Biz Round-Up: Sweet Lou returns, MLB rule changes

Open Thread: Kevin Brown
Behind Derek Jeter's unexpected second-half resurgence

Report: Lou Piniella set to join YES Network team

An old familiar face is getting ready to return to the Yankee family. One-time Yankee player and manager Lou Piniella will be rejoining the Yankees as a spring training instructor and YES Network analyst, Bob Raissman of The Daily News reported yesterday. Piniella, who served as a San Francisco Giants’ consultant last year, wanted to stay in baseball but also wanted to be close to his home in Tampa. The Yanks were the perfect fit.

According to Raissman’s report, Piniella will do “a limited number of appearances” on YES. The News scribe expects the former skipper to be in the booth come Opening Day in the Trop, and he’ll do a handful of other series throughout the season. The Piniella deal isn’t final yet, but a YES Network spokesperson confirmed to Bryan Hoch that the two sides were working toward a contract. It’ll be good to hear Sweet Lou, who served in the MSG broadcast booth in 1989, back on TV.

Rule tweaks dominate new MLB Basic Agreement

Later this week, the MLB Owners will ratify the new Major League Baseball Basic Agreement, and as the Players Association approved it today, it will become the law of the baseball land. We’ve heard a lot about the changes to the luxury tax, the amateur draft and international spending. Now, courtesy of the Associated Press, we learn about the myriad minor rule changes as well.

Many of these rule changes are common-sense. The Yankees, who should have played the Wild Card Rays this year in the playoffs but did not, would under a rule that allows teams from the same division to meet in the Division Series. MLB, as was reported earlier this fall, will expand instant replay to include “trapped” catches and some more fair/foul calls. The All Star Break will now be four days, and the game may move to Wednesday beginning in 2013 as well.

For players, MLB has banned tattoos with corporate logos and obscene nicknames written on equipment that may be visible to fans at the stadium or at home. Furthermore, David Ortiz will no longer be allowed to whine about his RBI total as players are banned from requesting scoring changes from the official scorer. Only MLB may hear an appeal now.

My favorite new rule change concerns uniforms though. Here’s how the AP describes it:

Quick uniform number switches will be a thing of the past. Players must tell the commissioner’s office by July 31 of the preceding year if they want a new jersey. That is, unless “the player (or someone on his behalf) purchases the existing finished goods inventory of apparel containing the player’s jersey number.” As in, every replica jersey, jacket, T-shirt, mug and anything else with a number that’s anywhere in stock.

How utterly vindictive.

Finally, one popular team practice has been eliminated as well: Clubs may no longer summon Minor Leaguers to the Majors without activating them. In other words, no more will top prospects be allowed to watch the rest of the regular season unfold in late September from the bench. The Yanks have done this in the past with their youngsters ranging from Derek Jeter to Jesus Montero and beyond. All told, though, these rule changes seem fairly reasonable to me.

Open Thread: Kevin Brown
Behind Derek Jeter's unexpected second-half resurgence
  • Nick

    rabble rabble rabble

  • hogsmog
    • Benjamin Kabak

      That was honestly the first thing that came to mind when I read that part of the story about the rule changes.

  • Adolf Oliver Nipple

    piniella = awesome for baseball in any capacity

    • Slu

      I hated Pinella in the booth in ’89 and in the stints he has done with Fox. The man knows baseball, but is not cut out for announcing, in my opinion

  • Total Dominication

    So does the 1st ranked team now play the wild card automatically, or the lowest ranked team regardless division/wc?

  • Pat D

    I demand that they hire Steve Lyons for one game so that he can make the same comment that got him fired from Fox.

    Just so he can be fired again.

  • Bobtaco

    Any change in the stoopid blackout rules?

  • RetroRob

    Thanks heavens that eliminated that horrible practice of allowing minor league players to be summoned from the minors in September without beging activated. It clearly hurt the development of these players. Wait, what?????

    • Bo Knows

      Teams will probably just give their top prospects front row tickets as personal “gifts” so they can watch the games

      • mbonzo

        Or they’ll ignore the rule. I mean, how do you enforce a rule like that? Are the umps gonna penalize a team if they see a prospect in there? How will they even know who they are?

        • Ted Nelson

          I would imagine that the league would fine the team. At the same time the umps could simply count the number of people in the dugout/pen vs. the active roster and other personnel such as coaches, trainers, bat boys.

    • sangreal

      I doubt it has anything to do with them watching games in September. The problem being targeted is more likely the case when teams call up a minor league player and has them sit in the hotel in case someone can’t start.

  • RetroRob

    Oh, please, please, please tell me that there’s a chance Lou Pinella and Paul O’Neill will do games together. Just the two of them. Nobody else in the booth. Lou and Paul together. I’ll cancel all plans to make sure I watch because there will be a fist fight at some point.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    The Sweet Lou stuff reminds me of when they had no idea what to do with Billy Martin, so they gave him a few minutes before each game.

    This new CBA gets dumber and dumber every day.

  • nycsportzfan

    hey mike Could u do a Andy Stankewicz open thread?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Stanky the Yankee!

      I will repeat my request for open threads on the forgotten Yankees of the Bucky/Dallas Green/Stump years. Those of us who remember (and I can’t believe I have to even write that at this point) still can’t comprehend how things like “some dude named Jeff Johnson was in the rotation for a couple of years?” actually really did happen. Guys like that add some perspective for those moments where we think dipping under $189 million for a payroll is the end of the world.

      • Adam

        Scott Sanderson, ace.

        • Andrew518

          Stanky hit a HR at my first game at the stadium, will never forget him.

  • Matt Imbrogno

    Don’t see the point of the number change and prospect things.

    • Brian in NH

      For the number thing…its more about wtf is MLB supposed to do with all that merchandise that is now obsolete.

      idk what the prospect thing is about though

    • Ted Nelson

      Both seem like business matters that are fairly irrelevant to baseball.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the prospect thing is a union thing. If you want to bring a kid up then pay him an MLB salary and let him work towards his pension/arb/free agency.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        There are chasms in between doing what the Yankees do every September and having someone work for free, though. Not arguing with you, just continuing the point.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, I don’t know for sure what’s behind it… I could just see that being it.

          Every team could have done it, so I don’t see why one team would have a problem with another team doing it. Perhaps some teams felt like they were doing things the “right” way–putting prospects on the 40 man–and being punished for it while other teams flaunted the system and were rewarded by not paying the guys now or later. Perhaps the poorest teams didn’t want to pay for travel and stuff. I just think the union has a greater incentive to get its guys paid and on their way to free agency. I’d imagine they’re not too thrilled about teams leaving the Jennings’, Montero’s, and Brown’s down in AAA to delay their arb clocks and free agency (though some other players benefit I suppose). This is sort of like a much smaller version of the same thing maybe, an easy win/moral victory.

  • The Oberamtmann

    What if a player wants to take the opportunity to change numbers when changing teams during the offseason? Or a player with the number you want might leave via free agency or retire?

    • Brian in NH

      if you’re changing teams there are no restrictions. Only if you aren’t changing teams but changing numbers. I wonder if there will be an exception for scenarios where a guy is coming to a new team and wants to “buy” a number from a player already there.

      • CP

        I would assume that he would have to buy all the remaining stock of inventory with that players number on it.

        Of course, if the player selling the number is famous enough to have a lot of jerseys on hand, then he’s probably not going to give up his number.

    • Ted Nelson

      Changing teams seems like you’d have to be able to, both practically because the number might be taken and because the spirit of the rule seems to be to preserve the value of merchandise which also becomes pretty valueless upon changing teams.

      A number becoming available doesn’t strike me as an exception.

      Will be interesting to see how it works in practice. While a star has tons more $ to buy up inventory, there’s probably far more of their merchandise out there. Your UTL or long-man might not have to buy hardly any inventory to switch #s.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Shit Cash…we were screaming “Get Yuuuuuuu” not “Get Louuuuuuuuu”

  • Matt Imbrogno

    Also, am I the only one who just doesn’t care for Lou Pinella at all?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      I don’t know how much I care for older Lou, but Lou the player and Lou the hotshot young Yankee manager always bring a smile to my face. Just like with a lot of coaches/managers who wind up endlessly bouncing around in their later years (Parcells, for example), you wish you could just freeze that moment in time before they became less special to you.

  • Bronx Byte

    Good to see Sweet Lou Piniella back as a Yankee where he belongs. One of few Yankees (Stick Michael and Ralph Houk were the others) that served as a player, coach, field manager, and General Manager of the team.

    • Total Dominication

      He was not a GM lol.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Au contrare, mon frere. Lou was absolutely Yankee GM for a very brief period in 1988.

      • Dale Mohorcic

        Au contraire. He was GM to start the 88 season, and when Billy was fired again he took over in the dugout. It was goofy because Lou managed the team the previous year, got pushed out by George for Billy, and then Billy got fired early on the season and Lou came back to the dugout.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          We need an open thread for the likes of Dale Mohorcic.

          The French, and Bart Simpson about 15 years ago, say “au contraire.”

          I do not miss crazy Papa George front office shenanigans one bit.

      • Dale Mohorcic

        Au contraire. He was GM to start the 88 season, and when Billy was fired again he took over in the dugout. It was goofy because Lou managed the team the previous year, got pushed out by George for Billy, and then Billy got fired early on the season and Lou came back to the dugout. Also, who the hell says au contraire?

  • TopChuckie

    Clearly the jersey number rule was to keep Girardi from changing to 29 after this season.

  • Andrew518

    I really hate it when business takes greater importance than the game…yes I know it IS a business, but there is business and there is business. If a player wants a different number than he should get it. Baseball is a billion dollar industry, seems trivial to me. Yeah, majestic/MLB sells the jersey for $200 but it doesn’t cost them anywhere near that to produce, even at clearance they still make huge profits. Even more so on teams like the yankees, there’s no names on the back so who cares? My old Soriano jersey became an Andy Phillips jersey.

  • Andrew518

    More nit-picking, How will this work for call ups? I assume most don’t get apparal made but some hyped up prospects might. Does this mean that they have to keep their overly high numbers. Please don’t tell me I’ve got to see Montero in a #63 next year.

    For the replay, I hate replay, it creates a false sense of accuracy. There will always be errors, I prefer a system that baseball has always used, just to embrace the inacuracies. Now I fear we are dangerously inbetween. Football goes to great lengths (and considerable game time) to make everything perfect, did his shoelace touch the sideline? But in the end they still spot the ball where ever the official deems appropriate and they still measure first downs with a chain. Kind of silly when you think of it.

    Who has final say on where the runners end up on a traping play. If a fielder traps the ball against the wall, is the batter awarded first? Second? Third? How do you determine the where the baserunners end up? If David Ortiz is the runner is he awarded the same base as Gardner? Once a mistake is made even replay doesn’t resolve the consequences. I know many will argue that if you can replay it replay it but to me nothing is solved, you just create a different result.