Over the past month or two there were some reports that the Tigers were eager to re-sign Max Scherzer. But Jon Morosi reports today that, even if some in the front office were up for it, the owner likely would not have approved the deal, as he more or less cut bait on Scherzer last year after the righty rejected a $144 million offer:
. . . it’s very likely that Scherzer’s $144 million tender was the largest final offer rejected by an Ilitch employee in more than 50 combined seasons of Tigers and Red Wings ownership.
After Scherzer said no to that sum, sources say Ilitch never became fully re-engaged in trying to retain him — financially and perhaps emotionally, as well.
Huge deals like that always have to have ownership sign-off, and huge deals like that likely have an emotional component to them as well. Yes, we can crunch numbers all day and attempt to assign dollar values to them, but on a pretty basic level, the top-end deals require a calculation of how much a team is willing to overpay in order to win a championship in the short term. At least that’s how Ilitch appears to operate.
In light of that, it’s not all that surprising, really, that he wasn’t willing to go bigger than he had last year to sign Scherzer.
You don’t tend to think of instant replay as being something that was “invented,” as such. It just seems logical and natural for us to expect that something which is shown on television can, almost immediately, be shown once again and, preferably, in slow motion.
But nope, it was invented. By a man named Tony Verna, who worked for CBS:
Verna invented the technique while he was working for CBS in 1963, when he developed a method for cueing tape right up to a play he wanted to immediately re-air. The network first used it during the Army-Navy game on December 7, 1963, causing mass confusion with viewers. Announcer Lindsey Nelson even had to warn viewers that the clip they were about to see “is not live,” and that “Army did not score again.”
Instant replay changed the way people watched sports and, eventually, the way sports were actually played, what with the adoption of replay review in most major sports now. It’s amazing it took as long as it did between Verna’s invention of it in 1963 and when it was finally adopted by leagues.
Verna died at his home on Sunday at the age of 81. He had been suffering from leukemia. His legacy will last, however, even if no one knows it’s his legacy.
Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.
The Yankees were already good — heck, they had already won a World Series — when Brian Cashman took over. They had Jeter and Mo and all of those guys and more money than God. It’d be harder, under those circumstances, to lose than it would be to win, right?
Well, maybe so, maybe not. As we’ve seen constantly throughout baseball history, even teams that win a lot of games and make the playoffs often don’t always win championships. Ask anyone in Atlanta, for example. And teams that were supposed to become dynasties who make the playoffs a lot often peter out more quickly than we expect. Ask anyone in Philly, for example.
But Brian Cashman’s Yankees did not. At least not for a while. And he has four rings to show for it. Go check out Mark and Dan’s article on Cashman to see why that is and whether that, truly, makes him the 21st best general manager of all time.
Oh, and while you’re at it, go check out their bonus article on an owner who behaved like a general manager, Charlie O. Finley.