Not So Amazins

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A few random and most likely irrational fun-facts about the now 37-36 New York Mets:

– Only the Giants (45) have hit less home runs than the Mets (46) this season.

– In the first year of a three-year, $36 million contract, the Mets are
paying Oliver Perez $12 million in 2009. So far that’s good enough for
one win. A pretty good win-to-highway-robbery ratio if you can get it.

– While David Wright has whiffed 73 times already this season (on
pace for 163), the Mets have struck out less (394) than any team in the

– Gary Sheffield, who wasn’t even under contract with the club until April 3, leads the team with just nine home runs.

– Brett Gardner has more hits (5) than the Mets (4) during the first two games of this weekend’s Subway Series.

– Bouyed by the strong play of Omir Santos, Mets catchers have driven in more runs (51) than any other team in the majors.

– And finally, according to Mets Today,
the team currently has approximately $67,675,000 worth of players on
the disabled list. This figure is roughly equal to that of the Twins
payroll, while higher than the Rays, Athletics, Nationals, Pirates,
Padres and Marlins.

You know, the other night, as I watched Fernando Nieve toss six
scoreless innings against the Cardinals and Nick Evans go 2-for-3 with
a home run, it was easy to feel pretty darn good about this pack of
scrappy nobodies. Unfortunately for Mets fans, nearly every underdog
story comes with an expiration date. And after being humbled through
the first two games of this weekend’s interleague series against the
Yankees, I’m afraid we’re left rooting for curdled milk.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.