All Star Game

First off, that is who I am voting for in the Final Vote. It’s who I suggest you vote for as well. Evan Longoria because he’s having a heck of a year, and he’s NOT from Boston or New York. Pat Burrell because well, I’m from Philly. :) A bit of a homer reason, but he’s not undeserving.
As for the rest of the All Star team. Of the guys who got elected, here is who I was voting for.
AL C – Joe Mauer
AL 1B – Kevin Youkilis
AL 3B – Alex Rodriguez
AL OF – Josh Hamilton
AL OF – Milton Bradley (OK, he’s technically a reserve, but he’s starting for Ortiz at DH)
AL OF – Ichiro Suzuki
NL C – Geovanny Soto
NL 2B – Chase Utley
NL 3B – Chipper Jones
AL OF – Alfonso Soriano
That’s it for the starters. A higher percentage in the AL over the NL, but I admit, I see more AL games than NL games, so that’s not terribly surprising. Of the reserves, I voted for these guys.
AL 2B – Ian Kinsler
AL SS – Michael Young
NL 1B – Albert Pujols
NL OF – Nate McClouth
I have a feeling the pregame for this will be something special. In my memory the best pregame they had was 1999 in Boston. That ceremony that ended with Ted Williams (sponsored hat notwithstanding), it was perhaps the single best one I can recall. I read somewhere that the one in Yankee Stadium will be even more impressive. They’ve apparently invited every living hall of fame member to be there. If they all show up – holy crap. That will be seriously impressive. Then there is Pete Rose. Makes you wonder if they’ll do anything with him, as he’s been brought out a few times here and there at huge gatherings like this.
The Home Run Derby, which has become boring for me the last few years might hold interest. While the roster hasn’t been finalized, Josh Hamilton will be there, as will Chase Utley, so I’m for those guys. Thing is there’s so much BS that I have to watch the Home Run Derby on TiVo so I can skip the completely USELESS interviews they have with the players immediately after they come away from the plate. I mean, these are TOTALLY POINTLESS. “How did you feel up there?” Well duh – I tried to hit the ball, what do you think, you bimbo interviewer? So thank God for TiVo so you can watch all the good bits in about 45 minutes total.
The one thing I’ve seen getting some press in the last few days is this idea. Mariano Rivera should start the game for the AL. Given who he is to the Yankees, the fact it’s in the last year of Yankee Stadium.. I’m really all for the idea of starting the game with Mariano Rivera. It would be really cool.


Mariah Carey cannot pitch

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here.


Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals open up their new park tomorrow night on ESPN for what is the “real” (if not technically official) opening of the 2008 season. Saw a short video tour of the inside of it. Thought you might like to see it.


XM Radio & MLB Home Plate

I signed up for XM Radio back in the Spring of 2005. The reason I did it was because of their 24 hour baseball talk channel, dubbed “MLB Home Plate”. They run several things on that channel. Primarily it’s various talk shows. But the biggest bugger has been that it’s not on the XM Radio online service. If you’re an XM subscriber, you can login with your account, and listen online anywhere. This is particularly helpful to me, as my office is a cave. It’s in the middle of the building, I work in, and while it’s a small one story building, it’s still got no windows, and I cannot get reception for my XM Radio. I’ve tried with signal repeaters at various windows in the building – no go. This is an issue for me, because the online version of XM has to date not included the MLB Home Plate channel.
I’ve written to several producers and folks at XM, and they have told me the reason they have not been allowed to put it online is MLBAM themselves. You see, one of the things they do on MLB Home Plate is include “live lookins” when something cool happens in a game. I don’t particularly use that feature on the shows they have, but I could understand (if not agree with) why MLB didn’t want a competing product available online like that. So I’ve missed a lot of programming I’ve wanted to hear because I couldn’t listen online.
Well, that’s finally changed. I saw a story today on Orbitcast (Satellite news) saying that as of Saturday the 29th, XM will FINALLY MAKE HOME PLATE AVAILABLE ON THEIR STREAMING ONLINE SERVICE. This is such good news, I think it warrants an appearance from “w00t guy!” :)

Seriously, this is extremely good news. I’ve wanted this channel online for ages, so I can listen during the day. I love the talk shows here, but I haven’t been able to listen because I’ve been unable to get a signal in my office during the day, and they haven’t had it. w00t indeed! Anyway, here’s some of the shows on the channel (all times below are Central):
Baseball This Morning: This show’s hosts are Mark Patrick & Buck Martinez. Mark Patrick knows baseball, but seems to be less “serious” than some of the other show hosts. One of their producers goes by the nickname of “The Godfather”, and Patrick himself goes by the nickname of “The Big Chair”. While their baseball talk is fine, they seem to be more into the “show” and “character” aspect of being on radio. When it originally launched, there was a third host, that being Larry Bowa. Bowa stayed there until he got a job with the Yankees as a coach, and was replaced by Orestes (“The Latin O”) Destrada, who stayed for awhile until he left last year. They did not replace O, and I think they gave up on the idea of three hosts, which I liked, since it tended to keep the focus more towards baseball with three on this show. Anyway, this show runs from 5AM to 8AM, and then immediately repeats from 8AM to 11AM.
Fantasy Focus: Hosted by Jeff Erickson of, this show runs one hour (from 11AM to noon), and focuses (as you’d guess by the name) on fantasy baseball. There’s less talk about baseball news on this show, and a stricter reliance on discussions specifically relating to fantasy baseball. This is my least favorite show of the lineup. Not that it’s bad, but the fantasy aspects of baseball discussion are of less interest to me.
Baseball Beat: To me, by far the best show on the channel. This is hosted by Dodgers broadcasters Charley Steiner. What I like most about this show over all the other show – and this is a big one for me – NO CALL INS! At least not from the general public. He does take calls, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s from beat writers for specific teams, hence the name of the show. They’ve had Evan Grant on several times, and they talk to other local writers for teams. I absolutely love that, you get to hear from people who actually cover teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Kansas City Royals. I mean, will ESPN do big deals on those? Hell no, they want to suck on the gob of the Yankees and Red Sox. So I love the fact they talk about other teams, and with people who know what they’re talking about. Unlike the usual callers who call in to these shows and ask a litany of stupid questions, which make me want to scream and turn off the radio. I love this show – no public call ins! YAY!
The Show: Hosted by former Ranger manager Kevin Kennedy and Reds pitcher Rob Dibble. This one I get to listen to the least, as it runs from 2PM to 5PM, and I’m usually at work then. From what I heard, this is the more opinionated show on the slate, and that’s likely due to the personality of the hosts. Or at least Rob Dibble. That’s the reason I garner he disappeared from ESPN’s Baseball Tonight – strong opinions. Which is fine. When I listen, I like the show, but I hear this the least based on timing.
XM on Deck: This show runs for an hour between 5 and 6, and will preview the games coming up that evening. During the offseason, it’s just a general talk show.
MLB Live & MLB Live Late Edition: These shows combine to run from 6PM to midnight. They consist mostly of live look ins to games in progress. There’s also a healthy dose of talk too when nothing is going on in terms of things to “look in” on.
Other things that run on the channel are classic games on the offhours, and there’s some other shows that don’t run as regularly. Like Baseball Confidential where they talk to an individual for an hour. There’s also some weekend only shows, like “Minors & Majors” with Grant Paulsen and “Ripken Baseball” with the Ripken brothers. If you like talking baseball, this is the channel for you. Yeah, I realized I turned this post into essentially an ad for XM Radio, but the fact that I will be able to FINALLY listen to Home Plate online while I’m at work is a MAJOR huge deal for me.
And on top of that, they have all the games broadcast during the season too. If you’re a hockey fan, that’s a bonus, as they have a 24/7 NHL channel, too (as well as the NHL games in a similar fashion).
If you don’t have XM, you should consider getting it. They have a trial signup you can get for two weeks via the website to listen to the streaming version – which after Saturday will include Home Plate, the entire reason I bought XM in the first place.
It’s about time, guys.


Hank Steinbrenner goes all Darth Vader

In a quite from Hank Steinbrenner that looks right out of the late 70’s/early 80’s George Steinbrenner playbook, Hank appears to have mouthed off pretty well. This sounds a lot like all the stuff the Daddy George used to say 25-30 years ago.

What do you think of this? Kind of makes me think that the more they mouth off, the bigger the fall there will be.


Strange Rules

In reading things leading up to Spring Training I ran across a couple of articles about some bizarre rules in baseball. Things you never would think of much, if at all. One is a “ground rule triple”, and one other one I thought was interesting was the 23 ways you can get a man on first base. Most are obvious, but some are fairly obscure. Here’s the list:

  1. walk
  2. intentional walk
  3. hit by pitch
  4. dropped 3rd strike
  5. failure to deliver pitch in 20 seconds
  6. catcher interference
  7. fielder interference
  8. spectator interference
  9. fan obstruction
  10. fair ball hits ump
  11. fair ball hits runner
  12. fielder obstructs runner
  13. pinch-runner
  14. fielder’s choice
  15. force out at another base
  16. preceding runner put-out allows batter to reach first
  17. sac bunt fails to advance runner
  18. sacrifice fly dropped
  19. runner called out on appeal
  20. error
  21. four illegal pitches
  22. single
  23. game suspended with runner on first, that player is traded prior to the makeup; new player is allowed to take his place

It does technically say Twenty-three ways to get a man (any man) on first base, which would cover things like pinch runner. Some of the others are the 16 ways a balk can be made, how to get six strikeouts in an inning, and how a pitcher can get a win without ever throwing a pitch.
These were a couple of good entries. I suggest you go read them. You can reach them here and here over at the “Hardball Times” website. Good stuff.


Darnit. Seattle getting Bedard?

That’s one thing I could always count on. Seattle not having great pitching to make them a real threat. Looks like that’s not happening – saw this story about the Orioles trading Eric Bedard to the Mariners.
The thing that bugs me the most is not that we didn’t get him, or even that he’s in a division rival, is the fresh round of emails we’ll see in the various newsletters published by the DMN and about the Rangers. How many are we going to see that say “Why weren’t we in on that?” Sigh.


Progressive Field

Well, it turns out one of the ballparks that I didn’t think they’d change the name for are going to be changing their name. Since 1994, the Indians park has been called Jacobs Field after former team owner Richard Jacobs.
Anyway, starting in 2008 it will be “Progressive Field”. Oh well. Another name that will get ignored to the tune of $3.6 million dollars a year. Don’t know any fan that gets excited about a corporate name. It’ll still be “Jacobs Field”. Guess I need to update my ballparks article with this info.
What’s interesting to me is that as I write this at 9:30AM on Friday the 11th, it’s not on the Indians site or at all. Found out via an AP wire story on Yahoo.

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Roger Clemens


The Mitchell Report and the Rangers

Ranger names named in the Mitchell Report:
After a quick search of the full Mitchell Report (avilable here) turns up these players who were with the Texas Rangers at some point in their career, although not necessarily when they were with the Rangers at the time.

  • Ferguson Jenkins (Page 29) – Then commissioner Kuhn suspended Jenkins for his refusal to cooperate in an investigation into his own arrest for marijuana, hash, & cocaine.
  • Jose Canseco (Page 66) – No further comment needed on this.
  • John Hart / Juan Gonzalez (Page 98) – I’ll just quote.. “By early in the 2002 season, however, Presinal was observed in and around the clubhouse of the Texas Rangers (where Juan Gonzalez was playing at the time). Sign-in records indicate that Presinal was in the Rangers clubhouse frequently that season. The Rangers also reserved (but did not pay for) rooms for Presinal at the club’s hotels that season. The Rangers’ general manager, John Hart, was aware of the October 2001 incident and Presinal’s alleged role in it”. Busting John Hart was a bit of a surprise.
  • David Segui (Page 150) – He has already publically admitted his use, no surprise here.
  • Gregg Zaun (Page 179) – Apparently bought some steroids when he was with Kansas City. He never had that “look” of a steroid user, though.
  • Hicks/Daniels (Page 204) – This page says the two had suspicions of Miguel Tejada when there was some talk of acquring him in December 2005.
  • Mike Stanton (Page 205) – Apparently bought in 2001 when he was with the Mets.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr (Page 207 & 251) – According to this page, he bought in 2003, after being referred to by Segui, and then again in 2004.
  • Kevin Brown (Page 214) – According to this, he was referred to by Paul LoDuca when the two were teammates for the Dodgers.
  • Eric Gagne (Page 217) – Appears that he bought sometime between 1999 and 2004 (again referred to by LoDuca).
  • Gary Matthews Jr (Page 252) – Says what we already knew, that he received a package of HGH in August 2004 at an address by then Ranger minor leaguer Chad Allen.
  • Ismael Valdez (Page 255) – Says that he bought $2500 of HGH in Sep 2002 while with the Mariners.
  • Steve Woodard (Page 256) – Mentions he recieved steroids & HGH, but does not say WHEN.
  • Jamie Reed (Page 299) – Rangers trainer is mentioned as someone who is anti-steroid.

That’s my quick scan of the 409 page document for “Texas Rangers”. If I missed someone, please comment on it.
Interesting that the report says that John Hart was “aware” of events during his tenure – and Juan Gonzalez is linked to him, too.
UPDATE: In my quick scan I missed a few players. I’ve looked at a few compiled lists since then, and saw that these guys were named, too.

  • John Rocker
  • Ken Caminiti – No surprise there, he admitted it.
  • Manny Alexander

Rafael Palmeiro & Sammy Sosa are listed, but only regarding interviews; no implication of them “using” that I can find.


Torii Hunter

I was planning on writing about Torii Hunter today, and how Arte Moreno seems to be trying to do what we tried to do in 2001 with Galarraga, Caminiti, & Arod by trying to be George Steinbrenner.
I don’t feel like writing about that after reading about Joe Kennedy. Seems petty. Hunter went for the cash grab. He would have been nice here, but oh well. Probably will make a run at Aaron Rowand, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Marlon Byrd out there in 2008.
UPDATE: There’s a good post with a summary of various people’s feelings about Torii Hunter and the Angels. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. I particularly get a kick out of the notion read about moving Vlad Guerrero to permanent DH. One of the best arms in baseball, and you stick him in the DH hole. Smart.
UPDATE 2: Don’t forget Adam Morris’ thoughts on the matter. It’s pretty much what I feel anyway, so go read what Adam wrote I concur. :)


RIP Joe Kennedy

Black Friday, indeed. Saw this on ESPN a few minutes ago.

Free-agent pitcher Joe Kennedy, who played for Oakland, Arizona and Toronto in 2007, died early Friday of undetermined causes, reports’s Jerry Crasnick. He was 28.

May all of God’s blessings be with the Kennedy family, who obviously lost someone way too soon. I just hope that God’s plan for Joe’s early exit from the Earth will end up serving some greater cause.
Godspeed to Joe Kennedy, may his journey forward in the next life be one filled with the love from our heavenly Father.


Barry Bonds

Well, Barry Bonds was indicted this afternoon. I think this surprises uh, nobody? I’m not going to get into all the fiasco of that situation. I almost don’t care at all. I just wanted to bring two pictures up to the top of the site since he was indicted today.
They’re pictures taken in Philadelphia in 2006 when Bonds played there. I know Philly fans have a bit of a “reputation”, but sometimes it’s perfect. Several of the fans in left field at a particular game had some rather inventive signs out there. One was having a ton of them hold up asterisk signs. That was funny.
The other was a multi section, really long banner (with Bonds standing in front of it for added flavor) that said, “Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer, Aaron did it with class, how did you do it?” Quite amusing. Check ‘em out:


Sosa, Hairston file for free agency

Another gaggle of players filed for free agency yesterday. The first two Texas Rangers have done that as wel, those being Jerry Hairston Jr (who probably won’t be back), and Sammy Sosa (who could if all the stars align).
While I didn’t find a list of just who filed yesterday, now has a list of all the players who have filed; that list is available here.


So the fun begins

OK, I knew I couldn’t wait all offseason to have something to say. The Arod opt out kind of kicked me into doing something. :) It’s quite weird but in the last few seasons, I’ve enjoyed all the off season business stuff just as much as the actual games. Don’t know when that happened. Maybe I could get a job for Scott Boras. I know he has some money to throw around.
Anyway, no Texas Rangers filed for free agency on the first day of eligibility, but 57 players did, including several ex Rangers, and a few players that are supposedly on the Rangers’ radar this offseason. They are:
American League:
A’s: Jeff DaVanon, Shannon Stewart
Angels: Bartolo Colon
Blue Jays: Joe Kennedy, Matt Stairs
Indians: Trot Nixon
Royals: Jason LaRue, Reggie Sanders
Tigers: Sean Casey, Todd Jones
Twins: Torii Hunter, Carlos Silva
Yankees: Doug Mientkiewicz, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Luis Vizcaino
National League:
Astros: Brad Ausmus, Mike Lamb, Mark Loretta, Trever Miller, Brian Moehler, Orlando Palmeiro
Braves: Julio Franco, Ron Mahay
Brewers: Francisco Cordero, Ray King, Corey Koskie, Scott Linebrink, Damian Miller
Cardinals: Miguel Cairo, David Eckstein, Troy Percival, Kip Wells
Cubs: Kerry Wood
Diamondbacks: Jeff Cirillo, Livan Hernandez, Bob Wickman
Giants: Barry Bonds, Pedro Feliz
Marlins: Armando Benitez
Mets: Marlon Anderson, Luis Castillo, Ramon Castro, Damion Easley, Shawn Green, Paul LoDuca
Nationals: Robert Fick
Padres: Michael Barrett, Milton Bradley
Phillies: Jon Lieber, Jose Mesa, Abraham Nunez, Aaron Rowand
Pirates: Tony Armas, Jr
Rockies: Jeremy Affeldt, Jorge Julio
If you’re reading this site, you know who the Rangers are likely to go after (Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand are the most named). There’s some on there that I probably wouldn’t mind bringing back on a flier (Ron Mahay, Cordero, but he’d likely want too much $ and guaranteed closer). Bartolo Colon couldn’t hurt, although I wonder if he’d sign here. Kerry Wood in the bullpen, perhaps?
There’s quite a few of the oh dear God no – don’t think that on that list. :)
And is Julio Franco a formality? Isn’t he retiring?


The Best of Times; The Worst of Times

Sports tonight was most definitely a mixed bag. Big time. My emotions were all over the place. Such highs. Such lows..
It was the best of times..

It was the worst of times..

Even as bad (and I do mean BAD – it was really really awful) as that third picture was, I can still take solace in the fact that
In an unrelated comment to either of these. Is it just me, or does Chip Caray sound just like Joe Buck? I kept thinking Joe Buck was working the game, and I remembered this wasn’t Fox.


Congratus to Carlos Pena

Carlos PenaOK, it lasted two days. I had to say something. :)
Congratulations to former Ranger Carlos Pena who won the AL Comeback player of the year award.
I remember when he was here thinking he was going to be the next big time 20+ year Ranger player, and he fizzled. Didn’t do great in either Oakland or Detroit. Of course he has a monster year in Tampa Bay, and his agent is Scott Boras. You think he’ll be staying there?
But that issue aside, it’s nice to see him figure it out. We’re in the market for a regular first baseman, what do you think? :) Shows you how long ago he was here, the mug shot pic I have has him wearing a red cap.


MLB “in da hood”

Check this out. Apparently Major League Baseball and New Era caps have been selling caps in Harlem stores that contain gang signs. Now I wouldn’t know this, and I’m sure most of the Wall Street folks who make up marketing don’t know what a gang sign is, either, but it strikes me as odd that they didn’t know this ahead of time. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Major League Baseball … is very concerned about the issue,” said Silvia Alvarez, the league’s director of multicultural and charitable communications, in a statement.

They obviously weren’t concerned enough to research the problem before these things went on sale, were they? :)


Congratulations to Barry Bonds

You know, all the problems, all the investigations… I have to say, congratulations to Barry Bonds. No matter what you think of him, no matter what you think he may or may not have done, it’s still an impressive accomplishment. No, I don’t have a problem with this, really.
The way I look at it is this. Even if I took twice the amount of things people have said Barry did. Heck, even four or five times the amount, there’s no way it would make me hit baseballs like that. The natural talent is still there, and it’s still impressive. Even if you go back to a time before all these issues are alleged to have started, he was still a hall of famer. Great player. To hit that many baseballs takes talent that I don’t think any drug can give you. Plus, to be honest, it is still a big deal, and I’m not going to get all mad about it, get all pissy like a lot of sports people will probably do (Jim Rome comes to mind). I’m going to enjoy it. Partially because I figure Arod will probably beat it a few years down the road. :)
The local connection is that former Ranger Mike Bacsik was the one who gave up the shot. Quite a fiasco in the stands rumbling around for the ball.
Also, I was QUITE surprised at the video message from Hank Aaron. Given how much has been written about how Aaron can’t stand Bonds, I was quite frankly shocked to see that there, especially given the remark that Hank Aaron made not too long ago saying he “didn’t know how to spell his name”. So it was quite surprising to see him there. Barry definitely loves his dad – that much showed in his speech.
I say let it go, because if you asterisk this event, then where do you stop with the “steroid era” stuff? Do you just eliminate anything that happened between 1985 or so and now? You can’t do that either, so you just live with it, I think.
Now if something definitely happens, and we have concrete proof and he admits something, I might change my opinion, but for now…
Congratulations Barry Bonds.

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New Baseball Caps

In a move that will probably make the zealots over at Peta happy.. It was announced today that starting in 2007, there will be new baseball caps worn by the players on the field. They won’t look any different, but they’ll be made out of different material. Previously (and for some time, too) they were made out of wool. The new ones will be made out of 100% polyester. It’s some sort of new tech in the hat to reduce sweat, and make the hat better in say 100 degree days.
I wonder what they’ll feel like – according to the article, they’ll all have black brims, and will conduct sweat away much better than before. I know a lot of people get all bent out of shape over change. What I worry about is if they’ll use this as an excuse to raise the prices again. These things are already way too expensive ($28 per cap). In re-reading the article, I missed the sidebars the first time. The price is going up again. Retail on these hats will be $32, instead of the $29 they previously were. Hopefully they don’t get so sweat stained up as much, so I can keep one for a few more seasons than before, and amortize the cost. It seems really weird to be using the phrase “amortize the cost” in a story about a baseball cap.
Anyway, go check out the full article over at USA Today, which has quotes from several players. One of my favorites is a line from Diamdondbacks infielder Orlando Hudson, who says that after the season starts, it will be about his performance, not his hat.


Rules Changes for 2007

Last night posted a story on changes in the game. Normally I roll my eyes at things like this (whatever happened to the consistant strike zone attempt from a couple of years ago), however, some of these could be interesting. Here’s some of the points they made:

  • Tie Games: Used to be if a game was a tie and was called for weather, they’d be replayed, but now according to the article, “While previously such games were considered official and replayed in their entirety from the beginning, hence they will be “suspended” and resumed at the point of stoppage.” According to the article, “Tie games will resume prior to the next scheduled game between the teams, in the visitors’ park if no more games are scheduled at the same site. If no more games are scheduled between the teams, the tie would stand unless an outcome would decide a playoff spot — in which case the game would be replayed in its entirety. ”
  • Time Between Pitches: Apparently a pitcher gets 20 seconds between pitches to deliver the next one. That’s been reduced to 12. I can see a lot of fidgety guys complaining that it’s ruining their pitching if they start going bad. The violation each time is a ball. Al Hrabosky wouldn’t like this, I’m sure. :)
  • Batters Box: What might be called the anti-Nomah rule, you now have to keep one foot in the batters box during your at-bat, otherwise they call a strike. Now things like almost getting hit by a pitch and bailing out, that would be OK, but the article states “requiring they keep one foot in the batter’s box throughout his at-bat, except for certain game-play conditions — during which he is still not allowed to leave the dirt area surrounding the plate.” That seems pretty wide open to interpretation.
  • Ball Scuffing: A major change here. Used to be they’d call a ball if you were busted scuffing the ball. Now it’s a 10 game suspension? Wow. That’s a HUGE change. I wonder what they’ll do about 42 year old pitchers in the world series with substances on their hands? 100 game suspension, and a forced listening of Kenny G’s catalogue?
  • Rosin on ball: Whoops. Spoke too soon. There’s the Kenny Rogers rule. 10 game suspension.
  • Political Correctness: While the rules have never ruled out women, there hasn’t been a woman get anywhere near the major leagues (that I’m aware of) on the grounds of merit before. So in order to make things more “fair” (WTF), the rulebook now has a disclaimer that says “The rulebook now includes the disclaimer that references “to ‘he,’ ‘him’ or ‘his’ shall be deemed to be a reference to ‘she,’ ‘her’ or ‘hers'” where applicable.”. (WTF 2)

According to the article, they’re the first rule changes since the attempt at unifying the strike zone in 1996. There were a couple of changes to the official scoring rules, too. I’ll just quote from the article, since neither are a major deal to the way I score a game:
“”For instance, the guidewords for deciding whether to credit a batter with a sacrifice bunt have changed from him being possibly retired on a “perfect play” to “ordinary effort” by the defense.
And fans weary of hearing “defensive indifference” on stolen-base attempts will be heartened to learn that the scorer must now base that call on all game circumstances, not merely on whether someone covered the base or the catcher got off a throw.”


New Managers

There’s an article up on which talks about the new managers this year. Specifically it gets into who the author thinks will have the most impact on their new clubs. Obviously, there’s a section on Ron Washington. Here’s all the managers discussed:
Lou Piniella (Cubs)
Bruce Bochy (Giants)
Manny Acta (Nationals)
Bob Geren (A’s)
Fredi Gonzalez (Marlins)
Bud Black (San Diego)
Ron Washington (Rangers)
That’s 7 of the 30 managers being new, and of those seven, five of them are first timers to boot. Check out the article, some nice reading.


MLB Extra Innings

For a few years (a few years ago) I subscribed to the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV. It allowed you to see a lot more games than you normally would. You can’t see everything, mind you, but you get to see a lot. A lot of fans are addicted to this package – I personally stopped getting it when I realized I was watching about 90% Rangers games, the cost for the packge didn’t make it worth it for me. But it’s worth it for others, and I bet a lot of those “others” are pissed off at the story MLB is cooking up with Extra Innings.
While the agreement hasn’t been formally signed and announced, everything points to the MLBEI package being a DirecTV exclusive product starting this season in a similar fashion to the NFL Sunday Ticket package (which I do subscribe to). Folks who got MLBEI on cable will be left out, unless they switch to DirecTV, of course. This is all about a cash grab, and it doesn’t strike me as the best strategy, unless they feel that the money they’d get from MLB would offset the loss of revenue from folks who will not switch to DirecTV.
One thing that is coming out of this will be a 24 hour baseball channel on DirecTV, starting in 2009 according to this article over at “The Biz of Baseball”. I’ve linked to these guys several times, and if you aren’t reading it regularly, you should. For some reason, as I got close to 40, I became a lot more interested in the business side of baseball. I still love the sport, love watching games, always will. But I love the backside stuff now a lot more than I used to, and TBoB is a great site for this kind of thing. Make sure and check out their updated article on the MLB Extra Innings deal, which has some nice details on the matter.


Andy Pettite

One guy I know some of my other Ranger fan website brethren have advocated, Andy Pettite, appears to be close to resigning with the Yankees. Ugh. I hate it when someone helps the Yankees, and you know that $7 mil a year we’re sending Steinbrenner really frosts my weenie. ;)
Seriously, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Pettite here, but I didn’t think it was a realistic option. I figured it would be Houston, New York, or the baseball game that comes with the Nintendo Wii.


Ryan Howard

Saw a minute or two ago that Ryan Howard was named MVP of the NL for 2006. As a Phillies fan in addition to a Rangers fan, I have to admit I had a bit of the homer choice there. :)
It is an accomplishment – I heard on XM’s Home Plate channel last week that if Howard did get it, he’d be one of only a few players in MLB history to be crowed rookie of the year and then league MVP the following year. Cal Ripken did it, I forget who the other was (memory says it’s just one other guy).
I think Pujols probably would have gotten it had he stayed healthy all season.
P.S. Wanted to say hi to the guy who works at the Garland Firewheel Build a Bear Store. I was in there Sat night making a bear for my daughter, and he recognized me. Yo! :)