability to ramp it up again helped career home run totals creep past 400 or 500 or 600. I love watching the grainy film of The Mick, head down, rounding the bases, or Don Larsen jumping into Yogi’s arms, but baseball was not played in a Franciscan ordinary; did the Giants really find an edge in the ’51 playoff?

  • According to Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, MLB will examine any contract given to Masahiro Tanaka and future Japanese players to ensure that their NPB club doesn’t receive “any value other than the so-called posting fee, directly or indirectly, including through the player.”

  • It is increasingly evident that Yasiel Puig is reckless away from the basepaths too. The 23-year-old Cuban sensation was pulled over on a Florida highway after his car was clocked going 110 mph in a 70-mph zone. Back in April, while still a minor leaguer, Puig was pulled over in Tennessee for driving 97 mph in a 50-mph area.

That’s it. Have a walk-off 2014!

Tags: MLB

Anti-Semitic Gestures Given in NBA, EPL



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San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Alenka have been spotted giving a “reverse-Nazi salute” made popular by a French anti-Semitic “comedian” named Dieudonné.

According to one report, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is demanding that Eva Longoria’s basketball-playing husband apologize for his actions:

Calling Parker’s use of the gesture “disgusting and dangerous” and, saying that the star was “mainstreaming anti-Semitic hate,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the SWC, said that Parker should, “apologize for his use of the quenelle ‘Nazi’ salute.”

“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” Cooper said, in an interview with The Algemeiner.

Anelka, who had celebrated his first of two goals against an English Premier League opponent with the salute on Saturday, denied yesterday that his gesture on the pitch was hateful:

But in a series of messages issued on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, Anelka insisted the gesture was merely a tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonné M’bala, and that the gesture had been misinterpreted.

Dieudonné, who invented the quenelle (which literally means dumpling), is a hugely controversial figure in France, where he has been convicted six times of defamation, causing offence and inciting racial hatred, and has been fined a total of £53,400.

Anelka said: “ (The) meaning of quenelle: anti-system. I do not know what the word ‘religion’ has to do with this story! This is a dedication to Dieudonné. With regard to the ministers who give their own interpretations of my quenelle, they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what it really means, this gesture.

I ask people not to be duped by the media. And of course, I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and I fully assume (stand by) my gesture.”

Dieudonné has claimed he is anti-Zionist and anti-establishment, but not anti-semitic. An appeals court upheld his most recent conviction last month, imposing a fine of £23,000 after complaints over a song performed in one of his videos about “Shoah nanas” or “Holocaust chicks”.

More here, here, and here.

Tags: NBA

RIP, Paul Blair



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Paul Blair, a center fielder who starred for Earl Weaver’s teams in Baltimore, died yesterday. He was 69.

He was a league-average hitter but defensive wizard. Blair flashed the leather for great Oriole teams from 1964–76, then played for the Yankees and Reds. He was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984.

Blair collapsed during a charitable bowling tournament in Pikesville, Md. yesterday, according to his wife. He was rushed to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore but never regained consciousness.

More here and here.

No More Romo



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Tony Romo will not play again this season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Backup Kyle Orton, whose last start was in Week 17 of the 2011 season, will replace Romo’s in the finale against the Eagles at the House That Jerry Built, and in the postseason should Dallas win.

UPDATE: In a hastily-called news conference, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says that Romo has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game and that his health will be monitored throughout the week.

UPDATE No. 2: Adam Schefter’s response on SportsCenter: “Tony Romo is done for the season. That you can take to the bank.”

Tags: NFL

Reveille 12/23/13



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make the Monday before Christmas a bit more bearable:

Because there are at least 20 viable candidates, if every voter votes for 10 players, a “perfect” split of the vote would have each player get 50% of the votes (and no one gets in). The reality is that Greg Maddux will not be sharing any votes. And there’s enough distinction among players that the massive vote-splitting will still only get 4 players voted in, if every ballot was filled.

  • David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot observes that last season, “players batted with the platoon advantage 56 percent of the time — the highest figure since 1995,” and thinks it’s the start of a trend.
  • Seth Smith may be the most valuable pinch-hitter in the history of the game, but Doug from High Heat Stats bemoans the overall ineffectiveness of the role in today’s game:

So, how did pinch-hitting decline to the point where the likes of Lenny Harris would be the majors’ all-time leader in pinch-hit appearances? The answer probably isn’t a surprise. The ever-increasing use of relief pitchers has led to bloated pitching staffs and shorter benches. Benches so short, in fact, that there’s not room anymore for a pinch-hitting specialist (much less a left-hand hitting and right-hand hitting pinch-hit specialist, as was common 30 or 40 years ago). Certainly not after the roles of reserve catcher, reserve infielder and reserve outfielder have been filled (what a marvelous luxury today to have a player fill one of those roles and also be an effective pinch-hitter).

That’s it. To all who celebrate: Have a walk-off Christmas!

Tags: MLB

How Not to Boost Your Guy for the Hall of Fame



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Here’s Pat Caputo of the Morning Sun of Central Michigan saying he knows why Hall of Fame candidate Jack Morris, a longtime Tiger (1977-90), is being short-changed by some voters:

His ERA [3.90] was higher because much of his career took place during the height of the so-called steroids era. Offensive numbers were inflated across the board.

Morris also pitched in the American League his entire career, and before the advent of interleague play, and after the mound was lowered to 10 inches from 15. He always faced a lineup with a designated hitter.

It’s ridculous [sic.], too, that Morris’ feats in the postseason aren’t more acknowledged. Nor his durability. The postseason isn’t the only measure which should be used, nor playing on contending teams consistently, but it shouldn’t be dismissed, either.

Sabermetrics have greatly benefitted the game. The advanced math should count in matters of evaluation, whether it be an organization accessing talent, or media and fans ranking player performance.

But Sabermetrics has its flaws. One of them, for evaluation purposes regarding the Hall, is not accounting enough for statistics era to era. A 3.00 ERA in 1968 didn’t mean nearly as much as a 3.00 ERA in 1995, for example.

Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk responds via his blog:

OK, there are a half a million problems with all this. Morris did not pitch in 1995. In fact, he really didn’t pitch almost at all in the steroid era — he made only 50 starts in 1993 and 1994, which might count as a early steroid era.* He certainly didn’t get anywhere close to the “height” of the era. He actually pitched in a very LOW scoring era historically. His neutralized ERA (neutralized to an average run-scoring season) is actually 4.28, which you will note is HIGHER than his actual ERA. …

But my point is not Morris — Pat makes some fair points about Morris’ durability and postseason success. My point is: Of course sabermetrics has its flaws, but accounting for statistics from era to era is ABSOLUTELY not one of them. This, in many ways, is at the very heart of what sabermetrics try to do. This is at the very heart of Bill James’ philosophy about baseball. For countless years, most people judged baseball players in a vacuum. A .300 batting average at Fenway Park was viewed exactly the same way as a .300 batting average at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.. A 2.30 ERA at Dodger Stadium was viewed as being better than a 2.60 ERA at Wrigley Field. Chuck Klein’s .368 batting average at the absurd Baker Bowl in 1933 was obviously better than Yaz’s .301 batting average in 1968.

How do we put all this in context? Right: Sabermetrics. This is why we have such things as OPS+ and ERA+ and a hundred other context-driven baseball statistics. They try to remove layers of nonsense and get closer to the heart of things. Every viable advanced baseball statistic adjusts for era and ballpark and the value of a run and what it takes to win games in that time.

Chuck Dobson had a 3.00 ERA in 1968. That was a 93 ERA+ — well below average.

Greg Maddux had a 3.00 ERA in 2000. That was a 153 ERA+ — way, way above average.

There. Accounted for. …

There is nothing like a good baseball argument. But to have a good baseball argument, you need both sides to bring with them at least a beginner’s idea of what the argument is about.

Caputo also bemoans the lack of sabermetric interest in Alan Trammell and past candidate Lou Whitaker:

Maybe it’s a Detroit whine, but there does seem to be a slanted view with voters, which doesn’t give Morris and Alan Trammell, his shortstop with the Tigers, their due. It’s absurd Lou Whitaker didn’t stay on the ballot past his first season of eligibility. I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell, who has not come close to election, even though he had a better career WAR than Barry Larkin, and isn’t much behind Derek Jeter and Ozzie Smith. Whitaker had a far better WAR than Craig Biggio, who will probably get in this year, and so did Trammell. In fact, Whitaker had the same career WAR, essentially, as Reggie Jackson, and much higher than Roberto Alomar.

Well, if Morris has had his star drop because of Sabermetrics, why hasn’t Trammell’s risen? As for Whitaker, he was jobbed – period.

Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation rises to this challenge:

Are you kidding me with this? Dear Mr. Caputo if you haven’t heard a battle cry from the sabermetics [sic.] crowd for both Trammell and Whitaker, it’s because you haven’t been paying any attention at all. The sabermetrics crowd were the only people outside of Detroit who said anything about Whitaker falling off the ballot. The sabermetrics crowd has been trumpeting Trammell’s virtues forever. We’ve got a 25-year history with Trammell, going all the way back to 1987, when the Baseball Writers Association of America jobbed Trammell out of the Most Valuable Player Award he deserved and Bill James excoriated them for it.

The Baseball Writers Association of America 2014 Hall of Fame voting results will be revealed on January 8.

Here’s hoping (against hope?) that votes like Caputo’s are few and far between.

Tags: MLB

The Most Valuable College Football Teams



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Forbes has put together an interesting multimedia piece that places a value on the top NCAA football teams.

Some highlights . . .

Texas is No. 1 on the list in terms of both total value and profit:

Team value: $139 million
Revenue: $109 million
Profit: $82 million
Conference: Big 12
Head coach: Mack Brown*

The Longhorns generated $34.5 million from ticket sales alone last year. The majority of the remaining revenue came from contributions ($30 million), royalties and sponsorships ($26 million) and distributions from the NCAA and Big 12 ($15 million). This is the second straight year that Texas has broken $100 million in football revenue; no other team in college football history has ever crossed the $100 million mark.

Notre Dame is No. 2:

Team value: $117 million
Revenue: $78 million
Profit: $46 million
Conference: Independent
Head coach: Brian Kelly

Last year’s undefeated trip the BCS National Championship netted Notre Dame a direct BCS payout of more than $6 million. The Irish also hosted a seventh home game last year, up from six in 2011.

Tennessee is at the bottom of the list at No. 20:

Team value: $63 million
Revenue: $55 million
Profit: $28 million
Conference: SEC
Head coach: Butch Jones

The Volunteers suffered the biggest drop on our list, down 25% from a value of $63 million last year. The dip in value has a lot to do with the team buying out former head coach Derek Dooley and his staff, which could cost more than $9 million over four years. The athletic department has also greatly restricted its academic contributions while it stabilizes its finances. Tennessee’s athletic department, formerly one of the biggest funders of academic programming with annual contributions over $6 million, gave just $1.3 million back to its university last year.

The entire list here.

Tags: NCAA

Global-Warming-Induced-Blizzard Contingency Plan in Place for Super Bowl XLVIII



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I think this plan is a little too optimistic. If the game is delayed for a week, what do the people do who not only bought plane tickets, but had hotel rooms reserved? It will be chaos. CBS Sports:

The NFL did a Super Bowl XLVIII presentation in New York on Wednesday in preparation for the big game coming in — somehow — just 46 days. By far the biggest concern with the 2014 Super Bowl, being played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, is the weather.

Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News dropped a bit of a bombshell relating to crazy weather on Twitter, too, reporting that if a “crippling snowstorm” comes into play, the NFL could move the Super Bowl date.

[. . .]

So that’s sort of terrifying, right? At least from a logistical standpoint. But it seems fairly unlikely: it would have to be a MASSIVE snowstorm to keep the Super Bowl from being played on the biggest stage. Teams have prepared for weeks (and played for months) and fans have spent thousands to get to New York and see their team play.

And buddy if you think media members can complain about free food not being up to standard, wait’ll you see what happens if they have to stick around the city for an extra week. Or even a day.

NFL senior vice president of events Frank Sipovitz said he actually would welcome snow

“It would be kind of fun to watch a Super Bowl in the snow,” he said. “I think watching NFL football in the snow is really romantic and it’s great and it’s exciting, and if you’ve ever done it, you know that. It’s also a rite of passage for you as a fan to have done it at least once, and this is a Super Bowl. So this is going to be amazing. I think it would be better if it snowed a little bit during the game. I think it’ll just make it that much more memorable. Let it snow.”

Be careful what you wish for, Frank.

The rest here.

 

Tags: NFL

The Olympic Torch Might Be Cursed



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At this rate, the torch for the Sochi Olympics will go nuclear by the Opening Ceremony. NYT:

It was bad enough when the Olympic flame went out and had to be relit with a disposable lighter rather than the official backup flame, and even worse when a torchbearer managed somehow to set himself on fire in the Siberian city of Abakan.

But perhaps the low point in what has seemed less like an Olympic torch relay than an exercise in ineptitude and misfortune came earlier this week when one of the runners carrying the torch to the Sochi Games had a fatal heart attack while attempting to walk his allotted distance, about 218 yards.

“He returned to the gathering place and was photographed, then said he was not feeling well and was taken to the hospital, but the doctors were unable to save him,” Roman Osin, a Sochi 2014 torch relay spokesman, told reporters of the man, a 73-year-old school sports director and Greco-Roman wrestling coach. “We express our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Maybe a few bad experiences are par for the course in an undertaking that, like many things about the Sochi Games, is built on superlatives — meant to be bigger, better and more thrillingly ambitious than any torch relay that has come before it. At about 40,000 miles, the route is the longest in Olympic history, winding through the North Pole, beneath the water in Lake Baikal and into space. Fourteen thousand people are taking part, the most ever, and they are traveling, variously, on foot, by plane, by train, by car, by snowmobile, by icebreaker, by jet pack, by zip wire, by sleigh, by horse and by camel.

The Russian authorities, who are hoping to use the Games as a way to show off their country’s varied landscapes and superior organizational skills, naturally would like to present the situation in the most benign light. 

The rest here.

Tags: Olympics

Yankees Hit With a $28M Luxury Tax Bill



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The 2013 Yankees payroll of $237,018,889 has resulted in a luxury tax bill of $28 million:

According to Major League Baseball calculations sent to teams Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the only other team that exceeded the tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million. Boston finished just under for the second straight year, coming in $225,666 shy of the $178 million mark.

Figures include average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters, earned bonuses and escalators, adjustments for cash in trades and $10.8 million per team in benefits.

Because the Yankees have been over the tax threshold at least four consecutive times, they pay at a 50 percent rate on the overage, and their $28,113,945 bill was second only to their $34.1 million payment following the 2005 season. The Yankees are responsible for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all clubs over the past 11 years.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said he hopes to get under the threshold next year, when it rises to $189 million. That would reset the team’s tax rate to 12.5 percent for 2015 and get the Yankees some revenue-sharing refunds.

But following agreements Tuesday on a $2 million, one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a $7 million, two-year contract with left-hander Matt Thornton, the Yankees are at $177.7 million for 15 players next year, when benefits are likely to total between $11 million and $12 million. Their only hope to get below the threshold appears to be if an arbitrator upholds most of Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension, relieving the team of a large percentage of the third baseman’s $25 million salary.

More here.

Tags: MLB

NY Giants Cost Seattle Auto Dealer $425,000



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Actually, the insurance company will pay out the money, but still:

The Seattle Seahawks’ 23-0 shutout of the New York Giants on Sunday will make 12 people $35,000 richer on Monday.

Jet Chevrolet, a car dealership in Federal Way, Wash., located 25 miles south of Seattle, had a promotion that if the Seahawks shut out the Giants, 12 people would split $420,000 equally.

“This is crazy,” said Jim Johnson, one of the owners of the dealership. “We never expected that we’d actually be giving away the money.”

Luckily for Johnson, the company took out insurance, which he said cost about $7,000.

Johnson originally wanted to do the shutout promotion last week when the Seahawks played the San Francisco 49ers, but he said working out the rules to make sure the giveaway was legal and in accordance with state regulations pushed it back a week.

I wonder if the insurance company changed its rate based on the Giants instead of the Niners? Before last week’s game, the Giants were 5-8 before the promotion; the Niners,  two weeks ago when they wanted to have the contest, were 8-4. 

Tags: NFL

Whoa: Bengals Punter Breaks His Jaw vs. the Steelers



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Ouch. Watch as Kevin Huber of the Bengals takes a vicious hit from Terence Garvin of the Steelers:

The league is expected to review the block, but no penalty was called during the game.

 

Tags: NFL

Reveille 12/16/13



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your offseason Monday a bit more bearable:

  • A source informs George King III of the New York Post that the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles will not post Masahiro Tanaka, arguably Japan’s best starting pitcher, until after next season.
  • Writing in Bill James Online, Dave Fleming suggests that, among other things, the Yankees would have been better off trying to retain Brett Gardner’s services in lieu of committing many years and premium money to Jacoby Ellsbury:

Let’s consider the team at each position: is it better to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7/$153 contract, or is it better to work out an extension with Brett Gardner, a player who is almost the same player as Ellsbury, but still under team control and not perceived as an elite player.
 
With deference to Ellsbury’s superior talent, I think the wise decision would’ve been to try and extend Gardner, who would demand far fewer years, and far fewer dollars than Ellsbury. Gardner, for a long time, has been the forgotten man on a team of big-name players: an All-Star level player who has never made an All-Star team.

 

 

  • Tim McMaster and Marlon Anderson of MLB Network’s Hot Stove discuss the decision by MLB’s Rules Committee to remove the home-plate collision from the game. Somewhere in America, Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation, a longtime proponent of a rules change, is dancing a victory jig.
  • It’s not too early to plan a spring-training visit to watch your favorite team recover from the winter doldrums, as evidenced by this fan post on the Gaslamp Ball web site.

  • Would Russell Wilson ever forgo the quarterback position for a spot in the middle of the infield? Probably not, but Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com explains why the Rangers may have used their pick in the Rule 5 draft to select the one-time Asheville Tourist (single-A) second baseman and current Seahawks passer.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Video: ‘Do Sports Teams Need Government Welfare?’



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An interesting policy debate from AEI. The summary:

In the wake of controversial plans to build new, taxpayer-subsidized stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta, economists of all stripes have been skeptical of the actual economic gains created by these projects. At an AEI event on Thursday, Travis Waldron of the Center for American Progress and the University of Maryland’s Dennis Coates suggested that this issue has been muddied by dubious claims that new stadiums will create an economic boon in the surrounding community. Coates noted that the benefit the average citizen receives from stadium subsidies is far less than the benefit he or she receives from other public goods such as police patrols and crime prevention. Waldron argued that bureaucrats should call it like it is and acknowledge that taxpayers are paying to keep their local professional teams in service.

AEI’s own Kevin Hassett raised the question of whether state-sponsored stadiums have different kinds of positive utility for society that might allow them to be considered public goods. Sports teams foster a sense of geographical loyalty, which allows citizens to feel more connected to the cities they inhabit. Steve Marsh of Grantland agreed, describing stadium subsidies as necessary public assets that create a unique type of value for local citizens.

Video here

 

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