Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Tim Lincecum accepts his assignment to Triple-A

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The Angels designated Tim Lincecum for assignment over the weekend. It was earned, as he allowed six runs in the first inning against the Mariners in his last start. He was 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts with Los Angeles, and even a team going nowhere like the Angels are can’t afford to run that out there every few days.

Lincecum had the option of refusing an assignment to the minor leagues. If he did, he would’ve become a free agent and could’ve tried to latch on someplace else. He decided this afternoon, however, that he’s better off heading back to Salt Lake City and has accepted the Angels assignment to Triple-A.

Cosmically this may be a good thing for him as it seems pretty clear that he can’t get big leaguers out. When last he pitched for Salt Lake, back in early June, he flirted with a no-hitter and looked pretty sharp. Maybe he’ll be able to figure things out there again, maybe he won’t, but he obviously needs to work some more.

Which means this was probably the right move tactically, too. At this point it seems highly unlikely another team would take a chance on him this season. A contender doesn’t want an ineffective pitcher and a losing team is only a couple of weeks away from opening up its roster and allowing younger, team-controlled players to eat up the innings and make their auditions. If Lincecum wants to land a spring training invitation from someone next season, he’ll have to have something positive going for him heading into the winter. Three or four starts at Salt Lake could be enough to convince someone to take a chance. And heck, maybe he winds up back in Anaheim after September 1.

Tim Lincecum’s fall from multi-year Cy Young Award winner to organizational depth has been a long one. But it’s still one that is hard to get one’s mind around.

Politician to Dbacks: “take your stupid baseball team and get out”

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You’ll recall that back in March it was revealed that the Diamondbacks were pestering Maricopa County, Arizona for nearly $200 million for upgrades to Chase Field and threatened a lawsuit to break their lease if they didn’t get it. Then you will recall that the country countered by telling the Dbacks (a) a huge chunk of what you’re asking for are Dbacks operation expenses that have nothing to do with the ballpark; and (b) the stuff that has to do with the ballpark is your responsibility anyway.

That little bit of politics has been simmering for a while, but the Arizona Republic has been diligently tracking it. Lately a lot of fun stuff has spilled out of it in the form of letters and stuff between the parties. Yesterday the Republic released a doozie: outgoing Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek’s letter to Dbacks President Derrick Hall from last April in which the former ripped the latter a new one.

You should go read the whole thing, but know that he minced no words in calling the Dbacks’ request “an obscene demand,” and referred to baseball as “a parasitic enterprise which is well on its way to destroying its host,” and chided Hall for being “the personal valet” for the Dbacks owners. The Republic further reports that when Kunasek delivered the letter — personally — he said “take your stupid baseball team and get out” and go back to “f***king West Virginia.”

Hall is from Los Angeles, but I take that to mean “see if there is someplace else that will build you a stadium.” As a West Virginian myself, I’ll note that there really is not an appropriate market for Major League Baseball in that state, but I’ll leave that assessment to the sports business professionals. I dunno, maybe Iaeger? Mt. Hope? It’d certainly provide a pretty backdrop behind the outfield wall, even if they drew only 500 people a game and didn’t have a TV deal.

Anyway, this is all delicious fun, but it’s probably not particularly meaningful in the grand scheme. This politician standing up to a baseball team is leaving office and is being bolder than usual, I suspect, because he is not facing reelection. The Dbacks likewise realize that he’ll be gone soon and maybe someone more pliable will take his place. Baseball teams know how to ply, that’s for sure. I’ve long argued that politicians should stand up like this more often, but until one does so and pairs his words with some effective executive/legislative action (or executive/legislative restraint) that serves to thwart a public stadium boondoggle, they’re all just words.

A-Rod’s final game will be broadcast nationally by Fox

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If you love Alex Rodriguez, good news! You can watch his final game on Fox Friday night!

If you hate Alex Rodriguez, good news! You can hate-watch his final game on Fox Friday night!

If you don’t care, may I suggest Olympics coverage on NBC and its affiliated networks?

For New Yorkers and those in the general area you can still watch it on YES Network. But if you do that you won’t get the chance to hear Chris Myers, Frank Thomas, Tom Verducci and CJ Nitkowski talking about A-Rod’s legacy, live, from Yankee Stadium. We could use more of that, right?

Either way, I fully expect the Fox broadcast to be appropriately critical of A-Rod’s legacy less then two months before he becomes their studio analyst, as is almost certainly going to happen.