From Craig Calcaterra over at Hardball Talk comes this synopsis of one of my favorite “developing situations” in Major League Baseball:
We’ve mentioned before that R.A. Dickey is going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro next month. Why? Because he’s awesome. And he has always wanted to. And because he’s going to promote a charity that helps victims of sex trafficking in India, which in turn makes him awesome again, and that’s before we even get to the fact that he’s a knuckleballer.
There’s a good story about Dickey’s quest in the Wall Street Journal today. Complete with a picture of him jogging in an oxygen deprivation mask to train, which is scary/wonderful. And complete with “the Mets brass is really worried about it and have sent him a letter threatening to void his contract if he hurts himself on the mountain” goodness:
“If we thought it was a good idea, we wouldn’t have sent the letter,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Beyond that, have we tried to dissuade him from going? It seems to me that the letter is enough of an effort to dissuade him, and he intends to go on nonetheless.”
You can understand the Mets’ position — there are details in the article about the small but real risks Dickey faces on his trek — but I can’t help but think that, when he is an old man, Dickey will remember being on top of Kilimanjaro more fondly than he will remember hitting the treadmill in his Nashville home while counting the days to spring training.
Look, I fully understand the Mets desire to protect their asses on this one from a financial point of view. I get that. So if Dickey persists and does indeed hurt himself I think they should be allowed to void the contract.
That being said, I don’t get all of this “he owes it to his team, his teammates and the fans” crap about how he is taking a chance on hurting them competitively if he goes out and gets himself hurt in the process.
Do these people actually follow baseball? The Mets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon so kudos to the guy for trying to achieve a greater good.
Source: Hardball Talk
From Matthew Pouliot at Hardball Talk comes this bit of news:
Four people, three women and a man, accused longtime Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin of molesting them as children in the 1970s, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Nancy Phillips reported Tuesday.
Conlin, who is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink award, retired from his post at the Daily News earlier in the day after news of the upcoming article was leaked.
Phillips’ report tells of children, one of them Conlin’s niece, being touched inappropriately by Conlin. According to the account, Conlin was confronted by his brother-in-law after one such incident, cried and claimed he only touched his niece’s leg. None of the alleged acts were ever reported to police at the time, and the statute of limitations has long since run out, meaning Conlin will not be charged with crimes unless additional accusers with more recent allegations come forward.
Conlin declined comment for the article. His lawyer, George Bochetto, did make a statement: “Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name.”
Conlin wrote for the Daily News for 47 years. He was on the Phillies beat from 1966-87 and served as a columnist afterwards. He’s also made hundreds of appearances on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters through the years.
This story is becoming all too familiar lately. On a side note, the guy has always been a Grade A clown to me. As a side note to the side note, I wonder if this will force him to finally give up that recipe for the 11 secret herbs & spices.
But because this story involves The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) it doesn’t end here!
The BBWAA‘s initial response to all of this was just way off the friggin’ mark. They didn’t choose the standard “let’s wait and see how this plays out in court before passing judgement” tact, nor did they issue the typical “no comment” press release. Nope, they went with the “so what? this has nothing do with the fact he’s a good (debatable!) sports writer” approach.
Pouliot followed up his original piece with this spot on evaluation of the BBWAA response:
One would think the BBWAA would be feeling a bit embarrassed right now after having bestowed its highest honor on Bill Conlin a year before he was accused of child molestation and opted to resign from the Philadelphia Daily News.
But then, this is the BBWAA we’re talking about. Here’s the official release on its website from secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell:
“Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966. The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer.”
Sure, why the hell not? The organization had the poor taste to choose the buffoon in the first place. And, yes, Bill Conlin, regardless of these disgusting allegations against him, is a known buffoon. He may be a truly horrible person as well, but apparently the BBWAA — America’s moral authority on steroids – doesn’t have a problem with truly horrible people.
And finally, after all of this someone over at BBWAA got around to doing what they should have done in the first place, via Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk:
Yesterday’s official statement by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Bill Conlin was a dud. So they’ve tried again. This time an actual writer — BBWAA president Bill Shaikin — puts his name to it:
“We were shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations involving Bill Conlin and we extend our sympathies to everyone involved. This is a matter far more serious than baseball and, at this point, a matter best left to the proper authorities.”
– Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Dec. 21, 2011
Now, now BBWAA was that really so hard? -_-
This was going to be just a quick item. Via BTF’s Newsstand, I saw this fine piece about Houston’s Astrodome. Basically, there’s a giant building surrounded by parking lots and nobody knows what the hell to do with any of it. Sure, there are plenty of pie-in-the-sky proposals, all of them expensive and none of them anywhere near a good bet for economic or artistic success.
Me? I love the building. But rather than see it slow rot away, I would prefer they razed the thing, ripped out the parking lots, and constructed a lovely nature preserve in the midst of that suburban wasteland.
I’m funny that way, though.
It’s a good article, worth reading all the way through. Here’s the little bit that I wanted to share with you:
Nonetheless, the Astros began looking for greener pastures in the 1990s. Astros owner Drayton McLane used a textbook maneuver to win a publicly financed stadium, threatening to sell the team to investors who would move the Astros to Northern Virginia if he didn’t get a new facility.
The timing of the vote worked out well for McLane: Just a year earlier, Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams had announced he was moving the team to Tennessee after he had failed to get a new stadium for his football team. Voters, having learned firsthand that relocation threats weren’t empty, narrowly approved the new baseball stadium for McLane with 51 percent of the vote. (McLane has since reached an agreement to sell the team for $610 million, after buying the team 20 years ago for $103 million. Forbes magazine pegs a quarter of the value of McLane’s franchise to the stadium that taxpayers built him.)
Now, $603 million doesn’t buy what it used to. After adjusting for inflation, the difference between what McLane paid for the Astros and what he sold them for is only about $440 million. If you believe Forbes, something north of $100 million of that was essentially a gift from the good citizens of Harris County.
Nice work, if you can get it.
Read more (and be further disgusted) HERE.