The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Say It's So, Joe

Can't Stop the Bleeding points to this New York Daily News column by Bob Raissman which offers hope that Fox Sports' 10-year relationship with Major League Baseball may be coming to an end:
Fox's exclusive negotiating period with MLB is about to expire -- probably in the next two weeks -- and the two sides are far apart in terms of the only thing that counts -- money.

Fox's current six-year deal with Bud Selig & Co., worth $2.5 billion, ends following the 2006 season. The Foxies began televising baseball in 1996 and, as in past negotiations, MLB is looking for more dough than Fox is currently willing to offer.

So, when Fox's exclusive negotiating period runs out without a deal, MLB will become a TV free agent. This probably was Selig's plan all along. Selig and the owners want to test the waters and see what their national TV rights are worth on an open market.

Fox, according to baseball sources, does have the right to match any "final" offer MLB receives from another network.
Raismann mentions NBC and ESPN/ABC as potential suitors and notes that while the nefariously obnoxious Tim McCarver would obviously be displaced (poor baby), product shill Joe Buck might opt to remain at the network so he could continue to whore himself further cover football.

Is there anything but upside to this? I mean, aside from the possibility that Selig might crack a smile while declaring that a new, more lucrative TV contract is further evidence that the 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement is a failure because small-market teams just can't compete?

Seriously, considering I'm on the warpath against Fox and planning to screech about an All-Star Game boycott for the next six months, this is a glimmer of hope. This is the groundhog coming out of his hole to declare that the decade-long winter of our discontent is on its way out, bitch! It's time to pry baseball out of the video-console (woosh) deathgrip (clank) of the network (boom) that shoved (crunch) Scooter (braaaaak) down our throats and insulted our intelligence -- SURELY YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY THIS ENJOY THIS PASTORAL PASTIME WITHOUT HAVING MORE FIREWORKS SHOVED UP YOUR ASS EVERY 30 SECONDS!!! -- every time we flipped on the game.

• • •

Like the bane of H.I McDonough's existence, Murray Chass of the New York Times is talkin' about wife-swappin':
At a news conference Saturday night, Anna Benson said that if the Bensons had known the Mets would trade Kris after only one year, he would have signed elsewhere. The Mets, however, might not have signed Benson if they had known his wife would criticize Carlos Delgado for not standing for the playing of "God Bless America."

Anna Benson is certainly entitled to her opinion, but the Mets are entitled to not want the potential of intramural squabbling ignited by a player's wife.

"Be liberal or not," Anna Benson said, comparing the Mets' disregard of Delgado's reputation with their concern for hers.

Anna Benson, though, doesn't hit the home runs and drive in the runs that Delgado will give them. And Kris Benson doesn't have a good enough arm for the Mets to overlook his wife's mouth.
Not that the trade which brought Jorge Julio and a minor-league arm to Flushing is a win for the Mets, but at least it allows Benson to put the tail in tailgate and thus maintain her league lead: "Anna said in a statement released after the trade that she and Benson looked forward to 'christening the parking lot' at the stadium, referring to her desire to have sex at every major league park."

Way to elevate the debate to the lowest common denominator there, Jiggles.

• • •

Color me (Dodger) green with envy over Jon Weisman's new freelance gig at Weisman (who joins labelmate Alex Belth as a face in the SI crowd) takes on the NL Worst, er West's quest for respectability:
Have you ever gone a year without a date? Or a job? Or a date and a job? Or a date and a job and a shower?

If so, then you were the emotional, economic and hygienic equivalent of baseball's National League West, the pride of the great unwashed in 2005. No NL West team clinched a winning record last year until the San Diego Padres won their regular-season finale.

The breakdown defied recent history: Until last season, the division had been the only one in baseball to have at least one 90-win team every year since the 1995 work stoppage. The NL West also boasted three winning teams in eight of its previous nine seasons.

Baseball will let the NL West sit with the cool kids at lunch again if the division can return to its previous form. Here's the early prognosis on the division's quest for respect...
Congrats, Jon.

• • •

Demonstrating their desire to corner the market on ticking timebomb pitchers, the Cubs have signed fomer Astros ace Wade Miller, late of the Red Sox, to a one-year deal. Miller's coming off of a torn labrum, so he fits perfectly into the Cubs plans:
"He can hold down the fort in between the time that Kerry Wood blows out his elbow and the point where Carlos Zambrano's arm finally falls off," said Jim Hendry, the Cubs' general manager, noting that manager Dusty Baker's usage patterns have all but guaranteed the latter. "After that, we'll cannibalize Miller for his organs. Dusty's been wanting a new pair of kidneys for awhile, and I know somewhere there's an ump in need of some eyes."
OK, I made that quote up. But would it surprise anybody given the way the Cubs have been going?

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