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Tony

I never made it to Yankee Stadium–never really cared about it that much, possibly because I never thought it had a special feature like the Green Monster at Fenway, the Ivy at Wrigley, or the overhangs at Tiger Stadium.  Or possibly because my feelings on the Yankees have run the course from indifferent in the 80’s when they were a non-factor, to actively disliking the way they make a mockery of the game with their checkbooks today.

And despite my lack of caring about the original Yankee Stadium, I’ve now found another reason to despise the organization–they’re pairing up with Steiner Sports to sell off mementos from the old stadium–from bricks from the old Monument Park ($149) to bleacher benches ($449 to name your seat) to entire pieces of the old facade (a measly $50,000). And don’t forget about some dirt, sod, and a bathroom sign–or maybe the one of a kind dugout bat rack (reserve not met at $1,800–and no word on whether it’s from the Yankees dugout or visitors dugout).

Any time you can invoke a slogan like “Ruth Built It, Now You Can Take it Home,” you should really think twice about what you’re doing.  Of course, without knowing how many chunks of sod, bricks, and pieces of facade are available, it’s difficult to guestimate how much Steiner Sports and the Yankees are going to profit from this sale.

What’s almost guaranteed is that the City of New York won’t see any of that money–despite having pumped nearly $2 billion worth of public money into the new stadium in the forms of cash, subsidies, and tax breaks.

But hey, at least the general public will have the opportunity to buy quality seats at a reasonable price or get some quality parking spaces for the game

Despite being an east coast team, the Washington Nationals don’t get much publicity.  And for good reason, what with their 11-21 record.

But if you play for them, you’d probably like to get an occassional headline.  Like, oh, say, if you went on a 30-game hitting streak, like Ryan Zimmerman recently did.  However, I didn’t hear about his hitting streak until today–when it ended.

Now, I don’t follow baseball as closely as Rich and Andy do, but I typically check the headlines each day. But I have to imagine that if a player on the Yankees or Red Sox was in the middle of a 30-game hitting streak, ESPN would probably be breaking in with live coverage of every at-bat.

Hell, if it were Alex Rodriguez or some other star player, ESPN on-air personalities would probably be joined by executives for an on-air circle jerk.

With Manny Ramirez’s recent 50-game suspension, it appears that Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig may have an opportunity for the first time to increase the punishment handed down to a player found guilty of using performance enhancement drugs.

Ramirez is the first true star player to earn a suspension–but even with him missing 50 games, he will be eligible return to the field around the begining of July–which means he will be active for before the All-Star break.

And since Manny is a fairly popular player (for some reason, people enjoy the aloofness and me first attitude he has displayed for most of his career), there stands a chance that despite missing nealry 2/3 of the first half of the season, Ramirez could be elected by fans to start the “Midsummer Classic.” (subscription required for full article text)

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I turned on Sports Center this morning for probably the first time in at least a couple years–not really intentionally, but I ended up there, so I figured I’d watch a bit.

And I’m actually noticing that they seem to really be focusing on the news again, rather than all the feature stories that they started jamming in over the past few years, which is one of the main reasons I stopped watching it.

Then they get to the Top 10 Plays of the Day, and gave me a whole new reason not to watch–Play #2 of the day yesterday, according to ESPN, was Alex Rodriguez hitting a home run.

Yes, it was the first pitch he saw in his season debut.  But it’s the 554th time in his career he’s hit a home run.  And, oh yeah, now we don’t know how many of those home runs are legit, since he’s admitted taking steroids in Texas.  And there are allegations that he did in New York.  And high school.  And that he tipped pitches, which if true, hopefully will finally earn Rodriguez some punishment from the league (and possibly some retribution from some fellow players).

In the mean time, at least I now know I don’t have to worry about trying to catch Sports Center any time soon again.

The New York Yankees reportedly made an offer to Blue Jays starting pitcher AJ Burnett Tuesday, an offer that would put reportedly put Burnett in pinstripes for five years, at a cost of $80 million.

And looking at it, this move makes complete sense for the Yankees–with Carl Pavano coming off the books, they have a real lack of starting pitchers with a track record of injury proneness mixed with mediocrity.

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On November 4th, as annual baseball meetings got under way, Commissioner Bud Selig listed off Wall Street firms that had failed, warning general managers they need to “operate in a fashion that’s cognizant of that economy,”according to Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office.

Less than two weeks later, the New York Yankees are preparing to brush off the warning, and offer free agent pitcher CC Sabathia a deal that will make him the most expensive pitcher in MLB history. The same Sabathia that weighs as much as many defensive linemen, has a history that leans on the inconsistent side, and was merely average last season with the Indians, before moving to the National League, where he pitched well in his first half season facing many hitters who hadn’t seen him before, but was possibly overused.

Note that the offer has not yet been made–but team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, in his never ending quest to prove himself to daddy, saw fit to announce his team’s plans to the media.  In a further act of arrogance, he went so far as to say he expected to also make offers to AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe.

It’s a good thing the Yankees have such a proven track record with big money free agent deals.

Then I say let’s make it legal!

The Major League Baseball players’ union claims it has evidence that MLB teams acted in concert when none of them signed alleged all-time home run leader Barry Bonds to a contract this past season, rather than it just being a coincidence that none of the 30 teams wanted an aging, primadonna, clubhouse cancer to hit .275 with 25 HR while being a potenital defensive liability and bring excessive media attention to the club for his off-field legal issues.

The players’ association won three collusion grievances in which owners were found to have conspired against free agents following the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons. Management agreed in 1990 to settle those cases for $280 million and also agreed to a provision that future collusion would be subject to triple damages.

Strangely, though, they have reached an agreement with the commissioner’s office to delay filing a grievance, which would trigger proceedings before an aribitrator.  It’s unknown how long they will delay filing the grievance.

Possibly most notable in the article: Bonds’ agent Jeff Borris has stopped his efforts of trying to get Bonds a new deal.

And for that, I think we can all sigh in relief.

The original purpose of this blog was to discuss anything baseball, fantasy baseball, or baseball card related.  Of that trio, I’m really the only one who currently has any real interest in the baseball card aspect, and since I haven’t posted much, there hasn’t been any card talk.  Until today.

A few weeks back, it was announced that there was an “error card” in the Bowman Chrome set coming out, as the Kosuke Fukudome was missing it’s autograph.  Well, Topps finally came out this week, and admitted that the card was out there:

“[We] inadvertently inserted a Bowman Chrome Kosuke Fukudome Autographed Rookie Card (which is not autographed) into packs of the recently-released 2008 Bowman Chrome Baseball. A total of 1900 copies were issued. Fukudome is not a subject on the Autographed Rookie Card checklist nor was he ever solicited as one.”

You can read about that here or here.  However, I suggest you read about it here–because that’s the first place I’ve seen a take similar to mine on it.

Seriously, Topps?  You want us to believe it was a mistake, and that you never intended for it to be an autograph card, despite the fact that the card has the design elements of an autograph card?

Wait–I do actually believe that you never intended it to be an autograph card–I believe you intended for it to be an “error” card all along.  A gimmick.  Another way for you to get some publicity for a set, other than just putting out quality.

It’s becoming all too common in the card hobby today–from the Alex Gordon rookie fiasco, to the Hillary/Morgana card, the Hillary/Barack card, the GW Bush/Mickey Mantle/Jeter card–all cards that weren’t supposed to get out (or designs that should have been flagged), but miraculously did (and let’s not even get started that two of those three examples are for POLITICAL cards).

Apparently, Topps & Upper Deck have the WORST quality control systems in the history of any company on the planet, repeatedly letting mistakes make it all the way from the design room to the printing process to the packing process and to dealers around the country.

And, of course, those mistakes just happen to generate buzz in the collecting community, and generate thousands and thousands of dollars in sales, as people bust cases of product trying to find the errors, so they can turn around and profit.

And, of course, the dealers and early collectors do profit–and then the collectors that end up paying $1,000+ for some of the cards find out that more of them got on the market than thought, and the value plummets.  And, to add to the fun–with the Fukudome “error” card, now we’ll probably have people forging his signature, adding another level of fraud to the card, and screwing even more collectors.

And for all this, Topps & Upper Deck have essentially exclusive deals with MLB, and Donruss can’t get it’s license back?  No wonder so many card bloggers seem so upset with the state of the hobby.

And, until MLB steps up and does something about it–like place some consequences out there for Topps & Upper Deck if these “mistakes” continue to happen, we’ll continue to see this semi-annual trend continue.

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it will start using limited instant replay on Thursday, when the Minnesota Twins open a series with the Oakland A’s–thus further solidifying football as America’s Pasttime, despite potential labor struggles in the NFL.

Instant replay will be used for the remainder of the year to decide fair or foul on home runs, in or out on home runs, and fan interference. Which is great, because umpires certainly have proven adept at screwing those calls up in recent years.

My biggest problem with the implementation process is when it’s occuring–randomly in the middle of the season? Meaning some teams will have more games with instant replay than others?

I’m guessing in the long run, it’s probably going to be a wash–but at the same time, if a team misses post season by a single game, and between them and the team they missed out to 2 games were decided by overturned close calls in an extra game or two of instant replay–aren’t they going to be a little upset?

Then again, what do you expect from a league that has home field advantage determined by an exhibition game mid-season?

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