All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Play ball

Spring training games are officially underway. The Yankees lost their opener to the Phillies. (Looks like Dane Sardinha, Bronson's brother, is still with the Phillies.)

The Reds have their first spring training game today. Yesterday, they had a split-squad game. Here's the lineup card from that game, courtesy of Jamie Ramsey:

The good news: Paul Janish was on the first string team. The bad news:

"You notice the common denominator here? Age," manager Dusty Baker said. "If I play them today, do I start off two days in a row with Renteria, Hernandez or Rolen? I don't think so."

Arrghh. Renteria? Does that mean he's going to start Renteria today? Apparently so.

Sheldon says, "Don't read into anything about Renteria playing over Janish. He didn't lose his job after one scrimmage. Renteria didn't play today and is just getting a chance on Sunday."

Janish went 1 for 1 in the split squad game, and didn't have any errors. So no, there's no reason to think he lost his job after one scrimmage. The problem is that so many of us suspect it's not really his job, no matter what Dusty and Jocketty say. And having Janish be the only "starter" not in the lineup for the first game isn't exactly reassuring. :-P


posted by BubbaFan, 9:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, February 25, 2011

David Duerson

Tragic story, about former Chicago Bear David Duerson. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart. Why the heart? He didn't want to damage his brain. His last wish was to donate his brain to science, to see if he was suffering from brain damage due to repeated head trauma from his football career.

There's been increasing evidence that head trauma can lead to long term brain degeneration. The NFL has resisted this truth for a long time, but it's become impossible to do that.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Football wouldn't be football without the hard hits. But the average NFL player has a four-year career. Is that worth lifelong brain damage?

Better protective gear might help. And both sides in the current labor dispute should consider putting more of the NFL's profits toward the support of the players who have suffered permanent disability from playing the game.

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, February 21, 2011

School Picture Day

Found some of Paul Janish's photos from Photo Day at Zimbio. They turned out pretty nice, all things considered.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

More on Bernie and the Mets

From the NY Times:

Mets’ Owners Guarded an Investment Pipeline

Mr. Madoff was their treasured secret, and Sterling partners were going to run the show. They also screened out those who they thought might present problems, according to the lawsuit. Certain types of more sophisticated investors — those who might have wanted to engage Mr. Madoff about his strategy and his handling of their fortunes or more modest savings — were kept out.

“Far more outsiders were turned down than actually got into the elite pool of Madoff investors through Sterling,” the lawsuit said, adding that it was Mr. Katz who finally determined which people were approved for accounts.

Interesting. On the one hand, getting their friends and family involved might suggest that the Mets owners didn't know it was a scam. (Though Bernie involved his friends and family, and he of all people knew the score.) OTOH, investors were apparently carefully screened for their ignorance about Katz.

Larry King was one of the chosen few. Sandy Koufax was, too. They both support the Wilpons. Of course, they were among the lucky ones who didn't lose any money.

I have to think the financially-savvy Wilpons must have at least suspected. Picking investors for their ignorance? Who does that, except con men?


posted by BubbaFan, 11:56 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photo Day

Today was photo day for many teams, including the Reds. Better Off Red has this photo of Paul Janish being photographed:

They also had indoor photos taken. Haven't seen Janish's yet, but so far, I don't like this year's pics. The lighting is not very flattering, at least for the lighter-skinned players. It's too bright. It makes their faces look flat and pasty. The dark-skinned players look okay, but it’s horrible for the melanin-challenged.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:48 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Andy Phillips was almost a Marlin

According to this article, Andy Phillips had offers from the Florida Marlins as well as the Boston Red Sox. They were AAA contracts, with spring training invites. If he'd been offered a big league contract, he'd have taken it, but chose coaching at 'Bama over minor league contracts with the Sox or Fish.

You have to wonder how his career would have turned out if he'd been drafted by a team other than the Yankees. Or even by the Yankees now, rather than how they were then. When Andy came up, it was nigh impossible for young, homegrown players to get much playing time. By the time he left New York, he was on the wrong side of 30, and had never really gotten the regular playing needed to make the transition to the big leagues.

Ah, well. Playing baseball is a short career, even at best. Best of luck in your new career, Andy.

And speaking of Alabama...this guy really took the Auburn-Alabama rivalry to new lows. He also doesn't seem very bright. Not only did he poison Auburn's Toomers Corner oak trees, he called up a radio show to brag about it. Did he really think he wouldn't be caught after that?

And get this...the guy's a former state trooper. He of all people should have known they could trace the phone call.

He admits he made the phone call, but says he didn't really poison the trees. However, tests of the soil around the trees show a lethal dose of the herbicide he bragged about applying.

The man never even went to Alabama, but was such a rabid fan he named his children Crimson and Bear. (That alone should be a jailable offense.)

What a maroon.


posted by BubbaFan, 1:27 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, February 18, 2011

Taking infield

Better Off Red has more spring training photos. Quite a few of the pride of Rice University, Paul Janish. You can pick him out because he's the only one wearing knee socks pulled all the way up, like a school girl. ;-) Not sure that really goes with shorts.

Jamie Ramsey gushes about Janish's slick glove, then posts this photo:

Not sure to make of this. The good news is that Renteria is no longer talking about being the starting SS.

Renteria said he’s OK coming in as backup. “My job is to be ready and help (Paul Janish) the most I can.”

But it sounds like Dusty still sees Renteria as a SS.

“I want to see him at shortstop first,’ Dusty Baker said. “We got Cairo to fill in mostly at third. I’ve got to talk to (Renteria) first. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play second base. That’s a totally different thing with your back (to the runner on the double play).

“He looks strong. He’s been working out. He’s in great shape.”

Arrghhh. Don't even think it, Dusty.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Springtime in Goodyear

Dunno about those socks, Janny....

Jamie Ramsey reports that Paul Janish has reported to spring training in Goodyear, AZ. Also there is Drew Stubbs, the pride of texas university. And all the pitchers and catchers, of course.

Baseball Prospectus suggests that the Reds should just say no to Edgar Renteria.

Edgar Renteria should be nothing more than an afterthought.

One year ago, Paul Janish appeared poised to take over the shortstop position, only to see 35-year-old Orlando Cabrera signed to a contract and handed the job. While Janish and his gold-glove-quality defensive skills subsequently languished on the bench, Cabrera’s hack-tastic hitting approach [.303 OBP], minimal power [.354 SLG], and not-what-it-once-was defense added sparse value. Cabrera has since departed and been replaced by another aging shortstop whose best days are long behind him.

It is a well-accepted fact that Janish won’t hit much, but does he really need to at the bottom of the order on a National League club? What he does is play spectacular defense, and a Phillips-Janish keystone combination would be among the best in the game. Run prevention will play a huge role in the team’s chances this season, and Baker will be doing his pitching staff a huge favor if he plays talent ahead of what is left of Renteria.

If Janish gets hurt -- or if he hits like Ray Oyler instead of approximating the .260/.338/385 he put up last year -- there are better fall-back options than Renteria. Zach Cozart is waiting in the wings, having provided strong defense, 17 home runs, and 30 stolen bases in Triple-A last year, while Chris Valaika is a good young hitter who catches what he gets to. Janish, Cozart and Valaika all have promise, and 37-year-old Miguel Cairo already provides greybeard infield depth, so Renteria should be deemed superfluous. Trust the kids, Dusty.

I think he overestimates Valaika, on offense and defense. Still, Valaika would probably be better than the ghost of Edgar Renteria.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, February 14, 2011


Pitchers and catchers report today for the Yankees. (Some teams are a little earlier, some later.) Spring training is upon us.

The long, cold winter is (almost) over! Happy Valentine's Day, indeed.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:25 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Dan Snyder the biggest jerk in sports?

I probably shouldn't even ask the question; I might get sued.

Admittedly, I'm not unbiased. As a Cowboys fan, I find it easy to criticize the Redskins...and their owner. But honestly, Snyder's beyond the pale for any team.

His various failings were detailed in this article in the Washington City Paper, a weekly alternative paper that isn't exactly widely read.

Snyder took exception to the article, and rather than ignore it or ask for equal time, he sued. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The brouhaha over the lawsuit has resulted in far more people reading the offending article than ever would have read it otherwise.

Moreover, said lawsuit has no basis. His objections are downright bizarre. He accused them of libeling his wife because they quoted something she said about him in an interview. (It wasn't anything bad, but he seems to think implying she talks about anything except breast cancer is libel.) Silliest of all, he claims the illustration that accompanied the article - a photo of him with horns and beard scribbled on it, like a child might do - was anti-Semitic. Huh?

It seems so crazy that he would do this. What was he thinking? Assuming Snyder hasn't completely lost his mind, David Carr might have the answer. He thinks Snyder's motive was to intimidate. The Reds' lawyer included this paragraph in his letter to the paper's owners:

“Mr. Snyder has more than sufficient means to protect his reputation and defend himself and his wife against your paper’s concerted attempt at character assassination. We presume that defending such litigation would not be a rational strategy for an investment fund such as yours. Indeed, the cost of the litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper.”

City Paper might have seemed vulnerable, as a small paper recently in financial trouble.

Perhaps Mr. Snyder feels emboldened to threaten as opposed to negotiate because City Paper — a weekly in Washington, D.C., that I used to edit over 10 years ago — went through bankruptcy in 2008 and now is owned by Atalaya Capital Management, a hedge fund.

Atalaya lent Creative Loafing the money to finance a purchase of City Paper, among other papers, in 2007. Libel cases are notoriously difficult to win, but as newspaper companies have been in decline, some of the targets of their reporting have begun to push back in the belief that owners are less eager to defend their work in costly ways.

(Emphasis mine.)

Perhaps it was meant as a shot across the bow...not just for City Paper, but for all the papers that have been so critical of him.

If so, it's backfired, big-time. City Paper is not backing down. They've set up a legal defense fund and are prepared to go the distance.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:02 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A short leash for Janish?

John Erardi notes that Dusty Baker, contrary to his reputation, has stood by his young players during his Reds tenure. In particular, he kept starting Drew Stubbs even when the kid was in a deep slump.

But he wonders if Paul Janish will get the same loyalty. If the team starts out slow, Dusty may not be able to resist going with Edgar Renteria instead.

Orlando Cabrera has signed with the Cleveland Indians. He will compete for the 2B job. Yup, he went from guaranteed starting SS last year to competing for the 2B position this year.

The Reds made a mistake signing Orlando Cabrera as their starting shortstop last year. His age, declining performance, and the fact that no other team would offer him the starting SS position should have been a clue for Walt Jocketty. Perhaps he thought if Cabrera sucked, they could go with Janish after all...but he should have known Dusty would never do that.

This year, it's a little different. Janish is the putative starter. Walt and Dusty both say Renteria is the backup, and that they'll try him at 2B and 3B. You get the feeling that Walt was trying to discourage Dusty from starting the declining vet over the young in-house option this time. Still...I hope Janish comes out of the gate hot.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:27 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bernie and the Mets

MLB Trade Rumors has a brief guide to the Mets-Madoff mess.

The Mets are in deeper trouble than I thought. While the Wilpons "only" made $300 million in fake profits, they're also being sued for punitive damages that could push the total over a billion dollars.

The Mets are not worth that much. And even if they only have to pay the lower sum...the Wilpons don't have the money. They've borrowed heavily against the team and against SNY. The Wilpons may be looking at bankruptcy, which would of course mean losing control of their team.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Snowing on Super Bowl Eve

Here we are, on the eve of the most sacred Sunday of the year...yes, Super Bowl Sunday. ;-) Five inches of snow fell in Dallas, and being the winter lightweights that they are, it's a mess. Hundreds of flights canceled, rolling blackouts due to the unusual cold, ice falling off the stadium room and injuring people. Fans may spend Super Sunday stranded in airports instead of at the big game.

I wonder if the NFL is regretting scheduling the 2014 Super Bowl for New York? Five inches, hah! There's more like 50 around here. This is really getting ridiculous. We've had about 8 storms since the new year, and there's another one tonight. Up to a foot of snow...on top of the 3 feet still hanging around. I should move to Florida.

Looks like the Mets are really in trouble. According to the NY Times, they were in deep with Bernie Madoff. Madoff was entwined with the Mets organization. The Wilpons said they hadn't lost any money to Madoff...and turns out that was true. They made so much money with him that some think they were practically in cahoots with him. At the very least, they were ridiculously careless and clueless.

In any case, the trustee for the Madoff victims is suing them for $300 million dollars - clawing back their ill-gotten gains. (Which is actually good news - the Times originally reported that it could have been up to a billion dollars.)

Despite the Wilpons' insistence that they are only going to sell a minority share, it's looking like they might have to give up ownership of the team.

And to end on a high note...Reds outfielder Jay Bruce might be the coolest guy in the world.

CINCINNATI -- Jay Bruce's Major League career as a Reds outfielder was only in its infancy in the early summer of 2008, but he was already articulating some grand plans. They weren't so much about how many homers he could hit or personal awards he might eventually collect.

The vision was about how much Bruce could give back to the community, if and when he really "made it." On their own initiative, Bruce and agent Matt Sosnick scheduled a meeting with Reds Community Fund executive director Charley Frank to talk charitable contribution.

"I still marvel that Jay and Matt called us to have the meeting," Frank said. "It could not have been one or two months after his callup. We have lots of good guys, but that's the only time that's happened since I've been here."

Bruce recently signed a six-year deal, and true to his word, he's giving back. Everything from access for fans with special needs to renovating ballfields for kids to free tickets for military personnel and their families. (That last program was started by Aaron Harang, now a Padre. Bruce has taken over the funding, but insisted that it still be called "Aaron's Aces.")

Holy cow. The guy's only 23. Most guys his age, coming into that kind of money, would spend it first on cars and bling. Bruce always struck me as remarkably well-grounded and mature for a kid his age, but this is just amazing. What a sweetheart.

With all the stories out there about athletes behaving badly, it sure is nice to see a story like this.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:19 PM | link | 0 comments |