Tag Archives: MLB

I’ve Been Blogging For 10 years Now

…And I’m Sure As Hell Neither Rich Nor Famous For It

Well, 10years is a long time. It’s been across 3 blogs.

I’m thinking maybe I should consolidate everything into 1 big blog and slap it full of google ads. Let me know what you think.

MLB Opened 2014 In Sydney

I got asked for an opinion about the MLB staging their season opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground last weekend by Pleiades. I do have a bit to say about it but it’s all tangential to what happened. What happened was that the LA Dodgers rolled into town with what we now know to be the highest payroll in baseball and beat Team Australia 4-2 in an exhibition warmup, then the Arizona Diamondbacks twice to open their season 2-0. Also in the fray was the game Team Australia won 5-0 against the D-Backs.

Some impressions of the Dodgers… Jeez they’re a bunch of freeswingers. Apart from Adrian Gonzales and Scott Van Slyke, nobody really seemed to work the count at all. And they still won. So I guess that’s talent. They did leave it to the very end when they were losing 0-2 to Team Australia before they broke open for a 4 run top of the 8th. They kept hacking at the first pitch and were  being 1-hit by that time. Of course they went on to essentially beat the D-backs swinging that way so who’s to say they’re wrong? Maybe talent doesn’t need strategem?

Team Australia acquitted themselves well. This was surprising. The 5-0 win over the D-Backs was really surprising. Until of course the D-Backs proceeded to get rolled by the Dodgers in the first two official games. This prompted great commentary from the ESPN commentators saying that more scouts will come to Australia looking for talent. John Smotlz in particular seemed incredibly keen on the idea.

The arrival of MLB, even for a glimpse should represent a threat to the cricket fraternity. If the awareness of baseball goes up, the kind o talent that goes into cricket might opt to go to baseball. The money and opportunities are certainly weighted that way. This isn’t a discussion about which sport is better. Baseball has more money than cricket right now. When you combine other markets where it is played apart form North America,  it’s clear there’s a lot of money out there.

Here’s a comparison. Once-in-a-generation wicket keeper and batsman Adam Gilchrist probably earned about AUD$10million-15million in his career, an that’s being generous. Roughly overlapping his carer was once-in-a-generation hitting catcher Mike Piazza whose lifetime earnings would be closer to US$100million. They most likely have never heard of each other, which reflects how far apart the worlds have been. Adam Gilchrist had what cricket commentators might call a ‘tidy’ career. Mike Piazza had a resplendent one. Yes, “there’s money in them thar hills”, as they say.

Of course it’s s not all about the money. Lots of Australian kids have a knee-jerk reaction of hating on” Yank sports” so it might take a while.  A very long while even; but eventually the money and interest from America is going to make its presence felt. So yeah, money does talk and bullshit does walk. It’s making me think that the whole Kerry Packer World Series cricket thing was an attempt to stave off baseball from eating his favourite game of cricket. it probably worked in the 1970s. I doubt the numbers are there today and going forward.

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 29/Jul/2013

Won’t Take It From You

This business of the asylum seekers that arrive by boat being sent to PNG as a deterrent has quite a few critics. Judging from the Q&A panel that I watched the other night it seems nobody gets the point of the policy which is deter people from handing over their hard earned cash and life savings to people smugglers who will put them on leaky boats to Christmas Island. Now, there are all kinds of critics out to brand this policy xenophobic to not tough enough, but you would be surprised at the people who want to piss into this pot.

A more irritating critique came out of Fiji today.

Mr Kubuabola said Fiji was ”decidedly less-than happy” with the PNG deal, saying Australian politics was affecting Fijian affairs and demanded that Australia consult with the region.

”It is our business. Before this goes any further, we want thorough regional consultation … We demand to have our voices heard.”

Mr Kubuabola said that Australia had used its ”economic muscle” to persuade PNG to accept the deal that would see asylum seekers who arrive by boat sent to the country for processing and successful applicants resettled there. The Rudd government has also flagged that the model could be applied to other countries in the region.

”This was done to solve a domestic political problem and for short-term political gain without proper consideration of the long-term consequences,” Mr Kubuabola said.

”This deal and those mooted with Solomon Islands and Vanuatu clearly threatens our interests by altering the fundamental social fabric of any … country that accepts a deal with Australia.”

Now, this s a bit rich coming from Fiji. Fiji has been having coup d’etats every decade since the 1980s because every time they hold elections, the naturalised Indian population’s vote outnumbers the indigenous Melanesian/Fijian vote. The point being, the Military-led Fijian governments are quite the xenophobic racists themselves because the sole point of these coups has been to oust democratically elected governments.

Let’s also not forget that Fiji, like most nations on this planet is decidedly not a signatory to the UN convention on refugees, meaning they are currently not likely to take anybody seeking asylum.

So now, they’re turning around and saying to Australia, they don’t want Australia to send Asylum seekers to PNG because it is going to disturb a kind pan-Melanesian polity by introducing non-Melanesians. There is no other conclusion to draw but that the Fijian government is xenophobic and not really understanding the issue at all. They’d have a bit more credibility in their complaint if they actually were signatories and took asylum seekers.

I’m okay with just about anybody in the region criticising the ‘PNG solution’, but it’s really hard to take Fiji’s complaints seriously.

Will They Really Ban A-Rod For Life?

I haven’t written much about baseball and the Yankees and what have you for a while, but the ugly business of steroids keeps on coming back to haunt us all. now it is this Biogenesis thing which has squarely framed up A-Rod for a big suspension and possibly even a lifetime ban.

Bud Selig was at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown this week and was said still to be mulling what punishment to deliver Rodriguez. It is conceivable he could ask for permanent banishment, akin to Pete Rose. But the belief is no matter the level of evidence — and it has been portrayed that MLB has substantially more evidence on Rodriguez than it does on Braun — it would be hard to convince an arbitrator, if Rodriguez appeals, that Rodriguez’s first suspension should be for life.

Keep in mind, though, that Selig could ask for life knowing the arbitrator could lower the punishment to a shorter duration — or even find that Rodriguez should not be punished at all.

But as a way to levy a sanction that will not be reduced, there was growing belief around baseball that Selig would request the rest of this season and all of next year.

That could be viewed as just about the death penalty for Rodriguez, at least for his playing career. He turned 38 yesterday. He has yet to play this year. The idea that he would not play this season or next season and come back able to play in 2015 after two hip surgeries seems farfetched.

It’s a messy business. None of this is endearing baseball as a game to the IOC to let it back in, but that is a minor point. This A-Rod and PEDs business just keeps ripping the side out of the reputation of the game itself. All of these kinds of revelations and arguing suspensions in various sports across the last two decades have exhausted my tolerance and patience for the topic itself. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me that anybody was on PEDs. I don’t trust any of it on one side, and I’ve learned not to care that sometimes the champions are chemically enhanced. There’s nothing you can do to unscramble the egg.

 

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 05/Jun/2013

We Hate Them, We Really, Really Do

Peter Hartcher has this article about the state of political leadership in Australia. The gist of it is a list of how many ways the Labor Government has failed us, and also how little Tony Abbott has offered as an alternative. the punchline comes down to this bit:

The key difference is that the voters are more disillusioned with Gillard’s government than they are with Abbott’s opposition.

Both leaders’ approval ratings have gone backwards over three years, but Gillard’s has gone back further.

And Labor has been in a losing position for all 29 of the 29 Nielsen polls in the life of this Parliament.

“That has never happened before” in the 40-year history of the series, Stirton says.

Labor’s remaining hopes, which are vanishingly small, rest almost entirely on a plan for a final, frenzied assault on Abbott as sinister, unhinged and unreliable.

Meanwhile, the Liberals will remind us, at every opportunity, of the depths of Gillard’s deceit.It will be a long 100 days ahead.

Oof. There’s no saving grace there. The electorate isn’t listening to the ALP government because they’ve had enough of the hung parliament, and they’ve certainly had enough of the ALP in NSW to last a generation. For whatever it is worth, I just don’t see NSW going back to the ALP for a decade, if not 15years. The Eddie Obeid business has exposed the ALP and there’s simply no amount of campaigning that’s going to fix what has been uncovered. In NSW, the ALP is the party of excess, sleaze, corruption, and horrible woggy names like Tripodi, Arbib and Obeid. In the current mood of punishing refugees and foreigners, there’s really not much support for the party of the children of immigrants.

On that level, the ALP has really well and truly screwed the pooch. Thus, the ALP has entered the twilight zone of lame duck governments. As such, some members like Joel Fitzgibbon are indulging in a bit of gallows humour. It looks like they’ve given up on shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, they’re going to join the band as the boat goes down. The aftermath of all this is going to be interesting because ALP internal polling shows that in Queensland, Kevin Rudd might be the last man standing. The ALP is facing a landslide the magnitude of losing somewhere around 34 seats from their current 72. That’s a lot of politicians, suddenly able to pull down on their ample superannuation payments. You kind of wish they wouldn’t lose so badly if only to help the budget bottom line of the nation. Maybe after such a monumental defeat, the ALP will be able to do some reform they sorely needed to do after their 1996 defeat.

I can’t begin to tell you of my disgust that Tony Abbott is likely to be our next Prime Minster, but as they say – in a democracy, you get the leaders you deserve. Clearly what e deserve is a gigantic enema.

ASIC’s Tough Day At The Office

You gotta laugh when ASIC are finally called to task on the terrible job they did.

 

Senator Doug Cameron put the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on notice on more than a dozen questions relating to its conduct in the affair during a Senate Estimates hearing last night, including a demand for an estimate of the amount of money clients had lost because the regulator repeatedly ignored warnings from whistleblowers.

The questions were delivered rapid-fire after Senator Cameron accused ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell of failing to adequately respond to questions delivered earlier in the hearing by Nationals Senator John Williams.

“This is a very serious issue for ASIC, it’s a serious issue for the government and all the senators are concerned about it. So just don’t take me on a waltz around the merry-go-round. Take that on notice.”

The hearing follows a Fairfax Media investigation that found the CBA had concealed improprieties by financial planner Don Nguyen who once controlled about $300 million in retirement savings on behalf of at least 1300 clients. Mr Nguyen, who has been banned by ASIC for seven years, allegedly forged client signatures, created unauthorised investment accounts and overcharged on fees. Some clients lost more than half their life savings, forcing them to seek help from Centrelink as they battled with CBA for compensation.

Senator Cameron demanded to know why Mr Nguyen received only a seven year ban after “engaging in illegal activity”, which meant he could once again act as a financial planner in 2018.

“Give us the details and the arguments that you went through to deliver a seven year ban and why you didn’t seek a ban for life on this individual who was destroying the lives of ordinary Australian citizens,” he said.
Mr Kell defended the regulatory and oversight regime that was in place at the time of the alleged abuses from 2006 to 2009, although he acknowledged that standards at CBA’s financial planning arm were “considerably below what was required”.

They sure get little sympathy from me. ASIC just don’t enough of anything.  At about the same time that went to the wires and interwebs, sharing a headline with it was this article:

BusinessDay has contacted many of the borrowers to confirm this. The borrowers, many who are pensioners and small business people, cannot afford a lawyer. Of these complaints, many had Loan Application Forms (LAFs), which they claimed had been tampered with, attached.

“ASIC has close to 100 LAFs from members (of her action group Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association) who say they wrote letters to ASIC and lodged formal complaints and attached the offending LAFs,” said Ms Brailey.

“Others wrote letters (another 60 people or more) that were formal complaints that contained no LAF.  Every one of my members says they received an identical form letter from ASIC.”

As reported on Monday, the veteran consumer rights campaigner has made public 2500 private emails and bank documents to expose what she describes as ”Australia’s subprime crisis”.

Ms Brailey claims that lenders and mortgage brokers tampered with documents to provide more credit for borrowers with ”low-doc” loans.
She says she is making private documents public after years of trying to get corporate regulators to investigate the banks and other lenders over what she alleges is ”systemic fraud” in the ”low-doc” market.

Low-documentation loans are made to borrowers such as business owners who can’t prove a regular income, but the borrower signs a declaration as to estimated income. The loans usually carry a higher interest rate than other loans, as they are seen as more risky.

Of the borrowers who have asked for help from Ms Brailey’s action group, Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association, 1170 of them claim their loan application forms (LAFs) have been tampered with. In most cases, the income figure has been increased to justify more credit. “There is not one clean ‘LAF’ among them,” said Ms Brailey.

The banks and the corporate regulators reject Ms Brailey’s claims. They say fraud in the low-doc loan market is the fault of ”rogue” mortgage brokers.
In his repudiation this week of the Brailey claims, Mr Kell said ASIC had recently banned seven mortgage brokers for fraud or misconduct relating to loan applications.

Somehow I don’t think that would wash with Doug Cameron, do you?

Sport Nut News Day

Today’s gush of news that’s worth kicking around is dominated by sporting news. First cab off the rank is the news that Energy Australia have pulled out of their sponsorship program, a mere 12months into their contract.

It is another body blow to SA, which is trying to rebuild after Australia’s disappointing London Olympic performance tainted by the Stilnox controversy.

“This is a difficult time for Swimming Australia and we recognise there are no easy solutions,” SA CEO Mark Anderson said in a statement.
“This is obviously disappointing but we respect the decision.”
Before Energy Australia’s bombshell, SA were also coping with the Australian Sports Commission’s decision in April that it would cut swimming funding by $500,000 for 2013.

It marked the first time it had been cut since the 1980s.

“Financial support from sponsors is important to the success of Australian swimming, but ultimate success in the pool is built upon hard work and a strong and stable supporting organisation,” said Anderson, who is a month into his new job.

“During this rebuilding phase, Swimming Australia is committed to ensuring that swimming returns quickly to where it belongs at its rightful place as Australia’s No.1 Olympic sport.”
The SA board gathered in Sydney on Wednesday before confirming the sponsorship deal was dead in the water.

That’s some straight up ugly consequences from last year’s debacle at the London Olympics. The line the press is running with this is that Energy Australia have had enough of the scandals coming out of Swimming Australia. It’s sort of surprising it has taken this long in some ways, but there is certainly a whiff of inevitability about this sponsorship deal breakdown. It’s certainly hard to believe all this talk about changes in governance and culture after the CEO is forced to resign for making inappropriate comments. I sort of let the racism debate coming out of AFL last week slide, and the subsequent brouhaha with Eddie Maguire just slide with it, but it has to be said Australian sports administration is stuck in some kind of time warp.

The other interesting sports news is how the Parramatta Eels have announced mid-season that they’ll be moving 12 of their players out of the club.

After years of underperformance – including “winning” the wooden spoon last year – the club has decided to act. In a letter to Eels fans and members, chief executive Ken Edwards declared it was time for the playing group to be “accountable” for the woeful results.

“In Rugby League, we are judged on the field by our performance and ultimately results,” Edwards wrote.

“In recent times the Parramatta Eels have not fared well in either category. Our Members, Fans and Sponsors deserve and demand more than what we have achieved and today the Eels declare that enough is enough.

That’s a big call. What’s interesting about this is how they’re making the call midway through the season; as well as announcing to the rest of the world they’re giving up on the current club as they blow it all up and attempt a rebuild. Not only are they punting these players, they’re punting the season away. Certainly, if you know you’re not going to be counting on these 12 players, what possible purpose could there be in running them out each week. If this is a rebuild, you would expect they’d be immediately benched and you would start playing the younger, upcoming players. It seems brave to decide the rebuild starts now, but also incredibly foolhardy to announce it to the rest of the world. This is a really weird move.

Meanwhile over in America, there’ s news that twenty players may be suspended for 100games. The headliners on the list of players is of course A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Melky Cabrera. The sound you’re hearing is a million fantasy baseball players clicking their mice, dropping A-Rod from their squads. The timing of the news is interesting because only two days ago, Hal Steinbrenner did a doorstop where he said the Yankees were disappointed at times with A-Rod. Why would he be saying that right now? Was he tipped off that this stuff was going down? If it happens and then A-Rod is suspended for 100games, would this void his contract? As the boys at BTF used to say a long while ago, “Is that even legal?”

 

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Yankees Update 26/07/09

Keep Winning Baby

I always have something to say with the Yankees. The pitching this, the batting that, the bullpen this, the bench that.
Well, when they go 8-0 since the All-Star Break, and are now leading the AL East by 2.5games, you sort o have to shrug and admit it: They’re playing really well. As of now, they are playing .615 ball, which equates to a 99 win pace. If they can keep that up, they’ll win the division.

Interestingly enough, if the Yankees had gone 4-4 instead  of 0-8 with the Red Sox, then the respective records would be 63-33 and 52-43. So it’s impressive to see that even accounting for the anomalous 4 game advantage they’ve spotted the Red Sox, the Yankees are leading the division.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the Yankees have played pretty crap against Division leaders. They’ve gone 5-15. If you subtract out the Red Sox, they’re still 5-7 against teams leading their divisions. On top of which, 3 of those wins came against the Tigers recently. Which is to say, it’s going to be interesting to see how the rest of the Yankees’ encounters with the Rays and Red Sox will go.

Judging the rest of the schedule from the All-Star break, the Red Sox and Yankees are essentially going to play the same teams, so seeing the Red Sox stumble with a losing streak while the Yankees won 8 on the trot again helps.

The scuffling in April seems a while ago now.

A Confession

Back in April, I was in a bad mood on many a day. I blamed it on lots of things, but the dirty little secret is that I was lying. Truth is, if the Yankees lose, I tend to see the result before I even get to the door to go to work and I’m a terribly grump bastard when they lose. I’m a bad person for being that way, I know, but I’ve always been a more magnanimous, chilled, smugly calm entity on the days that the Yankees have won. I think it’s something Karmic, and I doubt I’m going to outgrow it in my lifetime. I like being smug – let Red Sox fans gnash their enamel-depleted teeth and richly gripe and moan. The world is better that way.

It’s just how I feel. A week where the Yankees don’t lose is like a week in heaven.

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Projections For MLB Season

A Spin On The Fave Pastime

I actually like this part of the spring training where people present us with their projections. People are constantly predicting things through their intuition but computer technology has also given rise to the multiple simulated seasons method where people run the teams through the season many times to get an answer.

The most interesting projections come out of the multiple projections systems that get put through the Diamond Mind baseball game 1000times, done at the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog, courtesy of ‘SG’. The various projection systems all emphasise different aspects of a player, league contexts, ballparks and so on, but once they go into the blender of 1000 seasons it’s remarkable how similar the outcomes are.

The average of the 6000 simulated seasons has the AL as:

EAST:

  • NYY: 95.9-66.1
  • Bos: 94.3 – 67.7
  • Tam: 90.1 – 71.9
  • Tor: 75.6 – 86.4
  • Bal: 74.5 – 87.5

CENTRAL:

  • Cle: 85.5 – 76.5
  • Det: 81.4 – 80.6
  • Min: 79.5 – 82.5
  • KC: 74.6 – 87.4
  • ChA: 74.1 – 87.9

WEST:

  • LAA: 85.4 – 76.6
  • Oak: 81.1 -80.9
  • Sea: 77.8 – 84.2
  • Tex: 72.1 – 89.9

All of which seems like a just about what your intuition might tell you with a few caveats that SG comments upon on the entry when you follow the link above. Of course, the projection systems have all come in under on Chicago for a number of years, and injuries and such tends to affect how these things go.

Of the 6 projection systems, CHONE likes Boston more over the Yanks, but apart from that the 6 projections line up roughly as above.

What got my attention today was this simulation here on Yahoo.

2009 American League Preview

SIMULATION BASED FORECASTING & METHODOLOGY
AccuScore uses past player performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, match-up, and game situation conditions. Using projected starting lineups AccuScore simulates each game of the 2009 Season one at-bat at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability each team has of winning each game, winning their division, making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs and winning the World Series. Here’s AccuScore.com’s analysis of the 2009 American League.

Wow. 20,000 sims per game! And the AL looks like this according to this test:

EAST:

  • Bos: 95 – 67
  • Tam: 93 – 69
  • NYY: 91 – 71
  • Tor: 80 – 82
  • Bal: 68 – 94

CENTRAL:

  • Min: 86 – 76
  • Cle: 83 – 79
  • ChA: 82 – 80
  • Det: 79 – 83
  • KC: 75 – 87

WEST:

  • LAA: 88 – 74
  • Oak: 81 – 81
  • SEA: 72 – 90
  • Tex: 69 -93

As you can see, that’s a pretty different outcome in the 1-2-3 slots for the AL East and the AL Central is quite different too. Accuscore thinks the extended absence of A-Rod is enough to pare back the Yankees while still having a 25.4% chance of winning the division. They’re also high on Minnestoa’s pitching, while they’re a little sour on Cleaveland’s rotation. There’s little love for a bounceback season for Detroit. All of which are interesting takes on the possible outcome of the season.

Hence I thought I’d note this all down so that when the season is done, I can come back and have a look and see whose projection system did what, and to see if Accuscore’s projection does any better than the sabermetricians.

UPDATE:

Here’s another one.

Professor Bruce Bukiet, of the mathematical sciences department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, developed a formula in 2000 to predict game results. As the season gets under way Sunday, his formula sees the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets (which Bukiet admits is his favorite team) and the Atlanta Brave will each win 88 games and tie for the NL East title.

Bukiet’s formula says the Chicago Cubs Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should easily win their divisions.

The New York Yankees, predicted to win 99 games, were a two-game favorite over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and the Cleveland Indians were installed as the team to beat in the AL Central.

“These results are merely a guide as to how teams ought to perform. There are many unknowns, especially trades, injuries and how rookies will perform,” Bukiet said. “Over the years, the predictions have been about as good as those of the so-called experts. It demonstrates how useful math can be in understanding so many aspects of the world around us.”

A 3-way tie in the NL East sounds interesting.

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Yankees Update 25/03/09

Xavier Nady In RF Over Nick Swisher

This is not the choice I would make, but for the possibility that Nady is being burnished for a trade.

“If we were to break today,” Girardi said, “Xavier Nady would be my right fielder.”

At the start of camp, Girardi said right field would be a competition between Nady and Swisher. Each has played roughly to form, and because Nady had an edge at the start, Girardi said, he was comfortable giving Swisher the news Monday morning.

“I’ve been thinking all day about what I wanted to say,” Swisher told reporters after Monday’s game, an 8-3 loss to Philadelphia. “I’m the type of guy, I want to play every day, there’s no doubt about that. I guess we’re just going to see how it plays out.

“I love this team. I love the coaches, players, I love it all. I think it’s a great spot. But that’s the biggest thing; we’re going to have to wait and see how it plays out.”

Not happy to read that at all. Swisher is younger, more patient, has a better track record until his last season which was bad – which enabled him to be brought to NY, and he’s a better defender.

Another thing sort of did occur to me. Nady came up as a 3B. If they really like his bat that much they could throw him at 3B while A-Rod recovers and put Swisher in RF.

AJ Burnett Beats Bosox (in Spring)

The kind of news you have when it’s not news.

A.J. Burnett, who is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his career against Boston, allowed one run on three hits and two walks in 5-2/3 innings, striking out four. He threw 82 pitches, 49 for strikes, extending his pitch count as high as any Yankees starter has this spring.
“I heard lots of cheers and boos,” Burnett said of his first Yanks-Sox experience. “When David (Ortiz) came up the first time, he was covered in them. It’s awesome. I can’t wait to get in there during the season and see what that’s all about.”

Well, it’s nice to know he can beat those guys so well, so often.

Jeter Is Back From The WBC

Jeter came back to Yankee land where he is most beloved and needed. His inability to lead the hastily assembled host of ‘yankees’ notwithstanding, that is.

Now that the whole world has seen just how bad his range is, you’d think the mystique has eroded on Captain Crunch.

“I need to play,” Jeter said. “I’ve had enough days off. We just had three days off before our last game. With tomorrow’s off-day, I didn’t feel I needed to miss three more days. I wanted to come and play today.”

Jeter hopes to play most of the Yankees’ final nine exhibition games, which is fine with Girardi. Even before Jeter arrived, Girardi penciled him in Tuesday’s lineup, batting second behind Johnny Damon. Girardi also listed Jeter on the travel squad to Clearwater for Thursday’s game with the Phillies.

“I told him, after today, give me what he wants to do, whether it’s one day off or two days off,” Girardi said. “Just let me know what you need, because you know better than what I do.

“I think there’s enough time for him to get ready. I do. But we’ll find out.”

Since Jeter has been gone for about three weeks, his return prompted a series of “hello stranger” moments. The bench coach Tony Peña greeted him with: “Cap’n Crunch! How you doing? About time you showed up.” Tino Martinez, Jeter’s former teammate and a special instructor in spring training, stopped by for a visit.

There were no insights if he had any, no new experiences he could incorporate or convey to the press, no new information. He remains oddly elusive from giving us a piece of his mind. You’d think he never went away and played those games for the USA. It’s bizarre.

Graig Nettles Is Better Now

Graig Nettles is recovering from prostate cancer. That’ good news.

*Feb 26 - 00:05*Nettles had surgery to remove his prostate in April of last year.
“Hopefully that’s all been taken care of and I’m cancer free,”  said Nettles, taking a break from working out with the Yankees in Tampa. “I still have to go every six months to get it checked out, but my health is good.”
Cancer hasn’t stopped the 64-year-old Gold Glove legend, who’s already talking about making his way to the Bronx this season.
“I’ll make it out there to the new (Yankee) Stadium a few times this year,” he says.
Nettles spends his springs with the current Yankees as an instructor and is more than familiar with the parade of havoc that comes with wearing pinstripes. He invited fans into his crazy days in the Bronx with his book entitled “Balls,” released in 1984, so he’s no stranger to the absurd. He once summed up his Yankee career succinctly and perfectly in 1978 by saying: “When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player and join the circus. With the Yankees, I have accomplished both.”

As with so many of my heroes in my life, I loved him because he was funny as well as good.

AFA 165588“I’m indebted to the Yankees for always inviting me out to spring training,” says Nettles, who came to Yanks in trade with Cleveland in 1972. “I know I can’t do the things I used to anymore, so I live through the players. It’s all in memory what I did.”
And Nettles did a lot, enjoying his best season in 1977, when he picked up his first of two Gold Glove and crushed 37 homers and 107 RBI in helping lead the Yankees to a World Series win over the Dodgers. The following season, Nettles earned his second Gold Glove and  made diving stop after diving stop against the Dodgers in what was back-to-back World Series championships in the Bronx.
But his most cherished memory?
“The biggest thrill I got was when (Chris) Chambliss hit the home run to put us in the World Series in 1976,” he says. “That was it.”

The memories that stay on and on. I remember that shot.

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So Jose Canseco Says…

He Just Wants To Help

The original steroid monkey who got himself unwelcome to all the major league clubhouses because of his steroid-proselytising, now says he wants to help MLB.

“I think I have the ear of the nation now,” Canseco said Tuesday. “I think everyone realizes I have not in any way, shape or form tried to create smoke and mirrors like Major League Baseball has and the players have. I have been excruciatingly honest about what’s going on in baseball.”

Canseco’s attorney, Dennis Holahan, said he was sending a letter to Fehr and Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, offering the former slugger’s assistance. Canseco, who has admitted using steroids, offered few specifics about what he planned to discuss in his proposed joint meeting, other than he was concerned about the “welfare of baseball.”

“The goal is to come up with a plan to rid baseball of steroids once and for all,” Holahan said.

In Canseco’s 2005 book, “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big,” Canseco claimed he introduced Oakland Athletics teammate Mark McGwire and other stars to steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. He wrote about injecting himself and McGwire in bathroom stalls, and how the effects of the drugs were the reason he hit 462 career home runs.

In his 2008 book, “Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball,” Canseco said he introduced Alex Rodriguez to a steroids dealer.

Canseco declined comment on Rodriguez’s admission Monday that he used banned substances from 2001-03 while playing for Texas.

Major League Baseball said it was willing to listen to Canseco’s offer.

“Let’s take a look at the letter and see what’s inside the letter. It will be interesting,” MLB spokesman Rich Levin said. “We’d be glad to get correspondence from Mr. Canseco and we’ll deal directly with him.”

People laughed when he wrote his books and claimed even A-Rod was a user. I think people laughed at him because we thought if we derided him hard enough the issue would go away. It hasn’t and so far his claims about Clemens and A-Rod has been proven to be correct. Well, Clemens keeps denying, but that wasn’t the surprising bit. Who knows if Canseco is simply looking to get paid or because he genuinely wants to help. Maybe the MLB should listen. After all, they’re eating humble pie with a side order of Crow pretty hard right now.

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