Baltimore's Hyatt Regency isn't quite as spectacular as the Sistine Chapel, but the election of a new commissioner for Major League Baseball on Thursday still felt a little like a papal conclave.
The chiefs of baseball, executives hailing from the 30-odd clubs that compose it, came together in a hotel and played cardinals (not the St Louis Cardinals, that is, but the Vatican ones), staying put on the hotel grounds until they'd elected a new commissioner. Following a full day of maneuvering and back-room discussions which even saw one candidate (MLB business VP Tim Brosnan) drop off the ballot, in the early evening baseball fans finally saw the equivalent of white smoke. MLB's COO, Rob Manfred, had defeated Boston Red Sox exec Tom Werner to succeed Bud Selig after his 22 year long run. Manfred had gotten at least 23 votes (the last of which apparently came from Washington), the number needed to become one of sports' most powerful opinion.
The choice seems a solid vote for the status quo. Selig will stay on in an advisory role as his handpicked successor runs the show. Selig's term saw plenty of issues, including performance-enhancing drug scandals and the 1994-1995 strike which ended in canceling the World Series.
Still, for baseball owners, they know the number-one job of an MLB commissioner is to bring in money, and Selig has delivered. Currently there are some $9 billion in annual revenues, from sales of MLB tickets and more.
The owners who made things hard on Selig by backing Tom Werner were headed by the Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He supposedly wanted someone at the top who'd be tougher on the MLB Players Union. While the MLB financial books are certainly never open to the public, though, most onlookers likely agree multiple fat streams of revenue in the middle of a period of very high franchise value and unprecedented labor peace is a situation you probably don't want to mess with too much. Reinsdorf's desire for a tough-on-unions commissioner probably sounded like a rehash of the ugly but none too distant past.
Still, Manfred will need to tackle a number of legitimate issues, the most important among them probably being the idea that the game's popularity (and the revenues which surround it) may have peaked.
Baseball's TV ratings have dropped, and the baseball which is getting played has gotten slower and slower. This may be fine for older fans but not for the younger ones.
As crazy as it sounds, Major League Soccer -- which shares part of the calendar with baseball -- is becoming a larger and larger threat to MLB in the long term. (Never mind the NFL season kickoff in September.)
When people turn on MLS, stadiums are reasonably full of crowds who chant, sing, and drum as they follow the action. Action is constant and wraps up in about two hours. Everything looks and sounds good, and when you consider how much progress MLS has made in just the 18 seasons so far, competitors ought to take it very seriously.
Baseball just keeps figuring out ways to draw out the game, adding instant replays on top of the usual and ridiculous batters box fidgeting. With batters triking out regularly and shifts in the infield making scoring even tougher, both action and run totals are down.
The Chicago White Sox have handed right-hander Tommy Hanson a minor league deal in order to see whether the 27-year old still has what it takes to perform in the majors. The pitcher is expected go through an extended spring training program before to appearing at Triple-A Charlotte later this month.
The five-season veteran spent four years with the Atlanta Braves, during which time he played in over 20 games each season. A short spell with the Los Angeles Angels ended last winter after being traded, followed by a brief trial with the Texas Rangers which ultimately came to nothing when Hanson posted a 6.43 Cactus League ERA over the space of 14 innings.
Hanson’s rookie season 2.89 ERA over 21 starts in 2009 remains the pitcher’s career-best. After being labelled one of the most exciting pitchers to come through the Braves organisation in recent years, Hanson’s record has steadily decreased since his rookie year; posting a 3.33 ERA over 34 starts in 2010, 3.60 in 22 starts in 2011, a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts the following year and a 5.42 ERA in just 15 outings for the Angels last season.
A number of injury issues have hampered Hanson’s career, most notably a shoulder problem that kept him on the disabled list in 2011, but the right-hander now has the chance to resurrect a career with the White Sox if he can impress throughout spring.
On the back of a disappointing 2013 season that surprised a number of Betfair visitors, the White Sox have started to trim an expensive roster and rebuild using a mix of young stars and experienced pros. Hanson’s deal comes on the back of the signing of veteran Felipe Paulino, who has signed a one-year deal despite not having pitched in the major leagues since 2012. Ronald Belisario is another to have been added to an ever-changing roster, signing a one-year deal worth $3million.
The best bookie software makes a difference at payperhead.com and other outlets. In Major League Baseball, some managers manage to make more of a difference than others. What should be said so far about the best managers in baseball for 2013? A few clear thoughts emerge in what is generally a crowded race.
The leader for American League Manager Of The Year is probably Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers. One has to realize this about Texas: Not only did the Rangers blow the 2012 American League West Division title to the Oakland Athletics; the franchise lost slugger Josh Hamilton in the offseason and had to get production from younger and less proven starting pitchers. A lot of moving parts changed the makeup of the Texas roster, creating a lot of doubt in the Lone Star State that this successful franchise could retain the magic it found in 2010 and 2011, when the Rangers won the American League Pennant. Washington naturally did well in those two seasons, but his ability to keep the Rangers at the top of the American League West through the first three months of the 2013 campaign might be his most impressive feet yet in Arlington, Tex.
If there’s a strong second contender for A.L. Manager Of The Year, it would be John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox. Boston was not expected to win its division. In fact, the Red Sox were probably picked to finish closer to the bottom of the American League East than the top. Boston’s batting order had been hollowed out, and its bullpen did not figure to hold up under the strain of the long season. A younger Tampa Bay team and a hard-charging bunch of Baltimore Orioles were supposed to move up the ladder, and the newly-loaded Toronto Blue Jays – on the strength of several deft offseason moves – were supposed to put the pieces together, making life hell for the Red Sox in the process. However, at the end of June, Boston leads the A.L. East even without an authoritative closer at the back end of its bullpen. Farrell is holding his team together with great skill… this in his first season as the manager in Beantown. That’s no small feat.
In the National League, there really is only one candidate, and it’s Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The other teams in the National League that are succeeding to a considerable extent – the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds – all owned copious amounts of talent heading into the season. Big things were expected from each of those ballclubs. Pittsburgh, a team which faltered in the second half of the season in each of the past two years, was not in the same conversation. Yet, near the end of June, the Buccos are more than 10 games above .500 and have the look of a team that isn’t going to fade away this time. As long as Pittsburgh maintains its place in the standings through September, Hurdle will win the N.L. Manager Of The Year award, with Arizona manager Kirk Gibson likely to finish second.
Jack Doveless is a professional price per head bookie with years of experience helping his clients get the most out of their sports bets. He recommends checking out his favorite sportsbook software at payperhead> to see what the best bookie software can do for you and your profits.
Chicago White Sox’s new third baseman Matt Davidson has admitted he is desperate for the new season to start following his move from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s been quite a year for the 22-year old, being traded to the White Sox in December in exchange for Addison Reed, as well as making his mark on the Futures Game in July.
During his appearance at the annual Futures Game – the all-star contest for promising prospects split among teams from the United States and the rest of the world – Davidson produced a sensational performance. During the July 14 game, Davidson hit a two-run home run to centre field in the fourth inning at New York's Citi Field, going on to win the MVP award in the United States' 4-2 victory, a result tipped by a number of Betfair customers ahead of the clash.
Davidson followed up his performance on the international stage by flying across the country and winning the Triple-A All-Star home run derby a day later in Reno, Nevada, making his mark with Betfair customers.
The fact that he was traded for a proven major league star could have the potential to heap too much pressure on the youngster’s shoulders, but when looking back at the last six months of 2013, Davidson has admitted he will just be looking to take everything in his stride.
"I just want to be on the field now. I just want to wake up, go work out, go play, go home and relax. I'm really looking forward to that."
Davidson will be battling it out with Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger as the White Sox third baseman options to start the 2014 season, in a fascinating MLB season that will be covered by Betfair, and the youngster may have to head back into the Triple-A league in order to prove himself, and the former 35th overall selection in the 2009 draft has made it clear he would be willing to do: “If I have to go to Triple-A and work on it, I will.”
There are news reports that the Mets are beingfinancially hit off the field due to money loss and they are trying to handle the situation. As such, all signs point to serious offseason payroll slashing because there may not be enough money for everyone on payroll in the Mets. Besides this small setback there are some MLB rumors that reveal that the Mets may get to sign one of the next winters’ biggest prizes. Cecil Fielder who is a big legend of the game may have a son who is looking for a team to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Cecil Fielder, who is a well, recognized star in the Yankees, has a son named Prince Fielder who also loves the game like his dad. The funniest thing is that as a first choice, the father did not choose the Yankees. In several news reports that he has been quoted speaking reveal that he does not want his son playing in the Bronx. At a charity event in the Yankees stadium, Cecil Fielder was quoted saying that he wants his son to land in New York but he doesn’t think that the Yankees will have him. Instead he prefers the Mets.