Evidently, I picked the wrong target last week in suggesting that the Royals fire general manager Dayton Moore.
If I wanted attention, I should have instead recommended the dismissal
of trainer Nick Swartz. That’s what Baseball Prospectus writer and huge
Royals fan Rany Jazayerli did recently. As a result, he’s been banned by the team:
“Just to be clear here, since I think everyone’s taking my words a
little too literally: I don’t think I’ve been “banned” in the sense
that they’re going to have security guards outside the stadium making
sure that I don’t buy a ticket. It does mean that the Royals have cut
off any access I may have from the team for my radio show, and – this
is critical – have intimated that any other radio show which has me on
as a guest faces the same penalty.”
Obviously, that last part is very nasty business if true. Regardless,
Jazayerli’s column was well reasoned and not at all inflammatory; that
the Royals are going after him is truly bizarre. Jazayerli’s piece,
which was published on his own blog and not Baseball Prospectus, was
going to be overlooked by most. Now it’ll be the talk of our little
corner of the Internet, and one can expect ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer and
SI’s Joe Posnanski to present their takes.
A lot of us Gen-Xers who grew up reading Bill James and later Neyer
and BP should have soft spots for the Royals. That we don’t, or at
least I don’t, is the result of an amazing run of incompetence still
going strong today. That they’ve turned on the one writer who has
expressed more Royals optimism on the Internet that anyone else over
the last 10 years or so is just the latest embarrassing act.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.