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Fight for Your Rights, ESPN’s Keys to Beating WFAN, CC’s Streak, Bring Back Heilman



By Mike Silva ~ July 19th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Working in sports is difficult. Long hours, summer holidays are spent at the ballpark, and the pay is extremely poor for about 95% of those in the industry. You work to get an opportunity to be a member of the elite 5% who make it a living. Nowhere is this more apparent than minor league baseball. When you go a step further to independent baseball it’s even more noticeably. Indy teams typically don’t have the financial stability of long standing MILB franchises.

The Lake County Fielders play in the North American League. If that sounds familiar it’s the same Indy League that Jose Canseco is a player/manager. The Fielders are having financial trouble, so much so, the manager and a portion of the team quit right before a game because they weren’t getting paid, leading to Jose Canseco, as an opposing player, pitching for them.

Things got so bad for the Fielders their radio announcer - Qumar Zaman-  quit while on the air the other day.

You can hear the four minute rant to end the broadcast below; it’s worth it. And Kudos to Zaman for standing up for himself. Too many people in sports take this type of nonsense because they don’t want to lose the chance at an opportunity to make it. There is no price on dignity and the Lake County Fielders learned that from Zaman the other day.

***

Speaking of Canseco pitching, he claims to throw a knuckleball. Here is a video of him warming up back in 2006.

Canseco informed everyone that former Oakland outfielder Tony Phillips has joined his Yuma team. If you remember, Phillips played for the Mets down the stretch in 1998. He did a decent job getting on base (.351 OBP) as a leadoff hitter for an offensively challenged Mets team.

How much could Phillips have left at 52 years old? After watching Rickey Henderson in the Celebrity Softball Game maybe he should get a shot in Yuma as well.

***

There have been rumors the Yankees are thinking of leaving WCBS 880. WFAN’s Mike Francesa addressed the possibility the team would bolt to ESPN saying “the Yankees are smarter than that.” Sounds like someone is afraid of a little competition.

Want to know how beatable WFAN is? The Yankees bolting for ESPN would give the station a team that could be their foundation. Considering the Yankees vs. Mets demographic advantage in this city they would have the ammunition to finally put the stale and arrogant FAN in its place. If ESPN management were smart they would revamp the entire programming around the team and lose their stale big names (i.e. Lupica) and build a fresh New York brand.

Former ESPN host Brandon Tierney made an excellent point on his Facebook page last night and laid out how ESPN can beat WFAN:

A) Much better signal

B) Rights to a baseball team

C) Wall-wall LOCAL content.

I know ESPN is too big and arrogant to consider the thoughts of a former employee and yours truly. But with the plethora of young talent that is hungry to make a mark what do you have to lose? Especially since you continue to get your clock cleaned by a host that spends the summer months talking about vacation like a pubescent junior high student.

I have the answer to your problems. When are you going to start to listen to me? These guys are beatable and the fact that ESPN can’t make inroads is such an indictment on their corporate mindset it’s sickening.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Can the suits at ESPN spell insane?

***

CC Sabathia has been good this year. I am not telling you any news there, but do you know how good? Baseball-Reference Blog informs us that his last start was the fifth straight game of at least 7 IP and no more than 1 run allowed. Who else accomplished this? A pitcher by the name of Steve Kline in 1972.

Yankees fans probably don’t remember Kline (they choose to forget CBS ownership days), but he won 16 games for the Yankees that season with a 2.40 ERA. Want to know what would drive sabermetricians nuts? His strikeout rate of 2.2 was the lowest rate for any pitcher that had an ERA+ over 100, or for those who aren’t statistically inclined, an above league average pitcher.

Kline’s low walk rate still produce a respectably FIP (3.20). Just goes to show you how throwing strikes can lead to success. He was only 24 at the time, but arm problems derailed his career after that season and he started only 28 games thereafter.

The Yankees did win up sending Kline to Cleveland in the Chris Chambliss deal so they wound up capitalizing on his unlikely success.

***

 MLB Trade rumors reports that Arizona will release Aaron Heilman. With the Mets bullpen so thin would a Heilman/Mets reunion make sense? I think so.

You don’t want to burn out Pedro Beato or Bobby Parnell who are your future. Manny Acosta and Ryota Igarashi stink. There is also the possibility that Jason Isringhausen will be dealt by the 31st. You need some experienced big league pitching out of that bullpen. Heilman has also been historically solid against lefties, which would help Tim Byrdak who seemingly either warms up or gets into a game every night. Doesn’t Dan Warthen remember what happened to the last lefty they did that to?

I never bought into the “hate” that Mets fans have for Heilman. The home run that he gave up to Yadier Molina was unlikely. He hung a pitch and Molina got a hold of it. He wasn’t the first unlikely postseason hero; he won’t be the last. The guy’s entire family took it hard. Guy Conti told me his wife was hysterical crying in the back room after that game.

I don’t know if Heilman would want to come back here, but he did have his best years as a member of the Mets. In case you think he is done, Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that “bad luck may have contributed to an ugly ERA that was twice Heilman’s xFIP of 3.44. He allowed a career-high .360 batting average on balls in play and a career-high 20% of fly balls against him left the yard. His average fastball velocity dipped from 92.3 mph in 2010 to 90.6 mph in 2011.”

Heilman is at his best when he keeps the ball on the ground (45% groundball rate in 2005-2006). If you miss bats and keep the ball on the ground those numbers will eventually get better. Why not take a flier if he passes through waivers?

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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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5 Responses to Fight for Your Rights, ESPN’s Keys to Beating WFAN, CC’s Streak, Bring Back Heilman

  1. Edgy DC

    I’ve got nothing against Heilman, but the Mets bullpen isn’t all that thin.

  2. Samuel

    “Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that “bad luck” may have contributed to an ugly ERA that was twice Heilman’s xFIP of 3.44.”

    Yeah, that “bad luck” was throwing to many meatballs right down the middle of the plate. That is not bad luck, but bad pitching.

  3. Stu B

    The Steve Kline link takes you to the Steve Kline who pitched from 1997-2007, and never for the Yankees.

  4. Mike Silva

    Thats Baseball Reference that did that – its fixed

  5. tnt1528

    anyone here francesaa ramble on about 16 all stars not showing up? when in reality it was 5? (4yanks and chipper) only chipper and a -roid can be excused, other 3 nope. he moped for minutes and no one corrected him.what a putz

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