re: Presentation

November 27, 2011

Ten Bonus Points to Dorrell Wright

The Birdman is served his thanksgiving turkey.

Apparently Dorrell Wright is a Christian.  A real, practicing Christian.  At least practicing in the sense that he mentions God when explaining his motivation for saving a Thanksgiving celebration for his community’s elderly and less fortunate.  Also practicing in the sense that he’s got to get ready for the season awwwwwwwwyyyyyeaaahhh!  Wright’s contract paid him 3.8 million last season, but it was his first year of a new, relatively lucrative contract.  While locked-out, fiscally imprudent players scrambled to cover their expenses without their expected paychecks, Wright not only stepped up, but showed up, stayed, and said all of the right things.  He diplomatically implied regrets from those on the other side of the lockout, suggesting that others wanted to step up.  But they didn’t.

'They question my birth certificate too, buddy.'

Perhaps Dorrell Wright should represent Albert Pujols.  Apparently, being a good Christian is part of the fraud that has made the career of Dan Lozano, Pujols current agent, whom he left top agent Scott Boras for.  In the deal made by Lozano when big Albert jumped to him, Pujols become the 30th highest paid player in the game, despite being an all-star in all 4 of his seasons and having been the 2nd runner-up for the NL MVP.  During the contract’s duration he would be MVP 3 times; as the 30th, 34th and 26th highest paid player for each of those years. Boras would have gotten more, and would probably get more this time around too. Dorrell Wright may not; but at least Albert would have a Christian in his corner.

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Putting the WAR in Awards

October 2, 2011

Since we necessarily cannot have more than four MLB playoff games in a day, Saturday was at least a tie for the most playoff baseball ever in a day.  The whole extended weekend has been filed with dramatic  MLB baseball.  In honour of this magnificent excuse for laziness, sportsvssports summarizes the leagues’ final ‘advanced’ or ‘new’ overall statistical leaders.  Below is a general survey of the top scores in each major award category according to various metrics and ‘overall ratings.’

4 out of 6 nerdy ranking systems agree: Matt Kemp was the best player in the NL during the regular season.

Rookie of the Year

AL:    Alexei Ogando (FG, TBE tie)

Michael Pineda (IE)  Mark Trumbo (ESPN), Jeremy Hellickson (Elias)

NL: Danny Espinosa (FG, TBE)

Vance Worley (ESPN), Lucas Duda (Elias), Freddie Freeman (IE)

Cy Young Award

AL: Justin Verlander (BR, IE, ESPN, TBE)

CC Sabathia (FG), Jered Weaver (Elias)

NL: Roy Halladay (FG, ESPN, Elias)

Clayton Kershaw (BR, IE), Cliff Lee (TBE)

MVP

AL:  Jacoby Ellsbury (FG, ESPN, IE)

Jose Bautista (BR, Elias, TBE)

NL: Matt Kemp (BR, FG, ESPN, IE)

Prince Fielder (Elias), Troy Tulowitzki (TBE)

It should be mentioned that in most cases of disagreement, each site has the other’s top rated player second or tied for second.  NL pitching is the exception, where it seems a fairly even 3 way judgement.  Also, I have given the Baseball Reference MVP to Bautista despite being tied with Verlander because Verlander already gets the BR Cy Young, supplementing the argument which seems to usually hold the day with the Baseball Writers Association voters; that pitchers have their own award and should only win the MVP when their season is transcendent.  Also, to further sooth Blue Jays fans who are about to go into full pout about Bautista winning his second consecutive not-MVP, Brett Lawrie was on track to easily win the AL Rookie of the Year if he had played even most of the season.  What’s truly shocking is that he was actually on a pace to also bump Ellsbury for the FanGraphs AL MVP, as his WAR was 2.7 in only 43 games, putting him on track to produce a league best 10.2 over 162 games.

Abbreviations: BR= Baseball Reference, FG= Fan Graphs, IE= Inside Edge, TBE= The Baseball Encyclopedia


A Tissue for Joe Girardi

August 10, 2011

I am the man dressed in white stealing signs.

 

In light of recent allegations published and recycled recently, I have decided to come clean and admit that I, your faithful sportsvssports author, am the person who has been stealing signs and relaying them to Blue Jays batters.  When it started, it was just Jose.  I couldn’t help Vernon, because he owed me a ten spot and kept ducking me.  Eventually, I hooked it up with Adam Lind, helping him raise his average above .220.  This year, I’ve been helping Eric Thames, and Yunel, and recently Edwin, but still not Hill.  The Verlander game I was just busy.  I’m not gonna tell everyone what I was doing, I just wasn’t there.  That’s all you need to know.  And I don’t use a Bluetooth.  I just have really good eyesight.  But, since everyone’s so exited, I’ll stop now.  Sheesh.


Dem Bums (2 of 2)

July 31, 2011

It’s around this time, when the Dodgers’ ownership is a matter to be decided by divorce court, that a noted investigative journalism brand publicizes rumours that Frank and Jamie have been siphoning money from the Dodgers.  Now desperate for money, Frank McCourt takes the legal firm that drew up the aforementioned marriage property agreement to court, and then uses the theoretical capital that will produce as collateral in securing an emergency loan from a hedge fund.  He also enters into a loan agreement with Fox which involves his personal finances, and signs a television rights extension with the same company which includes 385 million in upfront cash.  This and the loans (we imagine Mr. McCourt telling himself) will be enough to get the Dodgers by until Rafael Furcal miraculously heals and leads them to the World Series, and accompanying riches.

It is at this point that Bud Selig felt compelled to move in, claiming in essence that someone who might not own something (pending legal decision) cannot make major decisions about its future, and also that financing, even in an emergency, must be done and not done in certain ways.  Frank McCourt had reached a divorce settlement with a portion of the 385 million going to Jamie McCourt, and allowing Selig the easy claim that “Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt.”  This decision effectively foreclosed the possibility of the Dodgers making their June payroll, so Frank put the team into chapter 11 bankruptcy as of June 27.  At the same time, they told the overseer appointed by MLB that he was not needed, or indeed welcome, at Dodger stadium, and the next day MLB was in the bankruptcy court with McCourt, where it was determined that the hedge fund loan could be used temporarily, at least until a July 20 hearing at which the league would attempt to take over financing the team.

At that hearing, it was ruled that the hedge fund money could no longer be used, but that McCourt must finance the team through MLB.  This hearing also leaked out the nugget that Frank may have issues with the IRS, who will have to get in line with Fox, who intends to sue everyone in town if the rights deal they negotiated with McCourt earlier doesn’t go through.  The court will attempt to decide the TV rights issue in August, which in turn will determine whether McCourt has the cash to pay back his loan, settle with his ex, and start regaining control of the Dodgers.  Even if he does manage to do these things, Frank McCourt still has to defeat Jamie in court for full ownership to avoid selling, which is what MLB wants to happen at this point anyway.

So the reason that this storied franchise has gone bankrupt is because their owner didn’t have adequate reserves to operate in the event of a cash flow crunch, even before what has become a protracted and messy divorce.  The cash flow crunch itself seems to be caused by a reduction in income from gate, combined with a staggering accumulation of payments to players who no longer contribute to the team.  In other words, those really paying attention saw the writing on the wall around the time Andruw Jones’ and Manny Ramirez’ contracts turned sour.

Use the handy scorecard below to follow along with the case as it winds its way through the (Mc)court system:

PARTY                        CONTRIBUTION                        LIKELY REWARD

Frank McCourt             Parking lot                                   Bud Selig

Jamie McCourt           Divorce papers                  Manny Ramirez money

Andruw Jones                Stinking                                  11.1 million

Manny Ramirez         Cheating, stinking                       20.9 million

Bud Selig                   Overseer, unwanted loan         Frank McCourt

Fox                        Broadcasting, original seller         Parking lot.

Probably everything else.

Matt Kemp                 .312, 24HR, 75RBI                         Rihanna


Dem Bums (1 of 2)

July 26, 2011

The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1954, and from there to the moon in 2010.  If you don’t believe me, read this, and then shake your head and have a little chuckle.  The team of Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser has truly fallen on hard times.  As of right now the Dodgers are currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy, being protected from their creditors, like Andruw Jones, and who owns the team, whether they’re for sale, and who is allowed to loan them how much emergency capital is all in legal dispute.  How could this happen?

A history lesson:

Frank McCourt purchased the Dodgers in 2004 from Fox.  You might think he did so with the proceeds from Angela’s Ashes , but apparently he somehow managed to do it with a parking lot, which gives a nice tragic-comical air of inevitability to the whole thing.  From 2004 until now, the Dodgers have done some smart and/ or lucky things, like bring in Joe Torre, sign Hiroki Kuroda, and develop current major star and celebrity Matt Kemp.  They also did silly things, including inking deals promising too much for too long to players who would do too little.  They had better and worse years, but made the playoffs a couple of times, and they have never been a lost cause on the field.  So, again, how did it happen?

They say that attendance is down by 8,500 per game.  The first article linked to above claims this is because McCourt has been revealed as a charlatan, but if so the revelation comes not only from the team’s poor win-loss record, but also from the affairs of McCourt himself.  The real core of financial disarray is nothing to do with baseball, but rather the divorce of Frank McCourt from Jamie McCourt, and that is where the actual problem is demonstrated.  As of today, Frank McCourt owns the Dodgers as ‘debtor in possession,’ comically yet seriously referred to as ‘DIP.’  This status, however, is in dispute, because Jamie McCourt claims that the Dodgers are joint property from their marriage, and therefore half hers.  Frank McCourt was savvy enough to have a property agreement worked out with her, but not a legal one, in the opinion of the court.

To reiterate; Jamie McCourt says ‘I’m divorcing you and putting my half of the controlling interest in the team up for sale.’

Frankie says ‘Relax; you don’t have a half of the controlling interest, check out this document you signed!’

Jamie says ‘My copy doesn’t say that.’

Judge says ‘You have two substantially different copies of what you claim to be the same document.  Is this some kind of weird joke?’

*To be continued*


Complete and Comprehensive List of Ways to Make MLB All-Star Game Interesting

July 10, 2011

None*.

Under Armour MLB Al-Star Game Shoes

Specially designed for single-use nonchalant jogging.

*  The MLB all-star game, like all all-star games, is inherently boring.  Many people consider themselves fans of this or that big league sport, and yet are still hard pressed to invest that sport’s regular season games with enough importance to stay interested.  All-star games can also never satisfy purist fans of any sport unless the players are motivated enough to play defense.  Therefore attempts to make them interesting tend towards making the mid-season snooze-fest ‘meaningful.’  The fact that baseball’s attempt to do so through awarding home-field in the finals to the champion of the victorious league fails on multiple counts.

It is not necessarily even relevant why this is the case, but because it is so obvious, we will note that it is because most teams (and therefore players) are not serious championship competitors, and because it is too abstracted for the rest.  Your team is four and a half games out of the wild card spot, and the pitcher throws you a high fastball with a man on second and none out in the sixth: do you try to hit on the ground to the right side, and slightly improve the probability that your team will win and give your team a microscopic chance at an advantage four months down the line; or do you just rip as hard as you can and whatever?  If you have ever tried to watch an MLB all-star game then you know the answer is the latter, but the former would still be boring, for all the same reasons.

Anyway, it sucks and cannot improve.  It cannot be meaningful.  It cannot be exciting.  Give the players a bigger bonus?  Why should I care?  They’re still not going to dive for the ball, and I still won’t even know which team I’m rooting for.  The team with my home team’s players also has the Yankees and Red Sox players, who are more likely to play in the World Series, and who I will be cheering against, so realistically my rooting interest is that the hometown player either strikes out, or does not play at all.  How’s that for sporting interest?

What would be better?  None of the suggestions I’ve read.  Obviously going outside would be, or going to bed early, or reading.  How about an all-star still gets named for every team, and still gets their bonus around the average annual salary of a fan, and then that player goes to a little league diamond for six hours?  Maybe a whole neighbourhood would show up to watch the local kids.  You may have to have an entourage to control the crowd and shape the interaction so that games aren’t delayed for hours by hoards of autograph seekers, but staged public events are not exactly foreign to major league sports – they are exactly their line of business.  I’d go to the park to see Jose.  I’ll even go to the tin can we call a baseball stadium in the T.  I won’t tune in a 9pm or whatever to see him play a few innings of a displaced spring training game.  And in all likelihood, neither will you.


The Newt*n-Bonds-Geithner Affair (2/2)

May 3, 2011
Barry Bonds before.

Home run champion. All-time and single season. *

continued

I went to sleep baffled, and woke up determined.  It was the same the next day, and several more, until finally I was called into the warden’s office to make a progress report.  I stated frankly that it appeared to me that the alleged trainer was assuming a completely different identity, attitude, and set of tendencies, and that my attempts to gather the least information had been unsuccessful.  I was told to use more blunt tactics, and so returned to my cell and my congenial cellmate settled on direct confrontation.

I awaited an opportunity for enough privacy to engage in a delicate conversation quietly, and said straight out:  ‘I want to know about the cheating!’

He replied ‘I don’t have any idea at all what you’re talking about!’

I said ‘I know about the cheating, but not everything, I’m sure, and I know that you know things that you have been keeping from me, and I respectfully ask that you stop doing so, and come completely clean with me about all this funny business!’

He ran his hand over his head, sighed, and chuckled ‘Funny business.  You could call it that.’

I forced down my excitement at the prospect of finally providing for my country and peace of mind the information so desperately needed, and at the same time springing myself from this prison.  I checked myself and focused on becoming a machine, recording with perfect exactness the evidence I was about to hear of the greatest fraud in the history of the wretched human race – the desecration of baseball’s record book!  A wrong against Henry Aaron and George Herman Ruth, and the very concept of fairness itself might be righted by my intense listening, so listen I did.

‘First,’ the alleged criminal recounted, ‘I entered into a contract to purchase some sensitive and controversial materials for my client.  They were easy to come by, and once I’d bought them, my client ditched the veneer of coolness, and I could see in him the appetite of the multi-millionaire – we can see the signs in the eyes of our own – and he urged me to buy up more and more, practically throwing money at me.’

‘And Bonds was the client?’ I prompted.

He looked at me as if I had demonstrated a childish ignorance or confusion.  ‘No, Bonds were one of the products,’ he stated.

‘Great heavens!’ I exclaimed.  ‘What monstrous scandal is this?’

‘You can say that again,’ my cell-mate confirmed.  ‘The Bonds which I bought were as worthless as wallpaper, and they hold up the whole world’s financial system!’

‘Financial system?’ I was confused.  ‘And why do you keep referring to him in the plural?’

‘Geithner?’

‘What?’

‘Do you mean Geithner?’

‘I don’t even know what that is,’ I confessed.

‘Tim Geithner!’

‘What team does he play for?’

‘Goldman obviously.’

‘Who?’

‘Goldman Sachs.’

‘Is that the name of the gentleman who purchased the Marlins?’

Anderson stared at me, agape.  ‘It is a bank.’

We sat in silence for a while as each turned over the last’s few statements, and tried to make some sense of them.  Finally it occurred to me that the person before me was not a personal trainer at all, but some sort of personal finance professional!  The bonds he referred to were the uncapitalized version, that have to do with stocks or who-cares-what.  ‘Good sir,’ I said, regaining my composure as the humour of the mistake occurred to me, ‘I am here on important government business regarding the injection of steroids and related substances by baseball players.  Your investment scandals and world economies are beyond my scope of knowledge, my mandate, and frankly, my interest.  If you cannot help with the government’s crucial work, then I must away and inform them, so that the investigation can continue and the national interest be served.  If, as you insist, this issue with the money is important, than I recommend that you bring it to the interest of the appropriate authorities.  In this case, I would imagine that that would be the office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig.’

With that I called for the guards, and after an interview with the warden and my contact at the agency, a further interview was set up, so that I could debrief those who held right of judgment over my plea deal.  The following day I sat before them and confessed the failure, and how it was not mine.  ‘How could we have known,’ said one, ‘that there are two Greg Andersons in the penal system?’  They took pity on me, in the moment, and admitted that I had made an honest attempt to set the world aright, and therefore they agreed to abide by the terms of the deal, despite its failure.  I was released the next day, which was yesterday, and now as a free man I am rededicated to my mission, which is this blog.