Archive for the 'News and Notes' Category

News & Notes: The Soriano saga continues; the WBC ends

I have a few loose ends to wrap up this evening and some light-hearted links. Without further ado….

  • The Alfonso Soriano saga continued this afternoon with a new take on the topic. According to a poorly copyedited report by Nationals’ MLB.com beat writer, Soriano did not know he was supposed to play left field.

    Now, this is a new one. Apparently, the Nationals coaches drew up two lineup cards. One had Soriano’s name on it; the other did not. Soriano did not know he was supposed to be in the lineup until former Yankee teammate and current Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson told him. At that point, the game had started. And the Nationals aren’t denying this.

    Soriano says he has talked over the situation with his wife and agent and will decide his future before game time this afternoon. These revelations give Soriano a convenient excuse, but it won’t help him shed the selfish label. I would expect to see the former second baseman take his place in left field come game time today in Jupiter, Florida.

  • Congratulations are in order for Ichiro and Japanese team. Baseball is truly an international sport, and no matter what Joe Morgan says, it has been so since the 1800s. The Japanese, Koreans, Dominicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and every other team that showed up for the tournament ought to be proud of the event. It was a roaring success. Baseball managed to compete against March Madness, and some people would say that baseball came out on top.

    Still, there are problems. I do not like the randomness of the tournament. It is completely antithetical to baseball. The Koreans were 6-1, the best team in the tournament. They beat Japan two out of three times. However, because, unluckily for them, Japan beat them in the semifinals instead of the first or second round, they had to go home. Korea should have been playing in the final. Hopefully, the tournament organizers can address this problem in three years.

  • From the “No one ever said baseball players were smart” department comes Eric Chavez. As David’s Pinto’s Baseball Musings noted early today, the new A’s hitting coach is already making a difference. Pinto links to a San Francisco Chronicle article:

    Chavez and Ellis like the way Perry communicates. He doesn’t hesitate to say what he thinks (he jumped all over one player for not showing up for early hitting) and he asks lots of questions. When Chavez told him, for instance, that he doesn’t usually incorporate his leg kick into his swing until the seasons starts, and he usually gets off to slow starts, Perry said, ‘Why don’t you put the leg kick in now?’ A simple thought, but one that hadn’t been raised before.

    “A lot of guys have a message but don’t know how to get it across,” Chavez said. “Gerald does. I understand what he’s telling me to do. And he’s really positive, every at-bat he’ll come up and say, ‘That swing was good, you’re right there.’ With the young guys, I think that really helps.”

    Coming soon for Chavez: An eating coach that suggests eating if he feels hungry and, as mac in the comments said, someone to tell him to flip the switch if it’s dark in a room.

  • Jon Swift thinks he knows how the US can win the World Baseball Classic next time. His suggestion? Steroids.
  • If you’ve never watched The Shield but enjoy great acting, dramas and stunning storylines, it’s not too late. I just watched the Season 5 Finale, and woah. I’ve never been floored by a TV show before. The deaths on 24 last week were sad, but this was a stunner. Get the DVDs, watch it. It’s as good as any movie out with better characters and acting.
  • Finally, I get to do the good ol’ fashioned leave ’em hanging line. I will have not one but two big announcements concerning this blog and my baseball writing by the end of the week. So stay tuned while I firm up the details.
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    The pre-New Years blues: news and notes from around the league

    Yesterday was a long day. It took me five hours to drive from D.C. to New York and another 90 minutes to find a suitable parking spot. As I’m beat, I’m going to be doing a news-and-notes post tonight. If you want something heavier to read before the end of 2005, check out yesterday’s post on the sad state of affairs down in Baltimore or Tuesday’s column on the rocky off-season for the Boston Red Sox.

    • While I’ve now written on the Orioles twice in two days, Miguel Tejada opened up his mouth again today. Just as the Orioles were saying they are not planning on trading Miguel Tejada, the All Star short stop strongly reiterated his trade demand, saying he’s “more upset” with the Orioles now than he was a few weeks ago.

      I have criticized Tejada for complaining about the Orioles. After all, he knew what he was getting into when he signed his big contract. This time around, however, Tejada seems to hit the nail on the head. In discussing the recent signings, Tejada said, “It’s not what we need.” Boy, is he ever right. If the short stop of the team knows that signing a second catcher, a 40-year-old utility player, and Jeromy Burnitz won’t solve the problems, why doesn’t Orioles GM Mike Flanagan know that?

      I still wonder why the Orioles never got involved in discussions with Brian Giles or A.J. Burnett or Johnny Damon or the Marlins during the fire sale days. Carlos Delgado would have destroyed Camden Yards. It wouldn’t kill Flanagan to pretend to make an effort, and it would appease Tejada as well.

    • As I was driving home, I was listening to New York sports talk radio WFAN. Joe Benigno interviewed Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King for about 35 minutes. King, a well-respected insider who laid his Red Sox cards on the table, basically talked uninterrupted. He had some interesting baseball notes.

      First, for all of the Red Sox fans who think Tejada-to-Boston could be a reality, fugedaboutit, as they say on the FAN. The Orioles are N-O-T trading Tejada to an AL East rival. While I may end up eating these words, King was fairly vehement about that. He expects Tejada to be moved by February but just not to Boston.

      While discussing the Tejada situation, King also talked about Manny Ramirez. According to the writer, Red Sox brass are fed up with Manny’s act. Manny being Manny only goes too far. King said he would be very surprised to see Manny take the field for Boston come Opening Day. What they will get for him is completely up in the air.

    • Does anyone else miss Buster Olney’s blog? For those of us with access to ESPN Insider, Olney’s blog has become a great resource for links to the lead baseball stories across the nation. Whie Olney’s stupid productive outs stat was rightfully derided, his writing has always been top-notch, and his blog is excellent. It’s great that he gets a vacation, but it makes mining for interesting stories that much harder.
    • Willie Nelson makes his own biodiesel fuel called BioWillie. Who knew?
    • Dayn Perry over at FoxSports takes a look at the young Diamondback team. After borrowing to fund their 2001 World Series team, Arizona rebuilt from the ground up. They have an excellent farm system and a lot of tradable older talent to net them the pitchers they need. As Perry writes, it’s not a question of if, but rather when will the D-backs dominate the weak NL West? I would bet the answer to be 2007. Look for them to go head-to-head with a young Dodger team that season.
    • Many of you have asked about my taken on the rebuilt Blue Jays. I don’t think J.P. Ricciardi is finished wheeling and dealing yet this winter, but I promise in January to examine Toronto and their chances of capturing an AL East title. I’m curious myself to see how they stack up with the team that won 79 games last year.
    • Finally, happy New Year everyone. This is my last post until Tuesday, January 3. I’m taking Monday off to enjoy the holiday. Have fun welcoming in 2006, and thanks for stopping by this month.

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