Sandy Alderson Citi Field

Sandy Alderson speaks about the Wilpon-Madoff drama

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Sandy Alderson was on a conference call today to discuss the R.A. Dickey signing. Everyone knew about that a week ago, however, so inevitably the topic of conversation switched to the whole Wilpons-have-to-sell-a-stake-of-the-Mets business. Alderson’s highlights:

“The plan and the course I’ve taken the last few months hasn’t been affected at all by any other outside factors. From my standpoint, when I interviewed and took this position I was of course aware of the preexisting involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point, and I would expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I’ve done over the last two months and I don’t expect it will have any impact on what I do over the next several, including into the 2012 offseason.”

He was asked specifically about whether it will impact the Mets’ strategy with Jose Reyes, who is poised to become a very expensive free agent next winter if he has anything approaching a decent year:

“Perhaps naively, I don’t expect this situation will be a hindrance in that regard. I fully expect that decision will be made as it would’ve been, in the best interest of the team on the field and the best interest of the overall financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets, as it would be with every other team. Again, I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it, and I don’t expect any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose.”

Finally, he was asked if he has any regrets taking the job now that he know how bad the Wilpons’ financial troubles are:

“You’re right to say some circumstances have changed, but would it have changed my decision? I don’t think so…From my standpoint, I’m not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets, a well-known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the Mets is undiminished.”

I think you gotta take him at his word on the last bit: it wouldn’t change his decision.  Everyone knew there were issues with the Mets. Alderson is actually in a no-lose position because of it. If the Mets win, he’s a wizard.  If they lose, hey, the Wilpons tied his hands because they were broke.

As for the plan being the same in 2011 and 2012 and for the Jose Reyes decision to be made on the same basis as it would have been?  Well, whatever you say, Sandy.

A Twins player confronted a Twins announcer about what he said on a broadcast

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We seem to get a story like this from a struggling team every couple of years. This year it’s the Twins and the story is about words said by one of the Twins players to Fox Sports North broadcaster Dick Bremer. From Mike McFeely of WDAY radio, who spoke to Bremer recently:

Surprisingly, Bremer said one player has confronted him this season about being too critical of the team. Bremer wouldn’t name the player.

“I make it a practice to go in the clubhouse every day and go down on the field, so if a player has a complaint about something I’ve said on television they have that opportunity,” Bremer said. “I was confronted in the clubhouse in the last homestand. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, which was, ‘Well, play better and the commentary will be more positive.’ You can’t mask the fact this team is a quarter of the way through the season with 10 wins.”

The whole article is interesting because it gives several examples of Bremer and his colleague, Bert Blyleven, being critical. Depending on which instance — and there were likely many not mentioned here — blowback from players may have more or less justification.

On the one hand, simply saying a player executed a given play poorly or saying that the team was performing poorly is a simple fact. On the other, an example was given in which Blyleven questioned why Phil Hughes was taken out of a game. It was only later revealed that he was experiencing shoulder soreness, but it was suggested that Blyelven was questioning his toughness at the moment. I agree with Bremer that if the players don’t want to be criticized they should play better. But it crosses a line in my mind when poor play is used to imply poor or weak character, especially when not all facts are known. Not all situations are the same.

Overall, though, despite the complaint of this anonymous Twins player, I think local broadcasts are too deferential to the home team far too often. The broadcasters have seen more baseball than almost every viewer and in many cases played it. I don’t think it’s out of line for them to offer objective, informed criticism of bad play even if that’s out of fashion in today’s world. That they seem very clearly pressured by the clubs with whom their employers are partnered to do otherwise is a shame and does a disservice to viewers.

And heck. It’s boring too.

Ryan Vogelsong placed on the DL with facial fractures

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Ryan Vogelsong #14 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is carted off the field after being hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Jordan Lyles #24 of the Colorado Rockies in the second inning during the game at PNC Park on May 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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The Pirates have announced that starter Ryan Vogelsong has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to facial fractures.

Vogelsong suffered the fractures yesterday afternoon when he was batting and was hit by a pitch by Colorado Rockies starter Jordan Lyles. Vogelsong, was taken off the field on a cart and admitted to a local hospital. A.J. Schugel has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogelsong’s place on the roster.

The Padres National Anthem debacle explained

Petco Park
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Outsports has what should be the final word about Saturday’s National Anthem debacle at Petco Park before the Dodgers-Padres game.

The upshot: it was not, not surprisingly, a homophobic conspiracy. Rather It was a series of unfortunate occurrences and dumb mistakes, once again validating the old saying about how one need not look to evil motives when mere stupidity can explain things. This is one of those times. Go read the post for the entire explanation. The short version of that is that, like a lot of anthem singers, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was to sing along with a backing tape of themselves performing the anthem. The DJ in charge of it played the wrong date’s backing tape. He played the one from the female singer the night before.

In addition, Outsports spoke with that DJ — DJ Artform — who is embarrassed by his mistake and by not doing anything to correct it in the moment. DJ Artform was a contractor and his relationship with the Padres was terminated.

So that seems to be that. Until the next thing anyway. There is always a next thing.

Cubs release Shane Victorino

shane victorino getty
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File this under “not terribly surprising,” but Shane Victorino was released from his minor league contract with the Cubs yesterday after batting .233/.324/.367 through nine games with Triple-A Iowa. Victorino says he does not plan on retiring, however, and that he plans to try to latch on someplace else.

It’ll be a supreme long shot. Victorino, 35, Victorino suffered a calf injury during spring training and missed all of spring training. Last year he played in only 71 games between the Red Sox and Angels, and 30 in 2014 with the Red Sox. He was last healthy and effective in 2013. In a league where older players don’t do as well as they used to, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to find a gig.

If this is the end of the road for the Flyin’ Hawaiian, he’ll finish with a career batting line of .2750/.340/.425 with 108 homers, 489 RBI, 231 stolen bases and four Gold Glove Awards in 12 seasons. He also has two World Series rings, from the 2008 Phillies and the 2013 Red Sox. He was a two-time All-Star.

Maybe not the way he wanted to end his career, if this is indeed the end, but Victorino had a fine career while it lasted.