File image of New York Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon talking to reporters at a news conference in New York

Fred Wilpon apologizes to the Mets, but it’s not good enough for some

21 Comments

Fred Wilpon was going to fly to Chicago to apologize to the Mets in person, but after talking to Terry Collins and other team officials about what made the most sense, he chose to avoid a possible media scrum and apologize via speaker phone to Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and the Mets, who took the call in the Wrigley Field clubhouse.  According to the Daily News he called David Wright separately, as he is not with the team at the moment due to his injury.

So I guess our short regional nightmare is over.

Or not, because according to Mike Vaccaro in the Post, Wilpon needs to apologize to fans too.  Which I find kind of confusing because I’m not sure what injury his comments in the New Yorker caused them.  Were they under some Wilpon-fueled delusion that the Mets were championship contenders? And that this delusion was firmly in place until the moment the evil Wilpon let his guard down and revealed that — no! — the team was, in fact, “shitty?” Is that the betrayal for which Wilpon needs to apologize?

Seems like a stretch. Most Mets fans I know are more than familiar with the state of the team. And while they wish that Wilpon’s comments didn’t happen due to the distraction they have caused, I don’t get the sense that their substance represents an insult, the kind of which the angry season ticket holder Vaccaro quotes complains of.  If you bought what Wilpon has been selling for the past couple of years that’s your own fault bub. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that the team has been a mess for a while. The people who were actually harmed here were Beltran, Reyes and Wright, it seems.

Back to them: I did find one thing that Jose Reyes had to say rather amusing:  “he’s the boss and he can say what he wants to say.”  That’s right out of the Derek Jeter play book back when George Steinbrenner was running the show in the Bronx.  That little quote usually ended any Big Stein-inspired flap and, over time, diminished the significance of any given incident.

So, the lesson: if you want to sound off on your team, make a habit of it so that everyone can get into a good serve-and-volley rhythm, thereby defusing the story.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

Yu+Darvish+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Texas+Rangers+gjUYtDXd7vVl
Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America
Leave a comment

Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

Screenshot 2016-02-09 at 5.07.54 PM
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America
3 Comments

According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
Getty Images
8 Comments

Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

1 Comment

First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.