Slow news day, isn’t it?

I mean Shaq got traded… the NBA draft… lots going on today.
(How happy is Governor Mark Sanford right now? He didn’t last on the front page for more than a day!!! He can go fly to the bottom of the globe for a quickie and nobody would care.)
Still no confirmation about Michael… and in 45 minutes, the Red Sox game is starting.
I’m a focused man.

John Smoltz is making his Red Sox debut!

That’s BIG news!!!

The Red Sox magic number is 87!

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Fehr and Loathing

Donald Fehr is stepping down as head of the baseball union, and I think “Good!”

But I think that not for the reasons that you probably think.

I know a lot of people dislike him because he helped baseball players salaries skyrocket. But I don’t begrudge players from making money. Who out there would turn down their money?

I don’t blame him for the World Series cancellation. I remember getting into arguments with people during 1994 when I insisted the players were right and the owners were a bunch of liars who wouldn’t open their books.

And keep in mind that was tempered by the fact that Fehr helped expose the owners illegal collusion. That collusion led directly to outsing Fay Vincent, Bud Selig being put into office, over expansion, the 1994 strike, steroids and the insane handling of the Expos/Nationals franchise.

In other words, I don’t think he’s a bad guy.
I think he seems a little creepy and cold. It would be nice to see him smile. It would be nice to see him at a baseball game cheering.
It would have been nice if his name wasn’t the same as the word FEAR.
It also would have been nice if his default position on the whole steroid issue wasn’t “You have no proof and this is a privacy issue.”
But here’s something to chew on… the owners seemed to hate him because he was so tough and yet Marvin Miller, his mentor, didn’t think he was tough enough.
When the extremes on BOTH sides don’t like you, that means you are probably doing a good job.
But it’s time to move on.
The collective bargaining agreement is going to expire in a few years, and I think it is time to have fresh blood and new voices at the bargaining table. Almost all of the owners who have colluded have sold the team. And it would be nice if the main characters talking about avoiding a strike are not the same people who fiddled while the 1994 World Series was cancelled.

I was reminded of the California Democratic primary last year.

My wife and I disagreed on who to vote for. She voted for Hillary Clinton and I voted for Obama. 
And as shallow as this might sound, it was the freshness of a new voice at the helm that made me decide. It was nothing against Hillary… but something bothered me.
If you were 19 years old during last year’s election cycle, there had been a Bush or a Clinton in the White House your whole life.
And seeing that you don’t really pay attention to trivial things like “who is President” until you are 8 or 9, then there were 28 year olds voting with no memory of someone NOT named Bush or Clinton as President. And when you take Poppy Bush’s VP terms into account, there were 36 year olds with no concrete memories of a Bush or a Clinton not in the executive branch.
Mention the name Bush to a liberal and they wince.
The reaction is the same from a conservative when you mention the name Clinton.
And I thought “there is too much venom here… let’s try a new flavor.”
So in this very strange analogy, Fehr is Hillary Clinton. 
It’s time to try something new and something that doesn’t have such built in acrimony. 
And of course that also means one of those colluding owners needs to go too.
Hey Bud! Take Donald’s lead. You’ve been Commissioner for 17 years. Time for someone new.
(Any chance I can get to ask Bud Selig to step down, I’ll take!)

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Hunter and Prey

Right now there are several teams that need a hitter for the lineup with July approaching…
One of those teams is the New York Mets, whose GM has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to making deals.
And a team with a hitter to deal is the Oakland A’s with Matt Holliday. And their GM, while still without a pennant, is a shrewd enough dealer that Steven Soderbergh and Brad Pitt want to make a movie about him.
Now the A’s are… um… not quite as good as I predicted. And Holliday isn’t tearing up the AL, but he IS just a few years from an MVP type season.
And the Mets need a bat… and so do the Cubs… and so do the Giants… and even the Yankees could use a corner outfielder.
I have a feeling Beane will be reminding Minaya that on an hourly basis. 
And a division that is quite winnable is just sitting there (especially with Santana throwing another good game today.)
But the Marlins are right behind them… the Giants are looking stronger… and the Mets could miss the playoffs for the fourth year out of five under his leadership.
Can he afford that? Can he afford ANOTHER near miss? Can he NOT pull the trigger?
Oooo those Ghosts of 2006 are still there.
Beane has nothing to worry about.
He could deal with the Cubs or Giants if things don’t work out with the Mets.
The Tigers could use another stick. So could the Angels.
And if there is no deal to work out, Beane will sit back, let Holliday walk and collect the two draft picks.
But he knows there is a wounded animal out there… and he’s waiting for the right moment to pounce.
It will probably happen after a bad loss where they needed a big hit but Fernando Tatis couldn’t deliver.
BEANE: Hey Omar… tough loss. Looks like you could use another bat.
MINAYA: I know what you are doing Beane. I’m not going to make a big deal just to appease the fans now.
BEANE: Yeah I know… I was just calling you to tell you I think the Giants are probably interested in Holliday. 
MINAYA: The Giants?
BEANE: Yeah. They want to pad their Wild Card lead. And who knows… the Cubs seemed eager.
MINAYA: The Cubs?
BEANE: Yeah. Their management needs to show their fans they mean business. And in Wrigley he’ll find his stroke again.
MINAYA: I’ve got a plan.
BEANE: Oh yeah I saw it. Inexperienced kids or imports whose average age is older than the Supreme Court. Hey! It almost worked in 2007 and 2008. Maybe 3rd time is the charm! Hold on, I have a call coming in. I think it is Cashman.
MINAYA: What do you want?
BEANE: Let’s start with Fernando Martinez.
MINAYA: No way! He’s the future.
BEANE: The future! That reminds me. When the season ends, do you want to join me and the missus the first week of October? We “Non playoff teams” need to stick together.
MINAYA: OK… fine. Martinez. But no other big prospects. I have a long term plan for a home grown Mets team.
BEANE: Hold on. The Phillies are calling.
MINAYA: I’ll give you Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores, Bobby Parnell and a player to be named later!
BEANE: I’ll name the player NOW? Mike Pelfrey.
BEANE: Wait hold on… Ruben Amaro just stopped by my office.
MINAYA: Take Pelfrey.
BEANE: It was a pleasure doing business with you.
And that my friends will be a full lion.