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In Japan, Baseball News Travels Incredibly Slowly

The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is sooo 2004. The teams haven’t faced each other in the playoffs since that fateful ALCS with each winning a World Series since then. The main protagonists in the rivalry are all gone: Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Alex Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, and Jorge Posada are now retired or overpaid non-factors (Hi, Alex!). Theo Epstein, Tito Francona, and Joe Torre have all moved on. The last few seasons have cemented the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays as highly-successful franchises who can knock-off either team. Yet, this is news to Bobby Valentine. Evidently, they don’t air “Baseball Tonight” in Japan: Read the rest of this entry

Angels Waste No Time In Pissing Off Albert Pujols

If baseball fans ever wanted to hate a team because of its name, the sheer stupidty of doing business as the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” would suffice. Yet 10 years ago, it seemed this n’er do well franchise was becoming a force to be reckoned with: with one of the game’s brightest young managers, deep pockets, and a stocked farm system, the Angels seemed poised to challenge the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for American League superiority. Alas, that never happened.

The front office made a series of bizarre personnel decisions affecting the Major League roster while simultaneously failing to develop many of their prospects. Meanwhile, the young genius manager became old, obstinant, and controlling quite fast. Each off-season, fans sat around and waited for the Angels to do something stupid: trade for Vernon Wells, sign (and subsequently re-sign) Bobby Abreu, add another Southern California region to their name, etc. Despite the astute hire of Jerry Dipoto as the team’s GM, observers in 2011 weren’t disappointed when the team committed over $300M to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. At the time of the signings, Pujols was coming off of the worst season of his career and Wilson had just finished only his second season as a full-time starting pitcher. Both players are over the age of 30, so there ain’t a lot of ceiling left. Owner Arte Moreno (seriously, dudes named “Arte” or “Artie” just can’t be trusted) predicated the signing of Pujols as not just a significant event for the team, but rather a cultural phenomenon for Hispanic baseball fans, Angels fans, and oh hell, all of Southern California in general. In other words, “I’ll market anything to make money off this.” I guess he should have checked with Pujols about that first:

But one segment of the [Pujols marketing] campaign has run afoul of the player’s wishes. The Angels have 20 billboards around Southern California with Pujols pictured in an Angels uniform alongside the Spanish words, “El Hombre.”

Pujols has asked not to be called that in deference to St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who was referred to as Stan “The Man” during most of his 22-year career.

The Angels said they did not consult Pujols or his agent before launching the campaign. It was planned shortly after the Angels signed Pujols to a 10-year, $250 million contract in December.

Big surprise. Maybe the marketing people should have done a little research — it wouldn’t have been hard since the quite-respectful Pujols has mentioned his preference not to be referred to in that way over and over and over again.

Chalk this up as just another example of how this would-be juggernaut franchise just can’t seem to get out of its own way (Sound familiar, Dodger fans?  Seriously, what’ s up with LA baseball?). Not a good omen. At least they have 10 more years to figure it out.

Randy Edsall’s Reign of Terror Continues Unabated

About ten years ago, the University of Maryland kicked off a decade of football performance that was the most prolific in the school’s history. About one year ago, the school kicked off a decade which has the potential to be one of its worst.

Despite the recent signing of five-star recruit Stefon Diggs, Coach Randy Edsall has successfully alienated a stunning number of players, leading 25 to leave the program. Most prominently of those is former ACC rookie of the year, QB Danny O’Brien. O’Brien never seemed to fit in Edsall’s system: after a promising season-opening victory over a depleted Miami team, O’Brien eventually lost his job to C.J. Brown. It seemed evident O’Brien would depart at season’s end to play elsewhere. Of course, this upset Edsall:

“I’m disappointed by Danny’s decision,” Edsall said in a statement. “Danny told me that he’s not committed to our program, that he’s not ‘all in.’ I want what’s best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well.”

Yet, that wasn’t enough for Edsall or the University: not only did they restrict O’Brien (and two others) from transferring to schools on the UMD schedule, they also forbid them from attending Vanderbilt, which just so happens to be enjoying a nice run of success under former UMD coach-in-waiting James Franklin. One might see some glimmer of rationality here, except for the fact the Terps will welcome three former New Mexico transfers who are hoping to play with their ex-coach (and new UMD offensive coordinator), Mike Locksley.


What’s that thing about people in glass houses not throwing stones? I think SI’s Michael Rosenberg summed it up best:

My media colleagues seem to be split in their opinions of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall. One camp thinks Edsall is a self-serving, hypocritical turd. The other camp thinks he is a shameless, ruthless disgrace to his profession.

To borrow a phrase from Bill Simmons, “Yep, this is my college football coach.”

Oh, Bron-Bron. You stomped the collective hearts of Cleveland basketball fans roughly 18 months ago with your broke-ass kicks. Clevelanders are still clearly broken up about it, but they’re trying to move on: two top five draft picks and you sucking in the Finals last summer certainly helped. Also easing their pain was the growth of a hideous beard, which I’m guessing serves as some sort of President’s Day tribute or is just covering up some bad skin. Regardless, it seemed like your former fans were finally ready to move past “The Decision.” And yet, you couldn’t leave well enough alone:

LeBron James said he made a mistake in the way he left Cleveland and could see himself playing for the Cavaliers again.

“I think it would be great,” James said, responding to a question after the Miami Heat’s practice at The Q on Thursday afternoon. ”It would be fun to play in front of these fans again.

“I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can’t predict the future, and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami Heat player, and I’m happy where I am now, but I don’t rule that out in no sense.

“And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”

You are an idiot. You are perhaps one of the five most recognized athletes in the world and yet if I had to rank the most savvy, I’d put you in the bottom five. Only A-Rod could possibly be as clumsy, selfish, and out-of-touch.

Bron, as a man who has been the victim of a few “transition” relationships before, let me help you out here: you NEVER talk longingly about an ex-boo while purportedly devoting yourself to a new one. You know who does that? Drunken college girls who can’t really figure out what they want, so they lead dudes on for semesters at a time, only to eventually piss everyone off at once. Then they get labeled as the “dramatic, crazy one” and no one ever wants to talk to, or date them ever again. All the great things they’ve ever accomplished are overshadowed by this weird, self-absorbed personality, overtaking any redeeming quality (i.e., averaging a triple-double) they ever presented in a personal or romantic relationship.

Nevermind.  Too late. Good luck with that marriage, bud.

h/t to the lovely Nikki T

I want to like Jeremy Lin, I really do. It’s a pretty cool story when a player comes out of nowhere and rips off a dominating hot streak. In June 1995, Mike Benjamin of the San Francisco Giants, a utility infielder and career .229 hitter, collected a MLB record 14 hits over three straight games. It was an amazing story, ensuring countless baseball nerds like myself would never forget his name. For die-hard NBA fans, Lin has done the same. However, if the media continues to cover him this way, I’ll do my damnedest to never hear it again.

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