Interesting thought (to me, at least) of the day. With Forbes publishing more chatter about Arte Moreno considering a move to Tustin, or to Riverside, it occurs to me that he is missing some important leverage that is more usual and customary for sports franchise ownership threats such as this.
To wit, If Arte is not looking to move far enough away, the team will remain close enough for the fans to accept the move without too much complaint. Take me, for example. I live just minutes from the current location, and just minutes from Tustin. Same. So what do I care? And some Anaheim residents (of which I am not) would be in the same window. Hell, even Anaheim residents west of the stadium who care to go to games would not have that great deal of time difference when one considers surface routes, Waze optimization, typical rush hour traffic delays on weekdays versus clearer sailing on weekends, it would not be a move fatal to their fan support. Thus, with a move not too distant, Arte fails to leverage the commonly exploited court of public opinion and enjoy all the free public pressure on government officials that come with it.
In other words, if he threatens to move to any place else close by (and in Southern California, that "close by" mind set is practically anything from San Diego to Simi Valley), there will not be any huge hue and outcry. The public won't care too much, at least publicly. So Anaheim officials will not feel pressure, and will not react. This isn't going to be like Seattle losing the Sonics, or Cleveland losing the Browns, or the Colts having to sneak out under cover of darkness to escape Baltimore. If Arte really wants Anaheim to fold, and if he needs public outcry to try and make that happen, he needs to think of moving at least as far away as Las Vegas.
Oh well. Let's do links:
- All Systems Go: Well, the Angels faced the Cubs yesterday, winning 8-4 to improve their MLB-best spring W-L record. Jered Weaver struck out 8 over 5 1/3 innings (and Alden Gonzalez points out that Weave has 19 K's against 1 BB in his last 3 starts), and Albert Pujols lifted a 3-run homer. Our veteran studs are ready to get on with it. C.J. Cron is still Man On Fire (reminding me somewhat of Brian Downing's breakout spring back in 1979) going 2 for 3 and driving in 2 and batting .412 for spring. Cron, Efren Navarro and Cowgill are piling it on so our youth is getting primed to surprise...........Wait. Efren frickin' Navarro?? Yeah. he is killing it. And, as LAT reports, Navarro needs to be, since he is battling a nearly equally red hot Marc Krauss..........All we need is for this Andrew Heaney kid to become what was expected of him, and for 2B to come along (although Johnny Giavotella is a delightful surprise that I wish could last)...........By the way, the LAA pitchers handled the Kris Bryant tidal wave just fine yesterday, stuffing him for an 0 for 4 day with 3 strikeouts.
- Johnny Giavotella: Speaking of Giavotella - quick! - somebody come up with a nickname here so I don't have to type that out all the time. Because the dlightful surprise that I am noticing is being noticed by others as well, and he is locking in on winning the starting 2B job. "Johnny Giavotella tightened his grip on the second-base job with three hits, and has nine hits in 20 at-bats. 'He's getting a chance, and he's feeling more comfortable on the defensive end,' Manager Mike Scioscia said of Giavotella. 'We need someone to step up, and he's doing a nice job.' " He is actually 13 for 37 overall this spring, with a line of .351 / .400 / .595. Pretty damned good but probably just a sign of a hot run more than a season-long prediction. (For the curious, Kendrick's line this spring is now at .410 / .452 / .615, and that is not sustainable, either.)
- Matt Joyce: Joyce is enjoying the best spring of his career. We should hope for a career bounce in 2015, which would be a nice bonus in the unknown length of Hamilton's loss. Most folks are just expecting something closer to replacement value out of what was, back in 2011, shaping up to be a pretty fine ballplayer. And then one wanders over to Hardball Times and finds a look into the notion of "pitcher respect", and how to use that to project hitter production. The premise is that pitchers deal with lots more information than we do, and are a good source of understanding how talented a hitter is based on how much the pitchers focus on adjusting to a particular over time, neutralizing that effectiveness. To quote the article, "Tell me nothing about a hitter but how pitchers pitched him last season, and I’ll give you a good idea of how he’ll perform next season." And the poster child example of this? Our Matt Joyce. "Between 2010 and 2014, [Joyce's] Steamer-projected wOBAs for those five years paint the picture of a good, sometimes very good hitter. His actual wOBAs over that same time frame tell a different story – a steady decline. I submit that some of this decline can be explained by the gradual increase of pitcher respect for Joyce over that time frame." So it is possible that Joyce is still a pretty good hitter, as he is enjoying this spring. The author's intuition is not on board, however. "Going back to the Joyce example, his increase in "respect" over the past five seasons could be due to: 1) change in skill level; 2) change in effectiveness against off-speed pitches; 3) change in effectiveness against fastballs; 4) change in effectiveness against in-zone pitches; or 5) change in effectiveness against out-of-zone pitches. The model cannot tell the difference. The Steamer numbers and Joyce’s pitch type numbers lead me to believe that the gradual change is mostly due to skill level, but I cannot prove it." I like the idea that an excellent hitting Joyce might still be in there, so I am hoping that the author won't ever be able to prove it.
- Matt Lindstrom: Man, do I feel for Lindstrom. And I can totally relate. As a youngster, I missed out on the chance to play for our Pony League All Star team, and I knew that the team was loaded with talent. The team actually went on to win the National Championship and that whole adventure set sail without me. And here is Lindstrom, sitting on that very same bubble: good enough to compete, but maybe not good enough to stick...and he can smell it. "I just hope I can be one of those guys that breaks camp with the team. It'd be fun to be on a team like this, that has so much potential, especially with how many games they won last year. The pitching staff's going to be solid no matter which way they go, but I'm hoping to be a part of that." Yeah, Matt, I know precisely how that feels (sans the whole gob of money part of it) and because of that I am pulling for you.
This Date In Baseball History: 1902 - Having been in existence since 1876, the Chicago franchise then officially known as the Chicago Colts, see the name "Cubs" appear in print for the very first time. The Colts were more commonly known as the Remnants or the Orphans by local newspapers from about 1898 when manager Cap Anson was let go by Al Spalding (yeah, THAT Spalding). (Adrian Anson was more commonly known as "Cap" since he was team captain for so many years as a player. As a long-time manager, and elder, he later became Cap "Pop" Anson, giving him a nickname to his nickname. When the contract for "Pop" was not renewed, the players left behind were sorrowfully labeled "Orphans" or "Remnants" based on which paper was publishing the story. This lasted until 1906, after when they officially changed to the new commonly used name of the Cubs. Also, Cap Anson is one of the forces behind professional baseball's color line, which would last from the 1890's until 1947.)..............1989 - Sports Illustrated exposes Pete Rose's gambling activities. This included the revelation that Rose would bet from the dugout during games by flashing hand signals to his accomplice in the stands.. This is timely, with Rose petitioning for reinstatement and acquaintances from the time suggesting that full testimony would have sent Rose to federal prison for a long time . For the record, John Dowd, the original prosecutor, was also quoted this past week and stating that he believes that Rose should never, ever be re-instated. There just has to be so much more that we will never know.............2012 - Frank McCourt, having agreed to sell the Dodgers 5 months earlier, finally does sell, and Major League Baseball finally exhales.
- Baseball Biz: Ok, here is my take. If Scott Boras really thinks that the CBA is set up incorrectly concerning service time and qualified rookies such as Kris Bryant (and Mike Trout before him), he should shut the hell up with all this whining about how the owners behave and use whatever muscle he actually has with the players and make sure that this is fixed in the next CBA. The players and owners agreed on something, agreed with the reasons for that something, agreed that the resulting behavior would be acceptable, and bound each other to it. If the Player's Union got their facts wrong, that is their fault and theirs to rectify when the opportunity arises next. As it is, Boras is just being a whiny pissant and making ridiculous claims concerning the impact of a couple of weeks of playing time. Boras doesn't give a crap about he two weeks. He gives a crap about the year those two weeks will cost his client, and himself...........As Hardball Talk notes, baseball should work to get the Option rule changed, as well. "I’d like to see option rules altered to account for age of players. I don’t think a team should be able to send down a 28-year-old another team could use, and I don’t think a team should be forced to keep a 24-year-old who isn’t ready for the majors. There should be a compromise available somewhere, right? The owners would go for it, since they’d just as soon play the best players. It might be a bit tougher sell for the union, since the younger players being held back have more long-term earnings potential than the older fringe players. Still, I would hope the union would rather see players judged on merit than on how many options they have remaining." Maybe, since hte CBA is now all about give-and-take, that is something that the union can concede in exchange for the rookie service time issue.
- Baseball Biz, Part II: Wow. The TWC-LA Dodgers television deal is such a disaster. Don't be misled. The Dodgers are still raking in their $8.35 billion with their 25 year deal. But Dish Network and DirecTV (and, I suppose, the future DirecTATT) still refuse to pay TWC for LAD games, so fans are still blocked from watching games on TV. And this is costing TWC dearly. One report is that they are about to lose $1 billion. Now, you and I know that corporations that have decent Finance Departments don't lose that kind of money. They find a way to make you lose it. And me. So either they find a way to pass that loss along to their customers, or they take a write-down and pass it along to other tax-payers (because write-downs are used to reduce reported net income, lowering the tax burden).
Don't worry about Kole Calhoun leaving yesterday's game with an injury. It was a 1st inning HPB, but it will end up being a minor thing...........The Angels are committed to serious quality cigar smoking at their AAA level this year. What? The humidors are for baseballs? Oh..............Teh Brady Aiken story takes another step backward, as last year's #1 overall pick, who went unsigned, who then tried to restart this spring, who then lasted only 13 pitches, now has submitted to TJ surgery. Maybe he can be a surprise grab for some team in a future draft............Racial conflict in America is far, far from settled. See Ford, Curt: ex STL Cardinal assaulted in St. Louis for being a human being, of a different tinted skin organ...........Ortiz, firmly committed to the "say-it-often-enough-and-it-becomes-true theory of public imagery, is declaring himself to be (a) eternally clean, (b) the most tested player in history, and (c) a first-ballot Hall of Famer.............The Mets are going cheap on stadium security? Budget-saving moves? Well, either that, or because of age discrimination. Or because of sex discrimination...............FINALLY! I am a target of The Onion, who pokes fun of dudes who wear ballcaps in public............Get this: the guy at Majestic Athletics, who does marketing and tailoring for the uniform supplier to every MLB team, ain't a fan of baseball...........Norfork Southern "tracks" Nats game scores with a model train scoreboard inside the Stars & Stripes Club at Nats stadium............Wha? Jarred Cosart of the Marlins betting? On baseball?..........Do pitch clocks have the intended effect? I suppose, if you think 5 minutes saved per game is worth all the hoopla.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Saturday: AHA Rally home brewing event will take place at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens (Liberty Station) in San Diego...........BagbyFest! beer & food event is at Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside............and the Battle of the Brews beer & food event will be at Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Grace Pavilion, in Santa Rosa.