All Things Bubba

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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Party Like It's 1929

The continuing financial crisis is popping up in odd ways. Okay, it's hard to feel sorry for millionaire superstar baseball players. Still...I almost feel sorry for Adam Dunn. Finally free after spending his career with Cincinnati, he finds himself in a market that's suddenly cost-conscious. Bud Selig has been warning teams to watch their spending, and it seems many are listening. While this likely won't hurt CC Sabathia's bank account, there's remarkably little interest in Adam Dunn. He may not even be offered arbitration - which would have been considered a shocking development just a few months ago.

The economic crisis is also having a severe impact on colleges and universities. Schools rich and poor are being affected. Some students are being forced to drop out, because they can't afford the tuition and can't get student loans because of the frozen credit markets.

The scary thing is that it may get a lot worse before it gets better. (If it ever gets better.) There are rumors that many colleges cannot even afford to pay for the scholarships and other financial aid they've already offered. Their budgets and financial aid offers were made before the crash in September. Even wealthy schools are constrained by rules governing their endowments. Unless you're rich, it's a rather scary time to be a college student.

I was thinking that the slowing economy might have a silver lining in lower prices and better deals for hotel stays. (Yes, I'm still hoping to trek down to Florida for spring training next year.) But now I'm wondering how many hotels will even be open. The mortgage crisis is moving into commercial real estate now, and hotels are already closing.

It's the holiday season, when people want to party, not worry about the economy. And in most ways, life is surprisingly normal, despite the cracks opening up here and there, visible to those who are looking. Ronald Reagan's former speech writer, Peggy Noonan, wrote about this, and credits the "safety net" we have now, that didn't exist in 1929. And this article, in the Boston Globe, argues that the new Great Depression won't look like the old one. Food and clothing are much cheaper now than they were in 1929. Back then, the average man could afford only six outfits, the average woman only nine. Today, the average American has more clothes than they know what to do with. Rather than ragged people lining up at soup kitchens, the new depression will likely involve daycare and health care becoming unaffordable - the big-ticket items in today's economy.

I think they may both be wrong. The Great Depression didn't reach its low until 1932-1933 - years after the 1929 crash. We won't know if things are different this time until about 2012.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tearing up the basepaths

The New York Yankees? Not really a team you think of as being speedy base-stealing types. They seem to prefer slow-footed sluggers. Indeed, Steve Goldman blamed 2004's postseason loss to the Red Sox on Torre's refusal to put in Bubba Crosby to pinch-run, unlike Francona with Dave Roberts.

But Steve of WasWatching has this interesting post, pointing out that the 2005-2007 Yankees were a base-stealing machine.

He includes this table of players who stole bases for the Yankees in those years:

Player   SB  CS SBS%
Tino Martinez 2 0 100.0%
Jason Giambi 3 0 100.0%
Jorge Posada 6 0 100.0%
Matt Lawton 1 0 100.0%
Kevin Reese 1 0 100.0%
Kevin Thompson 2 0 100.0%
Miguel Cairo 21 2 91.3%
Tony Womack 27 5 84.4%
Gary Sheffield 15 3 83.3%
Alex Rodriguez 60 14 81.1%
Bubba Crosby 8 2 80.0%
Johnny Damon 52 13 80.0%
Bobby Abreu 35 10 77.8%
Derek Jeter 63 18 77.8%
Melky Cabrera 25 10 71.4%
Aaron Guiel 2 1 66.7%
Hideki Matsui 7 4 63.6%
Bern. Williams 3 2 60.0%
Robinson Cano 10 10 50.0%
Nick Green 1 1 50.0%
Andy Phillips 3 5 37.5%

It might seem strange to see Jorge Posada, a slow catcher not known for his baserunning smarts, so high on the list. But he and the rest of the top six are basically there because of small sample size. They are players who either don't steal unless they're really, really, really sure they can make it, or who didn't get much of a chance to try.

The real base-stealing workhorse was Miguel Cairo. Looks like stats back up what then-third base coach Larry Bowa said: Miguel Cairo was the best baserunner on the team.

Tony Womack was also a pretty successful base-stealer. 27 stolen bases is a lot, considering he was only with the Yankees for a year and was not an everyday player.

Bubba has a pretty small sample size, but his 80% is respectable. If you throw in his 2004 numbers, it's 10-2, or 83.3%.

Melky's 71% is a bit disappointing considering his speed, but then, he is something of a bonehead on the basepaths.

Robby Cano's 10-10 is dreadful. He probably shouldn't try to steal at all.

And the only one on the list with a success rate under 50%...Andy Phillips. Part of it is small sample size, but part of it is that he's not a very good baserunner. He admits it himself. Might be something to work on. The more skills the better if you're fighting for a roster spot.

Steve wonders why there wasn't more attention paid to the Yanks' base-stealing prowess. I'm not sure. Part of might be the widespread belief that you shouldn't steal bases if you have a good team - especially a good slugging team. ("Don't take the bat out of their hands.") Part of it might be stat types like Bill James arguing that stolen bases don't make much difference.

Recently, stealing bases has come back into fashion, so maybe there will be more interest in base-stealing stats.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cody Miley

From a Cincinnati Reds press release:

A scholarship fund has been established for Cody Miley, the 17-year-old son of former Reds manager Dave Miley who died in a car accident in August.

The Cody Miley Memorial Art Scholarship Fund will be awarded each year to a deserving and needy student from Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla.

Tax-deductible donations by check can be made out to the Cody Miley Memorial Art Scholarship Fund and mailed to the attention of:

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
550 N. Reo St., Suite 301
Tampa, FL 33609-1037.

Dave Miley is the current manager of the Yankees' Triple-A team, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

I was looking for confirmation of this story earlier today, and came across Cody Miley's guestbook. Looks like his parents and grandparents are posting messages there regularly, "talking" to him in public so the world knows he's not forgotten.

I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a child that way. I hope that guestbook is giving them some comfort.

Much has been made of the way young people are using Facebook and MySpace to memorialize those who have passed away, but it looks like older folks are gravitating to online memorials as well.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:24 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hopefully, Cowboys will be feasting on tasty Seahawk this Turkey Day!

And if you're ready to start shopping already...the Louisville Bats are selling a bunch of game-used jerseys. There's a set of two Andy Phillips jerseys (one home, one road) for $200, and his batting practice jersey for $100. I like those purple and black batting practice jerseys. But only the pinstriped home jersey has the player's name on the back.

They didn't sell any of Bubba's last year. There must have been some. He only played two weeks, but he traveled with the team for months while on the DL, and dressed for the games even though he couldn't play.

Speaking of jerseys...I've been keeping an eye on that auction for Ricky Stone. At first, A-Rod's jersey had the highest bid at about $500. Then Jeter's surged ahead to $1025, doubling A-Rod's highest bid. But now a dark horse has taken the lead: Mariano Rivera, at $1225. I'm not really surprised. Mo's jerseys are probably scarcer than A-Rod's or Jeter's, since he doesn't play every day.

And speaking of turkeys...still no bids on that Carl Pavano autographed baseball.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Only freshmen

Guess who? Yup, it's young Bubba Crosby. Someone sent me a scan of his Bellaire High freshman yearbook photo. (Thanks, R!)

I almost didn't recognize him. Except for the ears. ;-)

He was the runner up for handsomest guy in the class his freshman year (as voted by his classmates). For that, he got an extra photo as well as a personal quotation: The only alternative to perserverance is failure. Very Bubba-esque quote, I must say. (Except that he misspelled perseverance. Or the yearbook staff did.)

Here's the photo:

Hmmm. He grew up a lot in one year...

posted by BubbaFan, 9:32 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ricky Stone

Ricky Stone, April 10, 2008, Scranton, PA

Ricky Stone is a journeyman relief pitcher, most recently with the Reds. He was drafted by the Dodgers, but it was several years before Bubba, so I don't think they ever played together in the Dodgers system. They were teammates in 2007, with the Louisville Bats. Stone was also a teammate of Andy Phillips earlier this year in Louisville.

Ricky Stone was diagnosed with brain cancer last August. Affiliated baseball has a good health insurance plan, but unfortunately, Ricky was playing in Taiwan at the time, and so had no US insurance. His wife was to start a job that included health insurance the Monday after he got sick. (Man, our healthcare system stinks.)

The "baseball family" has banded together to raise money for Ricky's treatment. They've started a blog, called Rally For Recovery. Players from all over the league have donated items, and they will be auctioned on eBay starting tonight. It sounds like the Yankees came through:

Two large boxes from the New York Yankees arrived at the Chandler, Arizona, home of Alisa and Nelson Figueroa on Tuesday, September 23, 2008. They were filled with autographed Yankees jerseys, baseball caps, and baseballs, their donation to Rally for Recovery, an online auction being held to benefit 33-year-old former National League relief pitcher Ricky Stone who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in August.

They were signed at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, September 21st, the day the Yankees played their last game at the House That Ruth Built. The jersey Derek Jeter signed was one of the jerseys he wore that last day. Included were signed jerseys of A-Rod and Mariano and a number of signed caps including one signed by Yogi Berra who was at the Stadium that day to say goodbye.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Ichiro, David Wright, Johan Santana, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Ryne Sandberg, Jeff Kent, Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Carlos Quentin, Mark Belhorn, John Smoltz, Brad Ausmus, Joe Nathan, Adrian Beltre, and Roy Oswalt are among over 100 baseball players donating to an online memorabilia auction to be held this week to benefit 33-year-old Ricky Stone, relief pitcher for Astros (2001-2004), Padres (2004), and Reds (2005, 2007), who was stricken with a malignant brain tumor in August 2008.

Items are supposed to start going up at 6pm PT (9pm ET). Bid early, bid often. You can also donate without bidding.

UPDATE: The auction is underway. Four pages of items, with more appearing every few minutes. There's a ton of Yankees stuff.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:26 PM | link | 4 comments |

Friday, November 21, 2008

Selig brings in the big guns

At the GM Meetings two weeks ago, Selig warned owners about the growing economic crisis.

Apparently, he's really worried about this, because he brought in financial icon Paul Volcker to talk to them again. Yes, that Paul Volcker - the former Fed chairman.

What did he say?

According to several people who attended the meeting, Volcker discussed what led to the current economic plight and where things might be headed. His assessment was not upbeat, the attendees said.

Selig probably has good reason for concern. This year is already worse than the first year of the Great Depression:

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Dallas Cowboys were having trouble borrowing money to pay for their new stadium.

Well, now they're selling pieces of their old stadium to raise cash. Even the toilets are for sale.

If that doesn't work, a bake sale is probably next...


posted by BubbaFan, 6:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Andy Phillips becomes a free agent

This isn't really a surprise, but now it's official. Today was the last day to make roster changes before the Rule 5 draft. The Reds cut Andy Phillips. He refused an outright assignment to Louisville, and became a free agent.

Just as well. He clearly wasn't going to get much playing time with Dusty Baker filling out the lineup card.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:30 PM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How recession-proof is sports?

Robert McKee, in the dedication of Story, his acclaimed book on screenwriting, tells how he came to write screenplays for a living:

...I deduced that the best possible life includes as many rounds of golf as possible, and therefore, I would become a dentist. "Dentist?!" my mother laughed. "You can't be serious. What happens when they cure all teeth problems? Where will dentists be then? No, Bobby, people will always need entertainment. I'm looking out for your future. You're going into show business."

McKee's mother was a product of the Depression. Amusingly, one of my cousins recently switched from dental school to medical school for similar reasons. Someone told him that they were working on a vaccine for cavities, and dentists would all be out of work. (He's now a surgeon.)

So for at least 80 years now, we've been expecting progress to make dentists obsolete. Hasn't happened. Perhaps our faith in progress should be tempered a bit.

And though screenwriting worked out for Mr. McKee, I'm not sure his mother's advice will continue to hold. Previously recession-proof things like gambling, drinking, smoking, and yes, entertainment, may not be recession-proof this time. Partly because this downturn is looking a lot worse than previous ones, and partly because companies got greedy during the good times, and jacked up prices.

And what about sports?

As the economic downturn continues, many also will be watching closely to see how much it will affect people’s appetite for sporting events. Rodney Fort, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, expects that sports revenue will be impacted by the downturn, with hockey and baseball feeling more of a pinch than basketball and football.

Still, he said it’s hard to say how much any sport will be impacted at this point because there isn’t reliable data from similar downturns in the past. While it’s true that attendance famously rose at sporting events during the Great Depression, Fort said it’s not clear that revenue also improved.

Fort also noted that the sports industry has changed substantially in recent decades. Not only has television revenue become much more important, but ticket sales have become more dependent on high-income fans and corporations willing to shell out for pricey boxes and season tickets.

I do wonder if the Yankees will have trouble filling all those expensive luxury boxes. I think they're almost sold out for next year, but this looks like it will be a multi-year downturn, with the Wall Streeters who were expected to buy those pricey tickets being especially hard-hit. New York state's finances are a mess, in part due to the Wall St. collapse. Already, some Yankee fans in my office are complaining about the tax breaks they gave the Yankees on their new stadium.

And the Yankees' cash cow, television rights, might take a hit as well.

Even if they are cutting back elsewhere, many have believed that people will continue to think of their cable television as another utility, like water or electricity, and keep paying the bill even when their budgets get tight. But this time around, Flickinger said his research is showing that premium television is one of the first items people are cutting back on in parts of the country that have been hard-hit by layoffs or other labor strife.

“The first thing to go is cable, the second thing to go is the phone, the third thing to go is the second car and then the fourth thing to go is the house,” Flickinger said.

Sports is the most expensive item on the cable menu. If people start cutting back, there will be a lot of pressure on sports teams and leagues to lower their prices.

People are nervous in my office. There are rumors of pay cuts and maybe even layoffs coming. One of my coworkers told me that she canceled her phone, Internet, and cable today. She has a cell phone to use for phone calls, and will do without cable and Internet. It will save her $100 a month.

Another of my coworkers is giving up Giants season tickets that his family has had for generations. The new seat licensing fees mean it would cost him $70,000 to keep his tickets. That's probably more than he makes in a year. He just can't afford it.

I have a feeling the teams charging these ridiculous prices are going to regret it.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:39 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Change you can believe in?

President-Elect Obama says he wants to abolish the BCS. He wants an eight-team playoff instead.

I'd like to see a playoff, too, but with all the money entrenched in the BCS, I don't see it going away any time soon.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:35 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 15, 2008

By Any Other Name

I'm not sure what's more surprising about this study: the results, or that scientists even asked the question...

Your Initials May Influence Your Job

The initials of your name may influence where you choose to work, new research suggests.

While it sounds like a joke, a well-known psychological theory called the name-letter effect maintains that a person’s behavior may be influenced by his or her name.

As my colleague Stephanie Rosenbloom reported earlier this year, “people like the letters in their own names (particularly their initials) better than other letters of the alphabet.”

...The findings, published in Psychological Science, showed that for about one in nine people whose initials matched their company’s initial, choice of employer seems to have been influenced by the fact that the letters matched.

The authors concluded that they “have demonstrated that people are more likely to work for companies with initials matching their own than to work for companies with other initials.”

Does that explain why Bubba likes baseball?

Speaking of names, Andy Phillips named his new daughter "Isaiah Jewel." Which struck me as an odd name for a girl. I'm not surprised they chose a Biblical name, but I was surprised they gave a boy's name to a baby girl. (FWIW, "Isaiah" is #53 on the list of most popular boy's names in Alabama in 2007.)

Someone posted a comment suggesting that the Book of Isaiah is special to Andy and his wife. I must admit, that hadn't occurred to me. (Heathen that I am. ;-) Most of the people I know around here are Catholic, and they tend to name their kids after saints rather than books of the Bible, if they're religiously inclined. And my admittedly dim knowledge of the Book of Isaiah remembered it as a typical Old Testament book, full of "inside baseball" about current events that were current 10,000 years ago, and a lot about the wrath of god against sinners. But Wikipedia says the last part offers "comfort to a broken people," and perhaps that's the part they like.

I do think Isaiah is a pretty name. But have they doomed her to grow up to work at IBM?

Meanwhile, on the Hot Stove front...the Yankees have sold Darrell Rasner to Japan. And Hank Steinbrenner says the Yanks made a huge offer to Sabathia, and are preparing offers for Lowe and Burnett as well. Not sure if they really intend to sign all three, or if they're trying for three and hoping to land two.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 14, 2008

Warming up the hot stove

Hot Stove season is officially underway, and Brian Cashman isn't wasting any time. The Yankees have already signed Nick Swisher, in a deal that seems very good for the Yankees. Wilson Betemit and Jeff Marquez are a small price to pay for a player like Swisher. He will be their first baseman.

Some fans think the Yankees will also try to sign Mark Teixeira or Adam Dunn, but Pete Abe thinks that's nuts, and I agree. The Yanks might sign a CFer, but not another big name corner outfielder. (They might also decide Brett Gardner and Johnny Damon are enough to keep center field warm until Austin Jackson is ready.)

What they really need is starting pitching. Joba, IPK, and Hughes might be the Yankees' future, but after last season, the Yanks don't want to count on them just yet. Cashman has said that they'll sign two pitchers to be one-two ahead of Chien-Ming Wang. They've already made an offer to Sabathia.

Mike Celizic thinks the Yankees should sign three free agent pitchers: Sabathia, Burnett, and Lowe. Boy, that seems like overkill.

Of course, some thing the Yankees have so much money they can buy all the players they want. Why not sign Sabathia, Burnett, Lowe, and heck, Teixeira and Dunn, too?

But even the Yankees have financial limits. Especially with the luxury tax, and the expense of the new stadium. Celizic thinks the new stadium will be a cash machine, but I wonder. The sports world has not been immune the financial crisis. Apparently, Bud Selig even warned the teams about it during the GM Meetings.

The Dallas Cowboys are trying to find a loan to finish up their new stadium, and it's not clear they'll get one:

Industry watches as Cowboys look for loan

The Dallas Cowboys are seeking to borrow $350 million by Dec. 1, according to numerous finance sources, in one of the worst credit environments in the nation’s history.

The club’s proposed deal would refinance $126 million the team borrowed last year through the now-imploded auction-rate securities market, as well as add new debt to cover cost overruns at the team’s $1.2 billion stadium that is set to open next year, the sources said.

“Everyone is looking at the Cowboys’ deal. It is a huge bellwether,” said one finance source. “This is one of the only deals, period, in the market [sports or otherwise].”

I bet Jerry Jones never imagined he'd have this kind of problem. The Cowboys have long been one of the most marketable teams in sports, and things were looking even better with the emergence of Tony Romo.

If the Cowboys are having funding troubles, you have to wonder if the Yankees are vulnerable, too. Wall Street is likely who the Yankees were counting on the fill all those luxury boxes, but Wall Street is not in a mood to spend these days.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:30 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, November 09, 2008

1998 Rice Media Guide

The photo is from the 1998 Rice Owls Baseball media guide. Not sure if I like it. Light-eyed people often look kind of strange in black and white photos. I'd like to see this one in color.

Bubba is also on the cover. It's the same photo as on Lisa's magnet.

Here's what Bubba's section says:

9 Bubba Crosby, of

B/L, 5-11, 185, Jr.-2L, Houston (Bellaire)

Rice - Solid veteran who stands as one of the top players in college baseball... Named a first-team preseason all-America by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America... Has all the tools to be a top player: good power with a quick bat, excellent speed and a good arm... Enters his junior season with a .335 career batting average, sixth-best ever at Rice... Owns the Rice career record of 17 triples... Also ranks high on the Rice career lists with 152 RBI (fourth), 34 home runs (fourth), 316 total bases (sixth), and a .701 slugging percentage (second)... Has at least two hits in 48 of his 115 career games... Member of the USA Baseball national team which had a 21-13 record in international competition last summer... Hit .322 with eight home runs and 28 RBI for the national team... Ranked second on the squad in home runs and with nine doubles... Part of a long list for former Bellaire stars to shine at Rice, including Jose Cruz Jr., Jay Knoblauh, Jason Ogden, and Mike Fox; Rice has had at least one starter from Bellaire every season since 1982 except 1989.

1997: Hit .342 with 22 home runs and 88 RBI to earn second-team all-America (The Sporting News and NCBWA) and first-team all-WAC honors... Home run total was second-best in Rice history, trailing only Lance Berkman's record of 41 last year, while his RBI total is the fourth-best season total... Had four triples in 10 postseason games to tie for the national lead with 11... Earned all-WAC tournament honors after hitting .400 (8/20) in San Diego... Hit his second grand-slam of the season in the first inning to key the win over BYU in the tournament opener, then provided the winning margin with his two-run triple in the semifinal against San Diego State... Set a WAC record with 17 total bases in the 35-4 win over McNeese State, hitting for the cycle with two home runs, two triples, a double and a single against the Cowboys... Shares Rice single-game records with six hits and seven times on bases in that game against McNeese, along with a career-best eight RBI in that game... Named WAC player of the week after his performance in the Holiday Inn/Medical Center tournament, the first Owl to receive the WAC baseball award... Had 28 multiple hit games as a sophomore... Also had two home-run games against Air Force and at New Mexico.

1996: Received honorable mention freshman all America honors after batting .318 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI in just 52 games... Set Rice freshman records for RBI and triples (six), and came within one of Cruz's rookie HR record... Missed all of the postseason after breaking a bone in his hand in a late-season game at Oklahoma State... Received a couple of votes as the SWC's freshman of the year, but his only postseason honor was as a second-team selection to the all-SWC squad as selected by the Daily Texan... Began his career with a 10 game hitting streak and later had a 16-game streak... Batted .455 (30/66) in the 16-game streak with 24 runs, 31 RBI, eight doubles, three triples and seven HR... Reached base safely 10 straight times in mid-February, a skein halted against Tulane when he took a fastball in the face; he missed only one game with the broken nose... Named to the all-tournament team in the SWC First Pitch event, going 8/15 with seven extra base hits, seven runs and nine RBI in the four-games... Bothered by a litany in injuries as a freshman, including a partially torn ligament in his right thumb, a strained hamstring, a broken nose and a broken hand... Hitting .390 before the injuries came... Rated the 13th-best incoming freshman by Baseball America... Invited to participate in the January tryouts for the USA Baseball national team, along with teammates Will Ford and Stephen Bess... Hit .350 with five home runs and 22 RBI during the fall of his freshman year, leading the Owls with 33 runs produced.

High School- 1995 graduate of Bellaire High... Three-year starter and letterman for coach Rocky Manuel... Twice earned all-Houston and all-state honors...Named Houston player of the year and Texas co-player of the year in 1994 after leading the Cardinals to the Class 5A state championship... Batted .360 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI during his schoolboy career... Maintained a 3.1 grade point average in high school.

Personal - Full Name: Richard Stephen Crosby. Birthdate: Aug. 11, 1976, at Houston. Parents: Steve and Tami Crosby, Houston (two brothers, one sister). College: Will Rice.

Crosby's Career Statistics


Year      Avg.   G   AB   R    H    RBI  2B  3B  HR  SO  BB  SB
1996 .318 52 198 55 63 64 13 6 12 43 31 6
1997 .349 63 258 72 90 88 14 11 22 54 30 11
Career .336 115 456 127 153 152 27 17 34 97 61 17

Boy, he sure had a lot of injuries. It's not really surprising, considering the all-out way he played. But I guess it's also not surprising that his career ended the way it did.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:04 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, November 06, 2008


The AL Gold Gloves were announced today, and Mike Mussina won. He was the only Yankee.

Carlos Pena won at 1B. The Yankees must regret letting him go. They released him in favor of Andy Phillips. Then they dumped Andy, and were left desperately seeking a first baseman.

Came across this article today, about how judges in Harris County, Texas were swept out en masse in Tuesday's election. (I believe scenic Bellaire, Texas is in Harris County.) The poor judges were utterly shell-shocked at what happened. Near as they can tell, people just voted Democratic straight down the ticket, and swept all the incumbents out. Except for a handful of judges whose opponents had odd (foreign-sounding) names. They survived the carnage.

In short...people voted for anyone with a "D" after their long as it was a familiar-sounding, whitebread-type name.

There's always a lot of hand-wringing over how to make it easier for people to vote, and how to get more people to vote. But I'm starting to think it's probably better that only people who are genuinely interested actually vote...

And for those who are wondering - I'm much better today, thanks. I woke up this morning feeling fine, as I expected. I probably shouldn't have complained yesterday. I don't want to discourage anyone from getting a flu shot. They're now recommending that anyone who has contact with children or the elderly get one. Most of the time it's not that bad at all, really (at least IME).

posted by BubbaFan, 9:07 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Ugh, I feel pretty crappy tonight. No, I'm not sick. Today was flu shot day at work. They lined us up like cattle (moooooo!) and stuck us with needles. It was strictly optional. I agreed to it. But yuck, this year's vaccine is bad.

Some years, I get no reaction at all. Some years, there's just some itching and swelling at the injection site. Sometimes, I feel like I'm dying.

I'm not quite to "dying" this time, but it's close. The injection site is painful and burning, and my left arm is swollen and hurts from my shoulder to my hand. (This must be what Andy Pettitte feels like the morning after.) I'm feverish and achy and tired, like I'm getting sick. But I'm not. It's just the stupid flu shot.

I also got some sad news today. My friend R passed away yesterday. Well, he wasn't exactly a friend. More of a mentor, I guess you'd say. We worked together when I started my first real job. He was much older - older than my dad even.

He taught me a lot. He was also a real character. Always joking around, playing pranks, etc. Our group was known for being full of crazies and misfits. We were not very professional - wearing casual clothes, goofing around a lot - but we also produced the most work of any group in the office. So we had a lot of leeway. They just made sure to keep us well-hidden whenever someone important toured the place.

R was always up to something. Starting rubber band fights, pretending to throw up by dropping a ripe tomato on the floor, and otherwise yanking his bosses' chains. But he was smart and knowledgeable and worked hard, despite the joking around. He was a real leader around the office.

He also ran several of the office sports pools, including the annual World Series pool. When he retired, other people took over the pools...except the World Series pool. No one wanted to do that one. (A sign of the dropping interest in baseball, I think.) To this day, there's no World Series pool in that office.

He played softball all his life, and after he retired, he joined an over-60 league. Only one problem: he wasn't actually over 60 yet. He was 59, but lied to get into the league. He ended up breaking his leg sliding into first. Of course everyone ragged on him - for sliding into first, and for getting his leg broken by a 75-year-old. (He recovered and went on to play again.)

He always seemed perfectly healthy when I knew him, but he battled cancer off and on for over 20 years - starting long before I even met him. Partly for that reason, he retired young, in his 50s. He finally succumbed yesterday. The doctors said there was no brain function and that his organs were failing, so his family agreed to disconnect him from life support Monday. He passed away yesterday, and someone sent me his obituary today. It described him as a loving husband, father, and grandfather - and a lifelong Yankee fan. About as fine a way to be remembered as I can imagine.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:07 PM | link | 3 comments |

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Well, McCain is doomed. No, not because of the polls. Because the Washington Redskins lost last night. If the 'Skins lose their last home game before the election, the incumbent party loses the White House. (Obama and McCain were on Monday Night Football. I have to say, McCain is the funnier of the two. His Berman imitation was a hoot.)

In a comment on an earlier post, Peggy expressed concern that I wouldn't be voting. I will be voting. I haven't missed an election since I turned 18, even in college, when I had to register in an unfamiliar city and walk an hour in the rain through a strange neighborhood to find the polling place.

I won't be voting for anyone who supported the bailout for billionaires, and that includes McCain, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Schumer. I know many people think this is extreme, so I thought I'd explain why it isn't.

One, my vote won't make a difference. New York is true-blue (even if my corner of it is not). Though parts of upstate New York are as redneck as they come, the huge urban populations in Buffalo and especially New York City are reliably Democratic, and always outweigh the more rural upstate areas. That being the case, why not vote my conscience?

Two, this bailout is a much bigger deal than people realize. It amounts to a looting of the country. Billions of taxpayer dollars are going into the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy. Some Congress critters are now saying they didn't know this would be allowed; they lie. They knew, and they went along with it.

Something had to be done, yes, but this wasn't it. It's not an Swedish-style bailout, and it did not force companies to come clean. It's the lying that's making the markets so skittish, not lack of cash.

Three, I honestly don't think it will matter who is president over the next four years. Four years ago, I would have cared, deeply. But now...I see the country, heck, the world, going off the rails in a way that cannot be easily fixed. The problem is not a Democratic or Republican one. This financial crisis is not just Bush's fault. He didn't help, but the roots of it go back to at least the dot-com boom of the Clinton years, and possibly as far back as the Vietnam War.

And the bailout will tie the hands of the next president. Obama can talk about health care and renewable energy all he wants, but where will he get the money to pay for it? He'll be lucky if he can keep the lights on at the White House.

The problems are so profound that I don't see them being easily resolved. The global financial system is broken, perhaps even more so than during the Great Depression. This will take years to fix, if it's even possible. Most people don't realize how broken the financial system is, because it hasn't really hit Main St. yet. (Some are starting to realize it, though.)

So, with so much at stake, why did our leaders choose to do something as ill-considered and ineffective as the bailout for billionaires, despite being warned against it by hundreds of economists? I have two theories. Perhaps TPTB know the end is near, and decided to loot the country while there's still anything worth looting. Or, more charitably, they may have seen it as necessary to keep foreign investors happy. Denninger points out that the new president will be faced with borrowing 10 times what we borrowed last year, just to keep the country running. We are living off our credit cards, and if we are cut off, the results would be unimaginably ugly.

Yes, I know the stock market has rebounded a bit. I expect it may continue for awhile, with the uncertainty of the election behind us. Don't be fooled. Most of the Dow's biggest upward swings were just after the crash of 1929. It was years before the market actually hit bottom and started to rise.

I hope I'm wrong. I don't want to live in "interesting times." I'd much rather live in a world where my biggest concern is tonight's lineup. But I don't think I am. We'll find out, soon enough.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:08 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 03, 2008


Hot Stove season is officially underway. A lot of big league players have filed for free agency, including Kyle Farnsworth, Sal Fasano, Aaron Boone, Bobby Abreu, Chad Moeller, Sidney Ponson, Pudge Rodriguez, Tony Clark, Miguel Cairo and Doug Mientkiewicz.

In the minor league transactions, the Indians signed Andy Cannizaro. The Tigers granted Dane Sardinha, Bronson's brother, free agency.

The GM Meetings started today. Everyone's expecting Brian Cashman to spend some serious dough. He said the Yankees will be looking to acquire two starters - one and two guys who would push Wang to third. CC Sabathia is probably high on his list. Cashman might be a bit more aggressive this time. I have a feeling he regrets letting Santana slip by. The players he didn't want to give up - Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, Alan Horne - didn't exactly excel this year.

Not that I want Cashman to go back to the Yanks' old ways, but I think he's swung too far in the other direction. You can't keep all your prospects. They won't all work out; most won't, in fact. And even if they did, you couldn't play them all. Melky Cabrera would have been worth a lot more if they traded him a couple of years ago, or even last year. Now, he probably has little value.

There's some speculation that Cashman wants to prove he can build a team without spending big bucks on free agents. That he doesn't think he gets respect as a GM because of the Yankees' big budget. Boo, hiss, if that's true. The Yanks have the money, might as well spend it. I don't want to see them trade away all their prospects, like they used to, but if there are legitimate holes that can't be filled from the farm, open up George's wallet.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:11 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama

"Varsity's horns are sawed off..."

With Texas number one in the rankings, I was wondering if the Aggies would once again be the spoiler in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. But yesterday, Texas Tech took care of it, winning a last-minute thriller that shook up the BCS. Today, it's Alabama sitting atop the rankings. If they can hold off LSU next week, they have a good chance at the national championship.

Meanwhile, I've given up on the NFL for the season. What a heartbreaking collapse for my Cowboys. I kind of knew it was coming. Everyone was predicting they'd win the Super Bowl after their hot start. Which is the kiss of doom. Teams that are hot at the beginning of the season can rarely keep it up through the playoffs. Even if their quarterback doesn't break his finger.

The Giants crushed Dallas today, and tomorrow I have to face an office full of gloating Giants fans.

With the World Series over, Hot Stove season is officially under way. Not much going on yet, though I did see former Yankee Josh Phelps' name in the transaction news. St. Louis has granted him free agency. The GM meetings are this week, which could mean some deals done.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:43 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 01, 2008

OSU Stadium Saved

Last week, I mentioned that Oklahoma State was rumored to be in big trouble due to the financial crisis.

OSU denied there was a problem.

STILLWATER, Okla., Oct 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Oklahoma State University is issuing the following statement through spokesperson Gary Shutt in response to erroneous and anonymous blog postings concerning the status of the funds donated by Boone Pickens and reinvested in BP Capital, as well as the future of the west end zone project.

Rumors circulating that the funds generously donated by Boone Pickens to Oklahoma State University's athletic program have been completely depleted and the massive west end zone project will not be finished are, without question, false. They are simply not true.

But then, a few days after that, there was this report:

Pickens Gives $63 Million for Oklahoma State Stadium
(Bloomberg) -- T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, donated $63 million to Oklahoma State University to complete a football-stadium expansion.

Pickens, 80, had donated $165 million to Oklahoma State sports in 2005, which the school invested in his Dallas hedge fund, BP Capital LLC. The fund lost money and Pickens is returning $125 million to the school in addition to making the new gift, Oklahoma State, in Stillwater, said on its Web site yesterday.

So, it sounds like the "rumors" were in fact true, but Pickens has made good on the loss.

Pickens originally went to Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship, but transferred to Oklahoma State (then Oklahoma A&M) after he lost his scholarship. I assume because his grades didn't measure up. I wonder if A&M regrets not cutting him a bit more slack.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:36 PM | link | 0 comments |