Rain out last night in St. Louis, and Jim Reeves rips baseball for their playoff scheduling, accusing MLB of being in the grips of television, and lamenting that the bygone era of day playoff games is no more.
The problem is, though, that television wants the games on at night because that's when more people -- more fans -- can watch the games. The only people who really want day playoff games to come back -- particularly weekday day playoff games -- are retired people and sportswriters, since they don't have jobs that get in the way.
Reeves also suggests that baseball should trim the schedule back to 154 games. That's fine conceptually, but with 5% fewer regular season games, it means 5% fewer seats sold, 5% fewer concessions, 5% fewer radio and TV broadcasts (which means that the TV and radio partners will want to spend 5% less for broadcast rights)...
Cutting back to 154 games means an across the board decrease in revenues. Owners might -- MIGHT -- consider this, if the players would agree to a 5% across the board decrease in salaries, with players currently under contract for $10 million, for example, being reduced to $9.5 million.
But tell me...does anyone really think that's going to happen? And if not, do you think the owners would agree to such a significant drop in revenue if player salaries aren't going to be adjusted, as well?
It is a futile discussion...you might as well advocate in favor of making bow-hunting unicorns legal...
Meanwhile, in another tangentially-Ranger subplot to the World Series, Evan Grant reports that the Tigers are considering benching Pudge Rodriguez in favor of Vance Wilson. Pudge is 0 for his last 23, and Grant says he is worn down and battling injuries.
Gary Sheffield is pissed that the Yankees are picking up his 2007 option, and is threatening to make whatever team he plays for in 2007 miserable:
Sheffield said he was hoping to test the free-agent market and get another three-year contract, USA Today said in a story on its Web site.
"This will not work, this will not work at all," Sheffield told the newspaper. "I don't want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that."
Sheffield, sidelined from May 29 to Sept. 22 with an injured left wrist that required surgery, hit .298 with six homers and 25 RBIs in 39 games this season. He played first base for the first time in his major league career after he returned in September.
"I don't know what they're [Yankees] going to do," Sheffield said. "Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just [go] to a team for one year, there's going to be a problem."
Yeah, yeah...Sheffield's mad. I'd still try to trade for him. You pitch it to him that he can spend the season in a great hitter's park, put up great numbers and show everyone he's healthy, and then go into the free agent pool. Given his age, and his situation, it isn't like he has many other options.
Joel Sherman appears to still be mad at Tom Hicks, for not following the unwritten rules of baseball five years ago and letting the New York teams be the high bidders for the best players:
Daisuke Matsuzaka is about to add a big arm, a huge financial commitment and a giant mystery onto the major-league landscape.
Matsuzaka, arguably Japan's best starter, is going to be posted by his Japanese team in the next few weeks. Essentially that means, every team will have 72 hours to make a blind bid not to sign the 26-year-old righty, but merely to gain the exclusive rights to negotiate with him for 30 days and have his Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, accept the bid.
If Seibu accepts after the U.S. Commissioners Office passes along the high bid, then Scott Boras takes over. And the hard-bargaining agent said yesterday that "Matsuzaka's value is that he is a No. 1-type starter, and that is the basis of negotiations."
So the price of doing business for a player who has yet to pitch in the majors could be staggering. The most commonly quoted price you hear for just the posting bid is $20 million. But one NL GM whose team plans to participate said his staff has made the "under-over $33 million." There is a feeling that one rogue owner, a Tom Hicks from Texas, for example, could simply decide he wants the player so much that he bids extravagantly to assure gaining negotiating rights.
Yeah...I think Joel Sherman must not have noticed that Tom Hicks decided a few years ago that the Rangers are a small-market club.
Personally, I have a hard time seeing a team paying $33 million. Sherman suggests that to sign Matsuzaka would take a 5 year, $75 million deal, on top of the posting fee. That means a $21 million per year deal (when you amortize the posting fee), for 5 years, for a guy who has never pitched in the major leagues.
Come on...is that really realistic? I can't see that any team is likely to do that. Certainly not Tom "Financial Flexibility" Hicks...he still is in the hole for all the money he still owes Buck Showalter and John Hart from the contract extensions he gave them a couple of years ago...