** During the silly season, teams try to fill the holes in their lineup or their pitching staff through the use of trades or signing free agents. Who they try to acquire depends on a lot of factors. Can he play defense, can he run, how long a deal is he looking for, is a draft pick involved, or - the big one- how much money is he going to cost us? But here are two I have never heard before. "We're not interested in player X. Our fans hate him." The other - "Our players don't want him on the team." Interestingly, they're talking about the same guy - Jose Bautista. Baltimore fans are upset about the way Joey Bats flips his bat after hitting a home run. Texas Ranger players hate him so much, their shortstop punched him in the face and knocked him down around 2nd base during a game. Somebody's not playing well with others.
** Part of the new labor agreement for MLB sets definite starting times for getaway games. They will also regulate starting times for games if a team played a night game in a different city the day before. This is good thing. Obviously, weekday afternoon games draw significantly fewer fans than night games, so home teams are reluctant to schedule an early game especially against a "premium" opponent, such as NY/Boston. There have been times when this has happened, sometimes,it appears, just out of spite. Looks like front offices don't play well with others, either.
** In spite of his repeated assertion that he is retired, speculations continue that David Ortiz will return for one more year. He had a great year, not just for a retiring player, but a great year for anyone. He continues to say that he can't handle the pain in his feet and he dislikes all the traveling, but if he did come back, no one would mind - except me and all the other Yankee fans.
** For the first time, 6 teams will be paying a luxury tax this year.
Dodgers $31.8 million
Yankees $27.4 million
Red Sox $4.5 million
Tigers $4.0 million
Giants $3.4 million
Cubs $2.96 million
That's a total of $74 million which the 24 team owners will line their pockets with.
** The Minnesota Golden Gophers have ended their threatened boycott of the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27th against Washington St. The team was protesting the suspension of 10 players because of an alleged sexual assault accusation. They reversed their threat when the school's Board of Regents assured the team that the suspended players would get a fair hearing.
**Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has guaranteed that his team will win their next game against the 0-13 Cleveland Browns. Really went out on a limb there, eh Marcell?
** The real bad news comes out of Seattle where it appears that Dwight Perry's column, Sideline Chatter, will be eliminated by the powers that be. Dwight's sense of humor was a continuing delight to his readers for 17 years. Unless something changes we will lose a very entertaining column as of January 1st.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Temperatures at Soldier Field for the Green Bay-Chicago game this Sunday are expected to be at or near 0 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff. Or as Packers fans and players say “positively balmy." -- Janice Hough
"Tickets for the Buffalo vs Cleveland game are going for as low as $10. Some fans are saying that if you threw in a hot dog and a beer along with the $10, they might be interested." -- TC Chong
"How about those lurid green Seattle uniforms on Thursday Night Football? At any given time, it looked like 11 grinches stealing the Rams' Christmas." -- RJ Currie
"College football bowl season is about to begin. I’m probably most looking forward to the Boise State Broncos playing the Baylor Bears in the inaugural Alliteration Bowl." -- Brad Dickson
"Lions CB Darius Slay, on the Pro Bowl being in Orlando instead of Hawaii “It’s really pointless.” Uh, has the Pro Bowl ever been anything but?" -- Janice Hough
"Ronda Rousey has reportedly said the holiday season isn't all that jolly for her. Must be hard at Christmas to forget being decked by blows of Holly." -- RJ Curry
" Old joke rehashed: One poor Bills fans left his pair of tickets on the dash and forgot to lock his car. He came running back and…. too late, there were now 4 tickets on the dash." -- Tony Chong