A-Rod to Boston?

July 18, 2007

A-Rod.Arod News

Have the Red Sox been planning for the offseason addition of Alex Rodriguez from as far back as February of this year?

Back on Feb. 9, Red Sox owner John Henry purchased 50 percent of NASCAR’s Roush Racing, a $60 million business venture designed to increase revenue streams in the team’s ongoing quest to compete with the Yankees.

This type of outside-the-box thinking – it’s the first major partnership between two professional sports organizations – is not new for Henry and Co., who’ve already taxed Fenway Park to the gills with yearly expansion and recently expanded into the Pacific Rim with the acquisition of two Japanese imports.  

How much new money will it bring? I don’t know. I did some searching on the subject and only found a little information in an article in the July 16 issue of ESPN The Magazine, which describes the partnership as “built on the vows of revenue streams and marketing gains.”

“Roush has made plenty of moves in the past we all thought were crazy,” Kyle Petty, driver-owner of Petty Enterprises told Ryan McGee of The Mag. “Well, now we’re all doing what he was smart enough to pioneer. I bet if the Red Sox end up with a lot more money than everyone else, all the ball clubs will start to show up at the race track.”

Another section in the story reads: “Accountants are figuring out how to divvy up the eventual profits between those shopping for left-side tires and those looking for lefthanded relievers.”

Hmmm…will there be enough to sign A-Rod when/if the mercurial slugger opts out of his deal in New York?

Perhaps. The consensus is that Rodriguez will command somewhere between $30-$40 million per season if he leaves the club. The Yankees have already said they won’t get into a bidding war if A-Rod opts out of the last years of his contract.

With Mike Lowell ($9 million) and Matt Clement ($9.5 million — remember him?) set to come off the books at the end of the season and the Sox still unsure of what to do with Curt Schilling ($13 million), there could be $18.5 to 31.5 million in cash to toss around.

But with the Sox always seemingly focused on not letting the payroll get too out of control (despite this past offseason’s signings) plus the sensible choice for Schilling and the Sox to come to terms, it would seem the Sox would not be acting business conscience in wildly pursuing Rodriguez.

That’s where the deal with Roush Racing comes in. The deal was struck at the beginning of the season for each organization, which may or may not affect when the Sox begin to see a return on their investment.

The thought here is that the Sox attempt to sign A-Rod, take the short-term financial hit and bank on an influx of cash from their NASCAR investment in a year or two to get them out of the red – all the while taking advantage of competitive team that for the next few years will feature a nice balance of veteran and young talent.

The window for that balance in sports is short. You can only have veterans in their prime and productive kids making short money simultaneously for so long. Henry, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein know this. Seth Moonkin’s “Feeding the Monster” revealed such when in it Epstein made clear the Sox would take a step back in 2006, only to retool in 2007 and beyond with a mix of cheap homegrown talent and top-tier free agents.

And remember, A-Rod wanted to come here at the end of the 2003 season. He even agreed to a substantial paycut to do so, only to have the MLB Player’s Union squash the deal because, Heaven forbid, a player make less money.

Of course back then Rodriquez was coming here to play short, with Nomar Garciaparra going to the White Sox, Manny Ramirez shipping out to Texas and Magglio Ordonez replacing Manny. (By the way, I know we won it all in 2004 and Mags and A-Rod weren’t this productive before, but giving each player’s productivity this season, imagine the lineup today had that deal gone through? Oh, and Ortiz would be hitting in between them. Gulp.)

Now, the simple choice would be for the Sox to not resign Lowell and have A-Rod take over at third. Easy. But with Lowell’s resurgence as a premier run producer and his desire to stay in Boston as long as he gets more than a one-year deal, the Sox could potentially pencil in A-Rod at shortstop and trade Julio Lugo for 25 cents on the dollar like they did with Edgar Renteria.

That all depends, of course, on Henry’s accountants’ revenue projections (and trust me, I’m sure he’s done that).

That all makes for an interesting scenario. A-Rod may want to leave New York because of fan and media criticism and a money-grubbing agent. The Sox may have a hole at third or short. A-Rod wanted to come here before.

There’s just one more question: Do the Sox want A-Rod? This New York Daily News article may have the answer.

“One baseball source told the Daily News that Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino has wanted Rodriguez in a Boston uniform ever since the original deal collapsed, even after he was traded to the team’s hated rival. ‘Lucchino has never stopped wanting him,’ the source said.”

Things just got a lot more interesting.

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Who’s Now?

July 17, 2007

The following post on ESPN’s ‘Who’s Now’ was written by Wolfie, the rest posted by nickwill. Enjoy:

espn.jpg

‘Who’s Now’ is one of the worst SportsCenter segments I can remember.

 

The bracket setup is stupid. Why would there be upsets? The Now label is cheesy. I think it’s called who’s popular.

 

The panel leaves much to be desired also. I like Keyshawn in the studio for NFL, but he’s not versatile enough for this job. Michael Wilbon is OK, but he’s old and I get enough of him on PTI every day. Herbstreit is logical and safe but he doesn’t have any special reason to be telling me who or what is hot right now.

 

This segment could have been entertaining, and here’s how: 

First you cut down the giant ass bracket to 16 people max. No one watching a highlight show wants to see a debate that lasts over two weeks. Secondly, trying to create your own adjective is a reach. I’ll go with who’s hot or buzz index as the title. Lastly, the panel is going to make or break it. I need Stephen A. Smith on this segment in a bad way. SAS is your loud and energized opinionated sparkplug. Then give me Bill Simmons in the 2-hole for your pop culture and humor input. Then I’ll take Torry Holt for some swag and logic. (Holt is going to be smoke as an ESPN personality once he retires, by the way.)

 

 

 

Something about cell phone chargers makes them easy to forget. It’s always one of those things you need to be reminded of when you travel, whether it’s by another person or by writing it on some sort of list. I forgot mine twice in five days. Once at home when coming back to Boston and the other in Philly before coming back to Boston. It should also be noted that the one I left in Philly was a brand new one – a replacement for the one I left home.

 

That leaves me with a grand total of zero chargers for my phone. Do I get another for $30? Does this happen to anyone else, or am I just an idiot?

 

 

 

Me and my former roommate Anthony (See “Curse of the Marshall Faulk Jersey” below) were talking about this before: Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you “I know you better than you know yourself.”

 

Yea? You do? Or do I know EXACTLY what I’m thinking at EVERY single moment of the day and you can just guess how I’m feeling and maybe be right sometimes???

 

You tell me who knows me better. It’s a typical stupid Mom line that means absolutely zero. Sometimes girlfriends try and steal it as well. But seriously, c’mon, you think this tricks me?

 

I’ve been with me since the beginning. Everywhere I’ve went, too. You can’t say that. So stop trying to be a hero know-it-all.


Let Beckham Mania Begin

July 16, 2007

David Beckham is finally here. Are you ready for Beckham mania?

By now you’ve surely seen the commercial on ESPN welcoming the big-ticket free agent to America. You’ve seen the ads in magazines, the commercials for Victoria Beckham’s (aka: Posh Spice) reality TV show on NBC. You’ve maybe even heard about the Beckham-inspired Spice Girls reunion tour – that’s right, the Spice Girls are coming back with an 11-city tour in America coinciding with Becks arrival in the States.

This is more than the arrival of a soccer, or futbol, player. It’s the arrival of a Global Icon (sorry Lebron) and perhaps the beginning of relevance for the not really respected MLS.

Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy for a guaranteed $32.5 million over five years. His annual $6.5 million salary makes him by far the highest made MLS player. But that’s not all. Beckham’s deal is one of a kind, something never really done before in sports, and something that may inspire Scott Boras when he begins contract negotiations for A-Rod when the slugger opts out of his deal with the Yankees.

Beckham’s deal offers him incentives and profit sharing, meaning he gets a percentage of ticket sales, jersey sales and many other profit-boosting perks. His deal has been reported to possibly be worth $250 million over the five years, giving Beckham the largest deal in sports history (A-Rod’s $250 million deal was spread over 10 years, not five…but we’ll see what he signs for next).

The Galaxy have already sold 11,000 season tickets. LA’s away games are a must-have ticket in cities across the country. Beckham’s jersey will surely be a huge sell, with ads plastered all over the MLS website as soon as he signed.

Beckham’s production on the soccer field is secondary. He’s larger than life. On par with Jordan, Woods, Lebron, Pele and Gretzky. He’s here to take over America – in sports, pop culture and entertainment.

He will face some problems, like getting people to stay tuned after the initial rush of fame subsides. (You don’t hear too much about Dice-K anymore, do you?) He’ll also have to fit in with his teammates, many of whom are making $6 million or more less than the international superstar. The Galaxy’s nest highest paid footballer is U.S. mainstay Landon Donovan at $900,000.

This Saturday’s exhibition match will be Beckham’s debut. It will be televised on ESPN. I expect the highest ratings for soccer in America this year. Beckham will be bigger than the game of course. He’s already bigger than the MLS.

He was brought in to not save the league, but to take it to the next level. Beckham isn’t a name anymore. It’s a brand. Soccer camps, TV shows, T-Shirts, sponsorships…the list goes on and on.

Will he succeed? I don’t know. But I know I’ll be watching. Beckham Mania, here we go…


Fake Girl Sox Fans

July 12, 2007

Pinky Sox

Its summer and you know what that means? Tons of girl’s facebook pics at Fenway Park. I’ve seen countless ones already. You know, the kind where it’s a far-off shot from a shitty bleacher seat of like the green monster, Big Papi or one of the “cute” players like Tek, Papelbon or Pedroia. Then you get the caption, something like: “Fenway is my FAVORITE place. I LOVE the Red Sox!!”

 

Do ya?? Or did ya have no idea about them until 2003? You tell me. You know Darren Lewis? Big fan of Saberhagen in the day? Sweat Jeff Frye and John Valentin? I’m guessing no. My estimate is that you have a pink (maybe green) hat, started following the team when it was good, your favorite player used to be Johnny Damon (I just loved him!) and now it might be Coco Crisp or Dustin Pedroia (he’s so little!).

 

A girl was at my house the other day when the Yankees-Angels FOX game was on. She couldn’t believe we were watching the Yankees (gasp!). “Turn that off. They suck.” Listen…I’m a baseball fan. I’m going to watch two nice teams go at it on a nationally broadcasted game. Plus, they’re our division rivals and you need to track this stuff. Double plus, I could watch the D-Rays and Orioles play and still have a dece time.

 

I like butch sports girls as little as the next guy, but c’mon, spare me from the pointless “I’m a huge fan!” rhetoric. It ain’t true one bit.

 

Am I right or nah? I’m dying for a heated girl response…

 

 

—-

 Don’t ever use the word horny. In my opinion, it’s reached creep-word status, joining hump, poontang and fetish in the Creeptionary.

 

 

Had my first experience with GPS the other day. Have to say I was impressed. Thing knew everything: the weird Boston streets, alternate routes, street names I didn’t know, even bodies of water. Gonna be amazing once that technology is standard in every car (along with MP3 players). People will never get lost. Imagine that?

 

 

I’m with Wolfie on his proclamation of needing to get good at golf. It’s so important for males when you get older. When I was working in the PR department for this business advisory firm, my boss who was only a few years older than me and from BU told me straight up: golf is verrry important in the professional world.

 

Bosses and businessmen love it for some reason. Its like their escape, the only tight thing they have left, the only thing keeping them sane in the face of whack jobs, wives, kids, taxes and overall pressure.

 

That said, you don’t want to embarrass yourself with a piss-poor game – especially with colleagues you might be working with for awhile. My biggest fear is being “that guy,” the one who sucks at golf and everything thinks less of them for it.

 

I need to learn how to play. Anyone wanna teach me??


Leyland best skipper at break

July 9, 2007

Leyland

If anyone ever tells you a major league skipper does little to affect the outcome of a baseball game, refer them to the Detroit Tigers sweep of Boston this weekend.

 

Jim Leyland completely out-managed Terry Francona (a guy I like), leading his team victorious over the Red Sox three straight times in a battle of two of the best clubs in baseball.

 

Leyland managed his bullpen to perfection, especially in the latter innings of Saturday’s 3-2, 13-inning Tiger triumph. He never pitched to David Ortiz (five walks in two games, including three of the intentional variety Saturday, challenged Manny Ramirez (1-for-9 with a double and what seemed like a million double plays), and utilized the hit-and-run to perfection.

 

Well-respected and admired throughout baseball, Leyland showed exactly why he’s one of baseball’s greats this weekend. He led the Tigers to the World Series last year before losing to the upstart St. Louis Cardinals and for that will manage the American League All-Stars this Tuesday.

 

This weekend, he did a damn good job managing a team currently playing like a bunch of All-Stars. The Tigers are hitting the cover off the ball. There isn’t even enough from for all their bats in the lineup. Marcus Thames (10 homers) and Craig Monroe (nine) actually platoon in left field. Leyland mixed in Thames – who is becoming quite the Sox killer – well this weekend, starting the outfielder in left field, right field and first base and watching him deliver with home runs No. 9 and 10.

 

Leyland brought in Todd Jones early in Saturday’s contest, when the score was 2-2 in the ninth. Jones pitched two effective innings before yielding to Macay McBride. The lefthander got two outs before surrendering a Jason Varitek single. Leyland had seen enough and when Francona brought in Jeff Bailey to hit for Eric Hinske, Leyland countered with righthander Zach Miner

 

Miner induced a fielder’s choice grounder from Bailey, ending any potential trouble.

 

When Miner loaded the bases with two outs in the 12th on back-to-back walks to Ortiz (intentional) and Ramirez, Leyland called for lefty Bobby Seay. Francona replaced another lefty, J.D. Drew, with Kevin Youkilis.  Seay retired Youkilis on a harmless flyout to right.

 

You could argue that this is just one of those cases where the players make the manager look good, but you’ve gotta face the facts: Leyland put those players in the proper positions to succeed.

 

He’s also gotten the most of his players. Magglio Ordonez is hitting like Yaz – with stats in contention with A-Rod for the Triple Crown. Gary Sheffield looks like he’s 28-yeard-old. Jones – the closer who everybody loves to hate – has held on to his closing job despite cries for Fernando Rodney and, when he was healthy, Joel Zumaya.

 

Leyland obviously sees something in the veteran. He must like what he brings to the table in the ninth. And just like last year when the critics and pundits concluded that Jones would lose his job by midseason, Leyland’s man as once again proved them wrong, notching 22 saves at the break.

 

There’s still a lot of baseball to play as we reach the non-official halfway point of the season. But if I had to vote for Manger of the Year right now, Jimmy Leyland gets the nod.


New Phones, Runner’s High and Secrets

July 8, 2007

How lost are you when you get a new phone? You used to know all your settings and shortcuts in your old shitty one, then you get that new beauty and can’t figure out how to turn on vibrate. Because let’s be honest: no one is reading those directions. You kiddin me? Things textbook thick and goes into features you didn’t even pay for anyway. Only way to learn is trial and error.

 

Secret is one of the best new words to use. It’s huge at BU now. You surprise your friends with a lil 12-pack of Sam Summer? Secret beers. Someone bugging for gum and you pull out a pack? Secret gum. Girls can be secret hot, chooches can be secret whack, and sports teams can be secret hard to play. If you don’t use it, try it out. It’s a secret word you’ll enjoy.

 

No such thing as runner’s high I decided. At least not for me. Hate running and everything it stands for. Recently just started back into it in an attempt to get back in shape. It hurts and it blows. I always run just waiting for that runner’s high I hear so much about to kick in – nah, never does. I’d rather have stoner’s high.

 

I get why male-dominated areas in the workforce pretty much stay that way. Whether it’s government, CEOs, big time presidents and executives, people try to keep it in the guy’s hands. Why? Basically…you don’t want the women holding all the cards do you? They already can do whatever they want cause they hold the elusive sex card. Cause it’s very rare for a girl to want to have sex and the guy to not. It’s always the other way around. So much so that women can actually train men to do things just in the pursuit of getting laid. That said…they can’t have it all. Right?


Why the Celtics aren’t done yet

July 3, 2007

AKMarion

The best thing about the Celtics draft-day deal for Ray Allen last week may be the fact that it left the team with its main chips to deal.

 

Danny Ainge still has Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and his expiring contract, Sebastian Telfair, future draft choices and, to a lesser and more unlikely extent, Al Jefferson.

 

That means the team could make a play for someone like Shawn Marion or Jermaine O’Neal, although the latter may be a dream considering the Pacers insisted on both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom from the Lakers.

 

Still, Marion or Utah’s Andre Kirilenko would sure look good in the green – and the Celts may possess the chips to get a deal done.

 

The Celtics obviously aren’t done dealing. Their current squad isn’t enough, not yet. And with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce set to turn 32 and 30, respectively, it makes sense to deal for another similar aged and talented (read: all-star level) veteran.

 

Since they probably don’t have enough goods to get KG or O’Neal, the best veteran options would be Kirilenko and Marion, two 4s who would make the Celts a dangerous offensive team.

 

Gerald, Theo’s deal and a future first rounder or two would likely be enough to get a deal done with Phoenix or Utah, two teams with an abundance of talent looking for cap relief.

 

With Rajon Rondo, Pierce, Allen, Marion/AK and Big Al, they’d effectively be starting two 4s and two 2s with a point guard. They would be small, but they could run and score. Think Phoenix but without the elite point guard. Still, that lineup would stretch defenses like never before imagined with the post-80s Celtics.

 

They’d lack in defense, certainly, with either Marion or AK being the best defensive option available. Allen’s a turnstile, Big Al is still very much raw on the defensive end (ditto with Rondo) and Pierce’s job is to score.

 

But, two shooters, two elusive semi-big men and scrappy Rondo with the best job in the world – slinging the ball around to a bunch of guys who can fill the bucket. You think that team won’t be exciting?

 I think it wins the East. But only if another deal gets done. Let’s hope Ainge can swing it.