Sunday, August 14, 2005

Miscellaneous

How about a notes column? I have several things that may warrant their own posts, but I feel like knocking them out all in one fell swoop.

-The sports world has been abuzz with the Terrell Owens controversy. My interest in the subject is limited. I'm conflicted about it for a couple of reasons. The first is that I really want him to play. I have him on my roster in a fantasy football league. He's a big gamble and my team will likely live or die with whether or not he plays. The other side of it is that I take pleasure in watching the NFL's chickens come home to roost. Say what you will about Scott Boras, but the guy is right. NFL contracts are a joke. A contract's integrity is tied to the ability of both parties to change or get out of the deal. It's incredibly easy for teams to get out the deal and it is commonplace for players to restructure their deals either for more money or to improve the team's salary cap flexibility. The team can drop the player at any point, so any notion of loyalty is implicitly a one way street. There are definite advantages to non-guaranteed contracts, especially for the owners. They get cost certainty in a sport where career-ending injuries are a fact of life. I'm surprised this kind of thing doesn't happen MORE often. Teams cut guys every year and shrug their shoulders passing it off as "just business."

That being said, T.O. is acting like an insufferable prick and deserves every bit of negative press that is coming his way.

-The other big controversy of the last few weeks is the Raffy Palmiero suspension. There's already been reams of articles written about this and I'll try to refrain from repeating anybody else's viewpoint.

Here's my take on this. Raffy is incredibly stupid. He's monumentally stupid. This crap that he was taking has been around since the 60's. If he thought that he could get away with it, he deserves to be banned from the game just on the principle that he's too dumb to deserve money and fame. You're a goddamned millionaire for chrissakes. It's one thing for a 20 year old A-ball flunky living on $1000 a month to use the cheap stuff that shows up on every drug screening known to man. It's another thing entirely for a guy who makes that every day. According to just about every authority known to man, there are at least a dozen BALCO's out there (probably 2 to 3 times that) with a roster of undetectable (and more effective) steroids ready for consumption. All you have to do is pay more money and have some connections. Just go find a track star somewhere. He'll point you in the right direction.

Unbelievable.

-On a happier note, I was right, then I was wrong. This is one of the most amazing things to happen this year. The A's were beyond awful during the first couple months and I thought that even the most optimistic scenario ended with them getting back to .500 in the final month of the season and building towards relevance next year. Instead, they were over .500 within a month and are obviously very relevant this season. Barry Zito and Eric Chavez have straightened themselves out. The bullpen has recovered. The offense is smoking. And Dan Johnson has been great since being called up.

What Billy Beane has done is very rare. He's remade his roster without falling into obscurity. This is something that many teams have failed to do. The only immediate example that comes to mind is John Schuerholtz and the Braves. In basketball, you have Donnie Walsh and the Indiana Pacers. This also means that those who doubt Beane is among the best GM's in the game should probably get out a bib because they'll be eating some crow. This is now undoubtedly Beane's team. There are very few holdovers from before he took over.

-Last on the list of grievances is just a brief mention for Jonny Gomes. He's been a revelation for fantasy teams everywhere. If you wound up with him, you've been the recipient of 15 home runs in 194 at bats, good for a .592 slugging percentage. It's not like this is a surprise. There were a lot of people talking about how this guy could hit. Yet still the Devil Rays decided that it was better to hand over at bats to stiffs. They're still giving at bats to Travis Lee, who hasn't really been even a threat to put up a competent line since the Clinton administration. The idea that he didn't start the season on the Rays active roster borders on criminal negligence.

Now let's see if we can get his former Durham teammate, Matt Diaz into a full time role with the Royals.



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