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Cain Uproar, Glenn Beck, LH Catcher, Poverty, Intangibles

By Mike Silva ~ August 16th, 2009. Filed under: Morning Digest.

- What’s with the uproar with Matt Cain? This isn’t anywhere near what Roger Clemens did back in 2000. Cain, to quote him postgame, “got out of his mechanics and let it run up on him”. Clemens was a calculated move to brush Piazza back because of his success against him. No reason to hate on Cain who clearly was upset after the Wright beaning situation.

- Great job by Bill Madden calling out MLB owners for “crying poverty”. This is the new scam in corporate America and baseball has jumped right on board with the rest of them. Remember, those that run companies, like the baseball owners, want to get the maximum production for the least amount of money. Nothing wrong with that, but in reality there is no justification for individuals (i.e. baseball players) to sell themselves short for a penny less than what they are worth. The owners know this so the only tactic they have less is to cry poverty. Unfortunately, “Average Joe” who works at a Fortune 500 can’t fight back because he doesn’t have the support of a union like the Players Association. Even more, customers of greedy entities, like the American banking industry, are forced to play along because they don’t have an alternative. Fortunately, the baseball fan does have a choice. I think it’s time to teach the owners of the Pirates and Indians a lesson. How about not showing up in 2010? Seriously, don’t show up at all. Don’t buy season tickets, merchandise, or even pay attention to the team. Let Peter Dolan, Bob Nutting, and Frank Coonelly use the revenue sharing money to paint their office. We need to treat teams, in all sports, like the companies that lay off employees after getting government stimulus money. We may have to accept this poor behavior in our lives, but we should be angry that these kinds of games are played with America’s past time.

- Alan Schwarz of the NY Times did an interesting piece on left handed catchers. Former big leaguer Benny Distefano was the last left handed player to catch a big league ballgame. That happened on August 18, 1989. Amazing how no one has done it since. I always questioned why there is an aversion to having a lefty catcher, but after reading the column, catching, already a difficult position, would be that much harder left handed. Take a read and tell me what you think.

- On the topic of Distefano I thought of a funny story. A colleague of my dad’s knows John Franco and Benny Distefano from their days playing high school baseball in Brooklyn. In 1992, when Distefano was playing for the Astros, I got an autograph from him when Houston came to Shea Stadium. Like any young kid you find it cool that a big league player signs your scorebook, even if, at best, he is a fringe player. That night David Cone was pitching against the Astros. Coney had a no hitter into the eighth, when, with one out, Benny Distefano came to the plate. He grounded a week dribbler to third, and you guessed it, was on base with one of the cheapest singles ever. Cone would give up another hit and finish the game with a two hit shutout. Autograph be damned! I never forgave Distefano after that.

- A scout told Tim Bontemps how unimpressed he is with Wilmer Flores. I have talked to guys who have played with Flores. It’s amazing how mixed a reaction to get about him. One player told NYBD that Flores has a bit of an “attitude”, but when we looked further into it no one else would confirm that. When I asked another player about the mediocre numbers, he said don’t look at the numbers, if you watch the kid play he has the ability to be a great hitter. I was reminded how young Flores is. I gave him the “Miguel Cabrera” comparison that sometimes is made and he said he could see that. I think we just need to let the kid play and develop. There are red flags, but I guess that is why these kids are called “prospects”.

- Great op-ed by former big leaguer Doug Glanville regarding the struggles post playing career. One of the amazing learning’s, from my perspective, is how difficult the transition to real life can be for these former big leaguers. Interesting read.

- Joel Sherman, who tends to get criticized by bloggers, has another great piece at the NY Post. Sherman talks about “intangibles”, how important it is despite no statistical validation, and the 2009 New York Yankees. It is a more in depth look at this year’s team and how the personalities have been a great mix for the old guard vs. new guard problem that existed in prior years. I talked about some of these topics in my “Clowns” blog post yesterday. This type of column is why I take what baseball writers, like Joe Sherman, say very seriously. There is no graph or analysis that substitutes years of being around winning teams and understanding the game. Analysis is important, no doubt, but this game is so much deeper than just HR, RBI’s, ERA, and BA.

- I have been accused of many things the last couple of weeks. Since I started to question the validity of many sabermertic measures there have been emails and comments twisting my words. The discourse yesterday was civil, unlike prior days where I was attacked. The best quote came over at BBTF where someone called me the “Glenn Beck of Sabermetric debates”. The name of the poster is “Crashburn Alley”, which I assume is the owner of the site of that name. Knowing my criticism of the city of Philadelphia I wonder if that has anything to do with his venom? Not sure which was the more bizarre accusation: Amazin Avenue accusing me of exploiting Scott Schoeneweis death, or the Glenn Beck scenario? By the way, I actually enjoy watching Glenn Beck, although he does tend to go “over the top” to prove a point. I never scream at a guest or caller. I am just demanding the reader to think outside their comfort zone. It’s exactly what many are asking of me. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

- Finally, on the topic of Amazin Avenue, I agree 100% with Sam Page on his plea for the Mets to “shut down” Carlos Beltran. With a potential payroll decrease in 2010 this team needs every one of its stars to come back strong. Maybe Beltran wants to see how his knee feels for his own peace of mind, but think he should go with the advice of Brian Giles. As for David Wright, I would think the Mets would proceed cautiously after the Ryan Church scenario last year. Every one of the core now has suffered a significant injury, who would have predicted that in April? What do you think the odds in Vegas would have been?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Cain Uproar, Glenn Beck, LH Catcher, Poverty, Intangibles

  1. Eric

    the saber people are becoming a cult. thinking stats run the game. people play the game and its not played on spreadsheets

  2. Anonymous

    you make a great point about corporate america’s hand in the culture of baseball.

    there’s a good article on the subject over here…its worth a read for any baseball fan: http://onthebutton.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/corporate-sponsorship/

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