I stopped avidly collecting baseball cards years ago. Many of the cards that I have aren’t worth anywhere close to what they once were because the market crashed; but there will always be a market for "mistake" cards. The Derek Jeter card with George W. Bush waving in the background and Mickey Mantle holding a bat in the dugout is a blatant attempt to get people who normally wouldn’t buy the packs to buy them to see if they get a funky Jeter card. It’s also an attempt to raise the value of a card that wouldn’t ordinarily be all that valuable.
This is a manufactured sale job by Topps. Anyone who doesn’t see it and buys packs of cards that they normally wouldn’t, or are ******** into buying the Jeter/Mantle/Bush cards at auctions are falling into the trap. I don’t want to sound cynical or paranoid, but there are certain instances where this type of behavior is blatantly obvious for what it is. It’s like the computer viruses that are popping up all over the place, I have a sneaking suspicion that those that are creating the virus combating software are the same people who are creating the viruses to begin with. That’s not paranoia; it’s common sense.
The baseball card industry isn’t what it once was because it became such a huge business that everyone was trying to get their beaks into it. Because of that, the market crashed and those that were collecting for the sheer enjoyment of it and benefited from having something that was in demand are now back to having something that really isn’t worth all that much in monetary value. I have no interest in having this Jeter/Bush/Mantle card in my possession for any amount of money because I refuse to be one of the sheep that are taken in by this scheme posing as a "gag".
Not only is Manny Ramirez a hitting savant, but he may also be a genius in other ways as well. Only Manny could show up "late" to camp, but create a media frenzy because he showed up three days earlier than the "late" date that the Red Sox had agreed to let him show up in the first place.
I’ve stopped saying that people who I consider reasonably intelligent "cannot possibly believe" certain things because the more I say it, the less viable the statement becomes. I’m coming to the conclusion that certain people really do believe that which is patently absurd to a reasonably intelligent and informed person. I don’t want to get into politics, but I’ll let the mere mentioning of the word speak for itself. What I am referring to specifically is the Boston Red Sox and their lack of a viable closer at the start of spring training (discounting Jonathan Papelbon, of course).
I keep saying to myself that the Red Sox hierarchy has many people who are considered intelligent. For all my (justified) criticisms of Theo Epstein, one thing that he is not is stupid. The same goes for Larry Lucchino. But as I continually look at the list of names that they are considering as the team’s closer and I can’t believe that they are confident that any of these contingency plans are going to work.
Mike Timlin is about to turn 41 and hasn’t closed regularly since 1999. He cannot reasonably be expected to be able to handle either the workload or the pressure that he will be under if he were to have to close.
Joel Piniero has one career save and has been a starter for his whole career. Could it work? I guess, but I wouldn’t expect it to.
Devern Hansack has also been predominately a starter his entire professional career. It would be a lot of pressure to put on a rookie to be the linchpin to the Red Sox playoff hopes after they spent all that money to try and make themselves contenders again.
What exactly was the thinking behind not getting a veteran who had closed before? Eric Gagne went to the Texas Rangers for a $6 million, one year contract. Danys Baez signed with the Orioles for $6 million a year for three years to be a set-up man for the Orioles. Logic dictates that he would have gone to the Red Sox for that amount or less to be the closer.
I just don’t get it. With all the money that the team spent and the understandable decision to make Papelbon into a starter for the good of the young pitcher’s career, why have they not adequately addressed the problem? To think that Timlin will be able to handle the job at his age; that Piniero will be able to suddenly be an effective closer after an entire career as a starter; that Hansack will be able to handle the pressure of carrying the load for players such as Curt Schilling, David Ortiz, et, al. is mind boggling.
Papelpbon’s emergence last season wasn’t a customary event. For every Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera who gets a chance as a closer, adapts to the role and thrives, there are three or four Fausto Carmonas who can’t handle either the pressure or the job. For every Dennis Eckersley who ended up in the Hall of Fame because of the shift from starter to reliever, there are three or four Curt Schillings who couldn’t handle the job when he tried it two years ago.
The Red Sox are putting a lot of faith into the unknown. And why? Why didn’t they sign Baez? Why didn’t they take a chance on Gagne? Unless they’re intending to try this experiment for awhile and make an aggressive move for Chad Cordero or Scott Linebrink; or they’re going to put Papelbon back into the pen if nothing else works out, I don’t see what the contingency plan is if none of the above mentioned names works out.
As I said before, a reasonable person would think that they Red Sox front office would know what a huge risk this is; but, as is evident every single day on the news, supposedly intelligent people have trouble seeing past their own agendas regardless of the evidence or the outcome. Red Sox fans should be very worried because no matter how many runs they score or how good their starting pitching is, if they don’t have a closer, they’re not going anywhere.
The Red Sox shouldn’t even consider an extension for Curt Schilling at this point. By next season, Schilling will be 41-years old. With his history of injuries and the amount of money that Schilling is going to demand for next season—-probably at least $10 million—-there are younger pitchers in whom the Red Sox should keep an eye on for next season.
Such names as Jason Jennings, Carlos Zambrano and Freddy Garcia are all due to be free agents; and then there are the guys who might be available in trades. Signing an aging Curt Schilling as some sort of "golden parachute" is a way to begin the rapid downfall of the organization. There’s no room for sentiment here. The Mets continually gave contracts to pitchers like Al Leiter and John Franco as the aforementioned "golden parachutes" and collapsed to the bottom of their division until Omar Minaya took over and retreated from that way of doing business.
With Schilling it’s always been about business and what’s in his own best interests, the Red Sox should follow his example and do what needs to be done, regardless of Schilling’s threats and temper tantrums.
I’m about as good at physics as I am at math (which means not very good at all). If I study continuously until I can grasp the concepts, I’m okay, but that doesn’t mean that someone can spout a bunch of fomulae and expect me to understand it on sight. With that in mind, and with all the talk of the "gyroball" and whether or not Daisuke Matsuzaka actually throws the pitch, I figured I’d try and explain the pitch as simply as possible for those that are like me and are getting confused by the convoluted explanations that are being attempted to describe the pitch.
To the best of my understanding, the pitch is similar to a screwball in its arm motion, and a bad slider in its movement. Throwing a slider is like throwing a football in its hand positioning, but the pitcher pulls down at the end as he’s releasing the ball. A screwball is thrown with the wrist in the opposite direction to the slider and twisting outward.
With the gyroball, I get the idea that the pitch would be classified as a "bad" slider if it were thrown by a pitcher with the opposite arm. What I mean is that I’m a righty; if I throw a slow slider without much break, the gyroball is the equivalent of a lefty throwing the exact same pitch, but the batter isn’t expecting that type of pitch from a lefty.
This is getting convoluted.
Here’s a better and simpler explanation. Picture yourself throwing a football. Then imagine throwing the football with your hand facing away from your face and throwing it so the rotation spins the opposite way than if you threw the football normally. With this, the ball is rotating the opposite way and the velocity is diminished by the change in direction of the arm and hand. It’s not straight forward as most pitches are; and it’s not a screwball because the force on a screwball is on the inside of the ball and is thrown harder.
The gyroball appears to be a pitch that doesn’t do all that much and is difficult to throw with any serious velocity because of the mechanics necessary to throw it. If it’s used, it will have to be used as a changeup or a surprise, because bad sliders are known to be hit a long, long way. If someone throws this gyroball and the batter adjusts to it, it’s going to go even farther than a bad slider would.
This whole ARod and Jeter thing is starting to look like a boyfriend/girlfiend relationship (take your pick as to who’s who) that ended and the two are still forced to work together. "We support each other" indeed. It sounds like the old Saturday Night Live TV funhouse cartoon with Ace and Gary. These two either need to have it out once and for all or just shut up about it already. The time when this was even remotely interesting ended about two years ago. Does anyone really care whether or not Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez socialize anymore?
This specter of Bernie Williams is going to hover around the Yankees spring training camp until everyone in the organization gets on the same page that it’s time to move along without him. Rightly or wrongly, Brian Cashman has made it clear that there is no room for Williams in the Yankees plans. They could have made the decision to shift Bobby Abreu to first base, or to continue using Jason Giambi in the field and would have had a place for Williams in which he would have gotten significant at bats. They didn’t. Now the endless stories and questions and calls to radio shows will drone on about what is going to happen with Williams.
Joe Torre himself isn’t helping matters with his continuous phone calls (that have been reportedly unreturned) imploring Williams to come to camp on a non-guaranteed contract. All any of this is doing is giving the story a few extra days of life to limp along; and it’s enough.
I agree with Williams that it’s beneath him and a player of his stature (especially considering how productive he was last season in a part-time role) to have to come to camp not knowing whether or not he’s going to have a job; but if he wants to continue playing, there are plenty of teams that are willing to bring in a player such as Bernie Williams. If he has his heart set on being a Yankee, then he should either come to camp or sit by and wait to see if they need him during the season.
This is putting Yankee fans in the position where they’re going to have to hope for one of their star outfielders to get injured to end the suspense of what is going to happen to Bernie Williams; and as good a player as Williams has been, at this point, he’s not going to be a seamless replacement for any of the three starting outfielders. If someone did get hurt, Williams would still be sitting behind Melky Cabrera, unless Torre inserts Williams for sentimental reasons. The Yankees have to make a final statement regarding this or it’s all they’re going to be hearing about for the next six weeks.