Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The ongoing negotiations between Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees is just another example of the constant debate of true worth versus public sentiment. We’ve seen it before many times with aging superstars heading into free agency while looking for top dollar from the organizations they are synonymous with. It is a situation that is one of the toughest for an athlete to come to copes with in regards to their declining ability, and more so for organizations who have to protect their future and not disrupt the public relation equilibrium or rock the support of the organization’s fan base.
Yet, it happens, and once again we are witnessing it again.
Two years ago, Michael Kay called Derek Jeter’s impending free agency, “the most difficult decision that will have to be made in the history of New York sports.” And as of today, he is right. As Jeter approaches his 37th birthday, fans (the die hards, and even the fraud-bags) are aware of his declining skills – especially the big gorilla in the room that is the eventual move from shortstop to another position.
As talks are now becoming messy between both sides, the lines in the sand are now drawn. The Yankees, who have offered Jeter a 3 year deal for $45M, well above his market value, have stood firm on their offer. Brian Cashman has followed up the offer by telling Jeter’s camp to “test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this.” Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, called the Yankees stance on negotiations, “baffling”.
It is indeed an interesting situation. And while many believe – myself included – that Jeter will be in a Yankee uniform come the 2011 season, the stipulations and on how it will occur remain the big question mark. While many fans are clamoring for the Yankees to just pony up the cash and years, your truly falls amongst the contingent that are looking for the right deal – the best deal for the New York Yankees.
“How can you do that to Jeter? He’s done so much for the organization?”
I have always been a huge Derek Jeter fan. In fact I consider him to be the best shortstop of all time. Yes, better than Cobb, better than the Wizard, better than Ripken, and even better than the converted third baseman that now plays alongside him.
However, the argument of “what he has done blah, blah, blah” is one that makes me shake my head in every argument in support of a declining superstar in free agent negations.
You want to know why?
Because you don’t pay athletes for what they did. You pay them for what they are, and what they will do.
Jeter has been paid top dollar for the past ten years to play the shortstop position. Yes, he did produce Hall of Fame numbers during that time, and he was compensated as such. These current negotiations have nothing to do with those past ten years. Jeter is no longer the same player he was, and will never be that player again. Why compensate him as such?
Another supporting argument behind the “Pay Jeter” movement is his invaluable leadership. Yes, Jeter is a rare commodity as a great leader, and one of the few captains in the history of the franchise. However, it is fair to say that $15M for per year for a 37 year old shortstop has more than enough added cushion in salary for his leadership.
Heck, dare I say what few would, or want to hear: At this stage in Jeter’s career, the New York Yankees mean more to Jeter, than Jeter does to the New York Yankees.
Jeter needs the Yankees and Yankee stadium for his 3,000th hit. There is no way he get’s that milestone hit next year in another uniform. None. No chance.
As much as Yankee fans want to clamor about WWGD (What Would George Do?), the fact of the matter is this ownership has the same mentality in winning, however, with restraint. And as much as people scoff at the idea, there is indeed a budget.
However, the biggest issue for the stance on a fair deal for Jeter (Even though 3 Years at $45M is more than fair) is one that many true fans are currently worried about – the state of the Yankees moving forward. With many players locked into long-term deals, much of the Yankee core will age, and unfortunately, begin to decline at the same time while doing so making top salaries. Such players will include Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Alex Rodriguez (more on him in a bit). If Derek Jeter does re-sign and hypothetically (and potentially) there is a signing of Cliff Lee, the Yankees could be very old at various positions in the year 2012 and/or 2013.
Once again to reiterate the face, that is a bit more than a hundred million dollars tied into declining and aging players.
It indeed is a serious concern. Look no further than the Boston Celtics in the 80’s after they re-signed McHale, Parish, and Bird well after their prime years, and the damage it did to the franchise.
And if you believe that’s thinking too far ahead, how about the upcoming free agency of Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes (arbitration)?
Money does not grow on trees, not even if you are the New York Yankees.
With Brian Cashman having full autonomy on baseball decisions, and Hal Steinbrenner running a tight book, becoming more efficient financially will be a staple moving forward. The organization now knows how big of a mistake the Alex Rodriguez deal (10 year, $275M)was and they will feel the repercussions eventually from it.
As Michael Kay stepped out several years ago with a potential Jeter free agency, I will as well saying, the A-Rod deal will haunt the Yankees for the next several years.
Could Jeter’s ego be hung up on Rodriguez’s current deal? Rodriguez after all has a deal that takes him through the age of 42, while he, the captain and his legacy as a yankee, is being offered “just a three-year deal”. Hey, just blogging.
Nonetheless, as the Jeter negotiations continue, both sides are obviously going to seek what is best for them. As for us fans, before you go clamoring on raw emotion and memories of the past begging the Yankees to give Jeter what he wants, think about what this negotiation is truly about – saving the future.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
As winter meetings approach, it is safe to say that the dust has settled from the 2010 World Series, and the celebration and great story that was the San Francisco Giants. The Giants were a team that no one picked at the beginning of the season win their division, in addition, were not mentioned as a possibility to win the whole entire thing. With no real stars, power hitters, or franchise guy, the Giants won the World Series on the old philosophy of great pitching, most notably Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Jonathan Sanchez, Brian Wilson, and the rest of a pitching staff that made a season of stopping opposing lineups. In addition, the Giants roster, filled with castoffs, waiver deals, and designated for assignment players scrapped together to play a form of baseball that was entertaining and unbelievable to watch. While the ratings did not reflect the great story of the San Francsico Giants (don’t forget the FOX/Cablevision fiasco that eliminated games one through three in New York City), the 2010 World Series was a well played, and great series. Here are other tidbits yours truly will remember from the 2010 Major League Baseball season:
- The retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. As much as I will miss that sweet swing from the left side, it was painful to watch the shell of the amazing player he once was trot out there to keep it going. Farewell to “The Kid”.
- Watching pitchers dominate a season by baffling hitters with no-hitters and perfect games. Ubaldo Jimenez, Edwin Jackson, and Matt Garza all with feats that make this game so special.
- Especially the perfect games by Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden.
- …and the other pitcher who was perfect, Armanda Galaragga, but was not. Yet, was perfect in how he handled the mishap.
- And Jim Joyce, a great umpire and man, that forced you to realize – more than ever - that umpires are indeed human.
- The wonders of Ichiro Suzuki, and his amazing hit parade he has put on since arriving in the States, as well as the case that he has made as one of the greatest players ever to play this beautiful game. Seriously.
- How about watching Jose Bautista launch 54 bombs to left and center field?
- The voices that we will no longer hear in Ernie Harwell, and personally, Bob Sheppard. Will always love, “now batting, shortstop, number two, Derek…Jeter, number two.” Priceless.
- The phenomenon that was Stephen Strasburg. His unbelievable debut, his dominance for such a young guy, and his unfortunate injury.
- Not to be forgotten is his soon to be teammate, Bryce Harper, who is creating the same buzz from an offensive side.
- The death of George M. Steinbrenner III. The only owner, besides Mark Cuban, who truly had a connection with his fan base. A man that changed the game of baseball in so many ways.
- The infusion the that my favorite manager as a child, Buck Showalter, gave the once left-for-dead Baltimore Orioles. Here is hoping he gets to stay around to enjoy the rewards of his hard work this time around.
- The last season for three great managers in Lou Pinella, Bobby Cox, Cito Gaston and Joe Torre. I’m sure umps will sleep a bit easier now.
- The mess that was the New York Mets again. And the rock bottom they finally hit this season with continued losing, alarming low attendance, mismanagement, and medical mis-diagnosis.
- Trevor Hoffman’s continued career.
- The little things that Derek Jeter does to help his team, including the oh-so-memorable phantom hit-by-pitch acting he performed down in Tampa Bay.
- 20 game winners with old-school mentalities of going nine-strong in C.C. Sabathia and Roy “Doc” Halladay.
- The future of the league with such great talent that should usher out the older guard, and carry the league into the future. Guys like Buster Posey, Mike Stanton, Carlos Santana, Jason Heyward, Neftali Feliz, and Tommy Hanson.
- Speaking of young guys and Jason Heyward, how about his first at-bat?
- The unbelievable season the Reds, especially that of MVP Candidate – Joey Votto. Also, a brief playoff appearance and healthy season for one of my all-time favorite players, Scott Rolen.
- Watching the created-player-from-a-video-game-like fastball of Aroldis Chapman. 105mph! Seriously.
- Speaking of video-game-like, how about the absolute moon shot that Russell Branyan hit at the New Yankee Stadium. Should be interesting to see if anyone can go upper tank like that again in the new stadium.
- The crazy unwritten and undefined rules of the game, and Dallas Braden deciding to enforce one of them by telling A-Rod to “Get the #$%! off his mound!”
- Albert Pujols, and his absolutely monster numbers year after year, and the big gorilla in the room that is his impending free agency.
- Speaking of consistency, how about Jim Thome, who you know, here at the DP we believe is a Hall of Famer.
- Witnessing day-in and day-out the future face of the New York Yankees – Robinson Cano. And that sweet new Nike commercial with Bo Jackson – Robbie knows BOOM!
- Cody Ross channeling Ted Williams in the playoffs.
- The potential of a new powerhouse in the American League in the Texas Rangers.
- Edgar Renteria’s flair for the dramatic on the game’s biggest stage.
- and finally, a no-hitter by one of my favorite pitchers ever in Roy Halladay in his first post season appearance. The second no hitter in all of post-season history.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Yesterday one of my closest friends and I decided to continue on our growing battle with getting old and the evolution of life. No longer are we able to play pick-up basketball or football everyday of the week for several hours on end. Gone are those days of endless responsibility and numerous hours of physical activity.
Now as twenty-five year olds, playing basketball on the neighborhood park is more of an appointment and an experience that is new as we are now the “old guys”. You know, the old, working guys that have ability, but rarely play and are now so slow and rusty, they must find others ways to compete and defeat the younger guys. We are now the guys we took advantage off when we were 16, 17, and 18.
As we played once again on a Saturday afternoon on a blacktop park in Brooklyn, we found ourselves in the same situation once again. Yet, this time, we were in the park and ended up playing several games with about ten to fifteen Crips. If you are not familiar with the group, I recommend a quick crash lesson by reading this.
While playing, we we witnessed handshakes and heard several stories they shared amongst themselves about their night before. The stories included several robberiea the night before at gunpoint, and their plan for revenge on another foiled robbery where the potential victim escaped by having a fire arm himself.
After they left the park, my friend and I, both born ad raised in Brooklyn, were amazed at how much has remained the same. The way the youth of America finds solace in doing the wrong thing. The thought of the unlimited possibilities for these individuals if they put half the effort into making something of themselves that they do into their contributions to a gang and endless wrong doings. However, what we realized most, was that these young men were all black. Something, we have seen all too much growing up in certain communities.
A sight that has become all to familiar - black men leading a life that ends up in either jail or death.
The short experience reminded and even sparked a brief discussion amongst ourselves of the recent call from Al Sharpton to President Obama and Congress to act on the failing education of black men. One that we both felt Sharpton is clearly out of line, and out of touch on.
I’ve always felt that Sharpton has had good intentions for some of the work he has done in several communities. His work for the Jena 6 several years ago was one that I thought went unnoticed in our national media. And of course, if you aren’t familiar with the Jena 6, you should be.
However, my feelings for Sharpton runs dry beyond that. Sharpton often calls himself an advocate for human rights, or a civil rights activist, yet he only seems to appear in the public eye on cases involving wrongful suits on blacks. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, Sharpton is doing part of the job. There are injustices done to every race, color, creed, ethnicity, and nationality in this world. Sharpton’s task seems incomplete.
However, the main reason for my lack of support for Sharpton is due to his constant excuse for those who fail in the black community. Once again with his latest call to our leaders in Washington, we see that Sharpton is up to it again.
Sharpton, whose article was indeed well thought out and refined, makes the argument that education must be reformed to meet the numbers that represent a system that is failing black men. Sharpton lists the following facts in his article:
“Consider: Black children are twice as likely as whites to live in a home where no parent had full-time or year-round employment, and those aged 17 and younger are nearly 50% more likely to be without health insurance than white children.
Perhaps more striking is the fact that black boys drop out of high school at nearly twice the rate of white boys, and they compromised only 5% of all students in college in 2008 but were 36% of the total prison population.
This is a national calamity - which is arguably creating as large of a divide as institutionalized segregation ever did. Is the demise of the black man in effect a formula for the downfall of the entire race?”
Sharpton then marginalized his facts to the following conclusion:
“If we agree that education is the key to advancement, everyone - white and black, Republican and Democrat - should be disgusted by our current imbalanced state. In essence, we are saying to children born into poverty that they are doomed to remain in that state, no matter how hard they work.”
Sharpton then offered several solutions to help close this apparent gap between black men and those of other races:
“Pre-K programs should be expanded and finally made available to all students across the country. Teachers should be truly held accountable and rewarded for good performance - important work that has begun under the Race to the Top competition. High-risk schools should be given additional funds to attract the best and brightest teachers.
Charter schools should serve not only as a choice for parents and students, but also as laboratories for new ideas and innovation; when an exemplary charter school is succeeding, we must spread its success to dozens if not hundreds more schools. And we should pledge that no child should ever forfeit attending college due to financial reasons.”
Once again, Sharpton’s facts are indeed true, and his experience touring the nation’s schools to gather such facts are incomparable. However, the mere suggestion of expanding and offering pre-K education to all students, as well as funding high-risk schools, are ideas that are far-fetched. In a perfect world, it would. As evident by this article, we are far from such.
I agree there are struggling schools that never get a break and some teachers are at fault. I’ve attended a school where politics and greed hurt the experiences for the students, and we all knew the teachers who were just interested in doing enough to collect their pay check.
And as for “no child should ever forfeit attending college due to financial reasons”, I hate to break it to Mr. Sharpton, but higher education is not a right, but a privilege. In fact, the financial reasons are what holds students accountable to their studies, and sifts out those who are not there to advance themselves.
However, the fact of the matter is, throwing money at the situation will not amend it, correct it, or solve the problems that face our education system. Like my friend and I, and maybe many more, have come to realize is that the more things have changed, the more they have remained the same. There have been several changes to solve this problem, but the issue remains. And we all refuse to place the blame where it ought to be.
The core of this continuing problem is one that I have touched on in the past (We Need To Do Better). Just as the title of the previous post says, we need to do better. We all do. And in this case, especially the black community.
Black men, just like those my friend and I encountered yesterday, made decisions to put them in the position they are currently in. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of the problem, the black community is failing itself. That is a statement that many are not happy to read, but many are afraid to accept the truth. The same individuals who are blaming the President, Congress, Washington, the education system, and even “the man” for their short comings, are the same ones that are not doing anything to better themselves, their future, and the next generation.
I call it like it is, and that is the truth.
Somehow, someway along the course of time, working hard, making good decisions, and leading a beneficial and quality life has become confused with a means of entitlement rather than earning it, not just in the black community, but our overall society.
We all know, our education system is not perfect. Fact. However, a person’s will and ambition is one that can overcome such odds if there are any. Such cases are those like Orayne Williams, a black homeless teenager living in a shelter that recently earned himself a full scholarship to college.
Mr. Sharpton’s findings are very important issues in our nation-wide school system. However, the solutions of throwing money into a system to help those that aren’t helping themselves, seems to be compounding the problem into redundancy.
Sharpton concludes his article with a message towards Obama and Congress stating,
“As young black boys mature into black men with greatly diminished opportunities, so goes the black family structure. With the demise of the family structure, so goes the foundation for generations to come. It's a vicious cycle. Let's snap it before it's too late.”
Before he addresses our United States government, Sharpton ought to direct the same exact statement to the black community.
For no amount of money or reform can help
them us more than they we can help themselves ourselves.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
On a day when Brett Favre’s 292 consecutive game streak is in serious jeopardy, I find myself amazed at the drastic turn that Favre’s career has taken since leaving Green Bay. Favre’s career almost seems like two different eras, the way Barry Bonds does and the way MJ’s does. Each different and segmented for various reasons, but different, nonetheless. With Favre, there is the Green Bay era where he was known as the guy that made football seem like oh-so-much fun. The kind of football that reminded you of backyard football, and that maybe Favre was just like you. The second era which saw the multiple comebacks, the constant 24-hour surveillance, and the severe need for attention is the current era we are now in. The era where we are made to believe by ESPN, the NFL, and other football on-the-payroll insiders, that Favre is “just like you”.
The evidence in the two eras are evident in the three different posts that yours truly has written about Favre. One written upon his initial retirement (No Longer The Favre-orite: Replacing America’s Hero), another just several months later on his comeback (All Favre’d Up: The Drama Surrounding The Legend), and finally one written this past August (Hard To Say Goodbye). Not to mention earning the 2009 “Just Go Away” DP Year in Review Award.
Nonetheless, we are here at this point. And while the fact that Favre’s actions over the last few years has made it hard to say goodbye to such a great performer, Favre is now disfiguring his character thus much more in a season that has been anything but another Cinderella story. In fact, let’s been honest, this story is turning out to be more of a Greek mythology tragedy.
With a fractured ankle, a battered body, and his consecutive streak on the line, Favre is now at the point where the game is forcing him out. I have always been a believer in pride and arrogance before the fall, and I am sure that this is it.
However, the biggest issue regarding Favre is the saga regarding Jen Sterger, the Jet’s cheerleader whom he left voicemails and sent text messages to. It is quite unbelievable that Favre has yet to be investigated (for real) by the NFL. It took nearly two weeks for the NFL to investigate and conclude on matters regarding the New York Jets and female reporter, Ines Sainz. Where is the urgency?
How about if this were someone such as Terrell Owens or Chad John…err Ochocinco, would this be as laissez-faire?
Roger Goodell would be levying fines and suspensions as quick as Chris Johnson hits the line of scrimmage.
Sterger-gate is proof that New Era Favre has lost it and is out of control. This is the catalyst towards the end of Bret Favre.
I know what you are probably saying, why all the hate for Favre? And by the way, I never quite understand why people rationalize a person’s shortcomings with the “stop-hating” argument ala current LeBron James crusaders. But I'll digress.
Look, the fact of the matter is this, I have been hoodwinked. We all of been hoodwinked. The Bret Favre we knew in that Green Bay era, is not the same man that Jet fans have come to know, and that Vikings fans, who begged for one more year, have also come to know.
Green Bay Favre is done. This Favre is a man that has sold his soul for a few more years of being in the spotlight of the NFL. This Favre enjoyed the constant ESPN coverage, the helicopter surveillance, the bottom-line section in the month of May, and the need from fans and “experts” who label him as the (fill in the blank with any team) savior.
This new era of Bret Favre has given us a man who is hungry for greed, attention, lust, and fame. All components for a recipe for destruction.
He got it all, and now, the end is near for both Old and New Brett Favre.