They're in the Money
This past week, Forbes Magazine came out with its annual list of the richest and poorest among Major League Baseball’s teams. The Yankees are the most valuable at $1.3 billionin fact, only three teams are worth more than half of that: The New York Mets ($824 million), the Boston Red Sox ($816 million) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($694 million). The Florida Marlins are the cheapest value in baseball at $256 million, but don’t expect owner Jeffrey Loria to be selling his team anytime soon; he once again made a killing on the bottom line, profiting $35.6 million in 2007trailing only the Washington Nationals, which netted $43.7 million. In fact, only two teams lost money in 2007: The Yankees and the Red Sox. As always, expect MLBwhich finds a way to always plead poverty when it’s convenientto frown on Forbes’ independent findings. Check out all of the results at Forbes’ web site.
It's Not Just About Black and White Anymore
On the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game in the majors, it was determined that 8.2% of all current major leaguers are African-American, down slightly from the 2006 figure of 8.4% that sounded alarms among those seeking greater diversity in baseball. Many factors are attributable to the low rate of blacks in MLB, but one that’s not to be forgotten is that there’s a great deal more Latinos and Asians playing than in previous yearslest anyone would derive from the percentages that the white man has taken over the sport again.
Do You Want Your Games Long or Wrong?
This past week the Philadelphia Inquirer took MLB to task for moving slowly on the introduction of instant replay to review home run calls, after the Phillies lost a close game the previous weekend thanks to a homer by the Chicago Cubs’ Mark DeRosa that, well, really wasn’t a homer. Last November, MLB general managers voted 25-5 to recommend instant replay on home run calls, but Commissioner Bud Selig, although open to the idea, has yet to move on making it law. Selig’s main problems, among others within baseball, on using instant replay in any way is twofold: It would lessen the human element related to umpires, and the pauses to review disputed calls would lead to longer games.
There was a mixture of boos and cheers from Atlanta fans when Andruw Jones came back to Turner Field for the first time since signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past weekend. Perhaps the cheers came from those happy to see the veteran outfielder struggling (9-for-54, 18 strikeouts) with someone else after hitting just .226 for the Braves in 2007. Jones responded by hitting his first homer of the year against the Braves on Saturday.
Give Me Timlin or Give Me Death
Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees is earning his $23 million salary this seasonagainst one pitcher, anyway. The 37-year old is 3-for-3 on the season with two home runs and a double against Boston reliever Mike Timlin. Against the rest of baseball, Giambi is 2-for-40 with no homers and two RBIs.
Wounded of the Week
Ron Gant did it dirt biking. Jeff Kent did it pulling wheelies on his motorcycle. Aaron Boone did it playing pick-up basketball. After what Alfonso Soriano unnecessarily did to get himself on the disabled list this past week, the Cubs might want to reopen his $136 million contract and adding “hopping, skipping and jumping” to the list or recreational activities he would be barred from. Soriano made the 15-day shelf when, in the process of catching a routine fly ball, went into his signature hop into the airand came down awkwardly on his right calf. Among other players making the wounded rolls this week are once-and-current Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine, who, amazingly, was placed on the DL for the first time in his 22-year career; Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins; Seattle would-be ace Erik Bedard; Cleveland closer Joe Borowski (0-2, two blown saves, 18.00 ERA), for whom we have a feeling will not be missed by Indian fans while he’s out; and Tampa Bay reliever Al Reyes, out 15 days with a sore shoulder is said to be unrelated to a bar fight he started on April 11.
Now Playing: This Great Game Predicts 2008
TGG sages Eric Gouldsberry and Ed Attanasio reveal their annual picks for the upcoming major league season. Always fun to do and entertaining to read, check out the fearless forecast here.
Taking it to the Max
Ever since Jose Canseco wrote in his latest tell-all Vindicated that he introduced a trainer named “Max” to Alex Rodriguezwho was, according to Canseco, interested in taking steroidsthe question has become: Who is “Max”? This past week, the answer came forth as “Max” outed himself as Joseph Dion, a personal trainer in Miami. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Dion claims that, yes, Canseco did introduce him to Rodriguez in the late 1990sbut that’s as far as the mutual recollections go. Dion said he never pushed steroids on Rodriguez or vice versa, that both were “100 per cent against” performance-enhancement drugs. “(Rodriguez) was one of the hardest working guys, and most natural guy, that I’ve met in my life. He hated steroids.” Reached for comment by SI, Canseco had this bizarre response: “Ask (Dion) to call me. I want to talk to him before I comment on it.” Perhaps Canseco believes Dion misremembered.
My, How He Ages Quickly
Miguel Tejada was first fingered as a cheater in the Mitchell Report by allegedly dipping into steroids, and this past week he admitted to having cheated with his age, saying he was really 19 years old instead of the 17 he claimed when he signed with the Oakland A’s in 1993. This means that on May 25, the man we all thought was 31 will actually turn 34. In the minds of baseball’s front office folk, a 34-year old major leaguer puts him at the brink of the game’s senior citizen camp, a big difference over 32but for now, the Astros don’t seem to mind, reflected in general manager Ed Wade’s assessment that Tejada is playing “like he’s 25.” What made almost bigger news than Tejada’s revelation was the way in which ESPN reporter Tom Ferry forged the information out of him, initially sitting down with Tejada to tell him he wanted to ask some baseball questions before basically ambushing him with a copy of his birth certificate.
Big Hurt Feelings
Frank Thomas, currently 18th on the all-time home run list, lashed out at the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend after an early-season slump forced him to the benchvowing, “My career isn’t going to end like this.” Well, it looks like it may. The Blue Jays released him the next day. Thomas theorized that he wasn’t getting the at-bats because the Blue Jays didn’t want him to earn the 376 plate appearances in 2008 that would force them to pay him $10 million in 2009, when he turns 41.
Sacrifice Flies of the Good Kind
The Seattle Mariners collected five sacrifice flies in Tuesday’s 11-6 win over Kansas City at Safeco Field, tying a major league record. An individual record was also tied by Mariner second baseman Jose Lopez, who became the 12th player in history to have three in sac flies in one game.
Sacrifice Flies of the Awful Kind
All too unfortunately, the term “safety first” wasn’t heeded by many within baseball this past week. On Tuesday at Shea Stadium following a New York-Washington game, a 37-year old man who investigators believed had “started to play” on an escalator fell two stories to his death. He left behind two childrenboth of whom witnessed the accidentand a wife pregnant with a third. Just two days later at Baltimore’s Camden Yards at Oriole Park, a man said to be leaning too far over the club level railing fell 30 feet down to the first decklanding on top of another man. Amazingly, neither person was said to have life-threatening injuries. Finally (and tragically) on Saturday, former major leaguer John Marzanowho was working for mlb.com as well as local Philadelphia media outletsfell down a flight of stairs in his home and died at the age of 45.
This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Nate McLouth of the Pittsburgh Pirates has at least a hit in each of the Bucs’ 18 games this year, and added with a hit in his final game of the 2007 season currently has the majors’ longest active hitting streak at 19 games.
He Said What?
“I haven’t had an accident in 15 years. Then I come to L.A.” Los Angeles of Anaheim’s Torii Hunter, after his Bentley was bumped from behind on his way to Angel Stadium for Friday’s game. He then ripped three doubles and robbed Richie Sexson of a two-run homer with two out in the ninth inning to preserve a 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.