With Lakcey’s departure, Mike Scioscia’s Cooperstown bid starts for real

Lackey is gone… so is Figgins… and there goes the final two players from the 2002 World Champion Angels.

With the arrival of Hideki Matsui, that also means the end of Vlad Guerrero’s run in Orange County. (Not Los Angeles… Guerrero never played in Los Angeles.)

The Angels must be in a state of shock… and one that Jason Bay can’t revive them from. Oh they will still be a competitive team, but their wonderful run in the 2000s (6 post season appearances, 5 Division Titles, 3 trips to the ALCS and the 2002 World Championship) looks like it might be drying up.

They had a mess of young talent but they also held on to some players for just too long. (I wonder what the Dallas McPherson’s of the world could have fetched at the trade deadline when thttp://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/2009/writers/jon_heyman/10/18/sunday.scoop/mike-scioscia.jpghey always seemed to stay pat.)

Mike Scoscia has had a borderline Hall of Fame career as a manager as it is now.

If he brings another Angel team to the World Series, it will have 100% turnover from his first title team.

If he does THAT, then his place in Cooperstown is secure.

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Making Macaroons while the baseball world is turned upside down

Last night was one of those “race to ESPN and get an update” nights that I love in the off season.

Actually these days I race to the MLB Network and have my web browser open.

But last night was a little different. My wife was making macaroons for our kid’s teachers… and she was tired… and needed her husband to take over and cook them.

Fine. Wifey went upstairs and a dutiful husband went to dolloping coconut mixed with apricots onto a baking tray… all the while trying to making sense of the upheaval that was happening in the world of baseball.


Now I have been wrong about Red Sox moves before.

Remember I loved the Eric Gagne trade when it first happened.

But I love both of these moves. The Red Sox made their rotation stronger with a “Don’t F— With Me” stud. Granted I don’t think he is a true #1 ace… but with Lester and Beckett still hanging around he doesn’t have to be.

Any rotation that starts with Lester, Beckett and Lackey is going to win a lot of 3 game series.

This takes some pressure off of Dice-K for his comeback…. takes some pressure off of Theo should Beckett want to skedaddle after 2010!

AND they improved the pitching without sacrificing Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Ryan Westmoreland, Casey Kelly, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Junichi Tazawa nor Jose Inglesias.

And also guess what?
He’s not going to the Yankees!

Meanwhile Mike Cameron is a nice player. So is Jeremy Hermedia. Together they will probably hit a little and field a little. There is no need to over pay for a Jason Bay or a Matt Holliday.

Besides, next year there will be no Ortiz, Varitek, Lowell nor Beckett on the books. There are some big fish available… best not have Bay locked up for his declining years!

(Also Bay leaving town means they get the picks lost from the Lackey signing.)

All in all a good night for Red Sox fans.


First let me get my petty Red Sox fan perspective out of the way first… I am so relieved that Halladay is completely out of the AL.

He is not a Blue Jays, he is not a Yankee, he is not an Angel… all which bodes well for the Red Sox new revamped rotation.

OK, on to the trade.
I THOUGHT I understood what the Phillies were up to.

I THOUGHT the Phillies were basically saying “Hey! We don’t know how much longer we have the whole Howard/Rollins/Utley team together… so let’s try to get Halladay in here, have the best team in the NL… have the best chance at three straight pennants in Philadelphia since the days of Connie Mack… and go into the World Series with Halladay and Lee going 1-2.”

Then I heard Lee was involved in the trade.

Hmmm, I thought. Well I guess the Phillies figured they didn’t want to part with some of their prospects like Kyle Drabek or Michael Taylor.

Then I heard they were sent in the trade too.

But they get some minor leaguers back from Seattle.

What in the name of Pete Incaviglia is going on in Philadelphia?

Is this a lateral move?

They start with a Cy Young caliber ace leading a questionable rotation and have some good prospects.

They finish with a Cy Young caliber ace leading a questionable rotation and have some new prospects.

Yes, I know that Halladay is now locked up to a long term contract and Lee’s deal was done at the end of the year… but this wasn’t about avoiding a negotiation.

This was about putting together an uber team.
This was about putting a team together to play in that third straight series and possibly have this Phillies squad become the most loved team in Philadelphia Sports History.

And wouldn’t it have made more sense to drag this out? The Mets and Twins dragged out the Johan Santana trade until the Mets basically got a bargain. And no offense to Halladay, but Santana is a better pitcher.

And now, they made their big deal and seem to be in the same place.

Notice I didn’t write “they made their big move.” The Phillies haven’t moved anywhere.

Oh the Mariners have… they trade three minor leaguers and got a second ace. That’s what the Phillies should have done.

Even one season of Halladay/Lee would have been worth it.

Meanwhile the trade is so complicated and involves so many parts that I had to make sure that I wasn’t involved some how.

Now Oakland is involved according to Buster Olney, who has no reason to lie.

Brett Wallace, the prize in the Matt Holliday deal, will be shipped off to Toronto. In the end the Jays snagged a top pitching prospect, one of the top hitting prospects in the game and a solid minor league catcher. A potentially great haul, and no doubt better than two draft picks.

HEY J. P. RICCIARDI! If you could have pulled that off last summer, you’d still have a job!


While baking the macaroons, I listened to WFAN streaming on my computer. I was the biggest WFAN addict in New York and man it was great listening to the always brilliant Steve Somers calm down Met fans looking to jump off the edge.

“Why didn’t WE get Cliff Lee?”
“Why didn’t WE sign John Lackey?”

The Shmoozer was his usual smooth and borderline condescending self, especially when dealing with the callers who kept saying “The Mets Have No Heart!”

Somers would counter “What is more likely is they have no TALENT!”

The handful of Yankee callers complaining about Hideki Matsui leaving cracked me up.

“We’ve GOT to keep Matsui!”
Somers would ask “WHERE WOULD HE PLAY?”

Of course there is nowhere. He’s gone and wouldn’t be the first World Series hero to find a new address the next year. (John Wetteland anyone?)

If there is a more insane gathering of irrational sports fans than late night on WFAN, then I can not imagine it. And no better keeper of the insane flame than Somers.

That’s a lot to digest… and so are these macaroons which KICK BUTT

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Major League Baseball needs to find ways to make the off season more of a show!

Football has it down.

They are a year long event as a sport, even though each team only plays 16 regular season games.

Baseball plays 10 times as many games and yet sometimes has trouble staying on the national radar.

Football has made the draft a must watch TV event… they draw huge crowds to workouts and practices… their pre season games draw better ratings than some MLB playoff games…

Baseball needs to get some of the football showmanship that keeps it on the front page all year.

They are some small things they can do, like don’t hold the Winter Meetings until AFTER the Non Tendered Free Agents are announced. Or don’t announce you are thinking about contraction hours after a great World Series has been played.

Of course that would mean having an actual Commissioner, but I digress.

The staff at Sully Baseball has been compiling ideas of ways MLB can put on a few shows and stay in the public eye, even when games AREN’T being played.


Why they don’t do this now completely baffles me.

Think of it… one night, we learn the Rookie of the Year, the Manager of the Year, the Comeback Player of the Year, the Gold Gloves, the Cy Young and the MVP are all awarded on the same night.

We get to see A-Rod, Pujols, Lincecum and Ryan Howard in a tux.
We get to see former baseball greats paired up with entertainers to present awards.

“Ladies and Gentlemen…
Bob Feller and Lady Gaga!”

It would be worth it to cut to Jim Leyland squirming in his seat uncomfortably during the song and dance number that starts the show.

You get a comic who loves baseball to host it… Jerry Seinfeld? Chris Rock? ME!!!!

You show clips, have reunions on stage. “Ladies and Gentlemen… welcome all the closers Bobby Cox used from 1991-2005.”

Wouldn’t that be a more fun way of learning about the awards than a press release?


The way the Hall of Fame is announced now is so anti climactic. A phone call is made, a press release is faxed or put on a website and it gets leaked.

Not neatly dramatic enough.

I say they channel their inner Publishers Clearing House notifiers.

Each of the Hall of Famers on the ballot… from Bert Blyleven to Jay Bell… need to be home between 12 AM and 3 PM EST. We see a van drive but we’re not sure where we are…

Then they pull up to a house, ring the door bell. Who could it be?


He hugs his wife and kids. We see the actual moment it happens!

But wait, we’re going back to the next van driving up…

I’m telling you it is a wonderful new baseball tradition we can unleash!


The Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and other big market teams need to cough up money to revenue sharing and teams like the Marlins, Reds and Pirates collect… but what do the teams DO with the money.

Forget this vague “putting it back into the team” promise. Let’s see it!

They have 24 hours to spend all of the revenue sharing money.

And have it be just as the free agents are announced.

Each team has to spend EVERY SINGLE DIME in 24 hours. It will be like Supermarket Sweep, except with baseball players!!!

If it is going into scouting, then they have to show which scouts are getting paid.
If it is going into draft picks, they have to produce one of those big ass Ed McMahon checks that they present on draft day.

And if it going into free agents, they have the 24 hours to spend it.

After 24 hours, they money goes back to the original team.

Wouldn’t it be funny to see GMs turn into the equivalent of Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions? And those lose revenue teams would get a chance to have money put into their teams… and there is the chance for some REALLY strange signings!


While some people yap about baseball needing to limit spending, I say some teams need to step up! Each team should have a minimum payroll… let’s say $50 million.

$50 million isn’t outrageous. I’m not asking teams to crack nine digits. But teams like the Marlins taking the field with a $36 million are asking for trouble. (Granted they put a winning product on the field while the Mets flopped with a payroll 4 times that… but again I digress.)

Now in 2009, only 3 teams would have been affected by the salary floor… the Pirates, the Padres and the Marlins.

But they’d each have to pony up some cash on the day before Spring Training… and they’d have to do it at a live workout at the Walt Disney Complex in Orlando.

Imagine it… all of the unsigned free agents working out and showing what they got.

Basically every year you’d have the opening of Major League.

You’d get some cut superstars… and Jose Canseco would inevitably show up.

Who knows? Maybe Billy Crystal can try out again!

Make it a reality show… “SO YOU THINK YOU MAKE THE BIG LEAGUES!

And then at the end of the day, live on TV, the teams that need to work up to the salary floor start handing out contracts to get the payroll to $50 million.

A Marlins team with $14 million more talent on the roster last year could maybe have won 90 games.

And hey… how could a show that gets baseball chatter going on in small markets be a bad thing?

The strange thing is, even though my tongue is firmly in cheek as I write this, I am also being serious! I would watch every single one of these programs.

They would be TV events and internet events for baseball during the off season… and get some markets that aren’t thinking about baseball at least chatting for a day or two.

And before you dismiss all of this as just Sully being crazy, remember… when ESPN approached the NFL with their idea of broadcasting the Draft, it was dismissed as just another piece of cable filler.

Now it is an event on the sports calendar.

Time to have a few more for baseball!

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