Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Billy Butler can’t wait to wear the white cleats


From his welcome-to-Oakland presser today:

That’s charitable of Butler to say in front of his new employers. Though clearly disingenuous, as no one in the history of the world has ever truly liked white cleats on baseball players as they are an abomination unto God.

Fact: Charlie O. Finley put the Athletics in white cleats solely to spite the clubhouse attendants charged with keeping them clean, because Finley hated these men and boys with a fierceness seldom seen. “Watch those peons try to keep the white shoes clean!” he chortled. Finley was truly awful and if you like white cleats you’re basically advocating for all things he stood for.

But don’t just take my (correct) word for it. Ask anyone. Like this guy:

I don’t have time to check, but I am certain he speaks for the vast majority of people in this. Virtually everyone agrees that white cleats on baseball players are wrong, and if you disagree, you are, again, basically advocating for all things wrong. Don’t be wrong, you guys. Admit the truth: white cleats on baseball players are awful. And wrong.

In closing: black cleats only. If you say you like white cleats, I’m banning you. That is all.

Jordan Zimmermann got Steven Souza a Best Buy gift card for that no-hitter-saving catch


Remember on the last day of the season how Jordan Zimmermann threw a no-hitter? And how the final out of that no-hitter came on a pretty nifty catch by center fielder Steven Souza? After that there was talk of Zimmermann getting Souza some sort of gift for the great effort. He mentioned a BMW once, but that was, apparently, a joke.

Here’s what he really got him:

On Wednesday, Souza revealed to that Zimmermann gave him a Best Buy gift certificate. Souza declined to say how much the gift certificate was worth, but the present from Zimmermann helped Souza out big time.

“I cannot disclose the amount. He gave a gift certificate to help me out for my house. It was very thoughtful,” Souza said.

Depending on how generous Zimmermann was, Souza may now be the proud owner of an HDMI cable. And, perhaps — if he was super generous — an extended warranty on said HDMI cable. If he was less generous maybe he was able to snag a “Friends” DVD box set. Really, the possibilities are endless here. It’s Best Buy we’re talking about. They totally outfitted the 90s and they can outfit you too.

Video: Ken Rosenthal gives a nod to a 13-year-old for scooping him on the Billy Butler deal

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There were some reporters who seemed to be throwing some shade on the notion that two kids — really, one was 13-year-old Devan Fink, one 18-year-old Robert Murray — broke the story of Billy Butler going the Oakland A’s yesterday. There was some minor grumbling about this information being “leaked” or what have you and how bad that all is. Of course, we never hear about how bad that is when established reporters get the same information from the same sorts of sources in the same way.

But such is the nature of transaction news. It is, by definition, single data point news that does not necessarily require reporting savvy and experience. It usually does, of course — you gotta get yourself into a place where people trust you with information — but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes people just hear things. And yes, that someone can be a 13-year-old kid if he’s in the right place at the right time. The key isn’t getting one scoop. It’s getting hundreds and hundreds of them over years.

It’s quite refreshing, then, to see Ken Rosenthal — a guy who feeds his family on the scoops he gets — having a great sense of humor about it all. He went on MLB Network and broke down how these kids scooped him. And he made it really fun:

The key takeaway here: Rosenthal isn’t threatened by the competition, nor need he be. He’s Ken freakin’ Rosenthal, and I bet he knows more than anyone how random some of this info can be at times, even if he has figured out how to tame the randomness of the information market and turn it into a highly specialized skill.

Report: “There is a 90 percent chance that Pablo Sandoval will sign with the Red Sox”

Pablo Sandoval AP

That comes from Dennis O’Donnell of KPIX in San Francisco. He reports: that Pablo Sandoval is not coming back to San Francisco. Rather, “there is a 90 percent chance that he will sign with the Red Sox.  The other 10 percent goes to the Toronto Blue Jays.”

O’Donnell says that the Giants’ offer was the Hunter Pence deal: five years, $90 million. A deal the likes of which Sandoval wanted last spring, but the Giants would not give him, instead taking a wait and see approach on his conditioning. Now Sandoval wants seven years. One presumes that is either (a) what the Red Sox are offering; or (b) Sandoval wants a longer deal from San Francisco than he might get elsewhere as a result of feeling slighted by the Giants last spring.

That could explain the “respect” stuff his brother was talking about the other day. And it could very well mean the end Sandoval as the San Francisco Giants’ third baseman.

Roger Clemens faces contempt of court sanctions. Again.

Roger Clemens

Back in April, Roger Clemens and his lawyers were called onto the carpet by the judge presiding over Brian McNamee’s defamation lawsuit. The issue: Clemens was not turning over documents he was supposed to turn over in discovery.

The specific documents: hundreds of emails between Clemens and his advisors in the days following the release of the Mitchell Report. Emails generated at the time Team Clemens was coming up with a coordinated P.R. campaign in which Clemens denied drug use, trashed McNamee as a liar and a criminal and portrayed himself as the best pitcher and biggest victim in baseball history.

As I wrote at the time, it was a dumb strategy then. It’s continuing to haunt Clemens because, for whatever reason, he’s still not turning over the documents he’s supposed to turn over. And now he faces contempt of court sanctions:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak ordered the former Yankee star to turn over the documents to Brian McNamee’s attorneys by Nov. 26. Pollak also told Clemens and his lawyers to explain by Dec. 19 why he should not be held in contempt and sanctioned for failing to produce the correspondence involving his agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, and public relations guru Joe Householder.

“Defendant’s decision not to produce all responsive documents in violation of the Court’s Order was deliberate and intentional, and therefore subject to sanctions,” Pollak wrote in her order.

Clemens, in all likelihood, is not turning over the documents because they, in all likelihood, make him look awful. Or show that he lied. Or will serve as evidence against him for MacNamee’s claims that defamatory statements made by Clemens and his representatives were such that they entitle him to punitive damages. Clemens claimed for a year that these documents were subject to the attorney-client privilege, but the judge rejected that claim.

Over the weekend, I was critical of the way Andy Pettitte behaved after his name was revealed in the Mitchell Report. But that criticism is limited to what it means in terms of image and absolute honesty. From a legal perspective, Pettitte played it right. If Clemens had said “aw shucks” and not thrown other people under the bus and had not so loudly proclaimed his victimhood, none of this would be happening.

But it’s happening. Nearly seven years after it all started. And for him, there is no end in sight.