Something is Rotten in the State of Pennsylvania..

With my beloved Twins in the thick of the wild card race, I have to admit to paying more attention the Yankee’s acquisitions than usual. So when I read about Sunday’s trade (in the self congratulatory New York Times, no less) I about choked on my breakfast.

Why? Every possible reason why the Phillies might have made this trade crossed my mind. Although Phil’s GM Pat Gillick suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s seems like as likely an explanation as any, I decided ignore Gillick’s health and think the deal through logically.

Say you’re a major league GM at the trading deadline. Your team of chronic underachievers is out of contention (even considering that every team within striking distance of .500 seems to be in playoff contention). You correctly decide that it’s time to build for the future, and move to cash in some chips at the trading deadline.

Fortunately all is not lost, because you’ve got some chips to bargain with. You have a slugging outfielder, who’s relatively young and has a great on base percentage. You even have a couple of serviceable arms which are sure to go for far more than their worth, considering the lack of starting pitching on the trading block.

With so many junior circuit teams searching for another bat, things are looking good. Time to sit back and wait for the best offer to roll in, based on a combination of the trading partner’s willingness to pay some of the salary of the player in question, and offer some prospects with potential for the future.

That would make entirely too much sense. Gillick was probably as giddy as a schoolgirl after considering how many shiny new bats he could acquire from the Yankee clubhouse before deciding that it was just a bit too of steep. So he went for the next best thing: Yankee Prospects.

In trading away the most valuable player dealt at the deadline for a 27 year old LOOGY, a pair of raw Class A pitchers and an unremarkable 18 year old catcher, I finally got a very clear illustration of why the Phillies suck.

I’m aware that the Phil’s dumped a lot of salary here. I’m also aware that Abreu was massively overpaid. However, there is always a right way to dump salary and a wrong way. Many other teams would have been willing to take a large portion of Abreu’s salary while offering prospects. Naturally expecting blue chip prospects for a player with Abreu’s salary is a bit unrealistic. But the Phillies could have gotten somebody. Considering all of the teams in the thick of the playoff hunt, Abreu could have garnered a lot more, particularly when packaged with a serviceable starter like Lidle.

Brian Cashman must really know how to pick em’.


Ozzie Guillen, Man of Eloquence

Following a 3 game sweep that pulled the Twins even in the AL Central:

"For the first time in my life, I'm speechless."

Allow me to explain the only two scenarios that could result from such a monumental event.

  1. World Peace ensues. Dancing in the streets, Middle East accords, lion laying down with the lamb, etc, etc. You should try to run up your credit card bills before this happens, as all debt will be forgiven at the price of a hug. Unfortunately, in this new utopian climate, South Park, the Daily Show and other forms of satire will cease to exist.

  2. Chaos engulfs the earth. Without the demented example of Guillen to inspire us all to run in the opposite direction, rioting, mass lawlessness and conflict erupt. Go buy bottled water. Now. And gasoline. If you have access to a castle and moat, now would be the time to use it.

The Twins have become the most exciting team in baseball, and I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if the A's weren't playing like two pounds of boiled yams. Well, go Twins anyway.


ESPN has a time machine

And no, I didn't just get ESPN Classic. This is a screen cap from the main MLB page over at the Worldwide Leader.

The only explanation is that ESPN has traveled forwards to Monday, July 25, 2011 and that all these stories are a harbinger of what is to come. It appears that the Yankees will sign a one-year contract extension with A Rod that will explode in controversy mid way through the season.

Most frightening of all is that Joe Morgan will still be conducting chat sessions.

On another tangent, it looks like the other shoe has dropped on the HR story and that the explanation is a sexual harassment charge. I'll leave all the commentary to Deadspin, but it does seem from everything I've read about ESPN anchors, this problem wasn't limited to HR. It could be worse than I would guess, but it seems like HR has been dragging his feet as the network runs itself into the ground. He was one of the few people left who seemed to have a brain left in his head, and maybe this was the excuse they needed to get rid of a malcontent (who was dead right about ESPN).

But now that ESPN has a time machine, it's only a matter of time before they go back and save HR from himself and rescue Peter Gammons from his stroke. They could save the A's from signing Loiaza, but their East Coast Bias is well documented.


Harold hears a WHAT?

I don't know, maybe he refused to do ads for the phone.

Maybe he called Kruk fat.

Maybe he called the network insane for letting postseason baseball slip through their fingers, and be broadcast by the loathsome Buck and McCarver duo.

But he must have done something.

I'm shocked that ESPN would dump someone so quickly, and without any warning signs. I'm sure over the next few weeks we'll find out the truth. I don't have any sources, so I'm waiting like the rest of you.

It is possible that something good could come out of this. HR could go over to FOX or TBS, or even to FSN if he were desperate. Maybe he'll get involved with a club or a college. I've always talked about how much I like Harold's broadcasting style, and the way he never gets in over his head is an admirable trait that I wish Joe Morgan possessed. BBTN won't be the same without him, and if anyone thinks that keeping Kruk over HR was a good move, they should be lobotomized (unless they already are).

The bad news keeps on coming folks. At this rate, next week I'll be reporting on Pete Rose's new tenure as Major League Manager, and the White Sox trading a bag of balls and a box of frozen steaks for Alfonso Sorriano. Said Bowden, "What, I was hungry?"


Who Broke the F#%*ing Mirror?

As if rampant steriod speculation weren't bad enough. As if Barry wasn't in danger of being in jail by the end of the season. As if Ozzie Guillen hadn't resigned his contract with the devil (substituting Jim Thome's soul for his own). As if the HGH story was about to blow wide open ...

As if all of these things haven't nearly killed the game of baseball, we get the worst possible news. Ever. Major League Baseball just signed two

seven-year TV deals — starting next year — with Fox and TBS. Fox stays the lead dog, retaining the World Series and one league championship series — down from showing both LCS in its current six-year deal. TBS gets a TV monopoly of all first-round playoff games, which have been aired in current deals by Fox and various cable TV channels, including ESPN.

Anyone who has ever watched a game on TBS or FOX knows that the next 7 years are going to be nigh intolerable. McCarver and Buck 26 times a season, and non-stop in the playoffs? The brain-dead lethargic announcing of the TBS broadcasting crew? If you were going to kill us, MLB, why didn't you just demand that Stephen A Smith and Stuart Scott announce every game?

Is ESPN insane? Really, are these people completely out of their minds? Or are we going to start seeing mini-camp footage in March and more coverage of the inane marathon that is the NBA postseason (IT'S A WINTER SPORT, WHY DOES IT LAST UNTIL JUNE!)

ESPN has the personnel, the channels and the advertising budget (see losses on ESPN DA PHONE!!)to do baseball right. One of the delights of the last few years has been when ESPN covered the first round of the playoffs and I got to listen to Harold Reynolds in the booth. There are many talented anchors on the network, and why ESPN goes out of it's way to promote those that act like jackasses is beyond me. This was a chance for ESPN to take back baseball, show weekly games on ABC with competent, entertaining broadcast crew and bring the national past time back to prominence.

It's days like this I thank god that we can get any game over the internet, and not a single one has Joe Buck or Tim McCarver announcing. Never has the sound of Joe "Billy Bean wrote Moneyball" Morgan's voice sounded so sweet.