Some blogger smells a Mike Piazza conspiracy

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Some random unemployed blogger is hurling accusations at Mike Piazza. The claim: it’s a grand conspiracy that his book is going to come out after the Hall of Fame election results this winter. Because it clearly will have steroid-use admissions in it and once he’s already elected to the Hall of Fame there will be nothing anyone can do about it:

Maybe Simon & Schuster has innocently planned the Piazza publication for soon after the announcement for marketing purposes, but it might just as easily have agreed to a post-election publication to insure that the book would not keep Piazza out of the Hall.

If, on the other hand, the book includes a steroids admission, all I can say is shame on Piazza and his publisher. With that possibility in mind, though, the voters would be wise to withhold their votes from Piazza until a future election. He will have 14 more chances.

Because it’s so STRANGE for a baseball book to come out in February!  I mean, apart from the fact that every single baseball book ever has been released to coincide with pitchers and catchers reporting, this smacks of sinister intent!

Oh well, Chass is gonna Chass. He’s been obliquely accusing Piazza of being a steroids user for years now, claiming  res ipsa loquitur regarding Piazza back acne he once witnessed in the clubhouse. Never mind that dermatologists do not agree with Mr. Chass that back acne he witnessed is dispositive of anything.

None of which is to say that Chass is wrong about this. It’s entirely possible that Mike Piazza took steroids. It’s entirely possible that his book is going to talk about it. But if Chass is right about it he’s just guessing here. If he had something more than a hunch and a guess, he’d report it. What would stop him?

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

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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.”