Weekend Open Thread

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope your first day of 2016 went well. I made a bunch of resolutions like everyone else, most of which I probably won’t keep. So it goes. Here are the weekend links:

  • The end of the year means it’s time for Jayson Stark’s annual Strange But True columns. Here’s the regular season and here’s the postseason. There’s a bunch of Yankees-related stuff sprinkled throughout, though the fun is catching up on all the weird, crazy stuff that happened in baseball last year. They’re must reads, as always.
  • Here are David Laurila’s best quotes of 2015. My favorite, from MLB historian John Thorne: “It’s as if you had a competition between Fred Flintstone and Bill Gates. Hitters are primitive. There’s strategy involved in pitching, and there ought to be with batting — not mere swinging.”
  • This David Garrick article about the ownership of Petco Park is pretty wild. A mentally-ill man named Derris Devon McQuaig currently holds the legal title to the ballpark because he walked into the San Diego County Recorder’s Officer and submitted a properly filled-out deed transfer. That’s all it took. McQuaig has created quite a headache for the Padres.
  • And finally, check out this Tim Rohan piece on Tommy John surgery. I forgot I had it sitting in my bookmarks, so it’s a few weeks old. My bad. Anyway, one thing I learned: there are different Tommy John surgery methods, so different doctors perform the surgery in different ways. They all leave different size scars too. Who knew?

Friday: Here is your open thread for the evening. The Knicks are playing, plus there’s some college football and college basketball on as well. Talk about those game, the links, or anything else right here.

Saturday: This is the open thread again. The Rangers, Devils, Islanders, and Nets are all playing, and there’s a bunch of college football and basketball going on too. Have at it.

Sunday: This is the open thread for the last time. I’m posting it a little earlier than usual because the Jets are playing a pretty big game this afternoon (vs. Bills, 1pm ET on CBS). They’ll clinch a playoff spot with a win, from what I understand. You’ve got that game, the rest of the NFL slate, plus the Knicks, Islanders, and some college hoops.

Weekend Open Thread

Happy Friday, folks. Sorry I didn’t have time to chat today. Had some other stuff on my plate. There hasn’t been a whole lot going on lately anyway, so there wasn’t much to chat about. Maybe next week. Here are the weekend links:

  • Baseball’s next market inefficiency? Health. My press box neighbor Joe Lemire wrote about injury prevention and the different ways teams are trying to gain a competitive advantage by keeping their best players on the field. They’re using real time biomechanical data to measure fatigue and are looking for ways to optimize recovery, among other things. Every player is different though. What works for one guy might not work for anyone else.
  • MLB currently has a contingent of players and officials in Cuba for a goodwill tour. Clayton Kershaw and Jose Abreu are among those on the trip, as is journeyman catcher Brayan Pena. Pena defected in 1999, and as Derrick Goold writes, this trip has allowed him to reunite with family, some of whom he hasn’t seen in 17 years. Abreu will also reunite with his son, who was still an infant when he defected in 2013. Good stuff.
  • I enjoyed Andy Martino’s overview of the Winter Meetings, both the general experience and this year’s event. I’m pretty lucky. Even with CBS, my focus is analysis and not so much breaking news. For the reporters who cover teams and are trying to dig up scoops, the Winter Meetings are pure chaos. They’re all friendly with each other but are in direct competition. It’s something to behold.
  • And finally, this is a brutal read from former NHL player Patrick O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan opened up about his abusive father — “He would throw punches. Not like he was hitting a small child — but like he was in a bar fight with a grown man,” he wrote — who beat him daily from ages 5-16. People can be just awful.

Friday: Here is tonight’s ope thread. The Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are all playing. There’s no college basketball on the schedule though. Talk about those games, any of the links or anything else right here.

Saturday: This is the open thread again. The Devils, Islanders, and Knicks are all in action, and there’s some college hoops on the schedule as well. Apparently the Jets are playing too. Have at it.

Sunday: For one last time, this is the open thread. You’ve got the afternoon football action plus the Eagles and Cardinals in the late game. The (hockey) Rangers, Devils, and Nets are all playing too. Enjoy.

Weekend Open Thread

At long last, the week is over. The Winter Meetings were somehow both boring and hectic, and I’m ready to leave that whole scene behind. Anyway, here are some links for the weekend:

  • Baseball is flush with cash right now. Just look at the spending this offseason. Deals worth $100M+ are commonplace and $200M+ deals are happening more and more often. Jared Diamond writes that the days of ever-increasing contracts may soon come to a halt because these monster television contracts will become a thing of the past as more people unplug and rid themselves of cable. Baseball will have to find a way to make up the lost revenue.
  • Scott Miller’s piece on Yasiel Puig is a must read. Puig has become more than a distraction, he’s become something of a pariah in the clubhouse, so much so that some say his teammates want him gone. There are a bunch of damning anonymous quotes — going anonymous for something like this is kinda gutless, if you ask me — and anecdotes. It’s not just showing up late to the ballpark and stuff like that. Puig’s seen as a real bad dude.
  • Remember Floyd Youmans? I don’t, but he pitched with the Expos and Phillies in the late-1980s. He was part of the trade that sent Gary Carter to the Mets. Youmans, now 51, had some addiction issues and was pretty much out of baseball by 1989. As Pedro Moura writes, Youmans now drives for Uber and desperately misses the game. “I can’t make this feeling go away. But it’s OK for me to feel that way, because I love the game. I’m not gonna go off the deep end,” he said.

Friday: Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Rangers and Devils are playing and that’s pretty much it. There’s no college hoops on the schedule tonight. Talk about those games or anything else.

Saturday: This is the open thread again. The Army-Navy game is on right now, plus all of the local hockey and basketball teams will be in action except the Devils. There’s a while lotta college basketball on too. Enjoy.

Sunday: This is the open thread for the final time this weekend. You’ve got the afternoon slate of football plus the Patriots and Texans as the late NFL game. The Devils and Islanders are playing (each other) and there’s some college basketball on as well. Have at it.

Weekend Open Thread

The Winter Meetings begin next week and my hunch right now is the Yankees will indeed do something in Nashville. Not necessarily anything major, but something. There’s been too much talk about not doing anything from Brian Cashman & Co. for me to think it’ll actually happen. Anyway, here are the weekend links:

  • I enjoyed David Laurila’s interview with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich, who discussed the challenges of building a team in baseball’s most extreme park environment. It’s been more than 20 years now and still no one seems particularly close to figuring out what kind of pitcher can consistently succeed in Coors Field. Pitches don’t move the same way they do at sea level because they react to the thin air differently.
  • Here’s a neat little article by Ryan McKenna on Jim Stevenson, the scout who drafted both Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta, the 2015 Cy Young award winners. Stevenson was with the Astros when they took Keuchel in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, and he was with the Brewers when they drafted Arrieta out of junior college in the 26th round of the 2005 draft. (Arrieta didn’t sign and instead transferred to TCU.)
  • This is a few months old but it’s totally worth reading: Susan Dominus wrote about two sets of identical twins raised in Colombia. Due to a hospital error, two of the babies were switched at birth, and they were raised separately as sets of fraternal twins. They all found each other as adults, basically by chance. It’s an insane story. No other way to describe it.

Friday: This is your open thread for the evening. All of the local hockey and basketball teams are in action except the Rangers, plus there’s some college hoops on as well. Discuss those games, the links, or anything else here.

Saturday: Here’s the open thread again. The Islanders and Knicks are playing, plus you’ve got a ton of college football and basketball as well. Have at it.

Sunday: This is your open thread for the final time. You’ve got all the afternoon NFL action plus the late game (Colts at Steelers) later tonight. The Rangers, Devils, and Nets are playing as well, and there’s some college basketball on as well. Talk about any and all of that here.

Weekend Open Thread

Happy Friday, everyone. I am very much looking forward to this weekend. Been a long and busy week here. Anyway, I didn’t read much interesting stuff this week, so I only have two links for the weekend.

  • Todd Schneider posted a really interesting look at New York City taxi data from 2009-15. It includes yellow and green cabs as well as Uber, and it covers over a billion trips. He looks at pickup and drop-off data, airport travel, the bridges and tunnels, and whether John McClane really could have made it from 72nd and Broadway to Wall Street in 30 minutes during rush hour before a bomb went off in Die Hard: With a Vengeance, among other stuff.
  • Here is a touching Scott Fowler article about a 16-year-old boy named Chancellor Lee Adams. Adams was born ten weeks early because his mother Cherica was killed by the hit man hired by former NFL player Rae Carruth, who is now in prison. Chancellor has cerebral palsy due to his traumatic birth but is now thriving after being raised by his grandmother. Really great work.

Friday: Here is tonight’s open thread. The Devils, Islanders, Knicks, and Nets are all playing, plus there’s a bunch of college hoops on as well. Talk about those games or whatever else right here.

Saturday: Once again, this is your open thread. The three local hockey teams are in action and there’s a bunch of college footballs and hoops on as well. Enjoy.

Sunday: This is your open thread for one last time. You’ve got a full afternoon of football plus the Bengals and Cardinals as the late game tonight. The Islanders, Devils, and Nets are all playing as well, and there’s also the usual slate of college basketball.

Saturday Notes: In-Market Streaming, Netting, Martone, Murtaugh


Here are some stray links and notes related mostly to league-wide matters that affect the Yankees and their fans.

MLB announces in-market streaming deal with FOX

Yesterday afternoon commissioner Rob Manfred announced MLB has agreed to a three-year deal with FOX to provide in-market streaming. It is only available for teams whose games are broadcast by FOX Sports — that’s 15 teams, so half the league — and that does include the Yankees thanks to the YES deal with News Corp. a few years back. This is NOT a cable alternative. You have to subscribe to YES through your cable provider for in-market streaming. It’s better than nothing, I guess. MLB is still working with the other networks on in-market streaming deals.

MLB to recommend new stadium netting regulations

Manfred also announced yesterday that MLB will recommend new stadium netting regulations for the 2016 season. (That’s the netting behind home plate. Duh.) It’s unclear how far the league will ask the netting to be extended but to the dugouts seems reasonable. There were several incidents of foul balls and broken bats injuring fans last year. Not everyone is as lucky as this guy:

“In addition to a recommendation on the physical location of nets, there will be a broad fan education component to the program,” said Manfred to the Associated Press. “A lot of things seem easy and are not always so easy. We want our fans to be safe in the ballpark, but we also have lots of fans who are very vocal about the fact that they don’t like to sit behind nets.”

Martone leaves, Murtaugh joins front office

The front office shuffling continues. Manager of pro scouting Steve Martone, who had been with the Yankees the last nine years, has left the organization to become Billy Eppler’s assistant GM with the Angels, reports Mike DiGiovanna. Martone, 35, was responsible for identifying trade and waiver targets on other clubs. He’ll do something similar with the Angels. No word on how the Yankees will replace Martone.

Meanwhile, Nick Piecoro reports veteran scout Pat Murtaugh recently left the Diamondbacks to join the Yankees’ pro scouting staff. Murtaugh, 56, has been in the scouting game a very long time, and, as Piecoro wrote two years ago, he was the scout who recommended Didi Gregorius to then D’Backs GM Kevin Towers back in the day. The Yankees lost Eric Chavez to the Angels a few weeks ago. Chavez had been working in the pro scouting department.

CBA negotiations to begin early next year

Last week, MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem told Mark Feinsand Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA are likely to begin early next year, in February or March. The current CBA is set to expire on December 1st, 2016. The qualifying offer and international free agent spending systems figure to get an overhaul, among other things. (We could see an international draft.) MLB has had labor piece for over two decades now. The game is flush with money and I doubt either side wants to mess things up with a work stoppage. I’m hopeful MLB and the union will get a new deal worked out without much of a headache.

MLB minimum salary will not rise in 2016

According to the Associated Press, the Major League minimum salary will remain $507,500 next season due to a lack of inflation. The CBA includes a modified cost-of-living adjustment. The methodology used actually said the minimum salary should be reduced next year, but lol no. The CBA says the minimum salary can only go up, not down. Minimum minor league salaries for players on split contracts are $41,400 for first year players and $82,700 thereafter. Baseball’s good work if you can get it.

Weekend Open Thread

The GM Meetings were pretty fun this week. The Yankees made some moves and there were a surprisingly large amount of rumors, at least by Yankees standards. They tend to keep things quiet. Three weeks and a few days until all hell breaks loose at the Winter Meetings. Anyway, here are the links for the weekend:

  • Here’s a really fun Owen Watson post looking at the most extreme home runs of the 2015 season. The longest homer, the hardest hit homer, the fastest pitch homer, the most inside pitch to a right-handed hitter homer … all sorts of fun stuff like that. Brian McCann makes an appearance, as does Nathan Eovaldi on the wrong end of an extreme homer.
  • Fresh off their World Series win, the Royals are facing a difficult decision with Alex Gordon, one of the best and most popular players. Do they break the bank to re-sign him, or let him walk and spare payroll? In this piece, Andy McCullough spoke to several GMs who faced similar decisions in recent years, and they all said a lot more goes into it than on-field production.
  • If you’re looking for an ultra-nerdy article with lots of math, this Alan Nathan post on optimizing swings is for you. It starts with the question “can a curveball be hit farther than a fastball?” and then dives into things like swing angles and all sorts of other neat stuff. You are forewarned, it is indeed very nerdy with gory math. It’s as much a physics experiment as it is baseball analysis.
  • And finally, a non-baseball link: I enjoyed this Tyler Rogoway article on the family who owns a big piece of land adjacent to Area 51. The land, which has been in the family long before the government showed up next door, had been mined for copper and other metals for generations. The family has refused many seven-figure offers even though no one lives at the mine site these days and the government makes it all but impossible to access. Crazy stuff.

Friday: Here is your open thread for tonight and the rest of the weekend. The college basketball season begins tonight, plus the Knicks, Nets, and Islanders are all playing. Talk about those games, the links, or anything other than politics or religion here. Thanks.

Saturday: This is the open thread again. The Devils and Nets are playing in addition to a nice full slate of college football and hoops. Have at it.

Sunday: This is the open thread for the final time. The Patriots and Giants are playing right now, and the late NFL game is the Cardinals and Seahawks. The (hockey) Rangers are playing tonight as well and I’m guessing there’s some college hoops going on somewhere. Enjoy.