The new contract calls for a 90%+ luxury tax when a teams payroll reaches a certain level. Okay that level is so high that there's only four teams that even consider spending that much on player salaries: Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and the Cubs. It's also a fact that teams are becoming wary of long term deals because they have seen the folly of paying a fading former super-star $20+ million for someone whose production is a quarter of what it was in his prime. Teams are now hoarding draft picks like they're gold. Not because the draft picks are much better players but because they're cheaper.
**Since there seems to be no big baseball-related news coming, sports writers are scrambling for something to write about. Today, there was a headline on ESPN that Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia attended a Golden State Warriors game. No mention of any snacks but maybe they're saving that tidbit for tomorrow's flash.
There is a scented candle being sold that smells like KFC fried chicken. The Red Sox have already ordered a years supply.
**Pablo Sandoval has shown up for a workout looking slimmer than he has in years. He claims he spent last season on the DL examining his past behavior and dedicating himself to putting all his efforts into becoming a better person and ballplayer. As the old saying goes, after the last two years, the only way is up.
**Interesting article about the inner workings of teams in putting together trades or signing free agents. Owners are greatly involved with these decisions, but they look at things differently than the "baseball people." Besides determining the budget, they often go with their gut feelings. They'll push to sign a guy or not sign him just because they like/dislike him. One GM with only a few years' experience summed it up best: "In the end, we all work for eccentric billionaires"
College Bowl Games
The plethora of bowl games begin this weekend with five games on Saturday. Brace yourself because There are 38 games in 17 days, plus the final game on January 9th.
**There are so many that the organizers have run out of names, even with all the sponsors. There are 10 bowls that are simply named for the location of the game.
The Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham
The Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton
The Las Vegas Bowl in...well, you get the idea.
For the record, add The Texas, The Heart of Dallas, The St. Pete, The Bahamas, The Miami Beach, The New Orleans and The New Mexico
**Then the sponsors take over. It's one thing to insert the sponsors name into the Bowl name, such as The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl or The Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. But now we also get those bowl games where the sponsor doesn't even bother with a bowl name, such as The Foster Farms, The Quick Lane and The Dollar General. There are 9 of those. They don't even give you a hint as to where they are being played. You know that ESPN will track them down, though. By the way, all but six of all the bowl games are being televised on ESPN.
**One of my favorites is played in Boise, Idaho, a state well-know for it's potatoes. If you didn't know any of that, the name will reveal all: The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
**You would expect teams like Alabama (13-0), Western Michigan (13-0) or Washington (12-1) to make to a bowl game, but Hawaii (6-7) or North Texas And Miss. St, both 5-7? Well, somebody has got to play in the Bahamas Bowl. You can't expect Old Dominion to play a scrimmage, even the score might seem like that on Dec. 24th.
**If you live in the East and you want to watch the Boise St. Broncos clean up on the Baylor Bears, better get out the coffee because that game probably won't end until well after 1:00 am EST. On the other hand, if my sister-in-law, Pauline in Ventura, Ca, has put some money on Miami (Ohio), she'll have to have an early breakfast if she wants to protect her investment. That game starts at 8:00 am PST.
** Finally, I'll be rooting big time for my favorite school, the 9-3 Appalachian State Mountaineers against Toledo in the Camelia Bowl. Hurray for the Black & Gold!
***THEY SAID IT***
"CNBC reports Cirque du Soleil wants to hire about 450 new performers. This may include over 75 tightrope walkers, although that’s still up in the air." -- RJ Currie
"Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, angry at the NFL’s scheduling of Thursday night games, referred to them as a “Poopfest.” Would that be the title of a potential 49ers Browns game?" -- Janice Hough
" Husker coaches will receive about $420,000 in bonuses for going to a bowl. And the players who do the actual hitting, running and tackling will be getting, let me check ... $0.00." -- Brad Dickson
"Panthers QB Cam Newton was benched for not wearing a tie for team travel. Word is he tried jumper cables around his neck, but the coach said, “Don’t start anything.” -- RJ Currie
"Remember the NY Jets glory days when they featured “The New York Sack Exchange”? (Gastneau, Klecko, Salaam & Lyons) How sad is it when the once proud franchise trotted out The New York Suck Exchange on National TV on Monday night." -- TC Chong
"After their loss today to Atlanta, Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley said his team was running what “looked like a middle school offense” – Did the Rams steal the 49ers playbook?" -- Janice Hough
What's not to like? Okay, just kidding." -- RJ Currie
"Cam Newton was held out for one play because of a dress code violation. One play? In college football, this is called “the SEC suspension.” -- Brad Dickson