So Lebron has a new shoe out, and its design will appeal to many of you:

My favorite part: It has the words “Le-Bron Ja-Mes. Clap. Clap. Clap Clap Clap” on the inside of the tongue. On the outside of the tongue, however:

I understand that Lebron is No. 23. But when you encircle that 23 in navy blue and add pinstripes in the background, well, that’s Don Mattingly. I wonder if James or his people thought about that before designing the shoe.

In other James news, he was caught going 101 mph on his birthday. How odd of a story is that nowadays? An athlete is pulled over for speeding excessively and he’s not drunk.

Hat tip to Jason.

Categories : Not Baseball
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We all know what Hank Steinbrenner has been up to this off-season. Not a day goes by without Hank’s name appearing somewhere in the newspapers.

Part of this constant attention stems from the New York sports media’s tendency to write about anything — literally anything — no matter how mundane in an effort to fill the space between the playoffs and Spring Training. Once-a-week football games and the pathetic Knicks can only draw so many readers.

The other half of Hank’s ubiquitous presence comes from his inability to keep his trap shut. At every turn this off-season, Hank has issued a comment. Joe Torre gets fired? Hank fires back. A-Rod opts out? Hank won’t talk him until he changes his mind. A deadline for Johan Santana? Well, only a little bit.

Fans and bloggers have enjoyed poking fun at Hank, but we’ve also grown wary of his comments. Last week, at the Fast Company FC Now blog, Jason Del Rey delved into Hank Steinbrenner’s tendency to publicize his every move in the Johan Satana dealings. Del Ray wondered if Hanks’ approach represents a good business strategy for a billion-dollar business such as the Yankees.

His answer — with an assist from New York Times beat writer Tyler Kepner — is probably not:

Is this any way to run a business? Commenting to the media on every twist and turn of negotiations for a major acquisition that will greatly affect the product on the field — the product that is directly correlated to the team’s billion-dollar valuation?

The business of sports, in many ways, is unlike any other sector of the business world. But, at the same, time, could you imagine a big-time financial or tech CEO holding court for the press every time there is a development in talks for a takeover of a large competitor? Maybe it wouldn’t crush the negotiations, but couldn’t it make them unnecessarily more difficult?

“I think the Twins were puzzled early on,” The New York Times Yankees beat writer Tyler Kepner wrote to me in an e-mail.

“I don’t get any sense that it’s part of a business strategy,” he added, speaking of Hank’s general vocal approach…”It complicates the job of the baseball operations staff, but all general managers would rather keep almost everything secret.”

It’s often easy to forget that baseball is very much a business. Teams sign players for a myriad reasons, but chief among those is return on investment. How can a general manager justify a multi-million-dollar signing of a player who may not deliver? Howcan a chief executive bank the next ten years of success on one player?

On the surface, fans see it as a simply calculation that includes wants, needs, desires and movable pieces, but it’s rarely that simply. In business negotiations as in baseball, it’s better not to show all of your cards. Hank has yet to demonstrate that he can do this, and as Del Rey notes, Hank’s big mouth could derail negotiations or it could drive up the price of a desired commodity. The New York Yankees, a successful business valued at around $1 billion, would be better of if their new chief executive kept some company secrets to himself.

Categories : Rants
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  • Phil Hughes Chat
    By

    Phil plans on doing a Q&A style chat over at his blog in the not too distant future. You can submit your questions to him here. I have to say, Phil starting a blog has to be the coolest friggin’ thing to happen to the Yanks this offseason. · (9) ·

My Baseball Bias tips us off to this post at the Let’s Go Yankees Blog about Hideki Matsui‘s knee. Let’s Go Yankees Blog sends us to an article on MLB.com’s Japanese affiliate. Got all that? There will be a quiz.

The article, according to Jessica Lee’s Taiwan-based blog, concerns Hideki Matsui and his road to recovery. While I tried to run it through Google Translate’s Japanese-to-English Beta translate program, the output included the following line: “Godzilla’s ass with a fire.” Clearly, that’s not Matsui’s problem right now.

Lucky for us, Jessica lives with a Japanese-speaking roommate who gave us this translation:

Matsui is going to go to USA 10 days earlier in order to check his right knee condition with the doctor in New York who help him operate his right knee surgery. He will then go to Tampa to check his right knee condition with Yankee Trainers again. This is not a normal action which go to USA earlier for Matsui. He usually trains with his formal Japanese team and then reports in spring training.

Right now, Matsui doesn’t feel pain about his right knee, but he can’t run. He is not sure he can run or not when he reports to Tampa. He understands he has to fight with Johnny Damon for left outfielder job and wants to do his best. That’s why he decides to go to USA earlier.

So basically, Matsui is coming back to the States earlier than anticipated because his knee may not to be responding to treatment as quickly as it should. He can’t run and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to run.

If this holds up through Spring Training, the Yankees will be trying to fill both their DH and 1B positions from a combination of injured, old guys – Jason Giambi, Matsui – and young role players not yet suited for prime time – Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan. Good thing the rest of the offense is so potent.

Categories : Injuries
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  • A Bronx Tale for the ages
    By

    Every now and then, Ray Negron’s name pops up in the press. A special adviser to George Steinbrenner, Negron has spent a lifetime in baseball as a bat boy, player agent, one-time prospect, all around gopher and now a Yankee executive. In a stunning four-part piece on Negron’s life from his days spray painting Yankee Stadium to his time as one of Steinbrenner’s closest compatriots, Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth reminds us why he’s the grandfather of all Yankee blogs. The tale is moving and tantalizing.

    At one point, in the mid-1970s, Negron served as the go-to guy in the Yanks’ clubhouse. He was practically Reggie Jackson’s personal valet, and he knew how to please Thurmon Munson at the same time. This was no small feat. Thirty years later, these tales would turn sinister as Kurt Radomski and Brian McNamee subscribed to the “Better Living Through Chemistry” Theory. But Negron’s age was one of decadence and the Bronx Zoo, not steroids and multi-millionairs. Check out Alex’s story. The four-part opus well worth the read.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    · (4) ·

Kat O’Brien’s story in Newsday today: Nothing moving on the Santana front. Thanks for the update, Kat! Glad to see that Newsday is making the most of their column space. She even had room for this gem from Twins GM Bill Smith:

“We obviously haven’t done a deal.”

Well, that makes everything clear, now doesn’t it?

The Pioneer Press reveals a bit more about the situation this morning, though. Take it away, Charley Walters:

The Twins say they’re not panicking while holding out for the best deal for Johan Santana. But word within baseball circles is that offers by the New York Yankees (no more Phil Hughes) and Boston Red Sox are diminishing by the week. Best bet now for a trade of the two-time Cy Young Award winner appears to be with the New York Mets in a deal that would not include fast-rising hitter Fernando Martinez.

Of course, we’ve heard so damn much about this over the past month and a half that it’s tough to decipher what’s real and what’s not. But Walters clearly implies that the Yankees have taken Phil Hughes off the table. That’s good news. It remains to be seen if the Yankees will prepare an offer centered around different players, probably IPK and Horne, and if that package will surpass what the Red Sox are reportedly willing to offer.

The bigger news, though, is that the Twins are considering trading Santana to the Mets without receiving Fernando Martinez. So now you’ve got Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Phil Humber, and Deolis Guerra, which is what was reported earlier this month. It was speculated that if the Mets added Martinez to that package, they’d have a deal. But now it appears that the Twins will settle for less in order to get Johan out of the American League.

Once again, this is all speculation. The only reason it’s even worthy of a post is because it mentioned the Yankees no longer offering Hughes, and the Mets likely not parting with Martinez.

I still say the Twinkies are better off holding onto him. But that’s just my biased opinion.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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