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Category: news

Juice (Know The Ledge)

Terry Francona & Mike Hargrove; photo by Erik Drost

Here’s a fun discussion to have; one I was having offline that was suggested to me to post here: what managers really have “juice” these days? Not PEDs of course, but respect; the kind that allows them to call the shots in the dugout without too much input, oversight or meddling from the GM and front office? There have been many discussions about the true role of the manager in the Age of Analytics, and how the importance of the manager has either diminished or shifted to other points of interest.  I thus made an impromptu list of current managers and ranked them by service time, how many rings they’ve won, how many times they led their team to a championship series and the general perception likely by players, fans and others around the league.

The topic arose, ironically, from the latest news reports about the Houston Astros cheating scandal and former manager A.J. Hinch’s role in the whole story. The general conclusion was that Hinch, who was contrite in apologizing for not doing enough to discourage the cheating that MLB investigated and concluded in a mostly direct report, yet seemingly danced around a direct question about the use of wearable tech by players, would likely never manage again in the majors due to his apparent show of weakness among veteran players and his drop in credibility. Depending on the results of the ongoing investigation of the 2018 Red Sox due to their association with Alex Cora and how he reportedly continued his cheating methods as manager, Cora could also likely be blacklisted as a manager of a MLB team, if not worse.  Also, with Carlos Beltran continually being outed for his role and impact on other players, Beltran could stand to lose the most from the scandal when all is said and done.  But what is most telling is the role the front office reportedly had in both initiating and implementing the cheating in the first place, and how that impacted players who either played along or protested against the cheating.  Former GM Jeff Lunhow is very likely out of MLB anything for good, due in part to his alleged oversight of the whole operation (and the fact that he denied any knowledge whatsoever), and also due to the fact he has virtually no supporters in other organizations;  many people disliked his personality and hubris.

With all that said, do any managers really have power within the organization to lead or direct players in any capacity beyond writing their names on the lineup card and implementing analysis that was cooked up by a GM and his analytics department? Is there more to it than that and managing personalities anymore? Are managers more than notebook carriers and soothsayers for impressionable young stars in the making? Are style, personality, managing or coaching experience (particulary in the majors) and verifiable results actually unwelcome aspects when considering hiring a new manager in this day and age?  Could a Rob Thomson or a Hensley Meulens ever get a manager job over a recently retired player or even a quality assurance coach?

Here’s the list of current managers for each team (courtesy of BR Bullpen):

American League

National League

I underlined the managers who’ve managed more than one team (I would say no less than five years total experience, probably averaging ten) and boldened managers who’ve taken their teams to the Championship Series in their respective leagues.  Out of the ones who’ve achieved both distinctions, I would say six have some juice as managers:
  1. Terry Francona
  2. Joe Maddon
  3. Joe Girardi
  4. Dusty Baker/Aaron Boone
  5. Ron Gardenhire
The first three have won a World Series (Francona twice).  Dusty is the top guy without a ring, followed by or perhaps tied with Boone (largely on two 100-win seasons managing the Yankees), Gardenhire, Mattingly, Matheny and Melvin.  The last three are more or less legacy hires and could be ranked under both Dave Roberts and Dave Martinez (who just won a ring), were it not for the fact that they are largely guided by their front offices (Martinez is arguable).  You can say that Mattingly has more juice than Gardenhire based on his notable playing career alone, but Gardenhire has a longer track record as a winning manager. Neither are managing good teams right now, either. Craig Counsell, Kevin Cash and Bud Black are probably the only managers left with discernible cache, the rest are either newbies or also-rans. Bud Black, Ron Roenicke and maybe Rick Renteria are the only guys I would consider retreads (I don’t count Dusty, Melvin and Matheny because of their playoff experience), but even those three have a serviceable amount of experience to consider, and in Renteria’s case a championship ring that was given to him by the Cubs in honor of his service as manager for a rebuilding team that won the championship after he was unceremoniously dumped for another (i.e. more-respected) manager.  Also for what it’s worth, Luis Rojas has gotten a lot of surprise support from current Mets players and other former players and current coaches who worked with him and for in the minors where he managed for several years (winning a championship for the Sallie League Savannah Sand Gnats in 2013), but more to the point he’s the son of well-respected former manager and player Felipe Alou and brother of Moises, Jose and Felipe Jr.; so the Mets are obviously banking a lot on Felipe Sr’s genes being solid and that his managerial knack has rubbed off on him as well…

And there you have it. The list is fairly malleable; depending on how first year managers prove to be in their overall style of leadership and of course results (Baldelli could move up the list as much as Counsell can go down), but this in my opinion is a fairly representative ranking of current managers and the respect they garner from  around the league and from fans alike. It would be interesting to see a scientific poll taken among current players and organizations alike, but that’s likely too much fuel for an unnecessary fire so early in the season.  However, fans and media alike could speculate all year, so lets kick off the discussion and see where it goes.

All Betts Are Off!

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts talks to reporters at 2016 All-Star Game availability. (Arturo Pardavila III)

Wowzers, you see it coming and yet…

Boston, still without a manager a week before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, traded two of their most significant players to the Dodgers, right fielder Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price, in a three-way trade also involving the Twins for regarded young outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers, and pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol from the Twins.  The Twins in turn get starting pitcher Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers.  It is indeed a seismic move involving three star players changing coasts and leagues at the same time (well, Maeda goes halfway, but you get the picture). In a likely corresponding move to make room for Betts, the Dodgers also traded outfielder Joc Pederson (along with a rookie league prospect) to the Angels for a young infielder I’ve never heard of, but will likely be pushing for a spot during the upcoming Spring Training portion of the show.

What’s the initial take? Dodgers pretty much get a Golden Ticket to the 2020 post-season (as long as they stay healthy) with Top 5 (Top 3?) outfielder in Betts, but then what of former All-Star and current borderline albatross David Price? Fortunately for L.A., the Red Sox are apparently sending a boatload of cash with him in the deal, and apparently by sending Maeda to the Twins, who send one of their pitching prospects to Boston, this evens out somehow.  They are once again the team to beat in the N.L..

For the Twins getting Maeda, who finished 3rd in ROY voting in 2016 after eight largely stellar seasons in Japan, goes a long way in stabilizing a rotation that has Jake Odorizzi leading a staff including José Berríos, Homer Bailey and… um… yeah.  Michael Pineda will finish out a 60-game suspension in mid-May while Rich Hill recovers from surgery and will probably return sometime in June.  Minnesota needed this after having a huge season, yet falling short to the usual suspects in the playoffs.

The Red Sox, you say? I was having an offline discussion about this; basically this is salary relief in the disguise of retooling.  They get a young(er) outfielder plus a prospect in Verdugo from the Dodgers and Graterol from the Twins, while also getting something instead of nothing for Betts.  While they apparently have to pitch in a significant portion of Price’s salary to move him, he’s essentially one less conflict they have to deal with head-on (and vice-versa).   Thus the price (pun… not intended, but liked) for a championship (albeit with a cloud hovering over it) and spending with near-reckless abandon to achieve it. The fans will probably HATE this move, but will definitely find ways to rationalize it.

Why does this matter to us Yankee fans, you might also ask? (You might, rabbit, you might…) Well, obviously it weakens a close competitor significantly; what Boston gets in return does not move the needle much as far as contending is concerned.  If anything, they get a young player with value and more years of control and a really manageable salary… but GTFOH, he’s not Mookie Betts. He’s not charging up Aaron Judge in man-to-man WAR comparisons… not yet anyway.  The pitcher they get may or may not make the rotation, that remains to be seen.  All-in-all, the Red Sox accomplished their main goal in shedding significant salary, and we should be happy they did, more contending for the Yanks.  And the best part is Mookie’s in the NL now, so the Yanks don’t haver to face him (or Price for that matter) nearly as much.

So that’s that so far. I may easily change my mind about all of that as more updates come; whereas much of this happened only recently as of this writing, so more details are sure to come.  Comment away!

Picked Off

Photo Credit: Eric Enfermero

Boom. As fans, let’s take a few moments to assess what we just witnessed in the latest edition of “As The Baseball World Turns”…

I wish I had time to go in-depth on this situation, which is still evolving as we speak.  But I do have some references for you to follow up and discuss if you wish.

What we know so far:

  • The Astros got As-whupped (PDF download) for their rather frank cheating activities during ther 2017 season which resulted in them being crowned World Series. champions.
  • After being suspended for one year each by Major League Baseball, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane fired GM Jeff Lunhow and manager A.J. Hinch.
  • Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was bench coach with the Astros for the 2017 season, was implicated in the report and ongoing investigation into the 2018 Red Sox cheating allegations.
  • New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran, who formerly played on the 2017 Astros team and was also implicated in the report as one of a group of players who discussed ways of interpreting signs and signals by the other team, will not be punished by MLB (no players were punished).

There has been and will continue to be plenty of discussion about what this all means for the people involved; we know that the Astros lose their first and second picks in both the 2020-21 drafts and also have to pony up $5 million; an unprecedented punishment indeed for the fifth-year commissioner Rob Manfred and for baseball overall, but then Crane went beyond that and fired Luhnow and Hinch for essentially  embarrassing the organization and the city of Houston. Cora is still under investigation; he was singled out as the person who implemented the cheating system, then allegedly carried it over to his new job as manager and won a championship with it there. If he gets the book thrown at him, it will likely be bigger than the one thrown at Luhnow and Hinch, and likely result in his dismissal.  meanwhile, Beltran, while not escaping the eye of MLB investigators, managed not to get punished by MLB.  Yet, that doesn’t mean the story is over for him; there will likely be internal discussion about his suitability for running the Mets going forward, depending on what or if he told the Wilpons and GM Brodie about his part in the scandal and whether or not it means anything to them (did they even ask?) The New York press is going to have a field day with this, for real.

Happy New Year, folks, your Hot Stove is on fire

Referenced Links:

The Athletic, Article 1 and Article 2 (subscription needed)

MLB Trade Rumors, Article 1 and Article 2

MLB.Com (video featured)

It Can’t Happen Here? Think Again

And if I say to you tomorrow
Take my hand child, come with me.
To a castle I will take you
But what’s to be they say will be.
— Led Zeppelin, “What Is and What Should Never Be

As the Penn State scandal continues to evolve, it is important to note that the grand jury investigation and report is available for reference. Will reading the grand jury report, or instructing people to do so, help make the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse more peaceful? Highly unlikely. I haven’t seen people this divided and angry over a sport-related story since the OJ Simpson trial.

How do we put into context what allegedly happened at Penn State, according to the report? Some steps are to 1) to view the progress of the story to date; 2) how the media has covered the story; and 3) examine from an academic context how the iconic status of Paterno and the culture he created in Happy Valley shaped the way the university managed – or depending on your perspective, mismanaged – the situation.

THE MYTH OF OBJECTIVITY

Objectivity requires one to step outside the bubble of the first-person point of view, assess information, determine what is fact and fiction, relevant and irrelevant, and interpret that information accordingly to construct a narrative. In this context, facts are absolute. They are cut and dry and emotionless, much like the components of a mathematical equation. Facts help derive truth, which is a more abstract concept. This story tests every fiber of what journalism students are taught. It shatters the mythology that those who cover sport – not just college football, Penn State, or Joe Paterno – have contributed in drafting.

There is an agenda supporting the way every article published in every periodical is framed, either on the writer’s part or by the organization employing said writers. On television, the number of programs parading talking heads deemed “experts” presenting their contrasting opinions in the interest of equal time passes for intelligent programming. This is not objective, nor is it journalism.

Siphoning fact from fiction and placing that information into a legal context was the task assigned to the federal grand jury that investigated the actions of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The contents of the report are graphic, provocative, and a slew of other adjectives that cut to the core of our emotions. For those of us who are parents and entrust – or have entrusted – our children to a third party for care, it is impossible to view this story through a prism of objectivity. It conjures primitive, visceral reactions steeped in anger. But the grand jury report is only one piece to the investigative puzzle. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg has provided in-depth reporting. A timeline and the depth of knowledge of the situation among the key players is noted here.

It is under these volatile circumstances that national media organizations have flooded central Pennsylvania, piggybacking the solid journalistic efforts of the Patriot-News and turning the area known as Happy Valley into the stuff of tabloid. Joe Posnanski, who is writing a book on Joe Paterno, wrestled with his emotions and the difficulty in being objective in a strong, well-written blog post. But to those of us on the outside analyzing Posnanski’s position, given that he moved to State College, gained unfettered access to Paterno, how can he reconcile doing this book now, or at least amending the angle? This series of events, for better or worse, is now the defining piece to Paterno’s career, possibly his life, and to encourage the people who supported him for years to stand up now is naïve. Perhaps we’ve learned, through the number of sponsors that are removing themselves from Saturday’s broadcast and the power struggles between Paterno and his superiors that have come to the fore, that JoePa didn’t have the level of support that he thought; that there were people who finally stopped buying what Paterno sold.

Buzz Bissinger, who wrote his own reaction piece, tweeted: “Note to Posnanski: junk your book unless you re-report it get the Joedust out of your eyes. Your post was pathetic justification of JoePa.”

CBS’s Gregg Doyel went one further in this tweet: “Heard Joe Posnanski is on campus defending Joe Pa. Calling him a scapegoat. Smart guy. Decent writer. Total moron.”

People unconditionally – or in Posnanski’s case, conditionally – supporting Paterno, are not viewing his involvement and inaction with a sense of totality. Involving emotions in the evaluation process immediately kills objectivity. Posnanski, a veteran, respected award-winning journalist and writer, know this. He admitted as much. But he also has to realize that by continuing down this path, his own reputation is at stake.

* * *

Penn State alum Chris Korman wrote an impassioned blog Wednesday in the Baltimore Sun. In it, Korman describes his time as a student journalist at Penn State and examines the way the local and national media have covered the events while trying to reconcile his own feelings. Korman writes that while Sandusky is unquestionably the main player, the tipping point of the investigation and coverage occurred when the focus shifted to Paterno’s inolvement.

“… the Sandusky story did not gain traction when it should have. The Patriot-News, in Harrisburg, first reported that he was the subject of a grand jury investigation for the indecent assault of a teenage boy on March 31. … Yet it does not appear that any of the major news outlets now swarming campus paid much attention. Sure, Paterno had not yet been tied to the scandal. But it should have at least sent a few reporters scurrying; Sandusky, after all, remained affiliated with Penn State.”

In other words, Sandusky might be the principal player and newsmaker, but Paterno’s name value makes the story. Sandusky’s alleged actions lead to one visceral reaction; Paterno’s role in the chain of events spawns another.

YES Network’s Kimberly Jones, also a Penn State alum, has been a fixture on Mike’d Up with Mike Francesa this week. Tuesday, she discussed her time covering Penn State Football, the lack of access afforded to reporters, the insular, protective culture Paterno created and fostered in University Park, and perhaps most damningly, that Sandusky was seldom seen without kids from his Second Mile organization around him. Thursday, she commented on the lack of leadership the University has shown.

Thursday morning’s talk radio rotation featured a mixture of intelligent conversation and rancor. On WFAN, Craig Carton verbally flogged a female Penn State student who called in to give the vibe in State College, but also someone who pledged her support for Paterno, as did her parents. She mentioned she was a journalism student and wondered why reporters weren’t trailing Sandusky as he went on a shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods. She said she believed Paterno didn’t do enough, but he shouldn’t be made the scapegoat, like she and many others believed the media were responsible for. It helps provide a context for the actions of Mike McQueary and his father, John (more on this later in the column).

On ESPN Radio, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic interviewed a number of former Penn State players, asking them common softball questions, while outside the context of the interviews highlighting the young boys listed as victims in this scandal and questioning the status of Mike McQueary for Saturday’s game against Nebraska.

At present, the status of the coverage is now past Paterno, save for the question of whether or not the media were responsible for scapegoating the 84-year-old coach. JoePos told a class at Penn State he believed that to be the case. Dictionary.com defines a scapegoat as “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” Paterno is not being made to bear blame for anyone other than himself. He is not being made to suffer for Jerry Sandusky. He is enduring the consequences of his own action and inaction.

Reading the Korman article, maybe it’s time that happened. Korman points to the culture of ignorance that existed during his time on campus, and beyond. He specifically points to an ESPN report that compiled the following figures on criminal activity involving Penn State football players from 2002-2008: 46 players were charged with 163 counts.

Stephen Mosher, Professor of Sport Studies at Ithaca College, examined Paterno through the veil of the coach’s 1989 appearance on a PBS roundtable program. Mosher writes:

“What is terrifying is that Paterno claims that, in sports, ‘you give the responsibility to the authority of others.’ And that type of reasoning is what allowed Paterno and the others in the PSU ‘chain of command’ to convince himself that he had done enough when confronted with the unspeakable horror over thirteen years ago.

No rational human being would entrust the welfare of the vulnerable to a six-year old. And that is exactly what occurs in the sport culture every single day…”

People who have played team sports, covered team sports, interviewed coaches or former coaches for a living will say that accountability starts at the top. In this case, it’s the head coach. How does that make Paterno a scapegoat? Because he was the biggest name? Now people are posting signs asking for the media to go home; that with Paterno out, the story is over and there’s nothing more to report.

But there is much more, and it is going to get much worse before it gets better. While Paterno was the most prominent domino to fall, there will be others. The next is likely McQueary. (UPDATE: A few hours after this column was posted, McQueary was placed on indefinite administrative leave, effective immediately.) A spotlight remains on the University Administration and the Board of Trustees, whose continued attempts at damage control – which are the topic of countless forums among PR professionals – have resulted in an epic fail.

DON’T MIX MY SPORTS WITH ANYTHING ELSE

Sport plays a role in culture and society, just as cultural and societal factors help forge behavior in sport. Actions in sport, both on the field and off, affect politics and business dealings. Sports are entertainment, a supposed escape. On a more humanistic note, we want to see purity in the athletic endeavor, and nothing more. In the past two weeks, we’ve had “Tebowing” and Penn State. In-your-face religion and the alleged pedophilic acts by a coach taking place on campus and what may prove to be a decade-long cover-up. The Penn State Affair is a sports story. Although the primary subject matter is not sport-related, the context of it and the key figures in the story are tied to football.

Penn State University – the football program in particular – is a cash cow. To that end, it is the most important school in the Big Ten Conference. PSU, according to an online report, has the most valuable football team in the Big Ten, and the third-most valuable in the NCAA, based on gross revenue and pure profit. Going beyond football, Penn State hosts a high number of conference championship events and because of its production facilities and student involvement, is the largest provider of content to the Big Ten Network.

Furthermore, deposed president Graham Spanier was Chairman of the Bowl Championship Series. Jay Bilas noted in an interview with Greenberg and Golic Wednesday morning that at a recent NCAA university presidents’ retreat, Spanier was touting “integrity, integrity” for the BCS Bilas then asked rhetorically, “How can he continue in his capacity?” Later in the evening, the Board of Trustees fired Spanier. In Thursday’s aftermath, NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a statement and used the word “integrity” to describe both Spanier and Paterno.

The football program, as it does for many colleges across the country – not just major Division I colleges and universities – creates the campus identity. A note from the blogosphere illustrates this fact:

“As I was driving to work this morning, I heard one of your own call in to The Herd and explain that he didn’t know how he was going to unapologetically put on the Blue and White and sing “Fight On, State” this Saturday.  He’s not the only one to express that sentiment.  Perhaps you’re feeling a little this way.

This is what I want to say to you.  You are not Joe Paterno.  You are not Tim Curley.  You are not Gary Schultz.  You are not Graham Spanier, and you are sure as hell not Jerry Sandusky.  Their alleged sins are not your own.  They may be the most recognizable faces of your beloved program, but they are not Penn State.  They are not a 156 year old center of higher learning.  They are not a century of football tradition.  Their flaws cannot eclipse the innumerable scientific, artistic, and humanitarian contributions your university, and its 44,000 students and 570,000 living alumni have made and will continue to make to the world at large.”

An Ohio State fan wrote the open letter in an effort to show empathy resulting from the recent scandals that rocked the Buckeyes football program and led to Jim Tressel’s disgraceful dismissal. Where the letter is incorrect, sociologically speaking, is that Paterno, Sandusky, Curley and Schultz, as well as the kids taking the field on Saturday, ARE Penn State because they are the most public representatives of the institution. The program is bigger than the university. The football players and coaches are the perpetual BMOC’s. Paterno held more influence than the school President. This is true at Penn State and any other school where football reigns supreme.

SPORT DOESN’T BUILD CHARACTER

Coaches of youth sports tell kids on their teams that the work ethic, ideals, etc., learned on the field help build character outside the lines. They are tantamount to life lessons. The truth is that nature and nurture build character, not participation in sport. Good parenting and development of a moral compass build character. Does the coach who sticks the worst kid on the team in right field so he won’t have a meaningful effect on the game have character? How did sport help this coach in that respect? What led him to believe that winning a Little League game at the cost of potentially killing the confidence of that right fielder was positive? Does the kid who took the most reps in practice or spent the most time in the batting cage exhibit positive character traits when, following a disheartening loss, he says, “It’s always the bottom of the lineup that screws us”? No. It works in the reverse: you bring the personality traits you inherit and then hone as you gain life experience into the field of play.

In a guest spot with Greenberg and Golic, former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, talked of Paterno as a father figure and a “maker of men.” This is a common refrain among football players and how they discuss their coaches, or how any mentee views a mentor. What, then, do we conclude about the character of Mike McQueary, who played football for Paterno and has been on the coaching staff for nearly 10 years? On March 1, 2002, according to the grand jury report, McQueary witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the showers of the Lasch Football Building and rather than break it up and save the child, he turned away, called his father, who advised him to report the incident to Paterno.

Sandusky worked for Joe Paterno for nearly 30 years. Did football build him into a pedophile? Tim Curley played for Paterno and rose up the ranks to become athletic director. Did sport help build his character such that the grand jury found his testimony “not credible”?

THE MYTH OF JOEPA, BUSTED

The fallout of the past several days has been thus: Paterno and Spanier are gone. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president of business and finance of the university, resigned on Sunday.

This is the trickle-down effect of what was Paterno’s “Grand Experiment.” The Korman article addressed this, specifically noting Paterno’s vision of character and the culture he sought to establish. This “Grand Experiment” helped construct the myth. We know now that the events cited in the grand jury report and continuing investigations have blown it up.

This incident now defines Paterno’s career. It’s as if the previous 30+ years leading up to the first years the Sandusky transgressions allegedly took place are moot. The public power struggle that took place Wednesday between Paterno and the Board of Trustees had a “JoePa’s Last Stand” feel to it. The BOT didn’t afford him the luxury of determining when he would exit.

Looking at the recent falls of prominent college football coaches like Bobby Bowden and Jim Tressel, negligence was their undoing. The same is true for Paterno, who despite saying he “wished he could have done more” did not act on the moral high ground that he espoused and supposedly taught his players. He only proved that he wasn’t worthy of being held to a higher standard; that he was a hypocrite.

Dave Zirin, in his initial reaction piece published Monday, wrote: “It’s tragic that it’s come to this for a legend like Joe Paterno. But it’s even more tragic that protecting his legend mattered more than stopping a child rapist in their midst.”

A community is in denial and exhibiting the five stages of grief in textbook fashion. Amid this scene in State College, Pennsylvania, there is a game against Nebraska to prepare for.

But the games can’t mask the institutional failures anymore.

[Photo Credit: Washington Post]

Reality Bites

If you read USS Mariner or FanGraphs, you undoubtedly know the name Dave Cameron.  Dave is one of the founders of the USS Mariner site, and is now the full-time managing editor and operator of the FanGraphs site.  Today he posted a very sobering entry:

Here on FanGraphs, we talk a lot about probability and likely outcomes. When making a decision, we think it’s generally wise to understand historical precedent, and to learn from history rather than repeat it.

But, there are times in life that you’re not making a decision, and knowledge of the probability of outcomes just doesn’t help at all. You are just rooting for one specific result, even if you don’t have any control over whether it occurs or not.

I’m now in one of those situations. Last week, I was informed that I have Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a particularly nasty member of the cancer family. History has given my doctors all kinds of data about cure rates and life expectancy, and statistical analysis is helping them decide just what kind of chemotherapy I’ll be taking in a few hours, which I’m really thankful for.

Cameron’s outlook seems positive, as evidenced later on in the entry:

…  Save the odds for the doctors; I’m planning on living a long time. I’m planning on beating this thing. I’m planning on watching the Mariners win a game, and at this rate, that might take years. I want to be around to see it, though, and I just don’t care what the odds say is likely.

We at the Banter wish Dave well … here’s to a swift and full recovery!

Ready For Our Close Up

The site will be down for up to three hours today as we flip the switch over to the new design. Bear with us…thanks.

[Picture by Ruth Orkin]

Fresh Out the Box

Just another heads up for you regulars. Tomorrow, Bronx Banter will have a new look. The site will be shut down for a few hours on Tuesday morning (east coast time), and then we’ll be back with a fresh new design. The comments section will be the same–actually more like we had it back in the Baseball Toaster days–but we are getting rid of the traditional blog scroll in favor of something that looks more like a menu where you can pick and choose where you want to go. It’ll take a minute to get used to but I think it’s going to enhance the jernt.

I’m excited. Can’t wait to see you on the other side.    

[Picture by Kenneth Josephson]

Makeover

Come Tuesday, Bronx Banter will have a new design. It’ll be less like a traditional blog and more like a website, where readers can pick and choose what they want to see like they were reading a menu at a restaurant. My hope is that it’ll make searching through the archives an easier and more pleasurable experience.

Gettin’ geeked…

[Photo Credit: Convoy]

Tragedy

A couple of Banter regulars in Japan checked in on Friday and reported that they are okay. But the news of the earthquake that hit the far east is devastating. All of our hopes and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters across the globe.

The Long and Short of it

Wanna know what’s what in long form journalism? Then head directly to Long Form Reads–peep the website, sign-up for their weekly e-mail, check ’em out on Twitter. An essential site.

Dig this strange piece they found from the Guardian about a Japanese woman who was found buried in the snow in Fargo, North Dakota. She was looking for the money that was ditched by Steve Buscemi in “Fargo.”

Pink Slip

Dave Eiland will not return in 2011 as the pitching coach for the Bombers.

[Photo Credit: Zell’s Pinstripe Blog]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver