Archives for the month of: August, 2009

The Mets say Johan and Fauxhawk are both to undergo surgery tomorrow, at the Hospital For Special Surgery.  Catch the MLB report here.

I’m not a praying man, but as Johan’s surgery is to involve removing bone chips from the elbow, and Perez’s surgery is to involve removing scar tissue from the knee, I will pray that Drs. Altchek and Coleman don’t somehow confuse the two.  Nurses, please indicate their respective appropriate operational areas with an iodine-based dye.

And, because at the heart of most blogs is a relentless desire to repackage someone else’s creative ability, and because I couldn’t resist:

http://www.hulu.com/embed/idKySgduSG7qaTbI-5S6Mg

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David Wright will be trying out the S100.  This from ESPN:

“Six S100 helmets are being sent to each major league team for its players to try out for the rest of this year.

Wright is one of those six — if the helmet arrives in time for the Mets’ game against Colorado at Coors Field.”

Try FedEx; they deliver overnight, I hear.

Separately, from Chowdah:

“Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur examined the new helmet and said it’s too bulky and uncomfortable. He
also questioned its effectiveness against a high-and-tight fastball
from one of the majors’ top pitchers.

‘You get hit with a 94, 95
in the head like that it’s going to hurt — no matter what you’re
wearing, I think,’ he said. ‘You can say all you want that it’s all
protective, but at the same time it doesn’t seem like anything can
fully protect you, you know?'”

Hey, Chowdah?  Just wear the damn thing already.

Check out my initial post on this, which has the link to the article in the Times, which is really all you need.

From the “Having Little To Do With Anything” file:

Got an email from a friend who knows me to be a lover of you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up stories and a newbie investor (I don’t care how young you are or what you think you know about the stock market: if you’re working, put aside $50 to $100 a month, that you’d otherwise spend on whiskey or DVDs, and open up an IRA; do it nowtodayrightawayyoufool!).

Email read thusly-wise:

“Remember Bobby Bonilla?  The Mets have to pay him $30 million over something like twenty years, instead of just paying him the $6 mil he was owed back in 2000.  Wilpon must be kicking himself now!”

Yes, I remember Bobby Bonilla

I remember him quite well, as a matter of fact.

I’m skipping the card-playing incident with Rickey Henderson.  Rickey’s in the Hall.  Rickey doesn’t need some nobody makin’ him look bad.  Come to think of it, Rickey doesn’t need that nobody assuming he’ll drop his “g”s while using the progressive tense.  Rickey’s a fan of progress, and professionalism.  Rickey will not be cast in a negative or unflattering light.

I had chance to speak with this person over the phone yesterday, and let him know the score.  But seeing as how I’m sure this is kicking around–or will, as the payments will begin after next year–I did about three minutes of research.

Let’s work from a common frame.  This, from ESPN’s “Page 2” Archive:

“The Mets are still paying for the mistake of signing Bobby Bonilla in 1992 … and they will be for a long time. Bonilla struck a deal with the team in 2000 in which it purchased an annuity rather than pay him the remaining $5.9 million of deferred money that he was owed. So every July 1 from 2011 to 2035, Bonilla will receive $1.19 million, with the total payments adding up to nearly $30 million.”

So what’s an annuity?  We could get technical and describe it as a terminating series of fixed payments over time, but having “purchased an annuity” means the Mets bought something like life insurance; Bonilla will get his yearly payments out of that kitty, built up after years of that nearly $6 million working in the market, and continuing to work as it’s drawn down.

You can buy an annuity; I can buy an annuity.  In every case I’ve discussed annuities, they’re tax-deferred.  But I don’t know what arrangement the Mets made on behalf of Bonilla, and whether a company can own a tax-free annuity for a man.  I’m sure there’s a way to make it happen.

I know he’s forty-six, presently, and will be forty-eight in 2011, and seventy-two in 2035.  Letting $5.9 million dollars grow over time, tax-free, seems like a nice way to build a nest egg for Bonilla and get a little extra scratch out of the deal for the Mets.  Provided that money was invested aggressively but not poorly (… ::cough:: …), there should be plenty to keep Bobby in Bicycle decks and the Mets in orange-and-blue.

At the very least, if the money was invested safely (… ::COUGH:: …), they should certainly earn their $5.9 million back over the life of the annuity.  At least.  Again, if invested safely.

Robot cats may take over the world by 2035, enslaving humanity in their pitiless litter mines, so who’s to say what’ll happen to the New York Mets before then.  As long as the main thrust of the annuity is honored (Bobby Bo gettin’ his), they could sell it to an another company, essentially giving that company the right to earn the interest.  I mean, that company could hypothetically get Bonilla to amend the annuity, earning him magic beans instead of the roughly $28.5 million he would earn over its life.  Sterling Mets, LP, is a private company, so it’d be up to them to even say anything about what they’ve done with the arrangement.

I’ll say this: $1.19 million won’t buy much in 2035.  This little nugget from Money magazine back in 1986 details home prices in various cities.  A three-bedroom home in New York cost an “astonishing $189,000” back then.  Try buying a three-bedroom for $189,000 now, and make sure it’s not in East New York, or the industrial wastes of Bushwick, or some other sort of demilitarized zone.

Also, Fred Wilpon co-owned the team back in 2000, with Nelson Doubleday.

Also, just because reporting on the matter is misleading, if accurate (the impression that snippet, and others, gives is that the move was beyond boneheaded) doesn’t let the reader off the hook for taking it in as same.  Diss the signing; don’t diss how they cut ties–there’s scant information there.

Also, shut up.

When the Mets aren’t making news with ham-fisted conference calls or disrobing managers, they’re not making much news at all.

I read something at the start of the weekend about the “tragic number,” which for the uninitiated is the number of combined Mets losses and Phillies victories to officially shut them out of the race for first.  The tragic number isn’t the problem for me, though; I’m concerned with what’ll need to happen to get these boys to .500.  There are thirty-one games left and they’re thirteen games below the break-even.  They’d have to go 22-9 over the last month and change to make it.

Good people, I love the Mets and I watched Nelson Figueroa take the fight to the Cubs (W; 4-1), but I don’t think this is a climbable mountain.  They went 19-9 in May and then dropped three straight to the Pirates, which–from what I can recall through the shock treatments and examining cognitive biases–is about when all Hell broke loose.

So the Mets aren’t even getting a corner of the back page on the tabloids.  Today’s Daily News sported Mark Texiera on the top half of the front page, and Joba Chamberlain on the whole of the back, with some rumor of Tiger Woods choking on a win out in Jersey.  What is it with this town and its obession with classifying athletes as chokers?

The New York Times
‘s rundown of yesterday’s game was filed by the AP, and not Ben Shpigel or any of its usual beat reporters.  Maybe they’re on vacation, or shifted to U.S. Open coverage.  Tennis interests me not at all.  Yellow thing batted back and forth at a bajillion miles an hour and sometimes it’s not hit within the lines.  Dull.

So the race to .500 will probably not get the coverage it should.  My guess is the next story researched will be about David Wright’s return, slated for Thursday at Denver; whenever Carlos Beltran completes his doomsday mission to center field, we’ll get an in-depth write-up of that too.  In the interstices, a whole lotta rote in the middle pages.  This must be how Raiders fans feel.

I’ve got three games left on my slate; my hope is that these guys rattle off some kind of streak such that the last one I see brings them some semblance of pride.

At least they’re not playing the Marlins at the end.  That they played them the last weekend two years in a row was irritating, to say the least.

Pat Misch, Brian Stokes, and the Mets could’ve used an act of God today.

Misch, in his first start replacing… I’m guessing Perez… yeah… Perez… pitched a game more efficient than most we’ve seen this year.  Seven innings.  Ninety-eight pitches, sixty-six for strikes.  Six hits, one earned run, two put-outs, two walks.  The bottom of the eighth inning started with a one-run lead for New York.

Remarkably–and I pointed this out in the preceding post–Ted Lilly pitched seven and a third on ninety-eight pitches, sixty-seven of those for strikes, giving up two earned runs on six hits with the same number of put-outs and walks.

Let that sink in for a bit.  Go to the ESPN Box Score if you’d like a deeper breakdown of the pitching performances.

So two teams, mediocre at best, managed to present pitchers who produced fairly identical results.  Lilly got the worst of it.  But this one could’ve been watched again in the off-season.

Now: that act of God.

Any nut who’s found the time to read Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography Of Bill Veeck, or has hung about their basbeall-obsessed grandfathers, fathers, or trivia-obsessed friends knows the story of Bill Veeck’s adventures in game tampering.

Since I know it’s in the autobiography (I wanted to get it right and, lo and behold, most of the book’s text is on Google Books) we’ll call the story true enough: Veeck–at that time owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, sees his team on the ropes against the rival Indianapolis Indians during a night game, with weather rolling in.  Veeck sends a signal to a house electrician, who blows out the control box rather handily.  According to American Association rules at the time, the game would be replayed.

The next day, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball, calls Veeck into his Chicago office.  Veeck comes in from Milwaukee and is asked, point blank: “So? What happened?”

Veeck replies, “I dunno.  Act of God or something.”

Landis takes in a breath, and ends the conversation simply: “There will be no more acts of God in Milwaukee this season.”

I could see Jerry Manuel sending Sandy Alomar off to come back into Wrigley done up as the Fan Man, landing somewhere between Milton Bradley and those mean folks in the bleachers  (I kid; if it turns out he’s right about the abuse, that’s awful).  

Or Pat Misch himself, determined to make his own luck, absconding with every baseball in the greater Chicago area and starting the Great Rawhide Fire of 20-aught-9.

Or equipment manager Charlie Samuels sending the defense out dressed in identical Cubs uniforms.  Rule One of Combat: blend in.

What I couldn’t see was Brian Stokes imploding.  A deep double, a flyout to move the runner over, a single to drive the runner in.  A walk.  A three-run homer.  Brian Stokes threw nineteen fairly ineffective pitches.  Pretty much leave it at that (L; 5-2).

Plenty of force majeure sending insurance rates skyrocketing in Flushing; at least Pat Misch’s ERA ticked down.

Marty Noble writes about the Mets statement re: Jose Reyes, first word of which was circulated through the AP.

Zoe Rice of Pick Me Up Some Mets! reported–via Metsblog comment page–that today’s pre-game show announced a possible recovery time: spring training 2010.

(I’m not linking to the article with the comment because it’s in the middle of the page, and there’s a lot of rumor and innuendo and backbiting ahead of it and after it.  Nuts to that.)

I really want to get hot and bothered about all this.  But I can’t.  Cut the man open, take out the tendon, and put it on ice in case he develops an elbow problem later in his career.  I’ve got chicken drumsticks that have been in my freezer for more than two years.  They’re not freezer-burned.  Trust me, the tendon will keep.

Eww.

Meanwhile, the Mets and Cubs are playing a tidy little game in the land that masquerades as New York whenever Sam Raimi needs to explain an R train running aboveground.  They’ve just completed seven out in Wrigley.

After six full, Ted Lilly had thrown 81 pitches, 55 for strikes.  Misch had thrown 79, with the same number for strikes.

After seven full, the count was (I believe):

Misch: 98 pitches, 66 strikes
Lilly: 89 pitches, 63 strikes

Misch has walked two, one more than Lilly.  Otherwise the lines look much the same.

**This is only about baseball in that this blog is ostensibly about baseball.  But, in actuality, there’s little about baseball here.  Happy Friday.

Got into an argument about visible web counters way, waaaay back, when I worked as an SEO manager for a website design “company.”

“Old skool” web design meant putting a web counter at your page’s footer, or somewhere off to the side in the header.  That went out with animated .gifs, Flash 2.0, and spelling “old skool” with a “k.”

There are plenty of outfits that will help a brotha out with analytics today.  (I don’t know why I’m spelling things the way I am this morning.)  I grabbed Statcounter for this blog a number of weeks ago, because it’s quick and invisible and easy and free for the first five hundred log entries.  If you’re stressed about keeping IP data, you can print the log before it kicks out entry #001 for entry #501, and so forth.

I’m not so much interested in tracking number of visitors as I am with tracking what people are reading, so I can provide more of the same.  For the most part, you’re coming to see what’s been posted, latest, and I thank you for that.  I’ve recently discovered some time savings that have allowed for more first-draft blathering; I edit posts during breakfast or lunch and then up they go.

Here’s the thing, though, and I’m not necessarily complaining: a lot of people are coming from a post I put together called “Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw…” (click on the title to read the post).  A LOT of people.

There are photos from that blown game against St. Louis; there’s a breakdown of Jose Reyes’s injury epic as captured by folks at Metsblog.  There’s the title of the post.

I get the sense that people aren’t going for the photos, which aren’t that great–unless Big Man or someone of the sort got wind that I have a blog.  It’s not a secret, obviously.  But I’ve seen Big Man and have seen friends since; I imagine I’d’ve heard something about it by now.

It’s entirely possible that people are, like me, upset about how Reyes’s injury has been handled, and want to show each other just how ridiculous it all is.  On that, by the by, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach has a report, but it’s really more like a “Wha’ happen’?” piece.  You won’t learn much new.

Or, people are searching for the lyrics to the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, and the post is coming up.  I’ve tried every search I know through a number of search outlets.  Come up dry for my post on the first page, or second, or even third page.

Or, I’m being investigated for some violation of fair-use.

I have a decent enough handle on the law in that respect; no need to tell you why, or how I get my information.  This isn’t a case of me throwing up some Showtime series about a baseball player down on his luck and wandering the streets of sunny California for meaning and a little sumthin’-sumthin’ (egads, sumthin’s wrong with me today).  To be completely fair, HBO would have a more legitimate gripe with me if I did that.

But check out some of the folks checking out that post:

  • Pricewaterhousecoopers, LLP
  • The Times-Union
  • Warner Music Group

Not to mention a slew from Research In Motion, which is the company behind BlackBerry.  I ran a test with my BlackBerry and found that the resultant log entry is indeed labeled such.  Which makes no sense to me; Sprint is my carrier.

I’m somewhat paranoid, so I figure I’ve got about three minutes before I’m served with papers.  And not just by those representing the interests of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; in the past three months I’ve mentioned/quoted/alluded to, in big royal-blue type:

  • Chuck Berry
  • John McEnroe
  • Neil Young
  • the Obama ’08 campaign
  • Pearl Jam
  • Lou Monte
  • Paramount’s Chinatown and DNA Films/20th Century Fox’s 28 Days Later
  • 4 Non Blondes
  • Barry Manilow
  • Gwen Stefani
  • the Dropkick Murphys
  • Nat “King” Cole
  • Slick Rick (twice) and Doug E. Fresh
  • Go West

So.  It’s been nice knowin’ ya.

I now know for a fact that I’ve seen Tim Redding swing a bat.  I made it a point to sit down tonight and watch him.  Still, you could put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t remember them.  That wire brush on his chin is mesmerizing.

Land Shark Stadium was DESERTED. Wow.

Sean Green is STILL throwing not to Omir Santos, but to the Marlins cheerleaders–they have cheerleaders–out along the first base side.

Finally: when Murphy hit that ground rule double, Jerry Manuel came out to discuss the possibility (it wasn’t) that the ball had hit the scoreboard (it hit the reserve stands past the wall) and was still in play (no chance). 

Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez discussed the conversation; as it broke up, Keith had these words:

Keith: “And of course, [first base umpire] Angel Hernandez has to come over and stick his snout into it.”

[Emphasis Keith’s.]

Silence for several moments, possibly due to Gary’s slamming of the mute button to laugh uproariously, or bite his fist to avoid same. 

Then, as the graphic appears below the current game score:

Keith (disgruntled): “These are the umpires.”

Wikipedia has basic coverage of whatever Angel Hernandez’s problem is.  There’s an old Augusta Chronicle article that doesn’t make him a mortal lock for Swine Of The Century, but for all his subsequent atrocities, it’s always good to read about how Piazza manhandled the man. 

And Greg Prince at Faith And Fear In Flushing has a bit from back in late May that mentions Angel Hernandez, and is always good for a laugh.  (My thanks for the linkback to coverage of Tuesday, Mr. Prince.  Quite appreciated.)

God bless ya, Keith.  You tell it like it is.  I have a special hard place in my heart for Brian Runge, but Angel Hernandez is a classic bile-magnet.

The Mets are now allowed to leave Miami (W; 10-3).

I took a peek at ESPN’s Gamecast during the bottom of the ninth inning, and had a Chuck-like mental flash. 

So I took a screen cap, and as I’m no longer the MLBlogs featured blogger (thanks for the ten-day hit, MLB Advanced Media; someone let me know if a guy I know named Mark B., who may work for your division or MLB straight-up, managed to see it), I no longer feel completely obliged to push baseball media with the MLB imprimatur.

This picture is the control; look for thick red outlines for the intended focus on subsequent shots.  All images are thumbnails–you can get to slightly larger ones by clicking on them:

01.jpgOnward!

02.JPG10-3?  You spoil us, line-up.

03.JPG

In an odd confluence of fate and sheer circumstance, this is the defensive line-up I would expect on the field during the bottom of the ninth, a day game after a night game, with the score exactly the way it is and the Mets and Marlins season records reversed.

04.JPGRemarkably, however, this was your line-up throughout the day, with every Met managing two hits…

05.JPG…except for Anderson Hernandez… who had THREE.  With an RBI and a walk.

For today, Mr. Hernandez, I’m sorry I occasionally mistake you for Argenis Reyes.

06.JPGIt occurs to me that I cannot recall a single Tim Redding at-bat.  With his .053 batting average, it’s clear I’m not missing much.  However, for the uninitiated (and to break this up a bit):

Teflon Tim.jpgHa!

07.JPGYou’re a professional baseballer, for Chrissakes.  Don’t smile like you’re four.

08.JPGIt’s a rare day when Sean Green is called on to rescue Pedro Feliciano, but it’s also a rare day when every man in the Mets line-up records more than one hit.  So it’s a very rare day.

09.JPGMy actual thought, hand to God: “Huh.  Brian Stokes.  Thought he was on the DL.”

10.JPGMy second thought was, “An intentional walk, with one out and no one on?  Jerry, you son of a–” …and then I looked at the ball locator directly above.

I’ve got a rash from this intentional walk thing, and it’s beginning to cloud my judgment.  I need to seek counsel.  I shall, I shall.

And finally, some fun with facial hair.  Shouldn’t be too hard to discern.

11.JPGHeh, heh, heh.

Nice win in a walk, gentlemen.  And my thanks to ESPN.

The Ringers are gettin’ feisty on getaway day.

Chowdah is 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Daniel Murphy is 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Score is 8-1, New York over the Florida Marlins, heading into the bottom of the 5th.  Anibal Sanchez is long gone and I suspect Cristhian Martinez won’t be too far behind.

Let’s go Mets!