Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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The Worldwide Follower?
2007-11-01 06:11
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Over at Slate, Josh Levin has a critical piece about Sports Illustrated. In part, Levin writes:

Let's begin with SI's hiring, two weeks ago, of Dan Patrick. The former ESPN host is no man of letters. Take it from his ex-colleague Keith Olbermann, who once called Patrick's softball-filled jock-talk column "a bi-weekly toe dip in the shallow end of the journalistic pool." But Sports Illustrated didn't hire Dan Patrick the writer. It hired Dan Patrick the sports-themed corporation. His magazine column, Web site, and radio show "represent engaging platforms to both sports fans and the advertisers looking to connect with them," according to SI's press release. When longtime columnist Rick Reilly departed for ESPN days later, SI's biggest personnel move in years became, in effect, a swap of TV personalities. Who needs a journalist when you can get a celebrity multimedia empire?

SI's focus on brand extension is a reaction to the competitiveness of the media environment. Before ESPN the Magazine launched almost 10 years ago, SI had never faced a sustained challenge from the print world. Rather than having faith in its product—curious, well-written literary journalism and vigorous reportage—Sports Illustrated has taken to imitating its younger rival. The result: a magazine that's as hip as a 55-year-old with his hat turned backward. In 2004, the mag unveiled "SI Players," a front-of-the-book section filled with lifestyle pieces that could've been lifted from a dumpster behind the ESPN offices. The section bursts with reports on Martin St. Louis' glute exercises ("jump straight up and drive hips forward") and Jose Vidro's favorite off-day activity ("washing my cars"). In pandering to the sort of people who (allegedly) care about Dane Cook's thoughts on George Steinbrenner, Sports Illustrated is allowing market research to masquerade as editorial judgment. Perhaps it's effective from a business standpoint—the mag has maintained its huge circulation lead over ESPN the Magazine, and a recent industry survey showed an increase of 14 percent in readers between ages 18 and 24 the last two years—but it's making the magazine an inferior product.

I'm curious as to what you guys think. How many of you still look to SI as a cornerstone of sports reporting? And if SI doesn't hold that spot any longer, where do you turn for the best sports writing?

Comments (140)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-01 06:23:21
1.   JoeInRI
0 I've been an on-again, off-again subscriber to SI for years. And the writing has indeed gotten progressively worse. Rick Reilly just out-and-out annoys me sometimes.

Without trying to sound sycophantic (sp?), the best sports commentary is on blogs like this. This is where the great critical commentary is happening, by fans for fans with wit, insight and intelligence.

This is my first stop every morning.

2007-11-01 06:33:10
2.   JimCobain
I couldn't agree more with 1 . While I still have a subscription to SI, my morning read is this and several other sports blogs. First, the news breaks on these blogs quicker than my once a week magazine. And two the writing and personalized nature of certain blogs (with this at the top of the list) is much more entertaining and informative that an SI or ESPN The Mag.

The only thing that blogs lack, sometimes, is access to the players and management.

And, btw, The New York Times has a collection of sports writers that SI wishes it had.

2007-11-01 06:38:58
3.   monkeypants
1 Ditto for me too.

Last year there was a heated thread on this blog about the role of the "mainstream press" in reporting sports (in response to one of Weiss' articles, as I recall). In it, I said what I'll say agin now: I haven't read a newspaper sports column, let alone an article from a sports magazine, in years. I get all my sports analysis and editorials through well-written blogs, like the Banter.

2007-11-01 06:40:11
4.   Count Zero
Wow! People still read SI?!? Ummm...why?
2007-11-01 06:48:38
5.   Dan M
I grew up with SI, as my dad has been a subscriber since the first issue, and I had my own subscription starting when I went to college. But I gave it up in the early part of this decade. Part of it had no relation to the quality the journalism, however. Rather, that I found it concentrated too much on sports that I didn't care to read about. Namely, the NBA.

But I also remember, complaining to my dad a few years ago that even the baseball articles bothered me. They were filled with pop-culture references and analogies that turned me off. In Mad-Libs form the writing was like this: "as [adjective] as [celebrity] in [embarassing situation]." There would be 3 to 4 of these per article. Maybe this is what Levin is driving at.

But, to echo some of the other comments, my loss of interest also coincided with my introduction to Baseball Prospectus (which might also be nearing its shelf-life) and other internet-driven sports journalism.

2007-11-01 06:49:41
6.   rsmith51
I only read SI when I go to doctor's offices. I just recently read the football preview where they picked my 6-1 Packers to go 6-10.

I am an ESPN insider so I get ESPN the Mag. It sometimes has some interesting stuff, but most of my reading is on blogs like this one. The blogs often provide intelligent commentary and links to other stories, which can be interesting.

2007-11-01 06:50:20
7.   monkeypants
4 I confess, I DO read SI occasionally, like when I'm at the dentist and my only option are home magazines. However, if a decent outdoors magazine (hunting, fishing, etc) is available, I will also go that route instead. And I don't even hunt or fish.
2007-11-01 06:50:54
8.   monkeypants
6 D'oh--beat me to it.
2007-11-01 06:57:32
9.   Chyll Will
I agree with Joe, Jim and Monkey. You and Cliff are the proprietors of the best information for Yankee news as you not only have astute analyses, but you also provide links to other informative sites and columns. Mags and newspapers are strictly competitive and economically driven to pander to the lowest common denominator, so you often don't see the best quality writing (and I've heard journalists complain bitterly about writing things they were not even interested in in the first place.) Blogs like this allow the writers to be passionate and informed at the level of their choosing, and what's great here and across Toaster is that you all have good sense and balance, plus you're reasonable and accessible.

You know I've been a hatah when it comes to newspaper columns, but I do acknowledge good writing wherever it is, and the fact is the good writing is more often here.

2 Your last two points are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

2007-11-01 06:57:36
10.   RichB
I haven't ready SI in years. Frankly, I'm not interested in all sports - I don't care a bit about hockey or basketball or most college sports, and I'm more interested in international football (which SI doesn't cover much) than American football. So a weekly, in-depth reporting vehicle for all sports is both too slow and too broad for my needs. Reading blogs like this, I get more targeted, frequent information, which means it's more in-depth than any random article on baseball that SI may have.

I've also been turned off by SI's recent focus on tabloid journalism (notably from Verducci).

2007-11-01 06:59:57
11.   Chyll Will
I have a feeling I'll agree with everyone at this point. Good job again, Alex >;)
2007-11-01 07:05:09
12.   JoeInRI
4 Umm . . . the Swimsuit Issue?
2007-11-01 07:08:35
13.   rbj
I never subscribed to SI, but used to read it in doctors' offices, and at the library when I was in college (early 1980s). I'm not so much of a sports fan as I am a baseball fan, so articles on other sports really don't interest me. SI has definitely gone way downhill, there is too much fluff in it for me; basically I'll only read it in a waiting room if all the other magazines are chick ones. Occasionally there is a good investigative piece in SI that is a must read, otherwise it's a desert.

I'll join the chorus and say that I come here (and other blogs) for the best sports writing. The only deficiency I see in blogs is the lack of investigative reporting, which takes a lot of resources and time.

2007-11-01 07:12:45
14.   Jersey
Agreed with everyone, especially 11 .

I really miss what SI used to be, which Levin sums up succinctly: a "literate weekly sports magazine that doesn't talk down to its audience."

My degree is in journalism, so I've piled up the "greatest sportswriting of the century" collections as both a fan AND a student, and it's astounding to note the difference between the dumbed-down mass-marketable trash that is produced now and the stuff from yesteryear. Hemingway was a sportswriter, for crying out loud.

It's really sad that you need to go to the New Yorker and places like that when you want the occasional meaty, thought-provoking long-form literary journalism, when SI used to be the place for it.

2007-11-01 07:15:19
15.   Yankee Fan In Boston
0 like everyone else above, this site and a select few others are all i need to get my fix of informative, thoughtful journalism.

13 in addition to the resources and time that can be difficult for a blogger to get their hands on, most bloggers also lack the access to the people they cover. if they could get in the clubhouses, amazingness would surely follow.

2007-11-01 07:16:24
16.   Knuckles
We had a sub to SI growing up, and I think my dad still might. But I have never personally subscribed to it as an adult. In college there was always a subscription or ten floating around the dorm/frat house, so I read it pretty regularly. After college- same thing, at least one of my roommates received it, right up until I moved out for good 2+ years ago.

I remember lots and lots of hard hitting, well written articles back in the day. There was one on steroids and what they did to people, probably early 90's, illustrated with grotesque cartoon drawings that I can still remember parts of. Pieces on the explosion of the expensive hoops shoe industry, and kids getting mugged for their kicks, the dangers of pit bulls (which also had a photo of Donnie Baseball on the cover!), etc. You don't see that stuff anymore. The Slate writer is correct in that they have now gravitated towards sob stories for their signature pieces.

I think the greater issue here isn't the decline of SI the magazine. I've gotten ESPN since it started publishing (it was 50c an issue at first when I was in college, and now at $40/year bundled with Insider, is small enough a payout for the amount of reading it provides.) The issue is the decline of magazines in general. Why write for SI, and their substandard website, (apologies Alex!) when you can become a mini multimedia empire unto yourself with ESPN, Foxsports, blogs, podcasts, etc.?

When was the last time you read more than one solid piece of writing in a magazine in one season? I can't remember. This isn't limited to sports either. Outside Mag has been a favorite for a while, but is now tending towards that muddled common ground of Men's Journal, GQ, etc. Still some good articles, but now you need to slog through the fashion shoots and ads for $8,000 watches supposedly worn by adventurers cut from the same cloth as yourself.

2007-11-01 07:17:26
17.   ms october
My mom got me a subscription to SI as a present years ago and I too am an "ESPN insider" so I get their magazine as well. I used to love SI, but I too have been bothered by the celebratizing (or some word like that) over the last few years.
Alex, you seem prescient about so many issues - which is one of the many reasons so many of us have made and continue to make the Banter a daily ritual.
Because it is funny that you bring this up as I keep these two magazines (plus a few other non-sport related ones) on my coffee table, and the last few months in praticular, I have noticed that I am barely reading the last magazine before I get the new one. I thought about this the other day - and felt sort of bad about the state of sports magazines. I don't have a problem with reading about something a few days after the fact - but neither magazine really seems to add much of anything to an event or situation or person. There was some discussion at the end of summer or so about the Joba article in SI - and that was a good chance to do a much deeper profile on Joba and his life than can be accomplished in the short length of a newspaper or a blog really - and it just fell completely flat.
I too have found myself utilizing blogs way more - but there is something about having something "printed" that I still like and wish there was one good sports magazine to turn to - when my subscription to SI runs out I doubt I renew it.
2007-11-01 07:19:58
18.   Jon Weisman
I read SI every week, but not for the reasons I read it as a kid. And I think it gets treated a bit too harshly in the Slate article. The magazine is flawed, but the top pieces like the Coolbaugh story, you simply don't see anywhere else. (I love Toaster and the blogs, of course, but we're nowhere close to being able to produce something like that.) And SI is often good at spotting interesting trends in sports I don't follow as closely.

It was never a primary source for team news - in the day, so to speak, that was the Sporting News. So criticizing it on that score seems a little off.

2007-11-01 07:22:03
19.   Jersey
So here's a question: do you all think the "decline in magazines" that Knuckles is referring to is a sign that the market itself for this stuff is changing? By that I mean, do you think it's a question of reader demands and tastes changing? Or is it more a question of magazines just trying to change the market to which they appeal, for profit reasons? I find it hard to believe that the market for the hard-hitting, intelligent stuff that SI used to do is completely gone. But what do I know.
2007-11-01 07:22:12
20.   JoeInRI
13 I remember an article that Bill James wrote about being inside vs. outside the game. I'm not sure there's much more clarity inside the locker room than viewing things from a distance.
2007-11-01 07:22:44
21.   JoeInRI
that was meant to address 15
2007-11-01 07:23:07
22.   RIYank
I guess I'm with Jon on this one. I enjoy reading the magazine weekly (I have a subscription, but it's about to lapse and I'm on the fence about whether to renew). Honestly, the pictures are great. And I like some of the squibs at the beginning of the mag, and the summary of the NFL during that season. There's an occasional terrific article. They are too few and far between nowadays, though, to justify a full year of reading it.

I used to have a subscription to ESPN mag. I thought it was horrible, a complete waste. Has it changed in the last three years?

2007-11-01 07:24:11
23.   unmoderated
In the old days, it was

1. Scorecard
2. Inside Baseball
3. Any stories about baseball

Today:
1. Flip through 16 pages of photos
2. 3 pages ads
3. Find Scorecard.
4. Flip through 30 pages of ads/photos of Tiger's wife (ok, no complaints there)/football injury reports
5. Find Inside Baseball - maybe.
6. Read about Eric Byrnes' bachelor pad.

:(

2007-11-01 07:25:50
24.   Jersey
18 I think you can probably make the case that the "top" pieces you refer to use to come with a good bit more frequency, which maybe is my ultimate complaint about it (and what I really got from Levin's piece). But I agree totally about SI's role as a news-breaker.
2007-11-01 07:28:02
25.   unmoderated
...but SI will always have Sydd Finch.
2007-11-01 07:28:07
26.   JoeInRI
22 Agree with you about ESPN . . . unreadable.

For the record, this latest subscription was a gift. Usually I thumb through it to see if there's anything readable and then it goes in the recycling bin.

2007-11-01 07:28:10
27.   JoeInRI
22 Agree with you about ESPN . . . unreadable.

For the record, this latest subscription was a gift. Usually I thumb through it to see if there's anything readable and then it goes in the recycling bin.

2007-11-01 07:28:13
28.   ms october
19 Interesting point. You probably have to look at journalism and media beyond sports as well. Magazines like Newsweek have declined tremendously in the last several years too. I have often wondered about your last point - are "we" (those wanting more thoughtful, intelligent, hard hitting stuff; less overly dramatic, simplistic, and attack jobs) really a niche or there other factors in addition to just profits. One of my concerns is that in many ways there is no independence on the part of the media including sports media.
2007-11-01 07:28:41
29.   JoeInRI
How did that happen?
2007-11-01 07:28:44
30.   OldYanksFan
A little late but...
Many people here comment how this is often the first thing they do in the morning (I know I do)... check in at BB. So.... maybe a REAL slogan for your T shirts could be?
"Breakfast of Champions"

After all, for many of us, BB IS our breakfast.

2007-11-01 07:29:57
31.   nemecizer
I'll echo some of the comments here in saying that the first places I go when I get up in the morning are the Banter, NoMaas.org, LoHud, WasWatching.com, and RLYW. I get more information from the posts and comments that I would from a single news outlet like SI.com.

Frankly speaking, I also find the analysis on Banter to be better. I read so many things in MSM articles that are just out and out factually incorrect, it makes me wonder what the hell kind of editorial quality control those rags have.

2007-11-01 07:30:12
32.   rbj
19 I think it is part of the larger trend in media to have the good stuff online. Newspapers in general, IMO, have gone downhill in quality, and then there's television. I haven't watched any new network show in years (and can't stand the "reality" shows). About the only thing I watch on broadcast tv is the Simpsons.
2007-11-01 07:33:23
33.   Murray
I read Sports Illustrated up through college, but began receiving a few copies when I signed up for MLB.com. I find that there's nothing I learn from it, that the writing isn't that great, and that long profile pieces aren't as good as what is available on an admittedly less frequent basis in the New Yorker (did everybody read the Scott Boras profile?). I concede that the photographs have gotten better, and SI now includes more of them.

ESPN The Magazine is worthless to me--much like ESPN itself when it is doing anything other than broadcasting a baseball game.

2007-11-01 07:35:49
34.   Chyll Will
30 I don't know about anyone else, but I'm reserving the back for screen name and favorite number/expression >;) like how in Little League we had to take our team shirts to a place that could put iron-ons on the back. Only Toaster and Serious Consideration folk will know what it means anyway...
2007-11-01 07:40:13
35.   OldYanksFan
If you want a VOLUME of readers, I guess you pander to the lowest common denominator, yes?

To read 'true reporting', it takes a little brain power on our end, a little commitment. If articles are well written, and 'thought provocative', that means the reader might have to think.

I'm not sure if that's what the 'average american' wants. Maybe forcing them to think is a bit too much to ask. Maybe they just want to be entertained.

I think this is why so much journalism these days is some shade of yellow. It's entertaining and requires no thought. For the minority who want real News, it is possible that now, only selected blogs and only a very few TV shows provide this.

Look at all the 'reality' TV. People want to 'watch', not 'participate'.

2007-11-01 07:45:51
36.   williamnyy23
The print media has been gradually receding from my sports world over the past decade. It simply can't compete with the Internet/cable for breaking news and analysis. For that reason, it's no surprise that SI has declined in stature. In fact, one could say it's an accomplishment that the magazine still does pretty well.

Of course, SI has a dot com side, and Heyman (although he is a stat phobe, he does break stories), Verducci and our very own Belth are all good reads...there is just no reason to wait until the magazine comes out. I think SI's biggest problem is it is probably way behind ESPN on the dot com side. If it were to go completely electronic, it would give up its leadership position on the print side.

Finally, I don't know how SI stays in business. I signed up for a free trial once and received free issues for about three years, despite calling to let them know I wasn't a paying subscriber.

2007-11-01 07:46:25
37.   NJYankee41
19 I agree with 32 . I believe the internet has much to do with the declining relevance of magazines. Why wait once a week for information or stories when you can access it instantly online? When these guys get stories they aren't going to hold onto them until next issue. They are going to get it online as fast as possible. The problem with the internet, however, is that there is almost unlimited space for them to put out as many features and stories as they want, opposed to having a certain amount of print space in a publication. This leads to much of the watered-down and stupid material we have grown to dislike.

Like many have already stated. Sites like this provide almost everything a serious fan looks for in coverage.

2007-11-01 07:49:16
38.   NJYankee41
19 I agree with 32 . I believe the internet has much to do with the declining relevance of magazines. Why wait once a week for information or stories when you can access it instantly online? When these guys get stories they aren't going to hold onto them until next issue. They are going to get it online as fast as possible. The problem with the internet, however, is that there is almost unlimited space for them to put out as many features and stories as they want, opposed to having a certain amount of print space in a publication. This leads to much of the watered-down and stupid material we have grown to dislike.

Like many have already stated. Sites like this provide almost everything a serious fan looks for in coverage.

2007-11-01 07:54:53
39.   YankeeInMichigan
Since we are talking about Sports Illustrated ...

Nate Silver's "Offseason Plans" series, which is for subscribers only at baseballprospectus.com, is available for free at sportsillustraded.cnn.com. Here is the AL East installment: http://tinyurl.com/27l74w

Nate holds that the Yankees are in a "weak sell" position, i.e. they should maintain a roster that will keep them in contention in 2008 but that they should put their main focus on 2009 and 2010. His details are kind of radical. Here's a summary:
- Re-sign Posada at any cost
- Hope that Pettitte retires
- Avoid overpaying Rivera, especially if Pettitte returns (as Pettitte's return would make Joba available for the bullpen). If Rivera leaves, let Farnsworth and Edwar compete for the closer spot with Joba being the fall-back option.
- Sign Mahay as a lefty setup man
- Pass on Abreu, and use the money for Dunn (no longer available) or Bonds
- Sign Mike Lamb to compete with Betemit at third (this one has a nice ironic tinge, as A-Rod replaced Lamb 4 years ago).

2007-11-01 07:56:53
40.   JL25and3
12 Even that peaked with Cheryl Tiegs.
2007-11-01 07:58:31
41.   NJYankee41
39 Hmm... Farnsworth. I never thought of using him in that capacity. Brilliant!
2007-11-01 08:01:41
42.   JoeInRI
40 I was always a Paulina fan.

36 The same can be said about local broadcast TV. When I was a kid, Marv Albert and Warner Wolf were state of the art.

2007-11-01 08:02:05
43.   Chyll Will
35 I don't really agree. The only way you can justify the lack of quality and attraction to the lowest-common denominator is to maximize profits. That unfortunately has drained the emphasis and influence of education and work ethic, and thus we have fallen behind many other countries in the world in competitive fields such as engineering and medicine; ironic given that our domestic policy is supposedly based on the maximizing of competition.

I'm willing to bet that there are a lot more ethically-lazy, yet well-exposed writers now than there's ever been in this country.

2007-11-01 08:03:06
44.   JoeInRI
39 And here I was worried about next season . . .
2007-11-01 08:03:22
45.   Jay Jaffe
I think the most basic problem with SI is that it still acts as though its audience is getting its major sports coverage on a delayed basis rather than having already satiated themselves on the nuts and bolts via websites, blogs, and newspapers. Even at its freshest, everything is a few days old in there. The trend towards trite, shallow features only exacerbates that problem. As both a consumer and a writer I wish it were a place that played host to stronger features, more of a New Yorker-type lit mag for sports. The Steve Rushin piece that Levin cites is a great example, and it's worthwhile to point out that the best sports profile I read in a magazine this year was Ben McGrath's Manny Ramirez piece in the New Yorker.

That said, the photography of SI is still top-notch. As much as I loathed the Barry Bonds chase, the cover photo that captured his 755th home run, with the ball visibly in flight over the infield was one of the coolest photos I saw all summer.

2007-11-01 08:05:27
46.   Dimelo
0 Man, since about 2 - 3 years ago I stopped frequenting ESPN. Deadspin has taken over for general sports info. I kind of like the more organic (blog) stuff than the stuff SI, ESPN, and Fox Sports put out.

As for general baseball info, I love baseball musings. I have no idea how Pinto does it, but his writing is never favoring one side or another - it's just facts. I find that amazing, I know I can't do that and I find that to be a great human trait. His writing just, at least from my perspective, is never slanted to one side or another.

For Yankee news, this (BxBanter) and LoHud are my #1 spots. The writing is really constructive and the conversations/comments are engaging, even if some might not agree with my point of view. It is at a much higher level than other blogs, and for that we have the contributors/writers of the banter to thank. They set THAT tone, but I do stay away from the game threads...just too much doom-and-gloom for me. I might start participating (in-game comments) now that Torre is gone, I don't deny that I loved having Torre as our manager.

There are select writers I like to read, Verducci and Rosenthal are two I really enjoy reading from the print media. I don't care for Gammons, I actually dislike him quite a bit and his bio says all you need to know about where his writing is slanted to. I don't need that shit.

2007-11-01 08:06:07
47.   ms october
43 Good points. Though I think OYF is saying that there are numbers with the lowest common demoninator.
Also, look at how many writers have moved to be TV talking heads - they all see it is easier and much more lucrative
2007-11-01 08:14:27
48.   vockins
I don't read any sports-only print media about baseball. I read the NYT, the Daily News and the Post, but I don't read them exclusively for their baseball content, and then I usually just look at box scores. I subscribe to Baseball Prospectus. Between those and about four blogs, I'm satisfied.

The only sports related print media I subscribe to is Roadracing World, which is the best sports related magazine on the planet, far and away. It's embarassing how superior it is to all other motorcycle related media. It's sort of apples and oranges, but I find it better than BP is at baseball, and BP is fantastic.

I only interested in reading about the two sports I give a damn about. If I can find high quality media about those two sports, I can't really be bothered to invest in a magazine that's giving a broad overview by design. I think the last article I read that wasn't written by Alex or Cliff in SI was the global warming article.

2007-11-01 08:16:17
49.   rbj
39 I'd pass on Bonds, if Alex was a problem in the clubhouse, I can only imagine that Barry would be worse.

Joba needs to be a starter, he's more valuable that way. Give Mo & Jorge their money. Beg Andy to come back.

2007-11-01 08:16:54
50.   Shaun P
45 "As both a consumer and a writer I wish it were a place that played host to stronger features, more of a New Yorker-type lit mag for sports."

Jay, you took the words out of my keyboard. Exactly. Give me the kind of in-depth reporting I remember - like the series about gambling on high school sports back in the late 90s, or the coverage of the disaster that was the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.

I haven't subscribed to SI in over 2 years, and I find I don't really miss it.

Usually ESPN the Mag is awful, but they occasionally have some excellent reporting I wish SI still featured more often. I do subscribe, but just to be able to read Neyer and Law (and Hollinger) for free online.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-01 08:24:45
51.   JL25and3
One other thing that has changed about the magazine business is who publishes them.

Once upon a time, SI was published by Time-Life. Time-Life was a company that published magazines, period. Yes, there was an occasional book or record; but magazines were what they did, and what they cared about.

Now SI is published by a conglomerate that encompasses Time-Life, Warner Brothers (studio and network), all the Turner networks (including CNN and all its variants), AOL, HBO, the Atlanta Braves, Little Brown, and a host of other subsidiaries including DC Comics and - alas! - Mad Magazine.

The people who are directly in charge of SI might care about the magazine's quality - or might not, for all I know. But in either case, they're answerable to a corporate structure that couldn't care less. They're interested in each subsidiary posting maximum profits every quarter. After that, they want to use subsidiaries to promote each other; and they probably care a little about how those smaller entities all reflect some feel-good corporate image.

If SI is able to do all that and still produce quality writing, fine. But if they can't, then quality writing is the first to go.

And if you want to see how a magazine can be shamed, take a look at Mad sometime.

2007-11-01 08:33:09
52.   Chyll Will
47 That's absolutely true, if that's what your intended goal is. I don't have a problem with writers looking for or making dollars as I don't think anyone should endure poverty unless they actively choose to (a vow of poverty anyone? Okay, nevermind...) . But I do have a problem with pretending that your goals are not profit-driven, which ethically lazy writers (and editors I might add) often do. That might make me part of the smaller, less interesting and less profitable demography, but I don't try to fool anyone otherwise.
2007-11-01 08:37:38
53.   williamnyy23
39 With all due respect to Silver, that's a pretty lousy plan. For starters, why would you hope Pettitte retires? He has a one year option, so he is a perfect stop gap. If Silver is arguing that having Pettitte will tempt the Yankees to use Joba as a closer, well, not having him will tempt the Yankees to pile innings onto the young arms. What's more, Silver than suggests that Rivera is expendable. If MO leaves, Joba is certainly headed for the pen, so I that contradicts his point on Pettitte. As for Farns and Edwar closing, well, that can't be serious.

Passing on Abreu also makes no sense as he is a one year stop gap too. Surely, Silver doesn't think Bonds or Dunn would be replacing Abreu in RF? Sure, Bobby isn't a defensive monster, but he's better than those too. While I'd like to see Bonds signed, it would strictly be as a 120 game DH.

I like the idea about Mahay, and would add that they should pick up Riske as well. That would be a nice LH/RH combo to work in front of Mo. I also think Ohlendorf could play a big role in the pen. Also, don't forget about Humberto Sanchez.

Finally, as for the 3B, I'd rather they look at Cabrera before settling on a platoon. If that is where they end up, however, I'd rather see Ensberg and Betemit share the position. I am sure he'd be easy to acquire.

2007-11-01 08:37:47
54.   Chyll Will
51 Yeah... I used to be a MAD-fanatic, but I noticed the changes and gave up a long time ago. The more levels of management/ownership are involved in the final product, the less quality you tend to end up with. There are likely exceptions, but for the most part the changes and devolvement are easy to track.
2007-11-01 08:39:07
55.   YankeeInMichigan
49 Emotionally I want Rivera back, but I see Nate's point. Rivera in 2010 could be as useless as Giambi in 2008, and unlike the catcher situation, there are other viable (though non-ideal) stop-gap options.

As for Nate's take on Abreu, he seems to assume that Abreu's declining OBP is here to stay. I would be inclined to give Bobby one year to demonstrate that 2007 was an aberation. An outfield platoon of Bonds/Melky/Damon/Matsui/Duncan seems really weak defensively. I certainly would not offer Abreu a multi-year contract at this point.

2007-11-01 08:41:32
56.   williamnyy23
51 Scratch the Braves...they were sold this past season.
2007-11-01 08:46:28
57.   yankz
39 Didn't really like that article. He seriously underestimates how important Pettitte is, totally forgets about Molina, underrates Abreu, and suggests that Pavano may throw a pitch. Also, I don't think Mahay is a FA.

And what's with this Lamb fixation? He's worse vs. lefties (career .747 OPS), so he's essentially another Betemit. I'd much rather have Ensberg.

2007-11-01 08:48:23
58.   williamnyy23
55 I don't think you can worry about Rivera's 2010. I don't think it's a given he wont be effective at that point, but even if he is, I can live with giving Mo one charity season. Giambi has been well overpaid for most of the ocntract, so that comparison isn't apt.
2007-11-01 08:50:56
59.   ms october
52 Agree fully and 51 nicely articulated the corporate structure that leads to diminished quality.
For those of you who are big Wire fans - I am very much looking forward to David Simon's take on the media in Season 5 (starting in Januray YEA! - then ST will be right around the corner).
The week before the Boras piece in the New Yorker http://tinyurl.com/34owqg
there was an interesting one on David Simon and the Wire http://tinyurl.com/2aqd9d.

53 Yeah - I am not exactly sure where the good idea is in any of that other than Mahay and your idea of Riske which I think would also help.

But this actually leads into another point is that in order to distinguish yourslef, many "journalists" just take any position or make any suggestion to be seen or heard - not necessarily accusing him of that - but you sometimes have to wonder

Though I do agree that a long run is much more likely in 2009 - but I would guess most people think that.

2007-11-01 08:53:05
60.   steveb1234
I was the editor-in-chief of a print magazine for the last 12 years before recently being laid off, and this was a pretty common discussion. Our circulation was in a steady decline thanks to the Internet, so we decided not to compete with "daily news." I disagree with some of the people here who say print doesn't give good analysis; the one advantage of not pumping stuff out on a daily basis is that you should be able to offer better analysis and place things in context because you're not trying to be first.

We decided we'd be a wee-bit more literate, offer more analysis of news than straight reporting, and play to the strength of print; it's superior for reading. Of course the reality is that there's no way for anyone to compete with "free." Most people will be perfectly satisfied with mediocre or crap writing as long as it's free. While a few people appreciated our approach, we had the lowest circ vs. our competitors and the ad dollars declined.

It's a little sad when people who say blogs are their only source of news. If we become a nation of people who just clump around very specific, targeted interests, we're all going to lose a lot of perspective. We're also becoming a nation of people who expect to agree with everything, and when we don't... it gets ugly. I've received threats from people for holding differing opinions, and I think this sort of bunker mentality appears because we're all running off into our little insular clubs and building up an "us vs. them" mentality. "They're out to get us" when they write a negative piece.

Really tight-knit communities often become extremely angry, and vicious over time, mostly because they become echo chambers that are dominated by negativity (we reward negative posts with, "Hah hah, awesome! Yeah, go get him!" and tend to gloss over positive, even-handed ones; I'm talking more about commenters than posters, by the way.)

Look at the comments here over the last few weeks versus years ago. The tone---even when things are going well---has changed significantly.) And sites like Deadspin will take a particular meme and beat it into the ground until it becomes truth. Print or the mainstream media can do this too, but they generally can't do it with the kind of frequency bloggers do it.

Sorry, this is a bit rambling. But publications like SI are trying to make sense of this. They're envious of the loyalty readers show to blogs, so they try to add some more opinionated stuff. They're jealous of the ad dollars from Maxim, so they add lifestyle stuff. They realize fewer people write in and say, "Great feature story" then "U R BIAS TO YANKEES." They're getting pushed and pulled in every direction by the market and the beancounters.

2007-11-01 08:53:30
61.   yankz
Girardi to wear #27. Bad. Ass.
2007-11-01 08:54:31
62.   yankz
Here's the Photoshop I requested yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/2wmby5
2007-11-01 08:56:18
63.   williamnyy23
59 There are so many pieces not yet in place, so it hard to get a feel for 2008 (or 2009). Still, I really believe that if the Yankees add one more above average bat and Joba and Hughes are really top-line starters, then the Yankees will have just as a good a chance as anyone next season.
2007-11-01 09:01:26
64.   dianagramr
A-Rod gets an offer .... from the Toledo Mud Hens ...

http://tinyurl.com/286x8h

2007-11-01 09:03:14
65.   Bama Yankee
62 Nice. I just saw your request on the other thread and I was going to work you something up tonight, but it looks like you got what you need.
2007-11-01 09:04:52
66.   yankz
65 Ah, thanks anyway!
2007-11-01 09:05:32
67.   ms october
61 Oh man - stepping into the presssure and meeting it head on!

63 Oh yes - agree fully - but even assuming we re-sign everyone, Pettite comes back; and figuring out a better solution for 1b/3b (or miracle of miracles both) - I think it is hard to put too much on the shoulders of 2 and maybe 3 rookie pitchers - even ones who have shown as much promise as Joba and Phil and IPK - and assuming they are all still here - I think at least 2 of them would have to come up big to have a realistic chance at WS - obviously it can be done - but it is a lot to ask of them

2007-11-01 09:06:15
68.   Shaun P
60 Thank you for the insider's perspective. Best of luck in finding a new job, if you haven't already. And great point about the mentality of closely-knit communities. That is something I will remember when next season starts.

59 I think Silver is approaching the situation from an informed perspective. But he doesn't know the Yanks like we do, which is understandable. He has a strong incentive to pay some attention to many teams, and not focus entirely on one team.

Its not a bad plan, I think it just lacks the refinement of being more finely-tuned to the Yanks' situation.

2007-11-01 09:07:15
69.   williamnyy23
60 I don't agree with your depiction of blogs as insular "echo chambers". I think the reason people prefer blogs like this one is because it gives you the opportunity to interact with opinions, not just have them forcefed to you.

Also, I am not quite sure I get your point about "targeted interests"...are you suggesting that mass media played the role of expanding horizons through varied content? If so, I think that gives too much credit to the media. After all, if I want to discuss other topics, I can find other blogs. In a sense, I can be my own editor-in-chief on topics that are of interest to me.

Finally, print doesn't have to be the domain of in depth analysis. If anything, the internet is still more ideal for that as well because it doesn't have the same limitations of space. Not only can it provide news faster, but it can also offer longer pieces and archived references.

I don't think the enemy of print is some social disfunction of the American consumer, but rather a fundamental shift in the market place.

2007-11-01 09:10:25
70.   Shaun P
69 Except that, even here, we always seem to pick two sides to an argument, and then beat it to death, repeatedly.

After not too much time, it becomes less "interacting with opinions" and more "ignoring everything because no one is saying anything new and just repeating the same points" - which sounds an awful lot like an echo chamber, just with two viewpoints echoing, not one. I think the point is well-made.

2007-11-01 09:13:22
71.   williamnyy23
67 True...who knows, Joba and Phil could have a Smoltz like first season. If their careers followed form, would anyone here not endure that in 2008?

I guess my main point is the Yankees had 38 starts from Igawa, Wright, Henn, Clippard, DeSalvo, Rasner, Pavano and Karstens. They also got 27 starts from Mussina. If Wang and Pettitte simply equal their 2007 performance, the Yankees simply need to replace Rocket's solid 100 innings and than the dregs listed above. I have to believe that Phil/Joba/IPK can outperform the litany above, right?

2007-11-01 09:15:09
72.   ms october
60 Thanks for your perspective. Although I have turned more to blogs - especially for sports - I still really enjoy getting a magazine every week (or month or whatever) and I also appreciate as you say "the strength of print." However, as I mentioned in an earlier post - I do find the quality of many magazines in decline. I agree with you that there is something positve about going beyond just little silos - but I am not sure how that can be accomplished.
As Shaun P said - hope you've landed on your feet.
2007-11-01 09:19:25
73.   williamnyy23
70 I don't know...to me an echo chamber is everyone agreeing in lock step...not back and forth argument. If anything, that would be better described as dissonance, which is a far cry from an echo.

The nature of blogs is always going to have moments of chaos...because no one can hold the floor, sometimes arguments can start flying, which is what leads to repetition (the need to address numerous posters making similar points).

Also, I think one can make the argument that the increasing partisan nature of printed publications also resembles an echo chamber.

2007-11-01 09:20:46
74.   JL25and3
61 , 67 What am I missing?
2007-11-01 09:21:31
75.   dianagramr
ESPN's mag is unreadable (literally) for a variety of reasons .... including the typesize and layout.

Now, I'm 44 and female, so I know I'm not their target demographic, but I get the sense they are trying just way too hard to be "smart", "hip" and "cool" ... which leaves little room for good journalism.

As for SI, I subscribed for many years, until I got tired of the moral quandry regarding the objectification of women in their swimsuit issue.

Sigh ... bring back the days of Sport and Inside Sports.

I wonder if Frank Deford's short-lived daily sports newspaper "The National" might be able to make it today.

2007-11-01 09:24:40
76.   Shaun P
71 All true, but its not just Rocket's 100 innings and the 38 starts that need be replaced. How many times in those 38 starts did the start actually make it through 5 innings? Maybe 8 or 10? So there's some mid-innings of games to be accounted for as well.

Still, I think Hughes, Joba, and IPK can do that nicely, with a dollop of Moose here and there.

2007-11-01 09:25:04
77.   ms october
71 Hmm - one would certainly have to hope so :}. And I think the liklihood of them surpassing that performance is very good. But, there is also a pretty strong liklihood that the offense will produce far less, requiring the trio to exceed last year's starters. I haven't looked at player by player projections yet, but in addition to the loss of Arod it is doubtful we get a repeat performance from Posado - with most players in a relatively small +/- deviation; with the biggest potential jump coming from Cano (and hopefully Melky).
So - all of this is to say that while I like the direction of the team, IMHO, to make a long run next year - it will take a lot from the trio (or 2 plus Santana - but I am not really thinking along those lines)
2007-11-01 09:25:07
78.   Chyll Will
60 Valid points, but I have to say that some communities are better at policing themselves than others, given that there are strong opinions here and everywhere else, there is a good system of checks-and-balances here and some other places that keep us from going over the line. I say that only in defense of Toaster, but I'll bet there are a few others that have similar and perhaps better self-control. Ken gives us the benefit of the doubt in terms of what we say and how we say it and only occasionally steps in to either remind us or execute us, so to speak. That freedom comes mainly from the fact that Toaster is not a for-profit enterprise, so does not have to conform to a particular segment's bias in order to sustain itself or survive. That's my biggest criticism of general print-media.

As a former editor-in-chief of college publications and a entrepreneurial magazine co-publisher (hiatus), I relate to your insights. I suspect we must choose which direction to go in and stay true to principle, be it the message or the money.

2007-11-01 09:27:51
79.   Chyll Will
74 What number will the Yank's next championship be?
2007-11-01 09:28:21
80.   ms october
74 That Girardi is wearing #27 - perhaps (hopefully) in reference to guiding the team to title #27
2007-11-01 09:28:28
81.   NJYankee41
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this but here is Dave Dombrowski's reaction to Arod's free agency.

"He turned down about $28 million a year from the Yankees, and we got a player we like a lot to fill our need for a shortstop," Dombrowski said after acquiring Edgar Renteria from Atlanta. "We made the deal that we think makes the most sense for us."

There probably is a team out there that will break the bank on him, but I wonder how many GMs look at it the same way as Dombrowski. Turning down $28 mil from the Yankees sure is a loud statement.

2007-11-01 09:30:26
82.   Schteeve
I turn to Bronx Banter for the best sports writing.
2007-11-01 09:31:58
83.   Chyll Will
80 Jinx >;) You owe me a root beer (I'll except Barq's or Stewart's for now...)
2007-11-01 09:32:23
84.   ms october
81 Yeah that was interesting. If one can remove some of the emotion from the situation - I think from a baseball economics perspective - it will be very interesting to see how this plays out, with whom, and what kind of deal he does end up getting.
2007-11-01 09:32:28
85.   JL25and3
55 First of all, I'm not convinced that Giambi will be useless in 2008. Overpaid, yes, but I wouldn't write off his bat quite so quickly.

Rivera might not be a dominant closer in 2010, or even in 2008; and yes, there might be options in the closer role. But I think it's likely that he will at least be a pretty good righty reliever, and we've seen that those aren't so easy to find. As williamnyy23 said, I've got no problem with overpaying Mo for a year or two.

I thought Abreu's second half was a pretty good indication that his first half was an aberration. Here's a case where I think old-fashioned scouting and player evaluation is important. We can look at the stats and see a decline; a scout may shed light on why that's happened, and how likely it is that he's just washed up.

2007-11-01 09:34:07
86.   Schteeve
Hope that Mussina retires, not Pettitte.

Pettitte
Wang
Hughes
Joba
Kennedy

That starting 5 would make me feel somewhat less queasy than one that included Schizo Moose.

2007-11-01 09:34:09
87.   ms october
83 Ha - but you have to roast the marshmellows (with chocolate)
2007-11-01 09:34:31
88.   JL25and3
54 MAD now looks like Cracked did when I was a kid, which is about as strong an indictment as I can make.
2007-11-01 09:35:07
89.   Chyll Will
82 Back of the t-shirt? >;)
2007-11-01 09:35:21
90.   JL25and3
79 , 80 Gotcha. Actually, that seems a little too cute for me.
2007-11-01 09:35:37
91.   ms october
86 I know we have been over this quite a bit - but with the innings caps - something has to give somewhere to make it work.
2007-11-01 09:37:47
92.   ms october
90 Yeah - but for a guy with a crew-cut that supposedly holds squats records at Northwestern it fits
2007-11-01 09:38:16
93.   JoeInRI
75 As a kid I used to be an avid subscriber of The Sporting News. It was the one place to get Minor League info before Baseball America and the interweb. It was my fav. publication.
2007-11-01 09:41:23
94.   YankeeInMichigan
57 Ensberg's offensive decline has taken Knoblauch-like proportions. In 2006, his batting average dropped from .283 to .235, but he still drew 101 walks and hit 23 homers. In 2007, the power and patience went away as well.

Granted, Lamb is largely redundant to Betemit, since both are much stronger against righties, so a classic "platoon" arrangement would not make sense. A "hot-hand" competition, however, could work.

2007-11-01 09:45:13
95.   NJYankee41
84 I'm starting to think that Arod and Boras are misreading the market. Usually players are up for a raise every few years, but he was grossly overpaid from the beginning. I assume its difficult for a smaller market team, or any non New York or Boston team, to justify investing that much money into 1 player when having such a player doesn't correlate with success. We'll see. Like always there is probably some team ready to jump out of left field and sign him to a ridiculous contract of embarassing proportions.
2007-11-01 09:46:05
96.   YankeeInMichigan
85 I hope that I am wrong, but I fear that, at some point, Rivera's career will run into a Quantrill-style end. On those days that he is hittable, he is really hittable. When he loses a couple MPH, or loses the sharpness of his cutter's break, those days may become the norm.
2007-11-01 09:47:23
97.   Ken Arneson
60 One of the things that the people who have studied the behavior of groups ("wisdom of crowds") has found is that groups of people tend to amplify the direction of beliefs. The result is that crowds are either smarter and more correct than any individual in it, or far more mistaken.

That results in somewhat of a paradoxical effect by the new high-tech media: since it enables crowd-gathering, it has the strange result of both making mankind smarter in some ways and stupider in others.

2007-11-01 09:53:31
98.   ms october
95 Yeah - a part of me thinks that too. That's one of the reason I am so interested to see what happens. It also can't help that most of last season's big FA acquisitions were mediocre to awful. I realize Arod is a much much better player than those guys, but all of that adds up to change the market. But as you said it really only takes one to give him what he wants - and he didn't have the Yanks driving up his price last time either (assuming they are in fact truly out this year).
2007-11-01 09:53:43
99.   Shaun P
94 Ah, but here's where JL's great point about scouting comes in to help us understand why Ensberg's numbers went down so horribly.

Phil Garner yo-yo'd Ensberg in and out of the lineup at whim, in 2006 and 2007. He was also vilified, IIRC, by both the press and inside the clubhouse (Garner again), for not performing. I think if Ensberg were given a regular role and the chance to work through any issues, he'd be fine.

OTOH, he is 31, and maybe he has fallen off the cliff. But it'd be a cheap risk to take.

2007-11-01 09:53:52
100.   jkay
The only reason to get the print version of SI is the photography. It is the best in the business. I never spend too much time reading the articles.

SI's web site is a step or two behind the times. They have taken steps in the right direction--adding Bronx Banter and Baseball Prospectus contributions. They still have a long way to go.

Overall, a great brand name with a lot of room for improvement.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-11-01 09:59:59
101.   Chyll Will
87 Again I say, I like the way you think >;)

88 Cracked has not changed. One bit. Phooey.

After Bill Gaines passed away, MAD was a done deal.

My favorite artist and writers from the past:
Sergio Aragonés
Dave Berg
Don Edwing
Al Jaffee
Don Martin
Antonio Prohías
Jack Davis
Dick DeBartolo

and I'll always love how Peanuts zinged them back after years of "abuse"...

60 Yes, good luck with finding a new spot, worthy of your principles. I know how that is too >;)

2007-11-01 10:00:16
102.   OldYanksFan
60 "Look at the comments here over the last few weeks versus years ago"
Were you here 'years ago'? I was, and I do think our dialog has degraded a fair bit compared to years ago. We still have some very intelligent and perspective comments, but there is now a greater tendency to become what 70 ShaunP pointed out.

However, the Internet and Blogs are still 'primative' as they are in their infancy. You may see a merging of high end journalism (like I find at TheNation site) and commenter interation... a best of both worlds kind of thing.

I also think that when quality Blogs start charging (which needs to happen), we might see a moderator included, which I think would greatly increase the quality of our commenting back and forth.

2007-11-01 10:06:26
103.   OldYanksFan
David Pinto says: Appraising A-Rod: 8 years, $216 million should suffice. This is based on VORP as opposes to market demand.

Dave also points out: The New York Times notes the possibility exists for players to get advance notice of surprise drug tests:

The night before testers arrive at major league stadiums to take urine samples from players, officials for the home team receive a call from the testing company requesting stadium and parking passes for the drug testers. This procedure is not outlined in the league's 48-page testing policy, which baseball promotes as one of the toughest in sports.

This should be sensational news. It's possible that the whole testing program could be rendered moot (or mute) by this.

2007-11-01 10:09:13
104.   Yankee Fan In Boston
62 the mudhen plaque is incredible. bravo.
2007-11-01 10:11:42
105.   OldYanksFan
86 It looks good, but if 1 of the 3 kids go down, or 2 are only average, we are once again weak in SP (and are also currently weak at BP).

Unfortunately, as Mo and Po will demonstrate, and as Sori, Meche and Zito did last year, it looks like the FA market will continue to be a source of talent, but it will always come at a price of not only too many dollars, but too many years.

There may be 'more average' players available at a reasonable price, but it looks like the studs will always command a lot more then they are worth (can you say ARod?)

2007-11-01 10:13:55
106.   ms october
103 Yeah - is the fact that this has received so little attention or as you say should be "sensational news" mean that hardly anyone acres about PEDs or that no one respects the tests anyway or what?

Growing up in AL, I did not have much choice for sports news other than ESPN, so it is been hard for me to totally get rid of them - but there has been persistent criticism of them in recent years that a channel that shows basically every sport should not also be the source for news on those leagues - is that one of the reseaons these stories don't go anywhere?

Joe Girardi press conference on now - Yogi called him and wanted to make sure he could come to ST

2007-11-01 10:19:02
107.   cult of basebaal
96 a quantrill type end? you mean he'll injure his knee, not tell anyone and get ground into dirt by joe torre while trying to pitch through it?
2007-11-01 10:20:06
108.   pistolpete
Ditto all about the quality of the Yankees blogs - LoHud, WW, and of course BB.

I think sometimes I take the information being spread around here for granted sometimes, but then I'll get to talking baseball with people at my job or in my family, and I amaze myself with how much knowledge I bring to the table, thanks to sites like this.

SI's great for the personal stuff on athletes, though. Blog authors don't often get the chance to follow guys around for days and really get inside their heads.

I forget if it was SI or ESPN Mag. who had a feature on Tank Johnson about a week ago - great read for anyone interested - had some real insight into his personality and troubles with the law.

2007-11-01 10:27:21
109.   Shaun P
105 106 Will Carroll had an interesting take on this in a BP Unfiltered piece.

Short summary - things are often detectable for longer than a day, so even advance notice might not help. And, no one knows who will be tested in advance.

http://tinyurl.com/3da4qh

2007-11-01 10:33:56
110.   williamnyy23
94 Although, Ensberg still had an .830 OPS against lefties last season (even playing a good deal at PetCo, which is an extreme pitcher's park). For his career, Ensberg has an OPS of 936. If yo are talking strictly about a the right handed platoon with Betemit, I think Ensberg is the better choice.
2007-11-01 10:39:06
111.   ms october
109 Thanks, interesting.
It's very hard to really know what is what with this whole issue.
2007-11-01 10:39:47
112.   williamnyy23
I wonder why Cashman hasn't picked up Abreu's options yet? Could something between now and tomorrow affect the decision?
2007-11-01 10:42:35
113.   OldYanksFan
Newsday: The Yankees have made it clear that they have no plans to bid on Rodriguez when free agency gets underway, but a source with knowledge of the situation said Rodriguez is hoping that the Bombers reconsider their stance.

"Alex wants the Yankees to be a part of this, because the opt-out was not done with the intention of saying goodbye to the Yankees," said the source. "Alex wants to see what his market value is, but that doesn't mean he necessarily wants to leave the Yankees."

I think Boras is leading Aod by the nose.
I don't believe ARod put it out during the WS, it was Boras. I don't think ARod wants the really bad vibes that have happened so far.

It ain't over.

2007-11-01 10:43:33
114.   Shaun P
112 Possible that Cashman is trying to get Abreu to sign a two year deal (maybe with an option?) for less/year than the $16M the option costs?

That's what I'd do. Otherwise, who plays RF in 2009? No way Tabata or Jackson is ready by then.

2007-11-01 10:45:12
115.   OldYanksFan
http://tinyurl.com/2gbvdw
ARod is the coverboy again.
2007-11-01 10:45:38
116.   williamnyy23
113 Arod is a man though, and there comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your life's decisions. I wouldn't be surprised if Arod does want to stay with the Yankees, but maybe then, he should have overruled Boras and at least had a conversation with Cashman. If Arod isn't strong enough as a person to take control from Boras, maybe the talk of him not being able to handle pressure have merit.
2007-11-01 10:50:55
117.   Shaun P
113 No offense OYF, but no s#!t A-Rod wants the Yanks involved. How else can he maximize his leverage?

Say Team X offers A-Rod 8 years, $240M (so $30M/year, and incentives). Then Boras says, "Oops Team X, turns out the Yanks decided they really DO want A-Rod back, and offered 8 years and $252M ($31.5M/year, and incentives)." If Team X really really wants A-Rod - I figure they would, otherwise why offer 8 years/$240M? - that's enough to get them to jump to, say 8 years $256M - or even tack on a 9th year (so 9/270).

Every time the Yanks say, "Look, we are not negotiating with A-Rod, that's it", A-Rod's negotiating leverage with the other 29 teams weakens substantially.

2007-11-01 10:53:00
118.   JoeInRI
ARod or Boras, I don't particularly care. Let him care. He's dead to me.
2007-11-01 10:53:57
119.   JoeInRI
118 That should have said "Let him go" . . .
2007-11-01 11:03:02
120.   OldYanksFan
117 Boras and ARod know the Yanks will NOT get into a bidding war. Cashman ain't dumb. By September, almost EVERYONE thought ARod was coming back. This whole show just seems so wrong. If this is ARods doing, and not Boras, then the guy fucked up to the max. Chose the absolute worst way to do it. It just does not seem to fit to me.

If ARod is unsigned, and comes to the Yanks, they may make an offer in a way that can't go public unless it's signed.

116 I agree... but I once disagreed with a tactic my lawyer was taking. The guy lit into to me. "I've been a lawyer for 22 years and ...", " Oh, are you a lawyer now?", "Did you hire me for MY experience or not?", etc.

I don't know Boras, but he's obviously a power player. He could have said to ARod.... "Hey Alex, I'm the best. Just relax and trust me. I'll get you what you want and more, OK?"

Yes, a client SHOULD control the hired help, but really, how often is it the other way around?

2007-11-01 11:08:20
121.   Chyll Will
117 And that's probably why the other teams are trying to stay quiet about their intentions and letting the media jump all over Boras and A-Rod. The louder the Yankees scream NO, the stronger their own leverage. It would probably behoove Cash and King of the Hill to just drop the matter altogether and continue on with their itinerary. If we filled the 3B spot quickly, Boras will somehow have to justify to every other team why he thinks A-Rod should get more than what the Yanks were ready to offer, or in fact more than what he was already making.
2007-11-01 11:16:12
122.   williamnyy23
120 I think the lawyer example doesn't really equate because in this instance the question is whether Arod's objective is to play with the Yankees or make the most money possible. If it's the latter, then he should let Boras do his job. If it's the former. then Arod needs to make sure his agent understands that.
2007-11-01 11:19:31
123.   Chyll Will
120 If you look at it that way, you can only know who knows best after the fact. Boras has led A-Rod away from Seattle, where he was a fan-favorite to a desolate wasteland that he eventually couldn't wait to get away from, and likewise the team and fans couldn't wait for him to go.

The problem with guys like Boras is that they only think of fans as numbers, and A-Rod may not be as smart or stoic as we want him to be. It's in Boras' best interest to make A-Rod believe he knows best; otherwise this conversation would have never taken place because A-Rod would likely either be in Seattle or Florida; either one being his "home".

2007-11-01 11:21:26
124.   Chyll Will
122 I agree.
2007-11-01 11:30:41
125.   JL25and3
101 I loved, loved, loved Mort Drucker.

Mad once did a parody of itself which included Dave Berg's "Lighter Side of Death." It was the funniest thing I ever saw from him. (Among other things, it was the first time I learned the joke, "Not so fast there, Kowalski!")

Yeah, when Bill Gaines died it was the end. He was the one who kept it fiercely, stubbornly independent - not an inch of advertising, ever. As long as there were 11-year-old boys, it could make a little money.

2007-11-01 11:33:36
126.   JL25and3
109 It would help a lot with amphetamines, which wash out of the body quickly.
2007-11-01 11:34:34
127.   ms october
Just to throw one thing out there about Arod and Boras - as Boras points out quite a bit, Arod let the Mariners buy up his arbitration years against Boras's advice
http://tinyurl.com/2oqsz7
(I linked to this article since the info is in the 1st paragraph)
2007-11-01 11:41:23
128.   Chyll Will
127 I'm only guessing, but perhaps he wanted to avoid the catastrophic humiliation/frustration of his bosses explaining to him and a moderator exactly how and why he sucked. The numbers then are not even significant to the numbers he's dealing with now, and Boras probably thanks whom/whatever to high places that it was the one time A-Rod didn't listen to him.
2007-11-01 11:45:17
129.   ms october
128 Could be. But Boras spins it as a terrible mistake that cost Alex millions of dollars. I think he often points it out as well to show that Alex is his own person and does not just follow him blindly.
2007-11-01 11:51:24
130.   Chyll Will
129 Of course he can spin it that way. Only the two of them would know, and they've sunk their credibility we'll never really know.
2007-11-01 11:57:08
131.   Yankee Fan In Boston
this just in:

"LF Hideki Matsui will have arthroscopic knee surgery, which Cashman termed "routine cleanup." ... SS Derek Jeter's knee will heal without surgery, Cashman said."

http://tinyurl.com/yogezx

that was tacked onto the end of this article about girardi's conference with a photo.

2007-11-01 11:58:16
132.   YankeeInMichigan
Joel Zumaya just had reconstructive surgery on his pitching shoulder, which he injured moving personal items out of his San Diego home: http://tinyurl.com/yqg3xr

Rivera's price tag just went up a notch.

2007-11-01 11:59:09
133.   Yankee Fan In Boston
132 that poor guy has a pavanoesque physique.
2007-11-01 12:33:43
134.   Chyll Will
133 Was he moving his air guitar?
2007-11-01 12:41:15
135.   Bama Yankee
134 Good one.
2007-11-01 13:08:02
136.   Yankee Fan In Boston
ny times on girardi's conference:

http://tinyurl.com/2v2uqe

2007-11-01 13:10:42
137.   Shaun P
120 Boras and ARod know the Yanks will NOT get into a bidding war. Cashman ain't dumb.

I agree. BUT the important thing from A-Rod's perspective is that all he needs is the SPECTER of the Yanks being involved to drive up his price and his leverage.

121 The funny thing, while almost no one believed the Bubba thing 2 years ago - because no way would George let that happen! - I think everyone would believe it now if Cashman got, say, Ensberg and proclaimed a Betemit-Ensberg platoon as the Yanks' 3B for 2008. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Cashman is in charge.

So, I hope he gets Ensberg or whoever quickly. =)

2007-11-01 13:30:54
138.   Yankee Fan In Boston
"slow month in baseball saved by a-rod"
http://tinyurl.com/23hfgk

"Someday, I can tell my kid that I was at some baseball game when [Rodriguez's agent] Scott Boras sent an e-mail to the Associated Press saying that A-Rod had just opted out of the final three years on his 10-year, $252 million contract."

2007-11-01 13:44:26
139.   OldYanksFan
122 Maybe both?
FWIW: John Marzano played with ARod for 3 years in Seattle. He said ARod always looked for a father figure and found one in Boras. He thinks Boras has a lot of influence over ARod... not that it's good, just maybe a reality.

I have no idea what's going on with ARod. I am confused with what's taken place. It's easy to jump to conclusions with what's happened, but none of us really knows the story.

Have you ever had a good job, were pretty happy, but during a good economy when peers when getting really good jobs, you decided to put your resume out? Just to see what happened? Maybe curious what someone else thinks you're worth? Maybe lightning will strike?

I dunno, but I think this is what ARod is doing. If he doesn't find anything 'better' then the Yanks, I think he may want to go back. That's not an insane position to take.

I know ARod likes attention, but I don't think he likes this degree of negative attention. Not even talking to the Yankees, even if it's to say he doesn't want to talk, doesn't seem like ARod. The WS announcement does not seem like ARod to me. He does respect the game. I just wonder if Boras is a train out of control.

2007-11-01 14:13:57
140.   Chyll Will
139 No one is saying A-Rod doesn't have the right to do what he's done, it's just that it's not likely a good decision on his and Boras' part. Say you're right; he explores the market and decides he's better off back where he left. But guess what? They're Under New Management, and they firmly decided not to bring him back. Now their rights are no less important than his under the circumstances... would it be bad to bring him back at this point?

Yes. A-Rod made a business decision that ostensibly only affects his standing in the front office, but he'll face a long road to recovering his standing in the clubhouse and even with the fickle NY fans. Meanwhile he'll be ridiculed by his peers and fans in other cities for his failed attempt at a significant raise. He'll have gained the world and lost everything in the process.

This may mean nothing to businessmen, but to people who have no control over those decisions and have a vested emotional interest in such a player (as a teammate or a fan), he's lost a tremendous amount of respect (his "concern" about his fellow FAs could have been alleviated with a phone call) and credibility. Believe it or not, those things actually are important.

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