The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

One of these things is not like the others

Here’s the list of AL stolen base leaders, as the Rays announcers just put up in my face:

Juan Pierre, CHS (39)
Carl Crawford, TAM (38)
Rajai Davis, OAK (32)
Brett Gardner, NYY (30)
Scott Podsednik, LAD (30)

Do you see it? Do you see the issue? Here’s a hint: do you remember when the Dodgers moved to the American League?

July 31st, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

I’m not going to give you any context for this

On Wednesday, Batista sent flowers and made a phone call to apologize to Connors, and the Nationals invited the pageant winner to participate in the first-pitch ceremony, where she shared duties with a guy dressed as rum pitchman Captain Morgan.


July 31st, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

I know you’ve heard this all before

But it’s the trade deadline, and Jeff Passan is on his soapbox again, busily searching through the data for more evidence to support his pet theory: that the only thing that matters in baseball is money. How people can continue with this conceit in the year 2010, after seeing small-market teams going toe-to-toe with the behemoths year after year, escapes me. But here we are, playing the same exact tune all over again.

The acquisition of Berkman to become designated hitter was the biggest on a Friday replete with chatter, rumors and deals at a busy trade deadline with a common theme: big boys buying big toys.

The context for this statement was in like four fucking paragraphs I didn’t feel like quoting, since I was afraid that Steve Gibson would sue me for infringing somebody else’s copyright in order to protect society and maybe he’ll accidentally make a shitload of money in the process. But basically, it’s about how Fat Elvis just got traded to the Yankees, because the Astros are ridiculously bad and need to shed payroll and rebuild. Of course, in an amazing coincidence, the Astros swallowed almost all of Berk Man’s contract, and so they didn’t really end up saving any money at all. Because maybe if the Astros had a decent front office they wouldn’t be so deep in the shitter.

Between the Yankees getting Berkman (and adding $3 million of his remaining salary on top of their $206 million opening day payroll) and Philadelphia tacking Roy Oswalt onto its $142 million team, the Astros have unloaded two franchise players, one to each league’s powerhouse franchise.

The notion that the Phillies are the NL’s "powerhouse" franchise is a weird one. They don’t have the largest payroll. They don’t have the best record in the league — or, hell, even in their own division. I guess the main thing they have going for them is that, well, they’re the only big-payroll team in the NL that’s in contention right now.

Whoops! Spoiler! I gave away the surprise ending.

The Los Angeles Angels swallowed Dan Haren’s big contract in acquiring him from Arizona, and of all the teams chasing the Diamondbacks’ other desirable starter, the soon-to-be-pricey Edwin Jackson, the Chicago White Sox ended up with him. The White Sox and Angels rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in payroll.

Dan Haren’s "big" contract pays $8M/year through 2012. And how pricey Edwin Jackson will be later isn’t very important in terms of how much he costs now, which is: $4.5M. Neither of these is exactly a bank-busting contract, and, frankly, it seems like their destinations had less to do with the payroll on the Angels and White Sox than with the Diamondbacks’ front office being blind stinking drunk when the trades were made.

This is not coincidence. This is not a trend. This is baseball, circa 2010. The have-vs.-have-not chasm that for the last 20 years has existed is as wide as ever, even with revenue sharing trying to artificially imbue the game with balance.

Yeah, turns out that redistribution doesn’t help, huh. Who knew?

Also, here are a few fun things Jeff has failed to mention. Some other teams who have been recent "acquirers" are the big-market monoliths the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, and San Diego Padres, who rank 11th, 12th, 27th, and 29th in payroll, respectively. And the selling teams? The Cubs, Mariners, and Astros (3rd, 9th, and 14th) are having a damn fire sale, and only sheer stubbornness is preventing the Mets (5th) from following suit.

So what’s my point, then? That some middle-to-bottom teams are buying? And that some top-to-middle teams are selling? Yes. That is exactly my point. Since it utterly contravenes what Jeff’s cherry-picking has told him, you know, about how the rich teams are doing all the buying and the poor teams are doing all the selling.

Berkman waived his no-trade clause to join the Yankees because even though he’s a born-and-raised Texan, he sees what’s happening to franchises like the Astros, where they’re slashing payroll and kowtowing to a sport with room for only a few alpha teams.

Alpha teams like the San Diego Padres, you mean? Who have the best record in the NL thanks largely to their colossal $38M payroll? No, Jeff. It’s not because Berkman sees what’s happening to franchises "like" the Astros, who, by the way, have a fucking gigantic payroll — it’s because Berkman sees what’s happening to the Astros specifically. Which is to say: they’re tearing down and rebuilding. He ain’t staying past this year regardless, and he knows that, so he’s off to greener pastures.

Also, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

The reality of baseball today goes something like this: seven financial monsters – the New York teams, the Chicago teams, Boston, Philadelphia and the Angels – control much of the game’s power structure with their financial might.

Which is why the Mets and the Cubs and the Angels and the Red Sox are doing so well right now.

Other teams will come in and out – Houston and Seattle dropped themselves and Detroit is likely to join soon, while the Los Angeles Dodgers eventually will return under new ownership – and the rest fall into two categories: the got-a-chances (Minnesota, St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta) and the say-a-prayers (Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Arizona and the patron saint, Tampa Bay).

Oh, wait, you’re aware that Houston and Seattle are big-payroll teams entering a rebuilding phase? So why did you write this article, then?

San Fransisco’s payroll is $7M lower than the Angels’. What makes the Angels a powerhouse and the Giants a got-a-chance? Jeff isn’t saying. And, wait, Atlanta is a "got-a-chance" team? Didn’t Atlanta just recently snap a streak of like fourteen consecutive playoff appearances — the longest such streak in MLB history? That seems pretty well past "got-a-chance" territory to me.

Baseball, amazingly, seems OK with this.

That’s because it’s working. I can’t stress this enough. It’s fucking working, Jeff. Baseball has amazing parity right now. All kinds of crazy shit happens, and $38M teams lead the NL with .600 winning percentages. The Rays go from being the dog’s breakfast of the league to the World Series in one season. The Marlins win the World Series twice with a payroll I could personally cover out of pocket. There’s nothing here that needs fixing.

Its labor-relations situation is the most stable in American sports. Teams recognize their places in the hierarchy and rarely complain. There is too much money being made for anyone to fuss.

Well, sure, that and:

Compound that with the fact that a well-run, low-payroll team can succeed – Tampa Bay ($72 million), Texas ($55 million) and San Diego ($38 million) all should make the postseason – and the air of competitive equilibrium remains.

It’s not the "air" of competitive equilibrium, Jeff, on account of that is not a thing. It’s the real thing. Those teams really are competing. This is why your argument — and we have this discussion nearly every time the Yankees so much as goddamn make a sound — makes no goddamn sense at all. You’re mainly arguing that baseball needs to be completely changed because it’s offending your theoretical model, and not noticing that apparently your model doesn’t accurately reflect reality.

Still, it’s impossible to ignore the teams landing the biggest names. Aside from Texas swooping in to steal Cliff Lee out from under the Yankees – a Rangers team, remember, funded these days by Major League Baseball as its bankruptcy proceedings continue – the sort of players who make and break pennant races have ended up in the places with cash to burn.

Actually, that’s a lot more indicative of the fact that the places with cash to burn are currently struggling to keep up with the smaller teams — as I write this, the Yankees are one solitary game ahead of the Rays, the White Sox 1.5 ahead of the Twinkies, the Phillies 3.5 back of the Braves, and the Angels a stunning nine games behind the Rangers. It’s not big guys snatching up these players just because they can — it’s big guys fighting for survival any way they can. And, at least in the case of the Angels, it ain’t working. We’ll see how the rest play out, I suppose, but Berkman is projected to be worth about one win to the Yankees over the remainder of the season, and Jackson will probably add nothing to the White Sox over what they traded for him.

Because so many teams run themselves similarly today, a monetary advantage amounts to a philosophical advantage, too.

Fuck the heck?

New York can operate its player-development department like the Rays’ – and then go out and get Lee or Berkman or pay nine figures for a free agent.

Actually, they couldn’t get Lee. Did you miss that? The Rangers got him. They couldn’t get Oswalt or Haren either. Turns out that just being the Yankees doesn’t give you first dibs on every player.

The Yankees don’t win because of where they are. (See: the Mets.) They win because they’re on the intellectual level of other teams and compound it with a big, green hammer.

But mainly it’s the bit about the intellectual level, which is why cheap teams can win all the goddamn time too. Look. Money’s great. But the lesson that baseball has taught us over the last ten years (or the last hundred years for us Cubs fans) is that all the money in the world doesn’t matter if your team is run by retards. The Mets — the very Mets you make fun of in that sentence right there — have the fifth largest payroll in baseball. And my Cubs? Third. And they suck.

As wonderful as Adam Dunn would look hitting fourth for the Rays, GM Andrew Friedman built the team by not going for the short-term fix. To deviate from that takes a great deal of conviction that a trade within the next 24 hours won’t somehow bite the Rays next year, or the year after, or in 2016. The Rays, like all other have-nots, run their team with a crystal ball.

And the haves that don’t run their team like that do things like give Alfonso Soriano an eight-year, $136M contract. Or sign Carlos Zambrano for five and $91.5M. And then they spend the whole season ten games under .500 and lose to the Fat Louis Fatinals and the goddamn Cincinnati Reds.

Which reminds me: fuck you, Dusty Baker.

Which is why despite far less talent to offer Washington, the White Sox remain the likeliest destination for Dunn going into Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline.

Well, actually, Jeff, rumour has it that the principal component in the Dunn deal will be Edwin Jackson — the same Edwin Jackson you were complaining about earlier, because the evil White Sox were preventing those noble, innocent small-market teams from getting him.

The White Sox don’t think twice about the cost, about the prospects, about the future. They act in the now.

Which is why the White Sox suck on ice year-in and year-out. They were at .488 last year. .444 in 2007. Every once in a while their random stabby-stabby management style hits a lucky spot, and they float up near the top of baseball’s worst division, and then get wiped out in the first round of the playoffs. Exactly once has it gotten them any farther than that.

After that, Jeff just tells a weird anecdote about Berkman that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with his article. So I’m going to ignore it, and wrap up like this:

Jeff. Here’s the deal. It seems so odd to me that somebody so clearly intelligent can get so massively turned around. Every time you open your mouth on this subject, it seems like you’re declaring that baseball needs to change everything to get more competitive, since year after year it’s just the rich teams crushing the poor teams — and it’s like you haven’t even noticed that that’s always wrong. I mean, always wrong. The San Diego Padres have the best record in the National League, Jeff. Their payroll is $38M. That is amazing, and it totally obliterates your article. The Texas Rangers trail only the Yankees and the Rays in the American League, and they have a $55M payroll. The Cincinnati Reds are tied for the lead in the NL Central, and are beating the Phillies for the NL Wild Card. Did you know that their payroll is almost exactly half that of the Phillies? It’s true. This article — just like every time you write it — does not reflect the state of things in the real world.

Sometimes I think you just don’t listen to me.

July 31st, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Who’s on first?

Zambrano was suspended June 26, a day after he got into a verbal altercation with teammate Derrick Lee.

Yeah? Derrick Lee? When did the Cubs sign him?

July 30th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

The Yankees scored eleven runs tonight

And not one of them was due to Alex Rodriguez hitting a home run. Come on, Rodimus! How many games are you going to make me watch? At least this was the end of the Indians series, so I can get away from their awful announcers, who informed me that, a few nights ago, the Yankees went 0-18 their first time through the lineup. How they squeezed eighteen at bats into one trip through was not clear.

Of course, with my luck, they probably play the White Sox next. YES or the Hawk? Maybe I’ll just listen to the radio feed.

Comedy edit: I just noticed that the most effective pitcher the Indians used tonight was in the ninth inning — he retired the side in order. The pitcher in question was Andy Marte, the Indians’ backup third baseman. That’s some good pitchin’, Injuns!

July 29th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Now that’s a meniscus!

You see how Chris Coghlan ruined his knee while hitting a dude in the face with a pie?

What? How do you get a knee injury from throwing a pie? That makes no fucking sense. Also makes no sense: manager Edwin Rodriguez, who evidently wanted that barn door goddamn sealed shut now that the horses are out, subsequently banning celebration. I’m thinking, hey Ed, a dude who can fuck up his knee hitting somebody with a pie can probably fuck it up just as easily while not hitting somebody in the face with a pie. Not clear that you’re really going the right direction with this new policy.

Further study: how do you break your arm doing a leg drop?

July 27th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball, Bullshit | 2 comments

Not what I expected

The Diamondbacks just shifted Dan Haren… to the Angels. What? What a weird move.

First off, the Diamondbacks didn’t get sufficient value in return. Joe Saunders, two scrubs, and a player to be named later? Remember when you guys got Dan Haren in the first place? Remember how you traded six players for him, some of whom were actually good? You should have been looking for something like that. Maybe at least one player who’s actually good. But, no; you got Joe Saunders, who sucks on ice. You got Rafael Rodriguez, who seems to be pretty average and has pitched 32 innings in the majors. You got Patrick Corbin, who has never pitched at the major league level. And what else? Oh, right; you got a player so integral to the deal that nobody’s even decided who it is yet. And you gave up one of the best active pitchers. Face it, guys: you just got taken to the cleaners. If you’d waited until right up against the non-waiver deadline and the Yankees had slipped into second place? You could have had like seven prospects, a pile of cash, and your choice of George Steinbrenner’s mummified organs.

Meanwhile, I don’t get this trade from the Angels’ perspective either. You guys really think Dan Haren is the difference between you and the Rangers? I think you need more than one starting pitcher, however awesome. Specifically, I think you need a shortstop, you need an outfielder who can actually play defense, and holy dick do you guys need a third baseman.

There are still opportunities out there. We’re not done trying to improve our club.

That’s Angels GM Tony Reagins explaining to you that, even though the Halos have like literally no prospects of any value anywhere in the organisation, they’re still going to try to patch up some of the leaks in the ship. It’s really starting to look like that plan of replacing Vlad Guerrero (OPS+ 132) with Hideki Matsui (OPS+ 97), replacing all your outfielders with older, less-mobile versions of themselves, and replacing Chone Figgins with ??? maybe wasn’t such a good idea after all.

July 25th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Overrated players

SI put up a players’ poll a few weeks ago that I’ve been mulling over — they asked 187 Major Leaguers who the most overrated player is. Can you guess? Can you guess who the number one most overrated player in baseball is, according to baseball players? Here’s a hint: you’re wrong. He came in second.

The thing that strikes me the most about that poll is that, exactly as one should expect of a popular poll about "overratedness," it’s pretty much completely backwards. Now, before you get all persnickety with me, yes, I realise that "overrated" isn’t well defined. But still, here are the top five most overrated players according to this poll:

• J.D. Drew, RF, BOS
• Nick Swisher, RF, NYY
• Gary Matthews, Jr., CF, CIN
• Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY
• Joba Chamberlain, RP, NYY

J.D. Drew is probably the single most underrated player in baseball. He’s like a wall of liquid awesome, and nobody ever stops talking about how much he sucks. Drew was worth almost six wins last year — all by himself! — which is nearly MVP-calibre shit, but all you hear from anybody is how he’s a laggard and he doesn’t care and he has no grit or fire or balls. In what bizarro reality is J.D. Drew possibly overrated? He could play replacement-level ball and be underrated the way people talk about him.

Nick Swisher’s in almost the same boat. He’s a pretty dependable four-win-a-year player (yes, except for that one atrocious year with the Hose), and people barely even realise he exists. And when they do notice him, it’s usually just to dismiss him as a goofball who doesn’t take baseball seriously and doesn’t try very hard. Meanwhile, he’s on track to put up six wins this year.

Alex Rodriguez, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, is one of the greatest players of all time. It’s utterly impossible that he’s overrated — unless you mean just right now. A-Rod’s been pretty smelly this year, due in no small part to age and injuries, and it looks like he might only be worth five wins instead of his customary eight to ten. Now, wait, you say; five wins is still pretty damn good. And you’re right. But A-Rod is still regarded in many circles as the game’s premier player, and he just isn’t anymore; he’s about a J.D. Drew- or Nick Swisher-level player now. So possibly a bit overrated, yeah.

Joba? Overrated? Everybody hates that guy, and a lot of his trouble has to do with the Yankees’ shitty defense — his xFIP is more than two runs better than his ERA, which says bad luck and bad defense. Sure, Joba isn’t as great as the 2007-era hype built him up to be, but nobody thinks he is, and certainly nobody’s saying he is. Mainly people are talking about what a gutless chokemaster he is, and he’s actually a pretty solid relief pitcher.

Gary Matthews, now — there’s an overrated player. Gary is, quite simply, a replacement-level player with mid-level star power. The fact that he’s still lurking around the majors — he’s in AAA at the moment (I think), but he’s been on a Major League roster for 65 PA this season — and still getting paid eleven million dollars this year for his trouble is proof of his overratedness. The Angels maybe can be forgiven; he was actually pretty good in 2006, when he was worth 3.4 WAR (which is to say: less than an average Nick Swisher year), and a good CF is valuable. Why the Mets agreed to pay him this much money, though, is cause for some amusement.

So how should we define "overrated," anyhow? It clearly isn’t just a synonym for "overpaid," since there’s definitely an anecdotal element to it, but overpaid does appear to be involved. I’d say the Yankees can be forgiven for A-Rod’s contract; when they signed it, following the 2007 season, he was legitimately the best player in the game, and had never missed significant playing time; they had no way of knowing he was going to start suffering chronic injuries. On the other hand, there’s no excuse for the money the Mets are paying Gary Matthews (or, I guess, the money the Reds are paying him; it’s not clear to me which team is paying how much of that $11.4M). So here is the list of the top five most overrated players in baseball, as overrated by me, using scientific methodology pioneered by me and also vetted by me:

5) A.J. Burnett, SP, NYY — Burnett is ridiculous: a two-win starting pitcher getting paid like a top-level talent ($16M/year). He misses a shitload of time, and throws juvenile temper-tantrums that cost his team bullpen innings and possibly actual wins. Burnett isn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination — he’s pretty similar in value to Jarrod Washburn, but, whereas nobody ever stops making fun of Washburn, people really think Burnett is something special.

4) David Eckstein, 2B, SDP — David Eckstein has value, certainly, and the Padres are getting a pretty good deal on him; they’re only paying him $1M, and he’s having a damn fine year. It’s mainly his defense, though; he doesn’t get on base (.326) and has no particular power (.354) — that is not an anomaly, either. Eckstein has never been able to hit. What gets him his spot on this list is that he’s the easy target for lazy sportswriters who want to write a glurge piece about hustle and grit and how that’s all so much more important than fucking numbers. It’s ridiculous — Eckstein has gotten MVP votes in two separate years, and has been an All-Star twice, despite not actually ever being very good. He also won a World Series MVP (though there is an argument to be made that he deserved it).

3) Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI — Ryan Howard won his MVP because he hit 58 home runs, which is a lot. Pujols was better. That notwithstanding, Howard is a good hitter, but not a truly elite hitter — not a $20M/year hitter like the Phillies are paying him to be. And his defense is pretty awful at the easiest position there is. Howard is pretty much a three-to-four win player, but he gets put on a pedestal and tarted up like he’s the second coming of Albert Pujols. Who isn’t even dead yet, for fuck’s sake.

Howard, 2009: 4.8 WAR, $15M
Pujols, 2009: 9.2 WAR, $14M

And that was the second-best year of Howard’s career. And he got a huge raise in the offseason.

2) Jamie Moyer, SP, PHI — All year long I’ve been hearing about how great Jamie Moyer is and how amazing it is that he’s still so effective at age 63. And I’m goddamn sick of it. Jamie Moyer is not still good. Jamie Moyer’s current 2010 WAR? 0. Jamie Moyer’s 2010 salary? $8M. Now, pitching being what it is, there’s some merit in paying eight million dollars for 200-or-so innings of 0 WAR left-handed pitching. But let’s face facts: Jamie Moyer is, at this point in his career, a replacement-level pitcher getting paid millions of dollars to start in the majors. It’s cool that he’s still pitching at 130, and you have to admit that it was pretty charming when he faced Starlin Castro and the announcers pointed out that, hey, Jamie Moyer was a five-year MLB veteran before Castro was born, but cute and charming do not equal good.

1) Randy Wolf, SP, MIL — One-upping the Phillies, here we see the Brewers paying almost $9M for a pitcher who is below replacement level, and nobody appears to have noticed that. All that hand-wringing in the offseason about how unreasonable it was for the Dodgers to let Wolf go, and he’s not even as good — not even close to as good — as any old AAA callup. Randy Wolf has thrown 128 innings this season, and has put up an ERA+ of 76, an xFIP of 5.19, and a WAR of -0.7. That is awful.

July 25th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Glad you’re back, guys.

Remember what I’ve been saying all season long? That the problem with the Cubs is about 90% D-Lee and Aramoose not hitting (and 10% middle relief)? And how if those two guys start hitting the Cubs could turn things around?

Well, here we are, it’s 20 July, and Ryan Dumpster gave up seven runs in five innings. Last month, it would have taken the Cubs about nine games to score seven runs, so they’d be fucked. Tonight, the Cubs scored seven runs twice, with D-Lee and Aramoose both their old unstoppable selves. Aramoose hit three home runs, for pity’s sake. Three!

One of them was a three-run homer, and somehow the Cubs still managed to win, which is odd; aren’t sportswriters always telling us that the three-run homer is an instant loss?

July 20th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Well, that’s one way to look at it

So here we see a doofus who doesn’t have a whole lot of perspective or understanding of baseball history. He’s telling us about George Steinbrenner, who — if you haven’t heard — no longer exists. And he’s getting pretty much everything wrong. Such as:

It was never easy to be George Steinbrenner, spending all that money, ranting in the parking lots, spoiling Thanksgiving dinners as he delivered holiday pink slips to helpless minions who somehow failed his whims. It was even harder to wake up the next morning and face the carnage, explain it away and keep shoving forward. Which is why there will never be another George Steinbrenner.

George Steinbrenner was (if you can believe this) a shipwright tycoon before he owned the New York Yankees. Did you pick banker? I picked banker. But, no — he owned a shipbuilding empire. But the point is: he was a successful business executive who clawed his way up from, if not exactly the bottom, at least the lower portion. That’s the sort of thing people like that do, Les. Yeah, it’s not easy, but it’s hardly an ability unique to George Steinbrenner. Lee Iacocca, just to pick a name at random, would have felt right at home with the spending and the hiring and the firing.

Times have changed. The world Steinbrenner came to dominate has shifted. His rise to power came at a fortuitous confluence of a crumbling New York desperate for a hero and the advent of free agency, which Steinbrenner exploited ruthlessly.

Sure. Also CBS was selling the Yankees for ten million dollars because they weren’t profitable. That’s probably a bigger fortuitous occurrence than crumbling desperation of the magical New York energy appleness.

Even after he served his suspension from baseball in the early 1990s and returned a supposedly changed man, he continued to buy titles until he outspent his rivals so much he had to build a new stadium to keep funding the machine.

I think the bit that he supposedly changed was the part about how he hired some people to slander a player he was mad at. I don’t recall his suspension being for signing too many free agents.

But chasing George proved futile to everyone else. Few owners could afford to spend like him. More and more, teams are spending on minor league systems and building through drafts. Yes, the Miami Heat just signed three superstars for more than $100 million each, but those deals were done within the constraints of the NBA salary cap, and they will be hit with a luxury tax for every dollar they overspend.

Unlike the Yankees, who never had to pay a luxury tax at all.

Lavish spending is out. When the NFL and its players union really get serious in negotiations, the topic will be just how much money the players can be expected to give back. The same goes for the NBA, where owners are demanding a hard salary cap.

What? You consider it a new development that owners want player salaries capped? Owners have always wanted player salaries capped, dumbneck — they’re the ones paying those salaries. The entire history of professional baseball is the history of a fight between owners, who want low salaries, and players, who want high salaries. Your implication that it’s only just recently occurred to anybody that it would rule to get the same thing for less money is downright weird.

There just isn’t room for a Steinbrenner anymore, other than his son Hal, who tries to run the Yankees the way his father did.

There isn’t room for a Steinbrenner, except for this Steinbrenner, for whom there is room. Good argument. And, hey, what about Hank? Is there room for him, too? Or are you officially giving him the toss?

But even Hal Steinbrenner shuns the spotlight. This is the way now.

Well, no, it’s not "the" way so much as it’s just Hal’s way. That’s why most people think the new owner is Hank Steinbrenner, who you appear not to have heard of — Hank is the loudmouthed guy with the ponytail who distracts you while Hal does the real work. Do you see?

Sports commissioners, fearful of having their power eclipsed, push away flamboyant owner prospects.

Again: do you know anything about baseball history? Owners and commissioners have always fought over power. Hell, that’s the whole reason the commissioner’s office was created: to rein in the power of strong owners.

Major League Baseball has been working for months to keep Mark Cuban from the game despite the fact he would instantly become one of its best owners.

Well, I guess 36 is still technically "months," but most people would describe that as "years," Les. Or did you really not hear about it until recently?

Also: one of the best owners? Instantly? You’re sure of this? Is that because he’d give everybody free t-shirts?

Steinbrenner probably wouldn’t get through the door today if he came to Bud Selig with a winning bid for a baseball team in hand.

Steinbrenner wouldn’t have gotten through the door thirty years ago if he hadn’t sworn up and down to be a silent partner and not do all the things he almost immediately started doing.

The current model for an extrovert owner might well be Ted Leonsis, the former AOL head who turned the Washington Capitals into a winner and has now bought full control of the Washington Wizards as well. Leonsis is rich and powerful. He thrives on attention and bristles at criticism.

Yeah, I can see how the model has changed. That doesn’t sound like Steinbrenner at all.

However, his frustrations are not broadcast in great proclamations like Steinbrenner but in subtle blog posts.

Wait, that’s it? That’s the secret? If Steinbrenner had just started a blog instead of giving interviews to the Post, he’d have been totally cool with you?

Instead of purchasing stars, he would build them on his own, drafting them and nourishing them. He would win over time. Not right away.

Well, sure. That’s a good fallback when your attempt to win right away fails. Which Leonsis’ did.

Nothing like George Steinbrenner, who died on Tuesday at 80.

For the last quarter of the last century, Steinbrenner changed sports.

But his era is gone now.

Ownership is a different ballgame.

His legacy is safe.

There will never be another one like him.

Yeah, you read that right, reading fans: he ends this article with six consecutive one-sentence paragraphs. Sportswriters are really gay for those, but this is pretty egregious even by those standards. And, hey Les, I hate to be confrontational, but I really don’t think George Steinbrenner’s legacy is in any danger, whether or not Mark Cuban ever manages to buy a sports team.

July 16th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments