Saturday, January 31, 2009


Well, it's about time. For those of us who wondered why he didn't accept arbitration, there was at least a plan behind it. If he accepted and received say, $10 million, the Sox could have released him in spring training and only be responsible for a portion of that amount. Nobody believes that this was going to happen, but apparently this is what Jason and Boras were trying to avoid.

Picasner has noticed an interesting trend in Superbowl predictions. All the "experts" are saying the same thing: "I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals won, but I'm picking the Steelers". Way to go out on a limb, guys. You sure don't want to be wrong and lose that cushy TV job. Is there anyone who has the guts to make a definite prediction?

This refers to Scott Boras, of course, in the neverending soap opera that is Manny. Baseball Prospectus has analyzed the situation and determined that the best places for Manny are: #1 The Mets, #2 the Dodgers, #3 the Indians. Their determination was where Manny could make the biggest difference in the standings. They also feel that Boras' willingness to hold out for the longest term and the most money means that he will most likely end up with the Mets.

Well, that didn't take long. Picasner believes that was ultimately the difference, but you would think the players would let the body get cold first. It also happens that his replacement, Taye Biddle, has also been shot. Greg Cote thinks the Giants should consider bullet-proof uniforms.

With the signing of Brian Bruney, the Yanks seem to be done, at least for now. Sorry Scott, now the Yanks can't be one of the 'Mystery Teams'. ...Anybody here believe that? I thought so.

Friday, January 30, 2009

SILLY SEASON - 1/30/09

Supposedly, the Mariners want to sign him but can't afford him. Some analysts were saying back in November, that Bobby would be lucky to get more than $6-$8 million a year. Looks like they might be right.

This is supposed to be an attempt to look better to the Mets. I guess if he gets hurt, he could be the team interpreter.
Actually, this is a joke that was written up in SeriousSportsNewsNetwork, a column that writes these little parodies.

According to Albert Pujols, Manny told him, "Man, no one wants to sign me." Pujols gave Manny's number to Tony LaRussa, hoping that Manny would give St. Louis a discount because "...the city supports it's players". Albert, haven't you been paying attention? Manny isn't interested in support OR discounts. Only $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

What is he thinking? This is like threatening to bleed all over a guy holding a gun on you. No one else is even going to make an offer. Sitting out a year basically means your career is over. He has a $5 million offer from the Sox which he considers insulting. Where have we heard this before? Sign already!

A couple of ball players plan to use the WBC Tournament to "showcase" their talents. Pedro Martinez, who's fastball now registers in the mid-80's, intends to prove he can still pitch. Even if he can pitch, he's a prime candidate for the DL before the All-Star break. Ivan Rodriquez, who probably couldn't get a hit off of Pedro, thinks he can show that he's still "got it". If he does, he's hiding it well. I don't think he hit a ball to the left of 2nd base when he was with the Yanks.

Speaking of the WBC (When Baseball is Crazy), the tournament will have a 'shootout' rule. Starting from the 13th inning, every half-inning will start with 2 men on base. Supposedly, this will ensure scoring and keep games from going on too long. Next thing we know, they'll be hitting off a tee and outfielders will be blindfolded. Why don't they just turn it into a board game and get it over with?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Another casualty of the economy is that Picasner is having a hard time coming up with sarcastic comments because baseball owners are becoming economically reasonable in their negotiations. The result:
Jake Peavy is staying in San Diego
Pedro Martinez is staying in the Dominican Republic
Eric Gagne is staying home
Manny has renewed his subscription to the Cartoon Network

The only interesting thing has to do with Scott Boras & Manny. Scott was quoted as saying it's a long time (3 weeks) to spring training and he expects Manny to be signed by then. When asked about it, Dodger GM, Ned Colletti, said, "Really? With who?" Boras has upped the ante by declaring a number of other "Boras Mystery Teams". That will show them, Scott. Now you'll be able to whittle down that $55 million gap.

Picasner smells a rat. This is usually where Boras announces a "surprise" signing with the Yanks. Actually, Picasner feels that Manny will stay unsigned until spring training is almost over, and then sign with LA for 2 years at $50 million.

The Feds are after Barry Bonds in a big way. They have raided the home of the mother-in-law of Bonds' former trainer, Greg Anderson. His Mother-in-law? They're leaving no stone unturned. Picasner is going to have to dispose of those urine samples he's been holding for Barry. Probably not a bad idea; for some reason, those samples seem to be growing.

The Yankees are considering including a non-disparagement clause in future contracts and some front office staff are being asked to sign confidentiality agreements. I wonder why? This was reported by a current Yankee official who spoke, naturally, on the condition of anonymity. I wonder if the Yankees intend to contact Vod?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We're getting down to it, boys and girls. The rumors now start flying wildly off-center. They either get more realistic or crazier.

You would think it would be hard not to, however, they have an outfielder no one will talk to (Suzuki), and a catcher no one will throw to (Jojima). Their off-season 'acquisitions' are now settling on a 39 year old outfielder with a bad knee (Griffey). Picasner doesn't know where they'll finish, but they certainly lead the league in first names: Ichiro, Wladimir, Endy, Yuniesky, and Kenji. I hope the broadcasters were working on their diction over the winter. By the way, all of these names showed up on my spell-checker.

He's no longer asking for $48 million over three years. He's down to $30 million over three years. When one GM was asked if that made a difference, he responded, "Who?".

According to insiders, Manny and the Dodgers are a mere $55 million apart. We'll never going to know who blinks first since it's obvious both sides are wearing blinders. All this after 3 whole months of 'negotiating'. Scott, you better do something. Manny's in his third reruns of cartoons.

Now Radomski is throwing PED accusations around. "I sold them to Justice. I took a urine test for Gooden." Both denied, of course. The urine test is dangerous in a different way. Picasner took one for his wife and now she has to take female hormone shots. She's not happy.

Of the 171 free agents at the end of last season, 55% (96) are still unsigned. Some, like 42 year old Moises Alou and 39(?) year old Orlando Hernandez, you can understand, but there are still a few big names left. Picasner thinks there will be a lot of disappointed players (and agents) at the start of the season.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In 1944, the NFL was understandably short of players, so the commissioner, Elmer Layden, asked Steeler owner Art Rooney and the then Chicago Cardinal owner, Charles Bidwell, if they would agree to merge the two teams for a year. Both agreed. Neither team was very good, even at full strength so unfortunately, instead of getting the best of two teams, there were only terrible players left. In fact the Cardinals were in the midst of a 29-game losing streak.

Naturally, this composite team went 0-10, being outscored by an average of three touchdowns per game. They threw 41 interceptions and set a league mark for the worst punting that still stands: only 32.7 yards per punt. It didn't help that the two teams had hated each other's guts. The coach, Walt Kiesling, was no better. Many years later, he CUT a young quarterback named John Unitas.

Their lone ace, Johnny Grigas, threw away his leather helmet and skipped town before the last game ended, a 49-7 rout by the Bears, leaving his roommate a note: "This is the end."

The team nickname for the season: THE CAR-PITTS. Think about that this Sunday.


This can't help the Red Sox. A 12-year veteran with a career .302 batting average, he was the main back-up at 1st. People are already wondering about the Hall Of Fame chances for him. Picasner doesn't think so, but he was a very valuable guy to have around.

The Red Sox offer ($5 million with options) expires on Saturday. Take it, Jason, it's a gift.

Andy Pettitte has steadfastly refused the Yanks offer of $10 million for one year. Now, in a negotiating coup, he has accepted $5.5 million for one year. I don't think he understands the process.

He has won 219 games and has 5 Gold Gloves to this credit. I will always remember him as one of the most frustrating pitchers to watch. Nibble, nibble, nibble. I think some hitters made outs just to get away from the batters box. The last guy who pitched that way was Tommy John, who was known to go 3 or 4 innings without throwing a strike.

With Pettitte on board, Joba should be assigned to the bullpen as the 8th inning guy. With Mariano's shoulder a question mark, Joba could fill in as the closer until Rivera was ready. If you watch Joba pitch carefully, you will notice something very telling. When he was a starter, rarely did his fastball reach 96 MPH, and his curve was not very effective. When he relieved, that fastball would be 97 & 98 MPH and that slider was devastating. There are plenty of candidates for that 5th spot in the rotation.

I'll save the football story for later today.


Monday, January 26, 2009


Vod is always ready to point out articles which he chooses to believe as the ultimate truth, dismissing all others as the blind rantings of the uninformed. Well, so be it. We all have sources we trust and believe and promote as correct. It is for this reason, Picasner does not engage in the "I'm right, you're wrong" disagreements. Picasner tried to make clear, unsuccessfully, it seems, that what he felt was egregious here, was torre attacking his former team while all the principals were still involved in the sport. Tell-all books are always self-serving and create disharmony where it could have been avoided. The passage of time softens these bad memories and allows the writer to be more objective and more forgiving of insults, real or imagined. Publishing this book in 10 years would have made interesting reading without raising the ire of Yankee fans. Picasner will read the book.

But back to the business of a sometimes humorous look at sports.

Picasner, Chill

Thought I'd post Mitch Kakutani's review of "The Yankee Years", so we could get a reaction from someone who has actually read the book. For reasons unknown, our beloved if closed minded Picasner has decided to wholly trash the book, the authors, and Joe Torre in particular, prior to reading it - and has vowed that his eyes, for fear of blindness (?), will never scan its pages nor will he ever subject its contents to his always objective, unbiased analysis of all things pinstripped. Reminds me of of Fox news' "fair and balanced reporting" aka, Screw the Truth.

While I have often suggested in private conversation that our esteemed one had no idea what he was talking about, and he has often returned the favor, it is disturbing the one who we rely on for deep Yankee insights has eternally digitized that, in this case, he not only doesn't know what he's talking about but is proud of it. Hey, perhaps our favorite does have the qualities necessary to replace Bud Selig.

Insider’s View of What Went Wrong in the Bronx

Published: January 25, 2009 - New York Times

The hallmark of the Yankees who won World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 was gritty team play: they weren’t famous for a roster of flashy superstars or power hitters; rather, they were a resolute band of brothers, who put collective play above individual stats — an ensemble distinguished by its chemistry on the field and in the clubhouse, a team renowned for its resourcefulness, its determination and its ability to grind out win after win after win.

The steady hand behind this team, of course, was Joe Torre, a manager whose calm, self-possessed style not only made him a foil to the Yankees’ volatile principal owner, George Steinbrenner, but also enabled him to steer the team gracefully through the pressure cooker of playing in the Big Apple and the postseason.

In “The Yankee Years,” Torre and the Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci — who collaborated on Torre’s 1997 memoir, “Chasing the Dream” — provide a lively chronicle of that historic era and the team’s depressing slide after 2001. There are two curious things about the book. One is that the volume is not a memoir but a third-person account, lacking anything resembling a personal voice and fleshed out with interviews with players like David Cone and Mike Mussina. The second is that it devotes less attention to the team’s remarkable run at the end of the millennium than to its subsequent fall from grace — a fall that began with the seventh game of the 2001 World Series, which the team lost when Mariano Rivera gave up a bloop single to Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and which marked what the former New York Times reporter Buster Olney would later call “the last night of the Yankee dynasty.”

“The Yankee Years” does a nimble, if at times cursory, job of reanimating the long highlight reel of the Torre era: from the team’s ecstatic triumph in the 1996 World Series to Cone’s nerve-racking perfect game in 1999; from the Yankees’ two mind-blowing comebacks against Arizona with two outs in the ninth in Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series to Aaron Boone’s amazing 11th-inning, seventh-game, pennant-winning homer against Boston in the 2003 American League Championship Series.

The book does not hide Torre’s bitterness over his departure in 2007 (he was offered a one-year contract that involved a pay cut in his base salary) and takes a few swipes at the general manager, Brian Cashman, and some players — most notably, Alex Rodriguez. But the volume is most interesting in its thoughtful analysis of why the Yankees’ fortunes began to spiral downward after 2001, analysis that has been made before by baseball reporters and fans, but never with such insight and detail by a former Yankees insider.

Torre and Verducci note that as the core of the old guard from the championship years dwindled — Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblauch and Paul O’Neill were all history by 2002 — the front office tended to turn to imported All-Stars, who failed to congeal into an effective ensemble. The farm system, which had produced the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Rivera, was increasingly neglected, and Steinbrenner began to indulge his taste for what Torre calls “big boppers” like Jason Giambi, who the manager felt “wasn’t part of what we prided ourselves on: playing well defensively.”

This decision, Torre and Verducci write, “made for a whole different dynamic in the Yankees’ clubhouse.” A-Rod’s arrival in 2004 would cement this metamorphosis, and the authors say he became fairly or unfairly “the unmistakable shorthand symbol for why the Yankees no longer were champions and suffered at the rise of the Red Sox”: “Whether hitting 450-foot home runs or sunbathing shirtless in Central Park or squiring strippers, Rodriguez was like nothing ever seen before on the championship teams of the Torre Era: an ambitious superstar impressed and motivated by stature and status, particularly when those qualities pertained to himself.”

With each year’s failure to win a world title, Yankees management grew increasingly desperate, going for the quick fix instead of a long-term plan, bringing to the stadium a succession of aging hitters and what the authors of this book call a “collection of expensive pitchers” — including Kevin Brown, Jeff Weaver, José Contreras, Javier Vázquez, Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano — who “were ill suited for New York, either because they were too emotionally fragile or broken down.” Meanwhile, the team made only lukewarm efforts in 2003 to keep the clutch left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte, who left for his hometown Houston Astros.

While the Yankees were going through an identity crisis, the dynamics of baseball had begun to change, with other teams embracing new cost-effective business practices based on statistical analysis. No one excelled more at this new number crunching and player development than the Yankees’ archenemies, the Boston Red Sox, who in 2004 would deal the once-mighty Evil Empire a crushing blow, coming back to win the American League championship after the Bombers were ahead by three games to none and a mere three outs away from the World Series. It was a devastating loss that only accelerated the Yankees’ dysfunction, the authors observe, resulting in more organizational backbiting and a team made up of “a slapdash collection of parts that didn’t fit or work.”

This book often fails to detail Torre’s role in the decisions made over these years. His reactions to the signing of Giambi and management’s refusal to grant Williams a guaranteed contract in 2007 are duly noted, but in other instances, it’s unclear to what degree he protested specific choices made by the front office or its lack of a long-term rebuilding strategy.

The account served up in these pages about steroids and George J. Mitchell’s investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball is sketchy. The book relies heavily on statements made by Brian McNamee, a personal trainer who told Mitchell’s staff that he injected Roger Clemens with steroids and Pettitte with human growth hormone. “In 2000 and 2001, the Yankees would joke among themselves about guys who worked closely with McNamee, especially the ones who showed obvious strength and body type changes,” the authors write, adding: “No one wanted to know the details. These were the days of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t care.’ ”

What this book does do and does very persuasively is chart the rise and fall of one of baseball’s great dynasties, while showing the care and feeding it took to bring the city of New York four championships in five years. “There exists a mythology that the championship Yankees teams under Torre operated on autopilot, blissfully riding their talent and their will to preordained titles,” the authors write. “No team requires no care.”

They continue: “The championship teams required their own maintenance, from, among others, the insecurities of Chuck Knoblauch, to the immaturity of David Wells, to the self-critical nature of Tino Martinez, to the overflow intensity of Paul O’Neill, to the neediness of Roger Clemens, and to the overbearing intrusion and influence of George Steinbrenner. Greatness is the ability to mask the difficulty of a task — to make the difficult appear easy. Those Yankees teams epitomized greatness.”

Sunday, January 25, 2009


***Picasner is not even waiting to read all the ESPN writers on this one. Mr. Torre has written a book, "The Yankee Years", in which he trashes everyone from George on down. According to excerpts in the NY Post, Torre had some pretty harsh things to say:
**"Teammates called A-Rod, A-Fraud." Yeah, we needed to know that.
**"A-Rod had an obsession with Jeter." And you didn't?
**"The Yanks were full of prima-donnas." Obviously including the manager.
**"Management didn't like his choice of players." But you got them & won with them didn't you? ...Oh wait, you didn't win.
**"Cashman 'sabotaged' him." Like getting you the players you wanted?
**"The front office didn't tell him everything." What, they didn't tell you about the company picnic?

What a fine example of a "player's manager"!! If a player said those things about torre (You don't deserve a capital T anymore), you can be sure there would be some fines levied. I suppose it's okay once you leave a team to bad mouth everybody. Yeah, the Yanks were horrible to you, joe. For years, you were baseball's highest paid manager by a long shot. Then they had the nerve to 'insult' you by offering only $5 million. At your last salary meeting, you claim that Brian Cashman never spoke up and said you wanted a 2-year deal, instead he sat there mute. Weren't you mute, too?
If I was negotiating my salary, I'd sure want to contribute.

No more respect from Picasner for you, joe. torre will never be mentioned by Picasner again.

Lest you think this diatribe is limited to torre, let me make one more point. I would feel this way about anyone that would take advantage his position to write such an expose', especially when the people you trashed (& you) were still very much involved in the game. Divorces don't have to be so mean-spirited. Remember, you didn't have to stay and put up with all that 'mistreatment'; you could have left the spotlight (& the millions) and quit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


BEN SHEETS - I don't understand why no one has signed him yet. He has a history of arm trouble, but there is so much talent there, somebody has got to take a short term chance with him.
THE MANNY THING - Giants have said no, Mets have said no, Yanks say they can't "afford" him (?), The Dodgers continue their stare-down with Scott Boras. LA has not budged from 2 years for $45 million and Boras has not budged from 4 years for $100 million. This is going to turn out badly for both Manny & the Dodgers. Manny won't get his 4 years & then won't play 'hard' for the Dodgers. Lose-lose!
VARITEK - Guess his personal conference with Red Sox owner, John Henry, hasn't changed a thing. Should have taken arbitration, Jason.
BOBBY ABREU - Who? Why haven't we even heard his name mentioned in 2 weeks. He's not even being used as a pawn to get someone else to lower their asking price.
ANDY PETTITTE - Apparently, the Yanks $10 million offer is still out there. What's he waiting for? Haven't you been reading the papers, Andy?

At least according to their GM. Dave Dombroski was quoted as saying, "Look at our roster. There are 10 guys who could make the All-Star team." Picasner did look. He could barely find 10 names he recognized and that included the coaching staff. ...and the broadcast teams.

They're trying desperately to sell those high-end luxury boxes. The so-called 'cheap' seats are sold out, but the big money-makers are still available. Big surprise there. They might be okay: these retired CEO's have to do something with their golden parachutes.

Two teams that Picasner thinks could be contesting for the play-offs and even the WS. Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants. The Indians need to stay healthy since they don't have any depth. The Giants have the pitching but need a hitter or two, and there are a few available. ....but not Manny.


Is the WBC Tournament over with, yet?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Rob Neyer and Buster Olney of ESPN, both think the Yanks have a desparate problem at catcher. Who knows if Posada will be able to catch (throw, actually) and even if he can, how long will he hold up? Okay, valid questions. So what do these two advocates of reason and sanity in baseball, critics and disparagers of Yankee spending suggest? Why, let's go out and buy or trade for the best catcher they can. Trade two outfielders and a young pitcher for the Diamonbacks young catcher. Or one of Texas future stars. Even if you have to pick up some of the salaries of the outfielders.

Of course, if the Yanks actually did that, who would be leading the "Yanks trying to buy a pennant" crusade? That's right, Rob and Buster, the Ren and Stempy of journalism.


Vod asked who will throw out the first ball at the Palatial Estates. Well, it won't be Jorge Posada who still can't reach 2nd base. Of course, I'm just guessing, never having played Major League ball, but I think this would be a problem for any catcher. Of course, it appears that's not going to stop Jorge from playing in the WBC. I still don't understand this tournament. If I owned the Yankees and I'm paying A-Rod $27 million, Jeter, $18 Million, Posada, $15 million, etc, there is no way I would let them risk their careers (and my money) in this worthless endeavor. I will ask again: who won the tournament last year? ...I thought so.

1. How did Xavier Nady lose so much respect over the winter? Everyone raved at the Yanks pickup last summer and I thought he played well but now it seems the Yanks can't wait to get rid of him.
2. Why are all the 'experts' so sure that Swisher is going to have this big breakout season?
3. The outfield. Vod is right; this is a huge question mark. Damon can hit but can't throw. Matsui can hit but can't run. Cabrera can field but can't hit. Gardner can run but can't hit (but he can sure run). Swisher doesn't want to play center and Nady's new number is "For Sale".

This is upsetting. In my evaluation, Christian had more potential than Gardner. Yes, Gardner is faster, but Christian is fast enough and Picasner believes he will outhit Gardner.

Last Year, A-Rod negotiated his deal WITHOUT Boras in the room. Now Varitek appears to be going the same route. He met directly with the Red Sox also without Boras. Lets not sell Scott short. This may actually be his latest ploy. I wouldn't be surprised.

This is a young 'phenom' that the Cubs have soured on. We'll see how he does with the Orioles. On a side note, apparently Bartolo Colon tried to buy him till he found out it was a player and not a new dessert.

It seems they are close to signing 42-year old Omar Vizquel to back up 20-year old Elvis. Is George Bush advising the front office?

Who was triple A Scranton's 'Pitcher of the Year'? Who led the team in wins and was 2nd in the league in wins? Kei Igawa. ...and that's no typo. 14-6 with a 3.45 ERA. He's been invited to pitch batting practice, I hope. Why isn't he playing in the WBC?

The answer to the earlier question - Japan won last year (without Igawa).

24 DAYS TO PITCHERS AND CATCHERS (including catchers who can't throw and pitchers who can't pitch - Posada & Igawa)

Cashman Speaks

While the Yankees have questions in center field and the fifth spot in the rotation, GM Brian Cashman says he is more worried about the recovery of catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera.

“Our catcher and closer are coming off shoulder surgeries,” Cashman said. “That’s what concerns me, and that’s what people should be focused on. Posada’s just throwing at 90 feet on flat ground and Mo’s not even throwing yet.”

Posada will not be able to catch by the exhibition opener Feb. 25, Cashman said, but he is on track to be ready for the regular-season opener April 6. Rivera does not throw in January even when he is healthy, so his schedule is not alarming.

Cashman also continues to field inquiries about Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady while he prays that Matsui learns how to field - unlikely, Damon learns how to throw - impossible, and that if they're stuck with either Swisher or Nady in RF that one of them learns how to hit productively.

Nady had a better season than Swisher last year, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 runs batted in — all career highs. Swisher had the worst of his five seasons, hitting just .219 with 24 homers and 69 R.B.I. But Swisher’s on-base percentage, .332, was actually better than Nady’s .320 figure over his two months with the Yankees.

In that way, Swisher, sans beard, profiles better as the kind of player the Yankees seek for their lineup. He saw an average of 4.53 pitches per plate appearance last season, leading the major leagues in that category. Nady averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance. Among Yankees, only Robinson Canó (3.35 pitches) was worse.


Monday, January 19, 2009

This Explains So Much

Bush (I'm the decider) Quotes - Really

'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
'If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure.'
'Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.'
'No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.'
'I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.'
'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor and that one word is "to be prepared'.'
'Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.'
'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.'
'The future will be better tomorrow.'
'One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)
'Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.'
'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.' ... George W. Bush to Sam Donaldson

He broke an oil company, a baseball team, and a country. As he retires to a Dallas suburb I'll think about Jimmy Buffet's lyric, "If you ever get a chance to go to Dallas, take it from me, pass it by."

Yo, Picasner, who's throwing out the first ball at Palatial Estates?

So I hear $1.88 Billion?

Posted 1/14 on

Following today's release of the latest stadium subsidy estimates from the New York City Independent Budget Office, I've updated my Yankees and Mets stadium cost spreadsheet to update, at the end of the day, who's paying for what. New features include a shift to 2009 present value, and, for the first time, itemized sources for all the data listed therein. There will likely be further updates to this chart - a couple of items aren't converted to 2009 dollars, for example - but the big picture is starting to come into focus.

Note that these figures do include the teams' complete exemption from property taxes as a cost to the city (and benefit to the teams), a matter of huge controversy at today's hearing. (After the IBO counted the property-tax break in the "team savings" column but not the "city costs" column, Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber shot off an e-mail to reporters that this "shows that the allegation that the City is forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax revenue as a result of the deal is utter fiction.") The logic here is that if not for a complex sub-leasing deal for the land under their new stadiums, the Mets and Yankees would normally be required to start paying property taxes after about 20 years in their new homes, so being given a pass on that is effectively the same as the city stuffing wads of future benjamins into their waistbands.

With no further ado, some of the highlights:

* The Yankees' new stadium is now the most expensive ever even imagined, coming in at a staggering $2.3 billion. That includes its attendant parking garages and replacement parkland, but even the stadium construction budget alone is incredible, now standing at $1.56 billion.
* Of that, the public - city, state, and federal taxpayers - are now covering just shy of $1.2 billion, by far the largest stadium subsidy ever. In fact, even discounting the $417 million in property-tax breaks (if you're inclined to agree with Lieber), it's still the largest stadium subsidy ever. The Yankees, meanwhile, would be on the hook for just $670 million, after counting property-tax breaks.
* The Mets project is comparatively thrifty: a mere $830 million, though even that shatters the old record for priciest baseball park. Because it's cheaper, though, and the Mets demanded many of the same tax breaks as the Yankees, the team's total cost at the end of the day is astonishingly low: just $135 million, thanks to a panoply of givebacks that include property-tax breaks, parking-fee rebates, and revenue-sharing deductions courtesy of MLB. The rest is paid predominantly by - you guessed it - you the taxpayer, providing you're a taxpayer somewhere in the U.S. of A.
* Add 'em together and what do you got? Taxpayers will be paying $1.8 billion toward the new stadiums, while the teams will combine for just $805 million in costs. But it's not like the teams could afford to pay more or anything.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Well, not totally. While Michael Young has mended some fences with Manager Ron Washington, he apparently is not returning Gen. Mgr. Jon Daniels phone calls. Young also claims to have called teammates and other players ("big name players" according to Young) and to a man they have said don't switch. All this so Texas can make room for a 20-year old rookie shortstop named Elvis Andrus. I have a feeling this is far from over.

The worst thing that could happen to Manny just did: Boras got the 4 year contract he promised for Derek Lowe. I'm sure that will convince Scott that he's doing the right thing by having Manny wait. So far, only the Dodgers have shown any real interest in Manny, and that interest has remained on their terms. In the meantime, I suppose Manny is still watching his cartoons. However, there is one more hidden possibility...

Yes, Vod, I am aware you don't believe they have one, but... In reading some of the NY writers, I'm getting the distinct impression that the Yanks are willing to go for a couple of years for Manny or $5-$8 million for another starter, but there has been too much flak about the bond issue of late. One more monster free-agent signing may open the floodgates to criticism they might not be able to overcome. If this dies down in the next 2 or 3 weeks, and the right guy is still available, we may see them take a shot.

"Don't feel too bad about your 0-16 season, Detroit. In Seattle, the Seahawks only won 4 games, the Mariners lost 101 games, the college football team was winless, and the pro-basketball team left town for Oklahoma. ...Oh, and it rains."

A reporter asked about his players opinion of him. "I'm not interested in their evaluation of me. I'm paid to evaluate them. How's your editor doing?"

Ron Jaworski says there will be.

Doug, Doug, wherefore art thou, Doug?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

SILLY SEASON - 1/17/09

I hope not. This is Clemen's bed, let him deal with it. If Bush does pardon him, he'd also have to pardon Bonds or be declared a racist. Please Dub-ya, just go quietly into the night.

Picasner would rather watch Anna Benson throw.

No one will touch him because he really can't hit anymore and teams would have to give up a 1st round draft choice. It wouldn't be wise to take him on as a defensive player because Picasner thinks his reflexes are shot, too. As previously stated, he wasn't 'catching' the ball anymore, he was just stopping it.

Glad you woke up, Mike. Your agent must have explained to you that that was a no-win situation.

Why? $4 million for a middle reliever in this economy? (Can you say Scott Boras?) Take it, take it.

Why, again? Did Gossage turn them down? He was signed as the Brewers closer last year and made all the way to May before cooler heads prevailed. I hear his new nickname is "Gasoline Gagne".

Including the Yanks. Garcia threw all of 15 innings last year. This has got to be a gamble for a 32-year old ground ball pitcher.

He has to pass a physical which could be interesting since Colon leads the league in after-game buffets. Some players negotiate for a special room on the road: Colon asks for an industrial strength knife and fork ("I don't need no stinkin' spoon").

The Pirates are talking to Doug Mientkiewcz. Doesn't look good, Annie.


Friday, January 16, 2009


Apparently the inclement Central NY weather has forced our monetary & political watchdog back into the fray where he belongs. Picasner admits being bored reading about the financial prizefights happening in NY and therefore, does not have the patience or wit to comment as eruditely as Vod. Picasner is glad someone is watching

Barry Bonds is fighting to keep his former mistress from testifying at his perjury trial. I've heard that taking steroids can enlarge your head and...well, I'm not sure where this is going.

David Eckstein has signed for one year at $850,000. After all the talk about the $160+ million salaries, this number seems unreal. Before we feel too bad, however, remember that's still about $9000 a week in take home pay. That should be able to keep his family in hot dogs.

One sports writer claims the Red Sox has the deepest pitching staff in baseball. Possibly, but there are a few questions marks: Beckett, who had trouble getting people out last year, two free agents coming off surgery, a 42-year old knuckleballer, who may be the most reliable pitcher on the staff, and finally, Diasuke Matsuzaka. He may be the first pitcher in history to win 18 games while AVERAGING 10 walks per game. He wins, but he's a walking (no pun intended) heart attack.

Yay! As Vod has pointed out, playoff games will be played to completion. Thank God Selig woke up to the obvious. It has also been decided that the site of playoff games needed to determine the post-season participants will be decided by head-to-head results rather than a coin toss. Wow! Welcome to the 21st century.

We still need one more correction, Bud. The All-Star game should have NOTHING to do with the home field advantage of the World Series. NOTHING, do you hear me. If you don't like the old way, alternating home field advantage, then use the overall record of inter-league play. Give that system a little more credibility and incentive and leave the exhibition that's called the All-Star game alone.

For you Shelley Duncan fans (should there be any), he has cleared waivers and has been assigned to Scranton-Wilkes Barre (permanently?).

Doug Mientkiewicz is still available and Annie-O still has her hopes up. She has been writing to Brian Cashman on a daily basis. Seems he won't take her calls anymore.

Santa and his Merry Elves at Work

Remember Barry Bonds? The Pumped Up One is scheduled to go on trial March 2 on charges he made false statements before a grand jury about his use of steroids and human growth hormone. Unlike out buddy Mark “I’m not here to talk about the past” McGuire, Barry’s going to have to. Barry gets busted for lying and denying to a grand jury. McSteroids gets Hall of Fame votes after lying and denying before a congressional committee. Makes sense. When you lie before liars can anyone tell who is lying?

Baseball owners, geniuses all, approved on Thursday a rule change that requires postseason games to be played to completion. That includes play-in games, which technically count as regular-season games. Any suspended game will resume, when conditions allow, at the same site and point where it was left off. If the post-season starts any later and the weather is as balmy as last year’s Series, we can look forward to Christmas baseball.

Bud “Santa” Selig told the Associated Press, “I’m delighted. Given my experience there before Game 5 in Philadelphia, it’s important to have the rule clarified. The rule is now clarified the way I had interpreted it anyway.” Selig - truly a man among men.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


While I find that our beloved wizard's recent suggestion that unanimity among voters might be the preferred criteria for HOF inclusion is the funniest thing our comedic P has penned in his illustrious career, it does have merit. The entire HOF membership meeting that criteria could be displayed in a 4th grade diorama. Winners of the All Star game could take turns displaying the Diorama of Fame in their home towns just like Stanley Cup winners. Cooperstown could once again focus on James Fenimore Cooper, Glimmerglass, and dairy farming. Smashing idea.

The comic strip "Get Fuzzy" is offering a new set of logos for the Red Sox. My favorite is the proposed lettering for their home jerseys: NYJV

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages and accepting donations.
The library will include:

The Supreme Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.
The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.



I incorrectly reported that the Yankees were asking for $372 million in additional financing to finish their new, bare bones House that Oz built. I apologize for selling the Bronx "Boobers short. The request is actually for and additional $400 million in taxpayer subsidized financing, bringing the total outlay to just over $1.5 Billion. But it's worth every dime to have new digs with seats for $2,500 a game, suites fit for the royal family, a scoreboard fit for Wall Street, and a fabulous steakhouse with polished granite ramps. Hey, when you have contract obligations of over a half-billion dollars for, count them, a total of four players, they deserve something better than a mere baseball park to play in.

True story: a member of the NYC council challenged Yankee president Randy Levine to a "civil fist fight" to settle the financing matter.

Randy graciously accepted if the council would approve an additional $25 million in expenses to cover his pre-fight preparation and the cost of hiring Evander Holyfield as his stand-in.


"If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure."

- G.W. Bush

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Deficit?

H. Steinboober can suck a subway car through a garden hose. In his latest gig on the Professional Suckee Tour, he is poised to suck out an additional $372 million in tax-free financing for the new Yankee Stadium, aka Whorehouse, on top of the $1 billion in tax-exempt bonds issued in 2006 and the $500 million in tax breaks the city and state have already provided for our seemingly destitute favorites.

Meanwhile, the apparently penniless ‘boobers have hired a prominent Manhattan real estate brokerage. Prudential Douglas Elliman, to help sell premium seats at their newly constructed, bare bones Cathedral to Greed. Neil Sroka, president of Douglas Elliman said, “There’s been a lot of press about how expensive the seats are,” but quickly added that buyers can get a 20 game package for “as little as $7,000”. He proudly trumpeted the packages as a realistic option for people who “in this economic time are still looking for things to take their grandchildren and grandchildren to”.

I was concerned when our clueless Gov. announced this week that, in an effort to reduce an already astronomic budget deficit, the state was eliminating the Empire State Games Senior Division and was charging every qualifying high school athlete a $285 participation fee. But I am comforted that the money that would otherwise be wasted on supporting one of the country’s unique and most popular athletic programs can be diverted to our beloved ‘Boobers. Perhaps now the ‘Boobers can offer Andy Pettitte something more than the insulting $10 million 1 year deal he has been whining about or use the money saved from gutting the Empires to pay for less than 1/3 of an inning of C.C. Sabathia’s contract, or less than 1 A-Roid at bat or less than…. Excuse me, I need to scream up now.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Picasner did agree that Rice was a feared hitter, but numbers do not tell the whole story. A-Rod produces great numbers, much better than Rice, but outside of a couple of months in 2006, he has never shown a consistent ability to "carry" a team. Now, A-Rod will get in to the Hall because, ultimately, his numbers will about double Jim Rice's. By the way, Rice played LEFT field in Fenway, maybe the easiest outfield position in the majors. Picasner stands by his outfield analysis.

There is a lot of flak from sportswriters because Rickey wasn't unanimous. Why is that? Is he more deserving than Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays or even Babe Ruth? Of course not. It does lead Picasner to this thought: maybe that's the criteria to determine whether a player is deserving of election. If there is talk about unanimity, then he deserves to be elected. If not, sorry, you're out. Just a passing thought.

He has been hired as analyst for NBC. How can you take anything he says about the game seriously. He was so good with the Lions, that in a few short years, he analyzed the talent that produced an 0-16 season. The only thing he didn't do was lose the team bus in a crap game. NBC: The National Bumbling Company.

After Florida State and South Florida agreed to a home-and-home matchup: FSU, USF to play in Palindrome Bowl.

While the Yanks were doling out millions for Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett, the Red Sox tossed out a Schilling and picked up a Penny.

The Washington Nationals are interested in Nady and Swisher and have reportedly offered a Senator, a White House intern and two Representatives to be named later. That should help with the Yanks bond issue problems in NYC.

Picasner Looses It (Again)

Never known for his unbiased analysis, particularly when a current or former Red Sox is involved, Picasner, once again, fall short of objectivity in trashing Jim Rice's election to the HOF. Perhaps our favorite was to busy kissing Yankee behind during the decade plus (a few years?) that Rice was, indeed, one of the most feared and productive hitters of his generation. And, clearly, our beloved P has lost any sense of what it means to be an outstanding outfielder. No surprise since our clever one has been watching the Yankee outfield as of late - a group so ugly and incompetent that they have destroyed our heros ability to process "outfielder" data. Here's a reminder to the esteemed one that Rice mastered the most difficult right field in the AL and had an absolute cannon that slowed base runners to a station-to-station crawl.

While I'm certain that the Big "P" is unlikely to relent in his misplaced criticism, I am ever so pleased that the revered one is OK with Ricky Henderson's election. While he failed to deliver a ringing endorsement of the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, at least the "P" is unlikely to boo Ricky in Coooperstown this summer. Now that takes a big heart.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Ricky Henderson made it and that's okay with Picasner. Jim Rice also made it, and that's not. He was a good ballplayer and a feared hitter (for a couple of years), but he was not a game-changer. By that I mean, he wasn't the type to carry a ball club for a week; he wasn't the guy that pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. And he was NOT an athletic outfielder. Well, he's in so I'll stop whining.
Bert Blyleven didn't make it and he should have. Look up his numbers; they're as good or better than some who are in. So he never won a Cy Young Award. As Bert's wife points out, Cy Young never won a Cy Young Award.

***Michael Young of the Texas Rangers***
Mike wants to be traded. Why? Because the Rangers want him to move to 3rd base and he doesn't want to. "I was never asked. I was flat-out told I was playing third base. I felt I had no say." Let's see, Mike, they're paying you which means they are the Employer so you don't have any say. It's not like they're asking you to take a pay cut. They wouldn't dare: everyone knows how difficult it is to get along on $16 million a year. It's hard to know where your next Porsche is coming from. Listen Mike, A-Rod moved and he could make you look like you were playing short in hip boots. And you're getting almost half what he is. Play where they tell you!

That's what I'm reading, even tho' Milwaukee says no way. Ortiz and Fielder. Wow!
That would be a really heavy line pun intended...well, yes it was. Better order some more uniform material.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Buster Olney says you could field a pretty good lineup with the free agents still available:
He's right. I've seen lineups that were a lot worse.

With the signing of Brad Penny, Mark Kotsay and John Smoltz, one executive says the Sox are just buying lottery tickets, hoping one cashes in. They better buy one with a catcher's face on it or someone is going to be chasing a lot of balls to the backstop. Maybe they should just move the backstop in about 40 feet.

This little tidbit never seem to get the play it deserved. Manny isn't the first gut to "play" his way out of Boston. Anyone remember Nomar Garciaparra sitting on the bench during a game with the Yankees? The game that went 13 innings when Jeter dove into the stands after catching a pop up. I remember all the Yankee players AND all the Red Sox players lined up on the dugout railings...except Nomar. The Sox definitely could have used his bat, but there he sat, expressionless. How come no one ever jumped all over his case? If a Yankee did that, the fans would have tied him spread-eagled to the "D" train and rode his ass to the Bowery and back.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It appears that some Red Sox officials felt they were being used to get the Yankees ultimate offer to Tex raised. It's hard to believe that that bastion of fair play, Scott Boras, would sink to that kind of stunt. ...wouldn't it?,..well,..maybe.
There is evidence that an aggressive bid by the Sox early in the negotiations may have swayed the deal in their favor, but it appeared they tried to 'cheap' it out, never a good tactic when you're dealing with Boras. Well, at 19 games a year for 8 more years, we'll see how both sides react.

WHY? What's the matter with Cody Ransom? WHY? Angel is a career .260 hitter (& I use the term 'hitter' loosely) with an OBP of .308. Is he supposed to sweep out the clubhouse? WHY??

...(GULP)Nady. Nady's no Mickey Mantle but he's no Angel Berroa, either. I can't believe this is serious. Poor Swisher may have been a pawn in the Teixeira negotiations, but I don't think I'd like to see him go, either.

Just like ugly girls in bars, baseball memories look better the further away you are. Bill Skowron, former Yank 1st baseman (50's & 60's), tells a story about how the game was played back then. He hit a homer off Ike Delock of the Red Sox, who promptly hit him in the head, the next time up. Once on first, Skowron took out the 2nd baseman, Gene Mauch, on a potential DP groundball, breaking his leg and knocking him out of the majors as a player. Interesting story, however, researchers discover that it never happened that way, at least not at the same time. Skowron had hit a homer off Delock and Delock did hit him, but not in the same game. And Skowron did take out a 2nd baseman, but not in either of those circumstances...and not Mauch. Ah, yes, I remember it well.

Well, not free but reasonably priced. Well, not reasonably priced, either. But he's still Manny.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


***YES network broadcast the Teixeira intro today. First, they introduced every Yankee official above the rank of Receptionist. Then they gave flowers to Teixeira's wife (who resembles Reese Witherspoon), before finally getting to Tex. Very articulate guy, who seemed happy to be a Yankee (and $180 million richer).

***It appears Jason Giambi will be landing back in Oakland for one year. I hope he took his gold lame thong with him.

***Pettitte has refused the Yanks offer of $10 million. I don't know what Andy's thinking. Last year, the Yanks paid him $1.14 million per win. Seems like an awful lot to pay for your 5th starter.

***Now that the Giants have openly backed out of the 'Manny' race, don't you think it's time for Scott Boras to be a little more realistic? He's still asking for 4-5 years at $25 million per year. The Dodgers have now started to look to strengthen their bullpen instead.

***Scott Proctor took his exhausted right arm across the country just to get away from Joe "bring in Proctor" Torre, only to turn around and find Joe waiting for him in LA. After another season of over-use, Scott is trying again. He's gone all the way back across the country to Florida to escape whip of Simon Legree. Rumor has it that he's going to change his name to I. M. Nobody, in hopes that Torre won't be able to find him.

***Displaying complete ignorance of the market conditions for corner outfielders, Bobby Abreu is asking for 3 years at $16 million per year. You may have to sign with the Boras Mystery Team, Bobby.

***For you Pro-Basketball fans, I saw the now-famous "crab dribble" on TV today. I refer everyone to the NBA standing rule: "If LeBron does it, it can't be walking"

Friday, January 02, 2009


This is getting to be the most interesting baseball story this winter. Where will Manny go and what will they pay him?

An "MBL insider" has stated that the Giants have made an aggressive' 4-year offer to Ramirez. No money was mentioned but it was leaked that the 4th year was a club option. A Giant official was quoted as saying "It's not happening." Further investigation has indicated that the "insider" was probably Scott Boras.

Is anyone shocked by this? Boras is a master at getting teams to bid against ghosts, and this looks like one more attempt. The Dodgers have still not made any offers to Manny.

Another Boras client, Derek Lowe, is said to be disappointed at the Mets offer of 3-years for $36 million. Boras, er-I mean Lowe, wants 4-years for $64 million. Another shot for the Boras Mystery Team in the wings.

Thursday, January 01, 2009



"You better ask quick. One more Bloody Mary and you won't be able to understand anything I say."
"Someone wrote a great new football song for us to be sung after winning a game. By the time we had won, everyone had forgotten the words."
"They issued a new postage stamp with my likeness on it, but they had to discontinue it after the first season. People were spitting on the wrong side."
"What, you don't have a full one?"
"First Mother love. Second, soccer. ...well, maybe a photo finish."

As you can see, you shouldn't take it too seriously. It's only SPORTS, after all. (Father, forgive him; he knows not what he says)

**GO BOB MATTHEWS (This blog would be nothing without you)**