Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Just sayin'... Billy Beane traded for Callaspo today, Ibanez in trade rumors, Royals looking for a second baseman... it all makes you wonder about the Brain Trust despite a .500 season so far

Royals hunt for second baseman.

Just a quick hit on this today. The Royals' Brain Trust says it is searching for a second baseman at the trade deadline. Apparently, nobody who has played the position this year is satisfactory for a playoff run.

No question the Royals need a second baseman. They have needed a second baseman since Frank White.

The interesting notion that the Royals are buyers instead of sellers -- or would-be sellers... you have to have something someone else wants to be a seller -- at the trade deadline tells you life is better in the executive suite and on the field.

Now, this thought certainly goes back a ways and is probably unfair. It has, however, stuck in my craw a while.

In 2010, the Royals traded Alberto Callaspo to the Angels at this time of year for two pitchers, Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith. Callaspo was yet another player the Royals' Brain Trust thought wouldn't amount to much, despite showing promise. Think Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez, by the way, has hit 24 home runs this year and is mentioned in several trade rumors today. O'Sullivan, has pitched 19 innings and given up 23 hits for San Diego in 2013. Smith has been up and down I-29 this season, with little success here.

Today, Billy Beane traded a number one draft choice for Callaspo as the first-place A's prepared for a stretch run. What did the A's need?

A second baseman.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Something ELSE the Star should apologize for

As an addendum to John's article last week, here's something else the Kansas City Star should apologize for: this article referencing a recent SciFi Channel movie called "Sharknado," which is about sharks falling out of tornadoes or some such thing.

The headline is "Sharknado: Can it happen here?"

I think the Star's article is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. But it's hard to tell from the writing. In fact, the reporter went so far as to interview the display curator at the Sea Life Aquarium in order to ascertain whether shark tornadoes are a thing that is real.

(Spoiler alert: NO)

I'd like to think this poor reporter was given a crummy assignment on a slow news day and tried to do his best with it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Kansas City Star should apologize to its readers for disrespectful news decisions -- Paula Deen is apprently the second most important event in the world at noon today... click bait on a hook won't save journalism

I’m calling out the Kansas City Star here and now for bankruptcy of news judgment this morning. At 11:59 a.m., a story about Paula Deen was actually listed SECOND under “Latest News” on their opening Web page.

You read it right: Latest News.

Second under “Latest News” is certainly bad enough. With Kansas City erupting in violence of surprising variety and Egyptian troops firing on demonstrators, with a do-nothing congress and hairball legislatures on both sides of the state line rendering governance either dangerous or cockeyed, in a world struggling to cope with completely new viruses both real and virtual, and a universe of new threats to privacy in the name of security sprouting up like mushrooms after a rainy season, opening the Web page with Paula Deen is just the worst message this newspaper could send its readers about 1) what’s important in the world this morning, and 2) what the editors of this newspaper think is important in the world this morning.

If you are a reader of the Kansas City Star, you have been disrespected by this tripe.

And, tripe, it is. Not only is this a story about poor Paula Deen, a woman caught in the meat grinder of a 24-hour news cycle that has turned all of us into sick paparazzi, but it’s a story about Paula Deen being offered a publicity stunt deal by a porn outfit. Nothing happened here. Some bright public relations or marketing person saw an opportunity to send out a press release and get a little notice for his or her boss. That’s all. No action. Nothing. Probably didn’t even waste paper or stamp on the idea. Hacked out an official looking e-mail and sent it to every newspaper in the country with a single click. That’s it. A worm on a hook.

Now, don’t go to the story if you’re expecting something juicy. It’s a plastic worm -- dare I say? -- for a plastic world. (Yes, I did watch "Woodstock" yesterday…) There is no there, there. If you are looking for something salacious, you’ll be completely disappointed.

And, if you care about journalism as a profession at all, you’ll be sorely disappointed by the writer of this story who actually received a byline for a 10-paragraph, 124-word, brief. I use the word ‘story’ loosely. What is the story here? Search for it yourself. I mean, it isn’t even funny, let alone a story.

Oh, the writer was careful to include a few obvious puns about aprons, biscuits and butter – no reference to “The Last Tango in Paris,” unfortunately. None of it was delivered with any sort of wit, even juvenile. I’d be shocked if she spent more than five minutes knocking it out on the computer.

Apparently, her editor spent less time considering whether to publish it, and where to publish it.

The writer and her editors, and the newspaper as an entity, owe their readers an apology. They might as well apologize to Paula Deen in the process because she is, after all, a real human being, not just headline type or pixels in a mug shot. Ugh!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Royals sign 16-year-old shortstop for $1.3 million... somehow the idea doesn't sit well; will they even let the kid finish high school? Mr. Escobar, you better learn how to beat Billy Butler to first base on those routine ground outs

Just a little queasy is how I feel.

Did the Royals just sign a 16-year-old to a $1.3 million contract?

If Mr. Escobar were my regular, best-hope, shortstop, I’d be looking for help, too. But, a 16-year-old?

Question: Will the Royals make it possible for Marten Gasparini to finish high school?

Reading about ‘gap-to-gap’ power in a 16-year-old just feels strange. Above average bat speed, they say. Above average for 16-year-olds or above average for minor league or major league players. Marten is already six foot – are they sure he is finished growing? What happens when he discovers girls?

I remember what happened to my baseball work ethic when I discovered girls at about the same age. Well… when I really discovered girls, since I had discovered them long before in a more, let’s say, passive way. Only god knows what would have happened if I'd had $1.3 million to spend on girls at 16. As it was, I embezzled $32 as treasurer of the MYF to keep my first girlfriend in french fries and malted milk.

$1.3 million in the pocket of a 16-year-old? Mickey Mantle was 19 and had graduated high school when he signed with the Yankees for $1,500. And he still had a lot of growing up to do. Think about it. Mickey was raised on hard scrabble ground by his tough lead miner father in a dusty Oklahoma town. If anyone should have been seasoned for the mental rigors of professional baseball, it was The Mick.

Yet, he nearly folded during his first year in the minor leagues. It took some harsh words from his father, Mutt, to keep him from boarding a bus back to Commerce, Okla., mid-season.

I have no idea what sort of life Marten Gasparini has lived in Italy. But the idea of a 16-year-old with a $1.3 million bonus makes me queasy. And, not just for the money spent because the Royals certainly waste plenty of money on much older folks. I’m just thinking about the kid, about what this means in the shape of his life. Somehow, ironically, it doesn’t seem quite fair.