Whitey Herzog warned the Cardinals against signing Matt Holliday today during his Hall of Fame induction press conference. He said that teams should be wary of paying one player too much money and suggested that Matt Holliday maybe isn’t the player on whom to blow the wad. Scott Boras — Holliday’s agent — fired back:
“Congratulations to Whitey on an extraordinary managerial career and
his Hall of Fame selection today. It’s understandable that a man who
was a GM 20 years ago when the revenues were $1 billion – over six
times less than the $6.5 billion revenues of today – questions the
modern-day contract structure. I don’t think modern GMs, particularly Cashman, with a new ring on his finger, characterize
signings like Mark Teixeira – who akin to Holliday [has] achieved near MVP status (both second in
the MVP voting in their career) and taken [his] team to the World
Series – as ‘suicide.’ In addition, I’m sure if Whitey asks Pujols,
[Chris] Carpenter and other Cardinal players, they would confirm the
value of Holliday’s division winning contribution. Again we
congratulate Whitey on his admittance into the Hall of Fame.”
Of course, this is why people don’t like Boras. What danger do Whitey Herzog’s comments present to Matt Holliday’s market value: none. How classless is it to criticize a Hall of Fame inductee who has been out of day-to-day baseball for years for (allegedly) not understanding the nuances of the modern financial structure in baseball? Very.
Pick your battles, Scott. Pick your battles.
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.”