Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday 06/21 A.M. Quickie:
Sosa 600, Pac-Man Fever, Schilling, Rivals, More!

Today's Names to Know: Sosa, Pac-Man, Sprint, Rivals.

Sosa 600! Hank... Barry... Babe... Willie... Sammy.

Whether or not he was a product of MLB's Steroids Era, no one will be able to take lifetime membership in the hyper-exclusive "600 Club" from Sammy Sosa.

Does his name look out of place on that list? Sure, but the fact is: He got there, which -- tainted or clean -- is a hell of an achievement. Consider that a player would have to average 30 home runs a year for 20 years... or, for those who like a challenge, 40 HR a year for 15 years.

I think it's a moment to celebrate Sammy. At his peak in the late-90s, few players brought more excitement or joy to baseball fans. In that respect, he was the heir to Ruth and Mays and Aaron, rather than Bonds.

Pac-Man Jones: Two felony charges. If Roger Goodell would suspend Jones for an entire season simply for being immersed in trouble, what will he do when Jones actually IS in trouble? Two-year ban? Lifetime ban? I suppose that Jones has a lot bigger problems now than his NFL future.

More NFL: Is Larry Johnson going to hold out? Unless you're a Chiefs fan, the only reason you care about this is if you hold one of the Top 5 picks in your fantasy-league draft, and I'm sure you'd much rather debate where LJ should be picked than his banal real-life issues.

Blazers hire Nike guy: You could either run a huge division of Nike or run one of the rising powers in the NBA. Larry Miller chose the NBA (I wonder if it would have been the same choice had the team not had the top overall pick of this year's draft?)

Oden or Durant? I was a take-Oden-first guy all the way, but I've started to talk myself into other thinking. I haven't changed my mind yet, but I'm entertaining it...

MLB Trade: Do you actually believe Cubs execs who insist that trading Michael Barrett had nothing to do with his various conflicts with Cubs pitchers? Why don't they just say: "Of COURSE that's the reason!"

MLB Stud: Tom Hicks, if only for spicing up the season by suggesting Rangers all-time great Juan Gonzalez used PEDs. Check the bus tires!

MLB Dud: Jason Schmidt is out for the season, making his free-agency signing the biggest bust of the offseason.

Schilling to DL: More time to blog!

PGA to test for PEDs? I suspect there's probably less PED usage in golf than there is in, say, the NFL or MLB -- but more more PED usage in golf than you think there is. A new PED-testing policy could be fascinating.

NASCAR changing names? I'll tell you what: "Sprint Cup" is a hell of a lot more cool and "racing-ish" than "Nextel Cup" or "Winston Cup."

(Warning: If you don't care about online sports media industry "inside baseball," stop reading now.)

Yahoo buys Rivals.com: It's a good move for Yahoo, because Rivals is the best message-board community in sports, if not all of the Web. (Try to think of another online site whose entire value -- $100 million, no less -- is basically in its message boards. Incredible.)

Yahoo acquires a very strong competitive position: Rivals is the pre-eminent college-sports resource and community, and the switching costs for its consumers is very high. ESPN and FoxSports can't simply build a great message-board network. (And I'm not even sure they want to.)

I usually charge for my online-media consulting advice, but here's the summary of my unsolicited memo to Yahoo Sports execs:

Between Fantasy and now Message-Board Community, you have distinct advantages over your competitors; why not press those advantages, rather than continuing to try to compete as a consumer sports-news service with Reggie Bush "exclusives" (sorry: yawn) and uninspired ex-newspaper columnists writing uninspired newspaper-style sports columns online?

(I don't write that to rip the work being done. I simply question whether homemade original content unrelated to fantasy -- and, now, Rivals -- is the business that it is worth Yahoo Sports to focus on. It's too competitive: The combo of ESPN.com and indie blogs have won the game.)

I'm betting that 95 percent of Yahoo Sports' traffic is geared toward Fantasy. No one goes to Yahoo for straight news or opinion, unless it relates to fantasy. And you know what? That's a great position to be in.

Mainstream sports media's (and I include ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and Yahoo Sports as "mainstream") news "scoops" and even opinion commentary have become entirely commoditized:

As fast as a "scoop" gets published, many/any of your blogs of choice will have it up, too. And the best (and certainly most timely) opinion in sports media is happening on blogs rather than in mainstream sports media.

Yahoo Sports' "MySpace" or "Facebook" big-money proposition is its fantasy infrastructure, which fends off commoditization, because each league and team is YOURS, and from all accounts, you stick with Yahoo's fantasy league because you've used it for years and because it works.

That's the same reason the Rivals deal makes sense for Yahoo: In the same way your fantasy team is your own, your preferred college-football message board is your own, too. And Rivals -- now Yahoo Sports -- offers the best board experience.

(If Yahoo Sports was smart, the next thing it would do is drive down the street and acquire ProTrade, another unique sports-community and fantasy-sports platform.)

Darren Rovell has the must-read analysis.

-- D.S.

47 comments:

rafael said...

Re: Sosa
We are hearing a lot of arguments about not being able to ignore his numbers and to put him in the HOF. That's fine. But those same people can't get on the "Keep Bonds Out" bandwagon since he's in the 700 club. Can't ignore the homerun king.

Re: PacMan
I think lifetime bans are ridiculous and stupid. If you want to end his playing career, then ban him for 10 years. Lifetime bans sound tough, but I think they are more trouble than tey are worth (see: Pete Rose)

Re: Oden
Even Simmons is going towards Durant. Calls him a "center with a ceiling" while Durant "has no ceiling". Right. Except that Oden's ceiling appears to be Russell-esque. Durant will not be an MJ or Magic type of player. So yes, he has a ceiling.
Are you people forgetting that you can ALWAYS find scorers? How often do good centers come along?

ryan from boston,ma said...

Rivals.com main site is great for infotmation.
Dan,even though I like Rivals message Boards,Scout.com still wins, because I don't have to pay, or sign up for anything.I can get free information from bloggers,and fans a like on their message boards.No dissing on Rivals,that's my two cents.

GuyInTheCorner said...

Major stud to Jeremy Guthrie for being the only good thing on the O's. Here are some stats. Keep in mind that these numbers are all for his 10 starts this season. They do not include when they stupidly put him in the bullpen.

71.1 IP, 3-1, 47/10 K/BB, 1.64 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, .181 BAA

And yes, that is the top ERA, WHIP, and BAA of any starter.

pv845 said...

Re Pac-Man: While I understand the thoughts behind banning Pac-Man for a year, I think that it is bad for the player when he has all this trouble and you ban him from the team, the team contact, and the support of the organization.

I think they should allow him to play, reduce his salary or force him to donate it to charity. Have him do community service to keep him out of trouble. I know these people are adults, but like any adult, they have to act like they have half a brain and when they don't, they need a parent, the NFL, to step in and take care of them before the State does instead.

Ghost of Carl Monday said...

RE: Sosa

Totally on your side with the steriods thing. He still did an incredible thing, helped pharmacutical or otherwise. I feel the same way about Bonds. We need to celebrate the achievement because that's what it is.

RE: YahooSports

Blogs are the future, whether Dan Shaughnessey things we're all basement-dwelling, parent-living with, acne-covered nerds or not. I am and I love it. If nothing else, it gets me through an immensely boring day of work.

Christopher said...

Can I get an MLB Dud to whomever is responsible for sound on the Public Address system at the Ballpark at Arlington? The theme from The Natural does not strike me as appropos for Sammy. Both his body and his bat have been proven unnatural in the past.

CMFost said...

Does it really mater about Pacman since by next year he is probably going to be in jail for a long time and by the time he gets out he will be at the age to retire.

CMFost said...

Stud - Julian Taverez
Dud - Braves Pitching - 5 Hr's given up

CMFost said...

raf - I think the main difference is that Bonds would of been a HOF with or without the steroids. Sosa would not of been a HOF without the help of roids.

ryan from boston,ma said...

Eventually Sosa will get in. He was caught corking his bat. Big deal. There are a lot of "cheaters" in the HOF.

Dan Mega said...

MLB Dud- White Sox, again, just keep putting them up here.

GuyInTheCorner said...

If anyone was wondering the runner-up for Guthrie's ERA/WHIP/BAA of 1.64/0.76/.181 is Dan Haren with a 1.78/0.90/.187 which is 2nd in all 3 categories.

Keep in mind that Guthrie's numbers are for 10 starts whereas Haren's are through 16 though.

Jon said...

Good thing Costanza never had kids...especially in New Zealand.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/21/name.child.ap/index.html

CMFost said...

Hey Dan, What no mention of Jeff Gordon becoming a dad yesterday??? Lebron - Yes, Tiger - Yes, Jeff - No

Did anyone else see the story on sportscenter about how lucky these kids are.

Michael said...

Did anyone see the report on espn yesterday that Oden's wrist is still not healthy and there were a couple of other health concerns?

Todd said...

MLB Studs and Duds from yesterday:

Studs:
1. Jeff Weaver - W, 9.0IP, 0ER, 4H, 2BB, 5Ks
2. Jeremy Guthrie - W, 8.0IP, ER, 4H, BB, 9Ks
3. Julian Tavarez - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 3H, BB, 4Ks
4. Roy Halladay - W, 8.0IP, ER, 6H, BB, 4Ks
5. Jeff Francis - W, 7.0IP, ER, 5H, BB, 9Ks

Duds:
1. Hong Chih-Kuo - L, 1.2IP, 8ER, 6H, 2BB, K
2. Buddy Carlyle - L, 3.2IP, 7ER, 9H, 3BB, 3HRs
3. Barry Zito - L, 4.0IP, 6ER, 5H, BB
4. John Buck - 0/6, 2Ks, 4LOB
5. Andy Pettite - L, 6.2IP, 6ER, 9H, 2BB, 4Ks

Honorary Yawn: Sammy Sosa. The reason this really isn't that relevant is that Sosa really doesn't matter at all to most people anymore, and in general is just a terrible baseball at this point. Great, you hit #600... call me when your OBP isn't hovering around .300. At least Bonds isn't dragging his team down.

GuyInTheCorner said...

That report was that he had not regained complete flexibility yet. It also came from an unknown source which many people believe to be the Sonics.

thistlewarrior said...

Big huge freakin' dud (again) to the Red's bullpen. Honorary dud also for Jerry Narron for pinch-hitting for Hamilton. WTF?!!

Qwagmire said...

Day 4 (actually year 10) of Orioles held hostage

Michael said...

That would be great if that report came from the sonics, ha

A.P. Boynton said...

Stud: Entire Red Sox team

Dweeze said...

I find myself going to Yahoo for straight-up sports news and to Sportsline for analysis, so it seems to me that boosting those capabilities at Yahoo makes sense because it could make them more of a one-stop shop for readers, particularly if they could ever pry SB Nation from Kos' hands (I know, that's never going to happen) or, barring that, developing their own group of sports blogs.

Kevin said...

Agree with Todd...why is Sosa's 600th such a big deal? Has he had a better career with 600 HRs than he did with 588? It's not like he's been helping his team...hopefully now the Rangers get him out of there and put in a DH who will OBP above .300...

pv845 said...

I know this is a day late, but because everyone is speaking of worthless DH's:
HUGE multi-year Dud: Mike Sweeney

Is there a guy that has been more worthless for a team that him?

Todd said...

Mike Hampton comes to mind as being more worthless to the Rockies (and now Braves). Kevin Brown had his moments with the Yankees, and Chan Ho Park was another terrible deal when the Rangers signed him. But Sweeney's deal is bad. When does that come off the books for KC?

CMFost said...

What about Carl Pavano??? in 3 years with the yankees he has made 19 starts with a record of 5-6 with a 4.77 ERA

Todd said...

Or Matt Clement for that matter.

pv845 said...

This is the last year of the Sweeney contract. Thanks to the miracle Royals season in 2003, Sweeney extended his contract with the team for another year. The sad thing is that he only played in about a third of the games that year and has gone down hill from then.

Natsfan74 said...

How about Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt? 2 huge contracts. 1 on the DL, the other just sucks!

CMFost said...

Here is a questions: Is it worse for a player to sign a big contract and then suck or is it worse to sign a big contract and be injured all the time?

I think it is worse for the team if you suck, at least if you are hurt a team has a chance to replace you with a healthy player

Also add to the list Julio Lugo who is coming close to dropping below the mendoza line.

rafael said...

Unless Oden's leg falls off, he'll be top 2.

His wrist hasn't healed all the way. Um..so? Seriously? He'll be in the league 15 years and you worry his wrist will be stiff for training camp?

denvergodfather said...

Shanoff, what no more talk about the eaters?

Michael said...

There is always the question as to whether or not his wrist will ever heal fully and if he can't night in and night out olay like he did in the Ntnl Championship game it could be cause for concern.
He will still go number on e though

spinachdip said...

In retrospect, I think one of Yahoo's biggest mistake was not acquiring one of the major blog platforms. They have some key community-based assets like their Rivals and Flickr, and they're trying to acquire MySpace, but blogs are the ones they really missed the boat on. They could have had the whole user-generated content thing on locked down (YouTube excepted, of course).

But as it stands, AOL has the semi-pros (i.e. FanHouse) and Google has the indies with Blogger, and Yahoo's left with Geocities?

Qwagmire said...

Girardi turns down O's

Further into the Abyss...

Big D said...

@ qwagmire:

Consider yourself lucky as an O's fan that Girardi turned down the job. Count me among the group of people (someone mentioned it on here a couple days ago) who believe his managerial style is far better at convincing very young, very green players to go out and win games. I just don't see him "getting through" to guys like Tejada, Huff, Millar, etc. - the guys who've been around and heard all the "rah-rah" speeches. He's a motivator, not a manager.

That being said, it doesn't take much to be a good manager in the bigs. Take someone like Jim Leyland - keep your guys interested, take the fall for them if necessary, hang them out to dry when they really blow it, and never hesitate to blow up at someone - media, umpire, guys on the team - if you think it'll get your guys back into the season.

Joe Torre, for all his rings, seems to have become a little complacent with his guys. Sure, he's a great game manager (or he has been in the past) - always used to have a knack for getting the right guy in the right situation. But it seems like he adopted the "If you can't get fired up to play for the Yankees, then nothing I can say or do will change that" mentality, and now just sits on the bench sending signals, waiting for Big Stein to bring down the guillotine.

/end managerial rant

Benjamin Kabak said...

MLB Stud: Tom Hicks, if only for spicing up the season by suggesting Rangers all-time great Juan Gonzalez used PEDs. Check the bus tires!

Is this supposed to be a secret? Doesn't anyone remember the story last year? The one that noted that in 2001, Angel Presinal, trainer to Juan Gone, was picked up for steroid possession in the Toronto airport?

It's not a surprise that Hicks would say this. It's old news.

Qwagmire said...

@big d

I didnt think Girardi would be a good fit, but someone new to the organization was going to be a good start.

Im almost hoping for Davey Johnson now, but he and McPhail need to change a lot of things about philosophy and how things are done.

It has gone from a bragging poiunt 20 years ago to an embarrasment saying Im an Orioles fan. My family USED to have 8 sets of season tickets that they cancelled 3 years ago.

I still do not see anything going too right while Angelos is there, unless he realized the 2,000,000 fans a year he has lost spend about $50 a game on top of the tickets. Maybe the dancing dollar signs finally brought him to his senses

Todd said...

I think the Hicks thing is sort of a big deal, in that it's the first time management has openly called out a former player, right? I mean in the "no snitch" ole boys network of MLB, the one where they celebrate idiots like Joe Morgan who still can't forgive Jim Bouton, this is something.

As for Girardi, I disagree with Big D. Not necessarily that he's wrong per se, but that his job last year with the Marlins necessitated he take the role of bringing along young players. I think it's wrong to say he can't coach veteran players, since the only experience he had was coaching a ton of rookies. I don't think anyone could safely say that he absolutely couldn't do that, he just hasn't ever had to yet. Also, note that the Marlins are doing just about as well without Girardi, despite having a lot of their best pitchers from last year hurt for a lot of the year (Anibal, Josh Johnson).

But I think the real problem was that the O's had a meddling owner, which was his problem in Florida, and that if he took the O's job he'd have to compete against the Yankees every year, which I bet he really doesn't want to do.

Sean (Pittsburgh) said...

Check this out! Great parody done by the Pirates PR group and shown on the video scoreboard during the past few home games. It's getting alot of press around Pittsburgh...not sure if it's gone any further yet.

Pirate Parrot Sopranos Parody

carlivar said...

Re: Michael Barrett -- I'm sure the Zambrano incident contributed, but as a Cubs fan this is a great trade despite all that.

Barrett is a free agent at the end of the year. The Cubs won't resign him. He'll be too expensive (they got him off the Montreal scrap heap originally). So the Cubs got two players (including a recent #35 overall pick) for almost nothing, this season aside.

Add to the fact that Barrett is simply a bonehead mentally. Before the Zambrano fight he had made a couple really stupid mental mistakes, like trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a grounder to short (thrown out easily at a critical point in the game).

He's also thrown out LESS THAN 10 PERCENT of runners this year!

Barrett was a major reason why the Cubs record in 1-run games is so poor.

I think the media loves to obsess over interesting reasons like the Zambrano/Barrett fight. If the real reasons are less interesting, what's the point in reporting that?

shooless99 said...

biggest bust free agent signing that goes to the giants in Zito and Bonds, nearly 40 million a year for those 2 and what do you get. nothing but crap, If it wasn't for Cain and Lincecum being a giants fan right now would totaly suck

Todd said...

I disagree carlivar, because you neglected to say one thing in your otherwise well-written argument. And that's that specifically because Barrett will be a free agent at the end of the year, and likely won't re-sign him, that they could have gotten a first round draft pick and a supplemental first round pick for him, assuming he'd be a type-A free agent, which at Catcher I'm sure he would.

So while they're getting a former high draft pick, by trading Barrett, they're also losing the potential to gain two more draft picks for next season.

carlivar said...

todd, don't the Cubs only get such compensation if they offer Barrett something? (can't recall the details - arbitration, full contract, something like that)

Todd said...

Yes, they'd have to offer him arbitration, but it'd be highly unlikely that Barrett would accept, given that he'd likely have suitors for a multi-year deal somewhere else where he could also make more money.

I'm sure that San Diego will do this with Barrett, and net the draft picks. That's why I think that despite Barrett's defensive shortcomings, he wasn't worth getting rid of.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Good read on Pavano and the 40 million the Yanks wasted on him.

Lozo said...

Just wanted to say that since you linked to my Clemens live-blog a while back when you were filling in for the weekend on Deadspin, I threw you some votes on the hot blogger bracket.

Never before have women preferred a guy known for a "quickie" in such great numbers. There's hope for me yet.