Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Takes - Dear Major League Baseball

I just want to order one of these. Thanks please.

Dearest Major League Baseball. I have tried to order a Greg Halman jersey through your online shop on two different occasions now, and both times the order has been cancelled. The second order was processed by your people over the phone. Clearly there's a glitch in the system. I know you don't know me, and maybe you think I'm trying to order a Halman jersey for insensitive reasons, which wouldn't make sense at all, but I am trying to order a Halman jersey because I really liked him as a player, was excited to see him grow and mature into an everyday outfielder for my hometown team, and I don't want his memory to be tied to the tragedy that occurred in the Netherlands last month. I want to remember him as a Mariner. As a baseball player. As someone who contributed and can continue to contribute to the franchise, even if it's through a shared camaraderie with my fellow Mariner fans.

So, I'm not going to bother calling a third time to try to understand why my order was, once again, cancelled. I'm not going to re-place the order again, only to wait a week later to find out it's been cancelled without any explanation as to why it was cancelled and then having to pointlessly re-order a doomed order. I'm not going to spend my time on the phone trying to talk to someone who doesn't know why this keeps happening either. Just stop trying to morally police my jersey purchase. I would love to wear the Greg Halman jersey to Safeco Field next year; to honor and celebrate his contributions to the team in my own way. Feel free to give me a call. Or e-mail me. Or do whatever you need to do to get in touch with me. Because I'm tired of trying to hunt you down to understand why this system keeps bouncing back my fandom.

Love, Erik.

  • If you thought the power struggle in the NBA was over because the lockout ended, holy crap, were you wrong. David Stern just put his foot down in a way that completely undermines the CBA and his role as commissioner of basketball. Stern vetoed a trade between the league-owned New Orleans Hornets and the Houston Rockets & Los Angeles Lakers that would've brought point guard Chris Paul to LA. The league said they vetoed the trade for basketball reasons, which is completely absurd, and are going to end up losing Paul next year for nothing. This was someone with a burnt ego getting revenge, and the repercussions this might have around the league could be massive. Stern has completely lost his mind. The trade was good, from a basketball perspective, for everyone involved, even for the Hornets who were losing the best player in the deal. The Hornets were getting multiple starters and a first-round pick. Talk about a good way to turn a disgruntled, wantaway player into assets. But no, Stern has bent over backward to keep the struggling Hornets in New Orleans (after allowing them to move away from Charlotte ... hypocritical asshole), even going so far as to set arbitrary attendance marks that the team needed to hit in order to stay in New Orleans, and then allowing the team to give away free or super-discounted tickets to fans to hit the arbitrary mark. He's decided that this team is personal, unlike the Seattle Supersonics, who he treated like a McDonald's cheeseburger, and he's going to force them to hold onto an asset that will lose all value at the end of the year, just so New Orleans can have decent attendance this year and not have to relocate. I'm just in utter shock. And imagine how the Rockets and Lakers must feel right now. They had the opportunity to make their teams better, and the league said, "Nope, sorry." Oh, and don't forget that the league, after purchasing the financially-dead franchise and promising to return them to a fiscally responsible system, pulled off a trade last year that increased payroll! Everyone was up in arms, but Stern and Co. just buried it and kept plugging away. This Chris Paul thing is the exact opposite of that, but it all comes down to the same thing: David Stern does whatever benefits David Stern the most.
  • Leave it to Charles Barkley to nail the Tim Tebow situation: ""I want to make a personal plea to Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Mr. [Julius] Peppers, please stop the madness. I'm just so tired ... I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a good kid, and I wish him success, but I am Tebowed out. So this is my personal plea for you three guys, please stop this madness." I wish Charles Barkley would just follow me around and narrate my life. "These gas prices are turrible!" Indeed, Sir Charles, indeed.
  • In the past week, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Miami Marlins of Miami have spent over $500 million on free agents. Recession? Major League Baseball laughs at your silly "recession."
  • Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy got popped by Steelers linebacker Jerome Harrison last night and left the game for two plays. He returned shortly thereafter and ended up throwing the deciding interception in the Browns' loss. After the game, McCoy said he couldn't even remember the hit, and it was later confirmed that he had sustained a concussion on that play. Pat Shurmur, the Browns head coach, showed off the vast medical knowledge that most NFL coaches have and said, "He was fine to go back in." You nailed it, Dr. House.
  • A lot of people are questioning the value of Albert Pujols at 10 years/$250 million. The idea is that paying Pujols that cash right now makes sense because he's still very much in his prime, but even in five years, the Angels could be paying Pujols $25 million a season to sit on the bench and hold personal sunflower seed spitting-distance contests, which, you could argue, is not worth $25 million a season. But Pujols is moving to the American League, where he will have the opportunity in a few years to switch to DH once his legs and fitness start to go, extending his career and the value of that absurd contract. And with the increased attention and ticket/merchandise revenue the team is going to get from having him on the roster (in a big Latin American market), even if the final years of that contract end in a 41-year-old Pujols struggling to get his walker to the plate, from an economics standpoint, it still may be a financially-sound move. Alex Rodriguez's massive contract with the Yankees may have been a financial mistake, especially as his numbers begin to dwindle and his injuries go up, but a) the Yankees operate in a different economic world than the rest of baseball so they can absorb a bad contract and keep spending on top of it, and b) Pujols will be chasing big, historical marks toward the end of his career, and he will bring people to the ballpark regardless of how often and how well he's playing (plus he's infinitely more likable than Alex Rodriguez). People want to be a part of history, and Albert Pujols will be setting and re-setting records left and right in his final years in the MLB. So good job, LA. I wouldn't have given him that long of a contract (mostly because I don't believe in long-term contracts), but under these circumstances, it's hard to argue with his acquisition.

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