Link-O-Rama: About Schmidt

Leave a comment

* Nick Steiner of The Hardball Times broke down Jason Schmidt’s return to the mound last night and concluded
that “he looks close to done as a major-league pitcher” because the
combination of a straight 87-mph fastball and low-80s changeup “won’t
fool very many hitters.” Agreed.

* Matt Bush has been sentenced
to 120 days in residential rehab, 240 hours of community service, three
years of probation, and $2,000 in fines following the former No. 1
overall pick’s latest alcohol-fueled incident. Bush, who revealed that
he’s been sober for three weeks, called his behavior “a disgrace” and
explained: “When I drink alcohol, I become another person I do not
like.”

* Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote yesterday
that the Indians “love the OPS, which is on-base percentage plus
slugging percentage. They believe it gives a true picture of an hitter
because it combines reaching base with power.” After reading that, I
had to check the date to make sure it was in fact still 2009.

Pluto is an award-winning columnist, but anyone who thinks that the
Indians’ front office relies upon OPS for anything meaningful is
woefully out of touch with the current state of baseball analysis.
Cleveland and most other teams moved past OPS about a decade ago and
even schmoes like me are beyond OPS. On the other hand, Dayton Moore and the Royals figure to discover the value of OPS within the next five seasons.

* Yunel Escobar announced yesterday that he’ll be making an effort to be more media friendly, but the language barrier remains a big stumbling block.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
1 Comment

On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”