December 7, 2010
IN 18 REMARKABLE hours at the winter meetings in Orlando, an intertwined player and baseball executive made headline news. Free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth emerged from the mushroom-shaped cloud produced by agent Scott Boras with a 7-year, $126 million contract. The deal was apparently struck by Boras without use of extortion, hypnotism or excessive force on Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. The first order of business yesterday morning when the 4-day swap meet and agent throw-down officially began was to announce the result of the semiannual election of the Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee.
December 6, 2010
SCOTT BORAS sold the Washington Nationals the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. Told general manager Mike Rizzo it's a great deal because in a few years the bridge will be carrying auto traffic instead of horses and buggies. Scott Boras sold the Nationals 1,000 acres of oceanfront property in the Sahara desert. Convinced owner Ted Lerner it's a great deal because Ted's buddy, Al Gore, says in a few hundred years the Mediterranean Sea will be lapping at the edge of the property. Just think of the condo potential.
December 2, 2010
W HEN I'M King of the World . . . The NFL will no longer schedule games between a well-rested team and one handicapped by a short week. Time for Roger Goodell and the Safety First boys to extend their health concerns to their anything-TV-wants scheduling policies. It was patently reckless to have the Chicago Bears play a made-for-the-NFL Channel game on Thursday night, Nov. 18, against a Dolphins team minus both quarterbacks. The Bears then had 10 days to prepare for the Eagles, who were coming off a physical Sunday night victory over the Giants.
November 30, 2010
WHEN JAYSON Werth hired agent-to-the-stars Scott Boras last summer, one thing was a virtual given. If the Phillies' rightfielder and only righthand-hitting power bat walked into free agency to pursue a Jason Bay contract - heavy and long - it would not be a matter of deep organizational concern. Be of cheer, Domonic Brown will soon be here . . . Maybe if the 6-5 rightfielder with the five-tool scouting report had not been with the varsity so long this year, none of his weaknesses would have been exposed.
November 26, 2010
I WAS NEVER much for holiday lists. Things to be thankful for at Thanksgiving . . . gifts to the appropriate - or inappropriate - sports figures at Christmas . . . New Year's resolutions by sports figures and teams. I might have done one or two, but I was not a fanatic about the genre. This year, I will make an exception. Yesterday was my 50th Thanksgiving in the newspaper business. That's a lot of turkey. First, thanks to the best sports city there has ever been or ever will be, Philadelphia, and its surrounding region . . . My first major beat as an Evening Bulletin sportswriter was Penn State football in 1963.
November 23, 2010
CHARLIE MANUEL calls Ryan Howard "The Big Piece. " It is now fairly certain free agent Jayson Werth will become "The Missing Piece. " And when the Phillies' former rightfielder cashes in on whatever riches agent Scott Boras mines for him, there will be a gaping righthanded-hitting void in the middle of the batting order. The manager used to downplay how lefthanded the Phillies became after Raul Ibanez was acquired. It was easy to whistle past that graveyard because Werth had emerged from the obscurity of an injury-compromised career, thanks to a calculated gamble by GM Pat Gillick.
November 18, 2010
MANY MAJOR LEAGUE baseball general managers would hear the word omerta and start checking baseball-reference.com for a Latino middle infielder. Omerta is a Sicilian-originated word for an oath of silence, the violation of which can lead to a halibut in the mail, a cement shoe fitting or a bullet in the eye. Baseball GMs don't realize it but they are practicing omerta this November, thanks to the downsized window through which to negotiate with their former players who have filed for free agency.
November 16, 2010
NEARLY 29 YEARS after one of the biggest heists in major league baseball history, Ryne Sandberg has returned to the scene of the crime. Or at least to the Phillies' payroll . . . The first-ballot Hall of Famer, who had both 40 home-run and 50 stolen-base seasons, a 10-time National League All-Star with nine Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards, will manage the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs next season. That would seem to move the 2010 Pacific Coast League manager of the year into the on-deck circle as Charlie Manuel's eventual replacement.
November 10, 2010
W HEN I'M KING of the World . . . Beaver Stadium will be renamed Joe Paterno Stadium - before he retires . . . No offense, Gov. Beaver, but when it was named in your memory in 1960, the capacity was 46,284. During the 400-victory Paterno era, The Big Beav has expanded by 60,998 seats. Its capacity of 107,282 makes it the second-largest outdoor stadium in the United States, behind the University of Michigan's Big House, and the fifth-largest in the world, trailing only mammoth soccer stadiums in North Korea, India and Mexico.
November 8, 2010 |
'TIME KEEPS ON slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future . . . " Ironically, that line is from the classic rock anthem, "Fly Like an Eagle. " And it is hard to believe that the performer who sang it was Steve Miller and not Andy Reid. On the first day of Eastern Standard Time, Andy's watch stayed on EDT - Eagles Delay Time. If Reid had been Frederic Chopin, the "Minute Waltz" would have run out of clock. In a week when Tea Party candidates helped rearrange the national political landscape, coach tossed a "T-Party" of his own. Thanks to a lost Reid challenge and a TO called by quarterback Michael Vick as the play clock was about to run out, the Eagles were out of timeouts with 7:14 left in the first half.