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It's sad that in all the talk surrounding the resignation of MLB's vice-president in charge of umpires, Ralph Nelson, that no one has thought of its impact on the children... er, umpires.

Apparently the resignation is for personal reasons and is unrelated to the QuesTec system or other umpire issues, but those who watch MLB are going to keep a close eye on who takes over the post. Nelson found dealing with the umpires very difficult; the umpires have fought tooth-and-nail against all attempts by MLB to control the quality in their ranks and QuesTec is the latest step in that battle.

Already the World Umpires Association have seized on this development, and their attorney Larry Gibson is already spouting off to the press that Nelson's resignation is an "opportunity" to repudiate QuesTec, which Nelson was responsible for landing. (For the other lawyers in the audience, doesn't the umpires' continued encouragement of MLB to break their five-year contract with QuesTec smack of tortious interference?) Hopefully whoever inherits the post can gain the respect of the umpires and forge a good working relationship; that's pretty difficult when the umpires themselves can only get any respect through tantrums, threats, and intimidation. Nelson himself described the umpires as whiny, complaining children only a week or so ago; if he quit because the stress was leaking over into his personal life, I for one won't blame him. The umpires have been acting for years like a bunch of pupils taking on a substitute teacher.

Garry Maddox, who is a Vietnam Veteran soldier, an eight-time Gold Glove centerfielder, an award-winning chef, and a multi-millionaire businessman, has added to his list of accomplishments an appointment as a Director of the U.S. Federal Reserve. That is a Renaissance Man.

Hearty congratulations to Barry Bonds, who is being honoured at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Saturday with the Oscar Charleston Legacy Award and Buck Leonard Legacy Award (for being the NL MVP and the NL batting champ). Also, it's nice to see that Buck O'Neil is still active... if you've never read Buck's terrific book, I Was Right On Time, do yourself a favour and buy yourself a copy. And after you've read it, pass it along to a teenager you like. One of the most inspirational storytellers out there.

Hearty congratulations are also in order for Rickie Weeks, who won the Dick Howser Award yesterday as the top player in the NCAA. Weeks might be winning one of those Buck Leonard Legacy Awards himself before all is said and done.

FREE TERRMEL SLEDGE! (2003 park-adjusted MLE to date - .307/.410/.496)

A refershingly skeptical look at the MLB Coercion Bandwagon from the Washington Post. Among the interesting tidbits are that MLB has admitted it is planning for a 2004 season in Montreal, and they are looking at kneecapping the Expos again by putting more games in San Juan. This, despite the fact that San Juan attendances are terrible, an indication that the reasons for playing in San Juan are primarily not revenue generation (playing in RFK Stadium, Portland, Las Vegas, or really just about any other AAA ballpark would probably bring in more fans than the 13,000-odd the Expos have drawn in Puerto Rico). The massive discomfort and disadvantage that making three separate road trips to play a "homestand" creates must be factoring in to this decision somewhere. Call it a conspiracy theory if you will, but I can find no other explanation of this bizarre behaviour by MLB. They have treated the Expos as a circus freak or a lab experiment instead of a baseball team. It sickens me.

As for moving the Expos, I find it funny that they are going to select a place to move the team before choosing an owner, as if there were any potential owners out there willing to buy the team (except Donald Watkins, who MLB won't consider anyway). The city that has twice lost an American League team because no one showed up, is still the overwhelming favourite.

In case you were worried, MLB has now backed down on the special "All-Star" uniforms. Players will wear team colours.

Also from the MLB beat, they are now offering classic or historic games on digital video that you can download and burn at a cost of $3.95. The first game available was the Astros-Yankees no-hitter, Clemens' 300th win yesterday will be the second. Problem : it's in RealVideo. Get a decent format, guys, *please*. Something I can convert to VCD format. Every time MLB gets a good idea on the digital side, its partnerships with Sun and RealNetworks screw everything up. MLB are getting $20 million over three years from Real, it was recognized as a terrible deal at the time and it's not getting any better.

We passed 90,000 hits late last night. Thanks to all our readers for coming back again and again.

Finally, good luck and godspeed to Matt Williams, a great player who will be missed.
Notes : Won't Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children? | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_King Rat - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 12:37 AM EDT (#100155) #

Thank you for another great notes. However, one thing stands out: You say that MLB is prepared to keep the Expos in Montreal next year. I didn't see a refence to that in the article, just a reference to more games in San Juan. I've also seen at least one writer-all right it was Jayson Stark-speculate that the Expos will be moving full-time to San Juan next year. I realize tht this would make no sense-but doesn't that make it even more likely to happen?
Craig B - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 01:24 AM EDT (#100156) #
Yeah, maybe I misinterpreted that... thanks! Hiram Bithorn isn't equipped to host a major league franchise, though. That wouldn't necessarily stop MLB, but the agents and MLBPA might start getting involved at that point. MLB can sell 22 games there OK, but selling 81 is a different proposition, and with such a tiny stadium - and without all the big draws - I can't see them doing as well in San Juan as they have in Montreal.

Don't forget, the pathetic crowds in San Juan have been against the biggest draws Montreal would normally have (Mets are always a good draw, Braves naturally, and the interleague series, including a series against A-Rod and Texas) and nine of the 16 games so far have been weekend games.

The Expos have had about 218,000 fans for the 16 games in PR to date... they've had 214,000 for 18 crappy dates in Montreal, including midweek series agaisnt San Diego and Florida, abysmal drawers both.
Dave Till - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#100157) #
They have treated the Expos as a circus freak or a lab experiment instead of a baseball team. It sickens me.

You have to hand it to the Expos' players: if the season were to end today, the Expos would be the wild card team. I suspect that being treated like a doormat by Bud Selig and his cronies is an excellent motivator.

Will MLB force the Expos to dump salary if they are in contention in July? And will anyone believe Bud's "salary cap" line if the Expos prove that they can win on a miniscule budget? Allons-y, Expos!
Coach - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#100158) #
Whatever it takes to make umpires more consistent and accountable, I'm all for it. Watching Kerwin Danley defy the traditions of his profession and screw the Jays in St. Louis to cover up his own incompetence really made me miss Steve Palermo.

Both the Expos and the Twins, to the credit of their GMs and managers as well as the players, rallied against a common cause last year. Too bad it was MLB. While the situation in Minnesota has improved, despite Bud and Carl's best efforts to sabotage it, the ongoing farce starring the Expos is disgusting. Rob Neyer's ESPN column last week in which he called the Commisioner "delusional" was way too kind.
Notes : Won't Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children? | 4 comments | Create New Account
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