Thursday, November 15, 2007

Proof of Life

My head's been wrapped so deep in work that it's starting to feel like a hostage situation. I feel the need to post here more as proof to the proud few of you that still read this space that I'm still alive, and relatively well. If any of you need further proof, I can post a picture of myself with today's newspaper (the Times, sadly, which is La Chiquita's subscription).

Since the last time we posted:

Jorge Posada Signs for 4 Years, $52 Million -- The rise of H&H Steinbrenner means that we're shifting from IOGM (It's Only George's Money) paradigm to the slightly more generic IOSM (It's Only Steinbrenner's Money). One way to look at it is, is paying $26 Million for Jorge Posada's age 38 and 39 seasons really a good idea? That's a daunting question, to which I can only answer: IOSM. But the real question is, what was the alternative? Yorvit Torrealba? Michael Barrett? Paul Lo Freakin' Duca? You've got to tip your hat to Hip, Hip Jorge! for having an A+ season in his walk year, at a time when there wasn't another viable soul on the market.

Yanks Offer Mariano $45 Million for 3 Years -- I'm less than overjoyed with the Yankees new policy of sharing their every negotiating thought with the press; divulging their contract offers to Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez and now Mariano Rivera with a plaintive cry of "Look! We're offering these folks top dollar!" seems like some backstepping toward the bad old days when George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin used reporters the way other people used telephones. Still, this is a great deal for Rivera. Look at it this way: over the last five years, Mariano's averaged just under 75 innings per season. Paying him $15 million a year would likely be over $200,000 per inning, which is a pretty world-beating return for anyone this side of Carl Pavano. By way of comparison, Roger Clemens received $189K/inning this season, on his absurd contract. That's some nice coin.

Barry Bonds Indicted -- This is today's news. Obstruction of justice and perjury are the reported charges, which leaves out the most serious charge leveled against him, for tax evasion. Expect a number of articles tomorrow about how this is the worst thing to happen in baseball history. Fay Vincent has already gone on the record claiming that this is worse than Pete Rose's gambling and tax evasion, and possibly worse than the Black Sox scandal. That's crazy talk.

Barry Bonds's getting indicted--after three or four years' worth of grand juries to toll the statute of limitations for perjury--is a sad thing. But it's something distinct from baseball's (or Bonds's) steroids problem, in the same way that Rose's tax evasion conviction was distinct from his permanent suspension from baseball for gambling. If Rose's suspension had been for failing to pay his taxes--a serious legal offense, and one that no one could justify--then I'm 99% certain he'd be in the Hall of Fame today. Sports and the law work in parallel worlds; in the sports world, his biggest offense (betting on baseball, and on the Reds) could have been carried out legally, but it was more serious than his violation of the law. In the baseball world, it's established that gambling is a more serious offense than PED use--the proof is in the respective punishments (lifetime ban for gambling vs. 50 games for the first steroid offense, less for amphetamines) and the basic "shrug and nod" response that the whole thing is given in other sports, like football.

A side note: The thing I like about Mr. Vincent is how, even 15 years after being ousted as Commissioner of Baseball by Bud Selig, he still acts as if he were the Commissioner in Exile rather than just some guy who got fired. Rather than just publishing his memoirs and going away, he's establishing a shadow government. And until the tyranny of the Selig regime collapses, and Vincent is restored to his rightful place in MLB's Madison Avenue offices, he's available to talk the media--at all times--and second-guess everything that happens in the game from the sidelines. It's a pretty sweet gig, if you can get it.

Alex Rodriguez Resumes Negotiations with Yankees
-- In the time that it took me to write the foregoing, the Yanks and A-Rod have reportedly come to terms on a 10-year $275 million contract. The story's not mature, involving more than a little rumor-mongering that's keeping me from commenting at this time. be continued.

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