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Phillies and Red Sox increased their World Series odds at the Yankees’ expense

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At the beginning of the offseason I posted Bodog.com’s gambling odds on each team winning the World Series in 2011, so now that we’re about halfway through the offseason and most of the major free agents have signed I thought it would be interesting to re-examine the same odds for all 30 teams.

First, here are the teams Bodog pegged as improving their World Series chances since November 2:

               OLD      NEW
Phillies       6/1      7/2
Red Sox       10/1      9/2
Tigers        35/1     28/1
Mets          40/1     35/1
Brewers       65/1     40/1
Nationals     80/1     65/1

Not surprisingly, the Phillies’ addition of Cliff Lee and the Red Sox’s additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford significantly improve their odds. Detroit added Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit while re-signing Magglio Ordonez. Milwaukee traded for Zack Greinke. Washington signed Jayson Werth. And … well, I’m not sure what the Mets really did to improve their odds, other than hiring Sandy Alderson as general manager.

Next, here are the teams Bodog pegged as decreasing their World Series chances since November 2:

               OLD      NEW
Yankees        4/1      6/1
Giants        10/1     12/1
Twins         16/1     18/1
Cardinals     14/1     20/1
Rays          14/1     20/1
Rangers       16/1     20/1
Rockies       18/1     20/1
Braves        18/1     22/1
Reds          20/1     25/1
White Sox     22/1     25/1
Dodgers       22/1     30/1
Padres        20/1     35/1
Cubs          30/1     35/1
Astros        65/1     75/1
Orioles       75/1     80/1
Mariners      70/1    100/1

A much longer list, which makes some sense given that Philadelphia and Boston were already among the favorites and significantly improved their odds. Bodog initially had the Yankees as the clear favorites to win the World Series at 4-to-1, but now they’re behind the Phillies and Red Sox at 6-to-1. Surprisingly the Rangers’ odds didn’t get that much longer despite losing Lee, but the Padres’ odds got much worse after dealing Gonzalez.

And finally, here are the teams with the same World Series odds they had on November 2:

Angels        25/1
Marlins       35/1
Athletics     35/1
Blue Jays     50/1
D-Backs       80/1
Indians       80/1
Royals       125/1
Pirates      150/1

Apparently trading Greinke doesn’t change anything for the Royals when no one would have ever bet on them winning the World Series in the first place.

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)
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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)
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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
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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
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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.