Monday, August 31, 2009

Top 10 reasons you know you have August Ass

August is drawing to a close. My top 10 reasons you know you have August Ass (some of them re-printed from a blog I wrote years back):

10. You wake up every morning thinking that maybe possibly you are at home in your own bed. You then realize that you are in the 122nd hotel room of the season, inducing an attempt at smothering yourself with a pillow.

9. You frown and grimace with each bite of another sandwich from the spread table. With nothing else to eat, you still finish it, have a second, and then look pissed off for no apparent reason.

8. You go to the field and hide every object within the visual spectrum, blunt or sharp, to avoid harming yourself or others.

7. Out of boredom, you find yourself dipping or chewing during games even though you don't dip or chew.

6. You blame everything on a single teammate (every team has a team scapegoat). When this gets old, you blame everything on the trainer, which is never good since he's had a case of the Overworked Ass since February.

5. You had an off-day and wanted to do nothing but sit by yourself with your headphones on.

4. You're tired of sitting in a hotel room so you decide to go to the field early. Upon reaching the field, you find that you're tired of baseball stadiums, and wish you were back in the hotel room.

3. You start howling at the moon for no apparent reason, even during the day, even in public places. You wish the moon would howl back just so you would have someone else to talk to.

2. While walking to lunch, you yell at a random person, "Who's crazy?!" and then just keep on walking.

1. You've already made plans for the first week after the season ends, and think of these plans while banging your head against a wall and crushing another pack of sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Stupid 104--the list that is, was, and may never be.

The Stupid 104. That is what they might as well call the list of 104 idiots that tested positive for performance enhancers in 2003, the year that MLB and the MLBPA devised the genius plan of experimental testing. As if they needed proof that there was a problem.

Of course, they weren't alone, as there were plenty of idiots those days abusing their bodies and thereby abusing the sanctity of the game. For this reason, the list is meaningless in my opinion. I therefore have only mild interest in today's court opinion, similar to the interest that I maintain towards grocery store sushi.

Link to law Prof Michael McCann's article on today's court opinion, which made it unlikely that the list will be released:

Oh, I know, you want to know if (insert star's name here), your favorite player, is on the list. You've gotten a taste of these leaked names and want to relish in another idiot's demise a bit more. But is anyone really vindicated simply by the absence of their name on such a list? There were plenty of other years that players were using steroids, and most of these users will never be found on any list. They are guilty nonetheless, and the entire era will be looked upon with shame.

The more the debate over this list continues, the more that this shame continues. How does this relate to life in the minors? Well, the minor leagues have had a testing program in place since 2001, and it is a good one. In fact, rates of steroid abuse are now extremely low in the minor leagues. I've only had one teammate who I definitely knew was using steroids (the idiot told me he was using them). This spring training, he tested positive. Only a couple others have I suspected, and they have been caught and punished, just as it should be.

Yet, clouds of suspicion still follow us to the ballpark like an ugly stalker (are there ever hot stalkers?). This is rightly so, as less than a decade has passed since rampant abuse. But the minor leagues are now very clean (I can't speak for the big leagues, since obviously I'm not there). Sure, a test for HGH is needed, but most minor leaguers don't have the resources or the money to acquire this substance. Steroids were as easy to attain as marijuana in Tijuana; HGH is a different story--you need a crooked doctor and enough cash to buy a BMW.

For this reason, I don't really care if the names of the Stupid 104 are released. Sure it might be wrong to single out a few people, but beyond that I don't have an opinion. I just wish they would make up their minds and get it over with, so that those of us that are clean can perhaps play untarnished.

Stupid 104 and their stupid drugs.

A prank war, and an unexpected ending. Link to my latest Baseball America posting:

Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Top 10 Reasons to grow a mustache

For those who haven't heard (via my very annoying Facebook/Twitter postings), I'm growing a mustache. In light of this, I decided to make a top 10 list.

Top 10 reasons to grow a mustache:

10: You can paint with your whiskers like Salvador Dali:

9. A man, or woman, learns a lot about himself/herself when he/she has hair on his/her upper lip. I mean, Chuck Norris grew one and look how it turned out for him.

8. "I'm Ron Burgundy?" (photo: )

7. To get the feeling that you're a part of some secret fraternity of men who have mustaches (i.e. Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Jay Baller and many truck drivers).

6. Just to prove that you can do it. Take that puberty...

5. If you're married, it's the closest thing to a slumpbuster that you'll ever get.

4. Getting food stuck in it is always attractive to the ladies, and you get to savor your dinner more than once.

3. Brad Pitt (via "Inglorious Basterds), Clark Gable, Daniel Day-Lewis (via "There will be blood"), Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck...need I say more?

2. It increases your chances of driving an ice cream truck, being hired as a cop/fireman, becoming a dictator, or selling Harleys for a living. In this economy, you need every edge that you can get.

1. Peer pressure.

Drafting some thoughts

Almost everyone agrees that the MLB draft (or Rule 4 draft, as it is known in the rule book) is, as my teammates would put it, like a baseball groupie: far from perfect and not even perfect from afar. More and more people are in fact calling for reform, with a pure slotting system a chief suggestion (see Jonathan Mayo's article here: ). If a slotting system does take place, then minor league salaries should be examined as well.

A couple of questions: What is the purpose of the draft? And does it fulfill this purpose?
If the purpose of the draft is to provide equity in the distribution of talent (the Karl Marx model), the draft fails. Year after year, low market teams take into account signability issues before drafting. Instead of taking the best available player, they often take the best signable player. This creates a problem, but only if you believe in equal access to players. If you believe that teams with more resources should have greater access to players (the Adam Smith baseball model), the draft in its current form is acceptable (in this regard). The draft has other problems, but that will be for another day.

Those that believe in greater equity have called for a strict slotting system. This would do much to solve the above-described problem and it would save owners money. But where would this money go? Would it go to owners' pockets? Would it go to boosting MLB salaries? Or would it simply be hidden in an offshore bank account?

The money saved if such a system were implemented should go to minor leaguers. The minor league player has been left behind while the rest of baseball high dives into Scrooge McDuck's vault. With wages hardly increasing in 35 years, many minor league players are struggling as the rest of the game profits from a popularity boom. If money is to be saved on signing bonuses, measures should be taken to ease the burden on the minor league player, many of whom find themselves in vast amounts of debt.

This, of course, will probably never happen, as nobody is there to fight for the starving minor leaguer. The MLBPA will insist that any money saved must go to MLB salaries, and owners will oblige. Or perhaps another boost will be given to 40 man salaries, as was done when the Rule 5 draft changes were made a few years ago. This helped out a whopping 2% of minor leaguers, and only helped out those already on the cusp of making more money than the President.

These are just my thoughts. But nobody will listen to me, because I'm just a poor minor leaguer. After all, I'm not even a prospect anymore, so who cares?