So what happens if a whole team dies at once?

15 Comments

I’m not being singularly morbid here — George or Kramer or someone asked Keith Hernandez what happens if a team plane crashes on an episode of “Seinfeld” once — but I have often wondered what happens if disaster strikes a ballclub.

Thankfully, Maury Brown has gotten a hold of a couple of fun documents fans don’t have ready access to — Major League Baseball’s rules and Baseball’s Constitution — which govern that kind of thing, as well as the business relationships between the teams and the Commissioner’s Office and other logistical matters as well. A lot of the subjects covered by these docs are things that are generally known, but it’s neat to have it all spelled out and available for browsing purposes.

Like the plane crash thing.  Which, because that’s a little too real for me, let’s pretend is a shipwreck instead. Like, the entire Kansas City Royals went out for a pleasure cruise on Lake St. Clair while visiting Detroit and went down like the Edmund Fitzgerald or something. Help us Rule 29!

If a common accident, epidemic illness or other common event (referred to in this Rule 29 as an “occurrence”) causes the death, dismemberment or permanent disability from playing professional baseball of

(1) at least five players on a Major League Club’s Active, Disabled or Suspended Lists during the period beginning with the opening date of such Club’s championship season through the conclusion of such Club’s playing season (including any post-season series); or

(2) at least six players on a Major League Club’s Major League Reserve List during the period beginning with the conclusion of such Club’s playing season (including any post-season series) up to the opening date of such Club’s next championship season

then this Rule 29 shall apply and the affected Major League Club shall be a “Disabled Club.”

It goes on to explain that the “Disabled Club” gets a mourning period in which everyone gathers at the musty old Marine Sailor’s Cathedral or whatever, games are suspended, the Commissioner and the union agree whether or not it makes sense for the team to continue the season and, if not, schedules around the team’s absence.

They’d then have what is referred to as a “Restocking Draft” or a “Rule 29 Draft” in which teams would protect a certain number of players and the stricken team would basically become an expansion team, roster-wise.

It’s really detailed, actually and worth a read if you’re into cold hard tragedy being rendered in the antiseptic language of legal procedure. I can’t imagine it was much fun being the guy who had to come up with that and draft it and everything, but I guess I’m glad it’s there.

Catching up with Professor Ben Cherington

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 12:  Ben Cherington, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, leaves the field before a game with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on June 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
2 Comments

There is a general consensus that the bad free agent signings of the later Ben Cherington years in Boston were ownership diktats, not things that were Ben Cherington’s idea. Whether that consensus is accurate is hard to say, but that’s how it sort of felt to most outside observers. The reality was probably messier. Where ideas start and where they end up in organizations involve a lot of weird passive-aggressive dancing, with power being exercised in some cases and merely anticipated in others, causing people to do things in such a way that blame is a nebulous matter. I’m sure baseball teams are no different.

Whatever actually happened in Boston will likely always be somewhat murky, but Cherington is the one who took the fall. Where he ended up after all of it went down, however, is an interesting story. The place: on the faculty of the sports management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. The story about it is told by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. It’s an interesting one.

Cherington is still a young man with a lot of undisputed accomplishments under his belt. It would not surprise me at all to see him have a second act as the head of a baseball operations department some day. For now, though, he’s doing his own interesting thing.

It’s OK to not like someone on the team you root for

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
33 Comments

There were a series of interesting comments to the Yadier Molina story this morning. The first commenter, a Cardinals fan, said he’s never really cared for Molina. Other Cardinals fans took issue with that, wondering how on Earth a Cardinals fan could not like Yadi.

While I’ll grant that Molina is a particularly popular member of the Cardinals, while I personally like his game and his overall persona, and while I can’t recall ever meeting a Cards fan who didn’t like him, why is it inconceivable that someone may not?

Whether you “like” a player is an inherently subjective thing. You can like players who aren’t good at baseball. You can dislike ones who are. You can like a player’s game who, as a person, seems like a not great guy. You can dislike a player’s game or his personality for any reason as well. It’s no different than liking a type of music or food or a type of clothing. Baseball players, to the fans anyway, are something of an aesthetic package. They can please us or not. We can choose to separate the art from the artist, as it were, and ignore off-the-field stuff or give extra credit for the off-the-field stuff. Dowhatchalike.

No matter what the basis is, “liking” a player on your favorite team is up to one person: you. And, as I’ve written elsewhere recently, someone not liking something you like does not give you license to be a jackass about it.

A-Rod’s mansion is featured in Architectural Digest

Alex Rodriguez
9 Comments

For a couple of years people worried if A-Rod would sully the Yankees Superior Brand. Given how they’re playing these days I wonder if A-Rod should be more worried about the Yankees sullying his brand.

He resurrected his baseball career last year. He’s cultivated a successful corporate identity. He’s in a relationship with a leading Silicon Valley figure. It’s all aces. And now it’s total class, as his home is featured in the latest issue of Architectural Digest:

Erected over the course of a year, the 11,000-square-foot retreat is a showstopper, with sleek forms and striking overhangs that riff on midcentury modernism, in particular the iconic villas found at Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills. Unlike Rodriguez’s previous Florida home, the Coral Gables house is laid out on just one story so the interiors would connect directly to the grounds. Says Choeff, “Alex wanted to accentuate the indoor-outdoor feel.”

There are a lot of photos there.

I don’t think I have much in common with Alex Rodriguez on any conceivable level, but I do like his taste in architecture and design. I’m all about the midcentury modernism. Just wish I had the paycheck to be more about it like my man A-Rod here.

Video: Yadier Molina does pushups after being brushed back, gets hit

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.21.21 AM
20 Comments

The best part of this sequence is not that Molina successfully evaded an inside pitch or that, in doing so, he hit the dirt and did some pushups. It’s not even the part where, after that, het got back up and knocked a single to left field.

No, the best part is the applause from the crowd. Very respectful fan base in St. Louis. They’d even applaud an opposing player who showed such a great work ethic. Or so I’m told.