As I mentioned earlier, my parents are in town this weekend, and tonight my dad and I went to a Tennessee Smokies game. I had totally forgotten that Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija is a Smokie (er, a Smoky?), but he is, and there he was, standing in the dugout right in front of us:
I couldn’t resist saying something, so I walked up to the edge of the dugout and yelled “Hey, Jeff!” a couple of times until he heard me and looked over. I then said, “Go Irish!” He responded with a sort of half-smile and quasi-acknowledgment that suggested he gets that all the time from Notre Dame fans who feel so passionately about the Irish that they figure it’s perfectly reasonable to treat famous ND alums like long-lost buddies and thus randomly say “Go Irish” at them. Heh.
Alas, Samardzija wasn’t pitching tonight, but it was cool to see him anyway. He’s got a blog, by the way.
Anyway, the Smokies won the game, 8-3, and we had a good time. Here are a few more pictures:
The Jed Report makes an entertaining analogy.
Meanwhile, Hillary herself pens an op-ed explaining her RFK remarks, and outlining her case for why she’s still in the race. It’s basically a repetition of the same bogus arguments that she’s been using all along (popular vote, swing states, etc.), plus a newly explicit playing of the gender card (”as the first female candidate in this position, I believe I have a responsibility to finish this race”) and a veritably Nixonian line about how “my parents did not raise me to be a quitter.” Notably, the op-ed barely mentions Michigan and Florida, and doesn’t specifically use them as an independent rationale for continuing her campaign. Is she backing away from the precipice?
In any event, I think it’s telling that she feels the need to defend herself in this fashion. It’s never a good sign, methinks, when you’re reduced to penning newspaper columns explaining why you haven’t dropped out of the race yet. It’s even worse when you’re saying things like: “I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nomination - but this race remains extraordinarily close.” Yeah, it’s close, but so is a basketball game where one team is up by 4 and has the ball with 1.2 seconds left. It’s close, but it’s over. And it sounds like Hillary might be starting to realize that.
Another no-hitter at Fenway. w00t!
Kristy and I are at the Rockies-Cardinals game at Coors Field. We -- and our beers -- have a great view from the first row of Section L306 in right field. Go Rockies! (They lead 2-1, and I'm wearing my Rocky Top shirt.)
UPDATE: We had a great time, but alas, the Rockies lost, 6-5.
Will the third time be the charm for the power of the Pontiff? Pope Benedict XVI will attempt to purify the most unholy ground in all of America tomorrow when he says mass at Yankee Stadium. Two previous Popes, John Paul II in 1979 and Paul VI in 1965, have said masses in Yankee Stadium, but sadly neither was able to dispel the evil aura surrounding the field. Perhaps Benedict will have more luck, and come Monday, George Steinbrenner will announce his bold plans for an MLB revenue sharing agreement, or Alex Rodriguez will donate half his monolithic salary to build new ballparks across America. Despite his holy powers, I think the Pope will fail and the Yankees will continue their diabolical ways, but hey, a guy can dream can’t he??
George Mitchell’s report on steroids in baseball will be released this afternoon at a 2pm EST press conference, and it is expected to name names — "somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 70 players," including "potential Hall of Famers," according to sources. "One baseball official familiar with the findings called the report ‘painstaking’ in detail and said that it runs 300-400 pages and may
include some documentary evidence (as did the Dowd report, baseball’s
1989 investigation of gambling allegations involving Pete Rose)." Bud Selig will hold a press conference of his own at 4:30pm EST. More here, here and here.
P.S. An anonymous commenter has posted a list of the players allegedly named. The same list appears in several places on the Interwebs. However, I have yet to see any information about the sourcing of this "leaked" list, except that it’s apparently going around via e-mail, so I’d take it with a major grain of salt at this point. For all we know, some random fan might have just made this up off the top of his head.
UPDATE: Deadspin has posted the list, saying, "In the last hour, we have been forwarded a list of players mentioned
in the Mitchell Report by about 25 different people. Is this list
substantiated? No. Is it from an MLB official? No. Do we have any
reason to believe it’s anything but random bunk? No. But it’s what’s
making the rounds today, and we’re less than three hours away, and if
the list is wrong, we’ll know real soon.
But, if you’re curious, here’s the list of players supposedly
mentioned in the report, according to just about every email we’ve
received. It could very likely be one of those Web urban legends that
somehow got around, like when everyone thought Scott Baio was dead. It
probably is, actually."
Anyway, the Washington Post’s website will carry the press conference live.
I’ll probably have a post later on today (unless Brendan or someone else beats me to it) about the Mitchell Report and Bud Selig’s response to it, but for right now, let me just mention the two biggest deals of the last couple of days.
In a trade that makes Detroit a force to be reckoned with, the Tigers have traded six minor-league prospects to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.
I only have two words for this trade: oh, crap. Detroit is going to be AWESOME next season.
The Tigers have managed this off-season (and it’s only December) to acquire some great names, Cabrera and Willis to name two. Cabrera will be in a lineup with Polanco, Sheffield, Ordonez, Guillen, Renteria, Granderson, and Pudge Rodriguez. Tell me that this team doesn’t have hitting power. And the pitching, though not of the same caliber as the hitting, should earn Detriot a spot in the postseason, if not the World Series. Willis, whose 10-15 record with the struggling Fish is less likely to repeat itself. Not to mention he will be joined in the rotation by Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson. Sure, some of those guys have seen better days, especially Rogers, but backed up by a great defense–and getting signals from Pudge–I think Detroit will probably be the team to beat next year… At least, as of December 5th. More trades, injuries, and free agent signings will definitely have an effect on this prediction.
And by the way, if you hadn’t heard, the Posada re-signing is official–he’ll be a Yankee for the next four seasons and make more than $50 mil in the process.
USC, having rejoined the Top 25 this week after routing Southern Illinois on Sunday, defended their #22 ranking with a 66-55 win over Oklahoma at the Galen Center yesterday. Freshmen Devon Jefferson and O.J. Mayo, pictured above, led the way with 23 and 18 points, respectively. Up next for the Trojans: a home date with #4-ranked Kansas on Sunday, followed by a trip to #3-ranked Memphis on Tuesday.
Torii Hunter, long the only jewel in the struggling Twins’ offensive lineup, has jumped ship to Anaheim (I refuse to call them the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim"–Aside from being geographically incorrect, it’s a mouthful to say, and quite annoying).
What does this mean? Now Vlad Guerrero will have another bat to back up his own, and the Angels will have a fourth spectacular outfielder. This may lead to platooning a DH, or it might lead to a trade (in the article, there’s talk about sending Gary Matthews, Jr. to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada–I just hope that Peter Angelos tries get more from the Angels than just Matthews–not that Matthews is bad, but that Angelos sucks the sweat off a dead man’s balls when it comes to owning and operating a baseball team, so they need all the help they can get).
Also, defensively-strong utility player (though he mostly plays 2B) for the Padres, Geoff Blum, adds his glove to the field in Houston, which lost Craig Biggio to retirement this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, all, and remember: just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean that baseball is over. Baseball is never over. Just remember that while you watch Green Bay and Dallas slaughter Detroit and New York today.
So here are some of the more noteworthy updates from around the MLB (yes, this is still the same person with posts about baseball, but for personal reasons, I’ve changed my posting name … Brendan, if there’s an issue, please call me!)
For starters, neither A-Rod nor Steriod Barry have been signed yet, though the Yankees are supposedly talking to Rodriguez again (which, from a PR standpoint, makes both the team and the player look bad). The rumor is that if the deal goes through, he’ll make about $275 mil over the next 10 seasons.
But the big news of the day …
Allan Wood (a baseball megafan who has written a book about Babe Ruth) purchased over $280 worth of digital downloads of baseball games from Major League Baseball, who have just turned off their [Digital Rights Management] server, leaving him with no way to watch his videos. MLB’s position is that since these videos were "one time sales," and that means that Wood and everyone else who gave money to MLB is out of luck — they’ll never be able to watch their videos again.
MLB shut down the DRM server because they’ve changed suppliers, and now they expect suckers to buy downloads of games in the new DRM format. Anyone who does this needs their head examined — using DRM itself is contemptible enough, but using DRM this way is just plain criminal.
Techdirt says "it’s really amazing how far Major League Baseball goes towards pissing off its fans." More broadly, Wired says this is "a perfect example of why DRM is bad. Those who imagined the worse case scenario to be DRM systems failing or disappearing were wrong. The truth is far nastier: DRM will be disabled by content providers any time they please, destroying your media collections whenever the pleasure takes them."
It would be like if Steve Jobs woke up tomorrow and decided that all downloaded music from the iTunes Music Store would no longer work. Which, as a technical matter, he could do, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, unless you’d previously burned those songs onto a CD, so that you could rip them back onto your hard drive as DRM-free MP3s — which would be a "circumvention" and thus a violation of the DMCA, by the way. God bless America.
Of course, as a legal matter, Jobs might be contractually obligated not to do that… and so, IMHO, is MLB contractually obligated not to do what it’s doing, unless I’m misreading (or misunderstanding the significance of) this line from the FAQ that was in place at the time of the original downloads, according to the Joy of Sox:
7. Do I have to obtain a license every time I want to watch the downloaded video?
No. When you first try to play the video, a license will be distributed to you and stored by the player. Unless manually deleted, the license will exist forever and will be used when you try to watch the downloaded video on that machine. If you watch the video on a different machine, another license will be required.
I haven’t looked this up on Westlaw or Lexis, but I’m pretty sure "forever" means something different from "until we feel like changing our minds."
Prediction: MLB will back down on this, because if they don’t, they will face a class-action lawsuit, and they will lose.
(Hat tip: Kat Palmore.)
NOTE: Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice. I am not your lawyer — I am not anybody’s lawyer, yet — and you are not my client. If you are considering whether to sue MLB, you should get a lawyer, and not rely on anything I’ve said here. (Thank you, CLE ethics class. Heh.)
UPDATE: As expected, MLB has backed down. But Wood is not satisfied, because they have already reneged on a 20-hour-old promise to be "pro-active" and contact those customers who were screwed over by their actions. Instead, only those customers who discover the problem themselves will be told how to fix it. Wood writes, "This problem was caused solely by MLB, and it’s up to MLB to solve it
– by taking the lead and contacting the customers who are currently
being defrauded. They should have the decency — and good business
sense — to publicly announce that a huge problem exists and that they
are working to solve it." But they’re not doing that. Also:
These new downloads will still have DRM protection, so customers will
have to go to MLB.com for a license, as they always have. I asked if,
since MLB allows customers to receive a license at only three
separate computers, that as people upgrade or replace their machines
over time, they eventually could be left with no way to play the files
on their fourth computer, the MLB rep said "Yes, that’s a problem."
And MLB has no proposed solution to it.
Will Joe Torre go to the Dodgers? (And equally important, will he bring those Yankee Free Agents like A-Rod, Posada, and Rivera with him … and Don Mattingly, too?)
Update: It’s official: Torre will take the position vacated by Grady Little (may Red Sox Nation curse his name forever). Now to see what Yankees staff he brings with him to LA.
In other news: Joe Girardi has taken the number 27 because the Yankees have won 26 World Series, and he wants to be manager during #27. Dumb. His former number with New York, 25, is currently being worn by Jason Giambi (though he war #52 when he was a coach with New York in 2005)