MLB General

The Full Count: Dice-K outduels Sabathia

Can I get some run support?

1. Duel of the Day: Pitcher’s duels don’t get much better than the one on Tuesday, when Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and Cleveland’s CC Sabathia were at their best. Both went seven innings, with Dice-K allowing no runs and Sabathia one. The Red Sox ended up winning 1-0, with the only score coming off a Mike Lowell RBI single. For Sabathia, it was his third loss in his last four starts, dropping him to 13-5. Matsuzaka, meanwhile, is now 12-7 with a 3.79 ERA. Now all the hype surrounding him earlier has all but vanished, even though he’s pitching much better than he did earlier in the year. Sabathia, with a 3.70 ERA himself, may no longer be a Cy Young candidate, but he’s still an ace on one of the league’s best teams.

2. Back on Top: The New York Mets are back where they should be: on top on the National League. They have regained the league’s best record at 56-43, thanks to a 7-4 record since the All Star break despite tough opponents. The Mets held their own last week in a brutal road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles, going .500. Now they face Pittsburgh and Washington at home, the former of which they defeated 8-4 last night. John Maine pitched seven solid innings for his 11th win. The underrated Maine has been the Mets’ ace this year, with a 3.04 ERA and .219 opponents’ average. He is part of a pitching staff that ranks third in the NL in ERA. Their offense, though nowhere as near as good as last year, is at least above-average. If their pitching can remain excellent, which it has been, the Mets will remain the league’s best team.

3. I’ll be there for you: Bud Selig, after way too much controversy for such a minor issue, has announced he will be in attendance when Barry Bonds breaks Aaron’s homerun record. Bonds, whose 43rd birthday yesterday was spoiled by the Braves’ 7-5, 13-inning win, remains at 753 career homeruns. He hit two out last week against the Cubs, but has gone 2-14 since then. Selig could be forced to attend the Giants’ games for two weeks while waiting for Bonds to break the record. It’s still the right decision, and one that shouldn’t have taken so long for Selig to make. While the other sports’ commissioners are dealing with huge issues right now (dogfighting, ref betting), Selig gets to watch a great athlete beat a greater record. What Bonds may have done to get there should remain irrelevant for the commissioner of baseball.

Player of the Day: Craig Biggio, Astros: 2-4, Grand Slam (6) in the Astros’ 7-4 win over the Dodgers. This came on the day he announced he will retire after this season.

MLB General

2007 MLB franchise valuations

A lot was made recently about about Bud Selig’s $14.5M salary in 2006 but when you look at the financial numbers for baseball as a whole, he deserved every penny. (Holy crap we just defended Bud Selig.)

Forbes published their annual “Business of Baseball” feature and despite everything, MLB is doing pretty damn good for themselves. The total valuation for all baseball teams went up $1.6B to $12.9B, a gain of 15%. Meanwhile, no team lost value last year — even the Nationals went up $7M in value.

Leading the way as usual are the New York Yankees, valued at $1.2B, adding $174M in value. Curiously enough, the Yankees were the only team that posted an operating loss last year (-$25M).

There’s a huge difference between the Yankees and everyone else though. Second on the list are the Mets who leapfrogged the Red Sox and are now valued at $736M. Want to buy the Red Sox but don’t have $724M lying around? Don’t worry, the Florida Marlins can be had for a cheap $244M.

The complete list of MLB franchises and their 2007 valuations after the jump.

MLB General

Selig slithers, sarcastic Stern supports

Bud Selig just doesn’t get it. Or he gets it but thinks we’re so stupid that we’ll just accept whatever he says. At a panel discussion sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Selig defended the DirecTV deal.

I agonized over” the decision to go with DirecTV, Selig said. “Obviously our objective is to get our product in front of as many people as possible. … But the number of people who can’t get DirecTV is very, very small.

Yes, only about 5,000 current subscribers will not have access to DirecTV, but of the 230,000 cable customers, how many will want to toss out their entire setup which might include cable specific DVR equipment and install a dish on their roofs just to follow their favorite team?

Now we firmly believe in capitalism and free enterprise but let’s call a spade a spade. This is a move driven solely by dollars and cents. The fact that Bud Selig is trying to sell it like he “agonized” over whether to take the money and run is a slap in the face to all smart consumers. We would respect Bud more if he just said, “DirecTV offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse. We hope the great fans will switch to DirecTV but for those who cannot do so, we still have MLBTV on the internet.”

At the same panel, NBA commish David Stern said that having Congress look into the deal between MLB and DirecTV was ridiculous.

As a taxpayer, I think the most important thing the Senate should be doing is holding hearings on Bud’s DirecTV package. I don’t care about health care or … the war in Iraq.

We have to agree with David Stern (aka The Biggest Badass Commish in History) here. It’s not as much of a time waster as renaming french fries to “freedom fries” but they really should have more things to do. How is it that Stern can step into a PR fiasco for Bud Selig and sound smart?

[AZ Central]: Selig defends DirecTV deal, gets support from NBA’s Stern