January 26, 2004

Slow news days

F*ck. F*ck. F*ck. F*cks. Snot. F*ckee. You want to use that?

It depends on how big a news day it is.

--- Broadcast News

As you've probably noticed from some of the topics on this blog over the past week or so, there isn't a whole lot in the way of breaking baseball news to comment on this time of year.

This point was driven home to me yesterday afternoon, when I scanned ESPN.com's baseball page for interesting stories. What I found was pretty sad. The top story under the heading "ESPNews Headlines" was Alex Rodriguez being named Captain of the Texas Rangers. In my opinion, that is not important or even interesting news. That is something that shouldn't even be the top story on TexasRangers.com and it's probably debatable whether it merits discussion anywhere outside of ARod's immediate family.

It gets even worse after that, because at least the Alex Rodriguez story is timely. Under the top story, there were seven other headlines. One of them was a story about Tim Redding being named the Astros' fifth starter for the upcoming season. Again, this is barely news. Beyond that, it is a story that first appeared last Thursday! Basically, a manager naming his fifth starter before he gets to spring training has been important enough to be featured as a headline on ESPN.com's baseball page for nearly a week.

That's not to say this is ESPN.com's fault at all. You can't feature interesting news stories on your baseball page if there simply aren't any. It's just a perfect way of showing just how dead this time of year is in the baseball world.

A month from now, someone being named the fifth starter of a team will be lucky to get a quick mention in one of those "notes" columns that wraps up like 50 relatively unimportant happenings around the league. But in the middle of January it shows up as a top story every day until something better knocks it off the list, which obviously takes a while.

TGNN (The Gleeman News Network)

In the absence of real baseball news, I would like to give you some Aaron Gleeman news. Well, not quite. You know how you hate it when someone says something like "You'll never guess what I heard today...but I can't tell you, it's a secret"? I hate that more than anyone, but I'm still going to be guilty of it today. As the great Howard Stern often says, I would like to "tickle your ass with a feather" and hint at some upcoming news about me (and my baseball writing).

I have three announcements to make. They are all somewhat related, but different enough that if ESPN.com decided to devote a page to coverage of Aaron Gleeman, they would each warrant their own headline. While none of these things would qualify as particularly big pieces of news in the grand scheme of the world, they qualify as fairly big in my world. Actually, two of the things are only slightly big and then the third thing is legitimately big. There will be a whole lot more information to come as we near Opening Day.

There, consider your ass sufficiently tickled.

Pudge Reflux

In response to yesterday's entry about free agents leaving good situations for big money, I got a whole lot of emails from readers. The majority of them were generally in agreement with most of what I said. I also got a few emails that...well, weren't. Here's one of them:

From Jeremy:

Your Ivan Rodriguez article has got to be one of the all-time worst articles ever written and I'm surprised something as infantile as that came from you. While I can't find the exact Joe Sheehan article, I believe at the time of the almost-Arod trade he made a great argument against your point that once a player reaches a certain point, the money doesn't matter anymore. What if Ivan Rodriguez has different goals than "spend a lot of money on cars and jewelry?" What if Ivan Rodriguez wants to own his own baseball team at some point? What if he decides to run for senator of Florida?

I think it's silly for you to try and tell Pudge how happy he will or won't be if he goes to Detroit. If I were in his situation, I'd grab the $40 million, no questions asked.

As someone prone to exaggeration, I appreciate Jeremy's statement that yesterday's article "has got to be one of the all-time worst articles ever written." In fact, I like that quote so much that I'm adding it to the "What others are saying about Aaron Gleeman and Aaron's Baseball Blog..." section at the bottom of the sidebar.

Certainly there are exceptions to every rule and if Ivan Rodriguez has goals in life that put additional millions on top of the millions he already has ahead of playing somewhere he'll enjoy the most, then my "advice" to him yesterday is irrelevant.

The point of my article, however, was not to give advice to Ivan Rodriguez, specifically. I was simply commenting on the fact that every single year, in every sport, players leave good situations seemingly because of money. My entire point was that, after reaching some level of wealth, playing somewhere you think you'll enjoy the most should take precedence over being paid $80 million instead of $60 million.

If that opinion is enough to make yesterday's article "one of the all-time worst articles ever written," then I don't have much of a comeback in my defense.

Jeremy ends his email by saying, "If I were in [Rodriguez's] situation, I'd grab the $40 million, no questions asked."

The "$40 million" meaning the contract offer from the Tigers. I guess this is where Jeremy and I differ. I don't know how much money Ivan Rodriguez has, but I assume it is a tremendous amount. Like I said yesterday, he's made $66.5 million playing major league baseball in his career and I assume he has had additional income during that time as well.

By the way, I got about 50 emails yesterday from people informing me that citizens of the United States of America are required to pay taxes on their income. To those people, thank you very much for the information, but I was already well aware of that fact, whether or not it came across in yesterday's entry. In fact, as a citizen of this country myself, I have actually paid taxes, believe it or not.

Anyway, as long as we are putting ourselves in Ivan Rodriguez's situation, let me say that if I were him and I had, let's say $25 million in the bank, I would choose to play for Chicago or Seattle or Florida for $20 million way before I chose to play for Detroit for $40 million.

Many people like to say stuff along the lines of "There are many things more important than money." As I said yesterday, I don't buy that. Instead, I would change it around and say that "There aren't many things more important than money...unless you already have money."

Ivan Rodriguez and various free agent athletes who have been in his position over the years already have money. In addition to that, in Rodriguez's case him turning down Detroit's offer to accept a deal from another team would probably mean he would only get $20 million from them, so it's not like it is a choice of wealth or poverty.

In that regard, unless free agents have bigger plans in life that demand maximum financial gains like Jeremy suggested in his email, I think many of the wealthier players would be happier making decisions based on something other than the total value of the contracts they are being offered.


After doing some talking about money in yesterday's entry, I decided it was a fine time to shamelessly beg for donations from my audience.

As I usually am, I was incredibly impressed by your generosity and I would like to thank each person who donated a little (or a lot) of money to me yesterday. I always feel very uncomfortable soliciting donations, which is why I very rarely do it. However, the donations I do receive are always greatly appreciated and it's incredibly nice to know that, while I do this everyday for free, there are people out there who enjoy my writing enough to spend some money on it.

If you've got some extra cash lying around and you missed your chance yesterday, fear not. You can still send me a donation! Just click on the following...

See ya tomorrow...

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