Monthly Archives: November 2011

Some Things I Read Today

Who’s more inept, the Marlins or the city of Miami?

In financing construction of the parking garages, the city agreed to lease all 5,700 spaces to the Marlins at the cost of $10 a spot. Although out of line with the city’s regular practices, the contract stipulates that the city, and not the team, is responsible for all taxes on the garages. According to the Sun-Sentinel, however, municipal properties in Miami-Dade County are only exempt from property taxes if used exclusively for public purposes. By building garages for use by a private organization, the city was taking on an extra tax bill that it had not prepared for. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (who opposed the stadium deal as city commissioner) has said that parking revenue alone will not cover the increased costs. The cash strapped city will instead have to draw funds from its budget.

Cory Eucalitto, “City of Miami Owes $2 Million in Property Taxes for Stadium Garages”
Marlin Maniac

It sounds like Miami just stumbled into this accident, and the Marlins aren’t at fault for any sort of trickery. But I mean . . . like, come on, Miami. Someone should have figured that out beforehand. More money for the Marlins to pretend to offer Albert Pujols, I guess.

By the way, both Marlins Maniac and the under-new-management Fish Stripes are worth adding to your RSS reader, if you like to keep track of the other teams in the NL East.

One non-baseball piece: Brains!

Squeezed into a curlicue of space deep in the building’s basement are more than 400 lead glass bottles containing a rich scotch-coloured liquid that twinkle on backlit shelves. Amid the room’s twilight and wood panelling you could be forgiven for thinking that you had wandered into an exclusive speakeasy. But your thirst will immediately dissipate once you realise that resting in each of these bottles is a human brain.

- George Pendle, “Grey Matters”
FT Magazine

Brains! BRAINS! Via Give me Something to Read

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What Do Shortstop Contracts Look Like?

Subtitle: Like Pieces of Paper with Writing on Them.

It’s November 29, and Jose Reyes is still a free agent. The Mets have yet to sign anyone or make any trades. Not much is happening in the baseball world . . . so let’s fire up the contracts-of-the-past machine once again. This time we’re going to look at shortstops, as the Mets have interest in a certain aforementioned free agent shortstop. Between the 2004-05 winter and the present, shortstops signed 18 multi-year contracts as free agents and six contract-extensions buying out multiple years of free agency. Here are all of them, in something resembling a discernible order. Continue reading

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MLB Real First Names

Beyond the Box Score posted a quiz about MLB players who go by a nickname. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to match these players up with their real names. It’s unbelievable difficult — I only knew B.J. Upton’s real first name. And Chipper Jones’, of course. You should all get that one.

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Chicken Nuggets

The baseball Hot Stove overload continues to be explained via food:

I don’t have the stomach to peddle nutritionally devoid nuggets to the hungry masses, no matter how tempting the profit line. And though I can understand the urge to scarf down those nuggets, I don’t really want to be the children either, chewing up and digesting everything in sight without considering the source.

But I also have no strong desire to be Jaime Oliver, tilting at windmills, preaching in vain to try to prevent people from catering to their most base instincts.

- Ted Berg, “Reconstituted Meat”
TedQuarters

And Ted pretty much nails it here. I think, in this scenario, I’ve decided that I don’t want to eat chicken nuggets anymore, because I’ve had too many. Chicken nuggets, when you get down to it, are gross. But it’s also true that chicken nuggets are fun and delicious, and if they’re what people want . . . well, that makes sense. Chicken nuggets taste good. And it’s possible that I’m the only one sick of chicken nuggets because, as a baseball blogger, I’m exposed to and eat too many chicken nuggets. There’s likely no point in me stating about how I’m sick of chicken nuggets while everyone else happily scarfs them down.

I think I’m lost in the analogy. Go read Ted’s piece, because he’s thought this through and taken it farther than I have. And by the way, actual chicken nuggets — especially dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, which really do taste better — are among my favorite foods.

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Some Things I Read Today

Two things today, so let’s jump right into it. Jeff Passan talked to Jimmy McMillan, better known as the “Rent is Too Damn High Party” guy, about the American League MVP voting. No, I don’t know why. You should read about it anyway:

“I like Mike. He’s just like me,” McMillan said over the phone Monday afternoon. “He’s not supposed to be there, but he’s there. McMillan look like Santa Claus. He wore sneakers to the debate. I like Michael Young. I really do. I say this to you, Mike: You keep your head up. Verlander got the vote, but I guarantee you, you’re the right guy.”

McMillan called from New York, where he was watching “The Situation Room” and doing push-ups. He criticized Newt Gingrich, outlined the Rent Is Too Damn High Party’s future, paused for a few more push-ups and, when prompted about sports, went into a minute-long dissection of Eli Manning.

- Jeff Passan, “Young’s Second MVP Vote Comes from unlikely voter”
Yahoo Sports

That’s how everyone watches the Situation Room, right?

Second thing: Here’s a link to xkcd and the greatest giant infographic you’ll ever see about money, how it stacks up, and where it all goes.

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More About Bacon

I wrote a bit about my frustration with the amount of stuff available on the internet on Friday. The gist: There are so many voices competing for eyeballs on the web that it’s becoming exponentially more difficult to sort through everything and find just the good stuff. Quantity is burying quality. Instead of passing time on juicy baseball rumors, I’m being tricked by deceptive headlines and heavily-qualified articles, and I find this annoying and somewhat depressing. I have come to the point where I would be willing to pay a small amount of money every month to block out all the noise, so I can just see worthwhile stuff.

Now, apparently a number of persons disagrees with me. Quoting bits and pieces from the comments section of the aforementioned post, a theme begins to emerge: Continue reading

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Too Much Bacon

I’m going to be totally honest. I don’t have anything to say about the Mets right now. They haven’t done anything this off-season, so seven weeks into the winter, nothing has changed from seven weeks ago. I don’t have anything to say about the nothing that’s happened over those seven weeks, and I think this is a reasonable position.

That said, there’s another reason I don’t have anything to say right now: I think there’s too much being said about the nothing going on with the Mets already. I don’t want to contribute to the noise just for the sake of contributing to the noise.

See, here’s the deal: I’m starting to find Twitter and the blogosphere more useless than useful when it comes to baseball rumors. I think we’re coming to a tipping point, if we haven’t reached it already, in baseball coverage. There’s such a competition for pageviews and clicks that – and I don’t want to say people are making stuff up, because I don’t think that’s entirely true – there’s such a competition for pageviews and clicks that just about everything and anything is being reported and stretched out into a something-resembling-a-story, and then picked up and passed along by blogs, this one included at times. And it’s getting absurd. It’s not hard to imagine that every “story” now begins with an intrepid reporter asking a High-Ranking Person With Knowledge of a Team’s Thinking if they would consider doing X, to which High-Ranking Person With Knowledge of Team’s Thinking replies, “Sure, it’s possible. It’s also possible I’m Banksy on the weekends.” Click Here to Continue Reading

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Some Thing I Read Today

The paper that resulted five years later, the abovementioned “Prospect Theory,” not only proved that one of the central premises of economics was seriously flawed—the so-called utility theory, “based on elementary rules (axioms) of rationality”—but also spawned a sub-field of economics known as behavioral economics. This field attracted the interest of a Harvard undergraduate named Paul DePodesta. With a mind prepared to view markets and human decision-making as less than perfectly rational, DePodesta had gone into sports management, been hired by Billy Beane to work for the Oakland A’s, and proceeded to exploit the unreason of baseball experts. A dotted line connected the Israeli psychologists to what would become a revolution in sports management. Outside of baseball there had been, for decades, an intellectual revolt, led by a free thinker named Bill James, devoted to creating new baseball knowledge. The movement generated information of value in the market for baseball players, but the information went ignored by baseball insiders. The market’s willful ignorance had a self-reinforcing quality: the longer the information was ignored, the less credible it became. After all, if this stuff had any value, why didn’t baseball insiders pay it any attention? To see the value in what Bill James and his crowd were up to you had first to believe that a market as open and transparent as the market for baseball players could ignore valuable information—that is, that it could be irrational. Kahneman and Tversky had made that belief reasonable.

- Michael Lewis, “The King of Human Error”
Vanity Fair

Saw this via Rob Neyer. Two thoughts on this:

1. Vanity Fair has a business section? Vanity Fair has sections? I’ve never opened one.

2. I want to read this guy’s book.

That’s all. Michael Lewis writing about baseball and people who see the world for what it is — always an interesting read. Check it out.

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Endy!

According to one high-ranking team insider, the Mets are open to a second stint in Flushing for the free agent outfielder, and have discussed Chavez — albeit in a very informal and preliminary way — with agent Peter Greenberg. Although there have not yet been any serious talks or negotiations, Mets brass considers Chavez a fit for the 2012 roster. It remains to be seen whether the sides will agree on Chavez’s value.

- New York Daily News

I’m 85% sure this isn’t a real story as much as it is the reporting of a possible story — e.g., “high-ranking team insider,” “Mets are open to,” and “have discussed Chavez — albeit in a very informal and preliminary way” all appear in one sentence. Regardless: Endy Chavez! I have no interest in thinking about this in any way other than an emotional one. I much prefer replaying catches and game-winning drag bunts in my head instead of looking up Chavez’s UZR in this case.

Also, has anyone else realized that David Wright is now the only player from the 2006 postseason roster Mets still with the team today? And Mike Pelfrey and Wright are the only two holdovers to the present who saw any playing time in 2006? Five years.

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Mostly Mets Podcast, 11/16

Newest Mostly Mets podcast, including our first phone call. We talk Reyes-to-the-Marlins rumors, uniform colors, John Rico, the new CBA, how working in baseball has changed us, and I ask for help picking a college basketball team. The iTunes link — rate us, download us — is here. Call us at 347-915-6387 (347-915-METS) and leave a voicemail for the show, or send emails to MostlyMetsPodcast at gmail, or send Twitter love. Thanks. We love you all.

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