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This past weekend, between my routine of grinding out yet another underwhelming series loss by the Dodgers, I enjoyed the sight of the Oakland Athletics notching both white-knuckle walk-offs and blowout wins at home against the Washington Nationals. As I usually devote space here and on Facebook and whatnot to the Twins and Dodgers first, I should note that the A’s are basically my “number three” team. That said, they have a significance to me not even Minnesota and Los Angeles can claim. Around the time my family moved to Sacramento in 2000, I became a diehard baseball fan, and thus began forming my allegiances. I selected the Twins as my number one (long story), and naturally had the Dodgers handed down by my father.

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The owners of the movie set-turned-tourist stop where Kevin Costner uttered the phrase “If you build it, he will come” in the 1989 hit “Field of Dreams” are now saying “Pony up and you can have it.”

Okay, that’s a made up line. But less than a year after Brushbackpitch.com finished up an eight day road trip by stopping at the Field of Dreams, Don and Becky Lansing have put the property up for sale.

The Lansings love the land, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has been in the Lansing family for more than a century.

But they’ve maintained it themselves since Universal Studio built it. And, having seen it up close, it’s easy to see that it could become a maintenance issue.

In addition to the baseball diamond, a two-bedroom house, six outbuildings, and a 193-acre parcel of land are on sale. The Wall Street Journal says a price hasn’t been listed, but the Associated Press says $5.4 million is the price tag.

Not a bad payback for letting a movie company take over your house for a few months for filming.

I can’t remember if either of us ever posted our thoughts on the Dyersville, Iowa tourist stop. But it was definitely worth driving way the hell into the middle of nowhere.

Families played catch on the field and wandered in and out of the same cornfield the players walked through in the movie. They sat on the same bleachers and looked for the “Ray Loves Annie” carving.

And then they wandered into the gift shop that, I’m sure, has provided the Lansings with a pretty decent living the last two decades.

I don’t know who will end up buying Field of Dreams. It’s certainly out of the price range of the owners of Brushbackpitch.com. But I hope it’s someone interested in maintaining it as it is right now.

It’d be a shame to see it fall into the hands of someone less interested in maintaining as it is. If you get a chance, especially before the Lansings sell, I’d recommend checking it out.

It’s worth the trip.

Watching Sports Center this morning, to see if ESPN actually manages to cover a baseball game between two teams in flyover country–which may have been the best game of the 2009 season.  And, as normally happens on the rare occasions I tune in, I’m reminded of just why I hate what Sports Center (and ESPN in general) has become.

It’s bad enough that during Sports Center–the show that made its claim to fame by showing highlight after highlight of virtually all of the previous day’s sporting events–from the big game to the largely irrelevant ones–was repeatedly pimping their story on the history of the Pie to the Face in Major League Baseball.

Truly ground breaking sports journalism there.

But on top of that, they once again managed to put their ESPyaNkees slant on things–in the story preview sidebar, they managed to squeeze in a headline as a lead in to the story, entitled “Yankees Walkoffs.”

That’s right, they took a stupid story, and put the Yankees spin on it, because apparently Yankees starting pitcher AJ Burnett has pied several players in the face this season after walkoff wins, including Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, and some rookie catcher that was a September call-up (Francisco Cervelli maybe?  I was so enthralled by the thought, time and effort put into the piece that I missed the name).

Glad I can once again go six months without checking out Sports Center…

A couple weeks ago the Wall Street Journal published a column making the case for selecting Derek Jeter as the 2009 American League MVP. The story discussed how Jeter’s performance has improved from a subpar 2008 and also took a historical look at how the writer felt Jeter had been hosed during previous MVP-level seasons.

In reality, while Jeter has had a fantastic season, he’s nowhere near the best MVP candidate for 2009. Look at the work Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera and others have done compared with Jeter and that’s obvious. Then take a look at Jeter’s teammate, Mark Teixeira, and hopefully it’s clear to most impartial observers that Jeter, while a valuable player and by almost all accounts a decent guy, isn’t even the most credible candidate on his own team.

Really what it most proved was that the Wall Street Journal should stick to business reporting. In past years it would have been a perfect target for a Fire Joe Morgan deconstruction, but unfortunately that Web site has shut down. A friend and former colleague at the Star Tribune took a credible FJM shot at the WSJ’s performance on his Randball blog.

While his work was solid the masters were at the helm as guest editors of Deadspin for a day. And they came through, brilliantly exposing the holes in the Journal’s argument. Read and enjoy …

Then let’s have some debate. Who is the AL MVP for 2009? In the NL it would appear to me as though Albert Pujols is the clear-cut winner. But there are a handful of legit candidates in the AL. Who would y’all vote for?

My vote? As a local, it’d be nice to see Joe Mauer win. He’s had a fantastic season. But facts are facts and I believe winning plays a role in how “valuable” you are to your team. And the Twins were roughly .500 without him the first month of the season and they’ve been roughly a .500 team with him. Taking homerism out, I’d probably choose Cabrera. The Tigers will likely win the AL Central. And while they aren’t without flaws, without Cabrera that team probably finishes in third place.

MLB.com is commemorating 133 years of Major League Baseball … by covering the inauguration of Barack Obama?

Major League Baseball’s Web site released a press release today indicating that it would be providing coverage, kicking off with streams of six former presidents, starting at 10 a.m. central time.

“It has been 133 years and 26 United States Presidents since Major League Baseball’s National League was officially formed in 1876. To commemorate the storied history of baseball and its place as a social institution, MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, will offer fans live coverage of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 20, 2009,” according to a press release from MLB.com.

There’s no question that, whether you like George W. Bush or dislike him, it’s time for a change in the leadership of this country. I’m not sure I understand the tie between 133 years of Major League Baseball and providing coverage of the inauguration, which will be available on approximately 412 networks in the United States and another 13,216 around the world …

But I thought all of our regular readers might want to know.

Vinny Micucci and Hal Bodley will host the “MLB.com Live Inauguration Special.”

Darren Rovell is a sports business reporter for CNBC.com. He writes some interesting stories about the behind-the-scenes aspect of sports that fans don’t always think about when they are watching the NFL or Major League Baseball on television.

I often find what he writes interesting, but he struck a nerve with me the other day with a post about how the Tampa Bay Rays making the World Series would negatively affect television ratings.

“Isn’t the great story of the FILL IN THE BLANK HERE team worth some eyeballs,” Rovell writes of what fans and radio hosts ask him each time a Cinderella team makes a run. “And the answer is no. The bottom line if the Rays make it to the World Series they’d arguably be the most anonymous team to ever make it there.”

To which I say “Who freaking cares.” Just because spoiled New Yorkers used to having their team(s) in the mix every season don’t make it for one lousy season, just because the favored Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim both choked away their opportunities to make a run this season, just because TBS and/or Fox Sports didn’t get the major market teams they wanted to maximize the fattenization of their wallets, doesn’t mean that I have to feel badly about it. If none of those teams’ fans tune in should I feel bad for Fox?

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When Jason Giambi homered in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night he pulled the Bronx Bombers to within eight runs of the Boston Red Sox. At roughly the same time the New York Mets were coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3.

Yet the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, better known as ESPN, wouldn’t switch games.

The network, along with MLB’s Saturday broadcast partner Fox, is oft-criticized for an East Coast Bias and a love affair with the Yankees/Red Sox series. And while watching 236 Boston/New York games a season sometimes gets more than a little nauseating, ESPN could justify the decision for most of the past decade by pointing at the standings. It’s been more than a decade since the Yankees missed the playoffs and Boston, in the last half-decade, has overtaken them as the powerhouse of Major League Baseball.

But this year the Yankees are seven games behind Boston – not just for the division, but for a playoff spot as well. And the Red Sox, while ahead in the Wild Card race, trail Tampa Bay in the AL East and are being chased more by Minnesota than New York.

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A lawsuit filed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media aimed at protecting the league’s game statistics from fantasy sports companies may have inadvertently provided those same fantasy sports outlets with the ability to use names and images for their college fantasy football games.

CBSSports.com last month announced that it has launched an all-new version of its College Fantasy Football game, “continuing to be the only major fantasy sports service provider with a collegiate fantasy football game.”

CBSSports.com originally released the game in 2005. But the controversy this year is that for the first time, it will use real, individual player names rather than listing school and position, such as “FLORIDA QB” or “MICHIGAN RB”.

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