Is Manny Heading Back To Massachusetts? (No.)

Do you realize players start reporting for spring training in two weeks? And that Manny Ramirez still doesn’t have a place to play? This guy might still be one of the top 5 hitters in the game, and he still doesn’t know where he’s going to play. Obviously, money and the length of the contract are the sticking points. But if Manny wants to play, he better take the first offer that comes across his desk. (I assume it’s this Fisher-Price Fun-2-Learn All-In-One Learning Desk).

Manny Ramirez

Well, here’s the first offer, from the Worcester Tornadoes of the independent Can-Am League. They can’t offer much - a two-year deal worth $24,000. But he’d be all but guaranteed to hit cleanup, and he’d be close enough to Beantown to be covered by his old friends the Boston media. What’s not to love?

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The Manny Market Is Becoming Mighty Miniscule

It was only a few months ago that Manny Ramirez came to Los Angeles, took the Dodgers, placed them firmly on his back, and carried them to the playoffs. MannyMania struck Southern California, as Ramirez hit a ridiculous .396 and drove in 53 runs in 53 games as a Dodger before the Phillies knocked them out of the NLCS.  Though I’m sure Manny was disappointed that the Dodgers didn’t win it all, he took solace in the fact that he would get another $100 million contract from some sucker in the offseason.

Well, while there may still be a sucker born every minute, it seems those suckers have developed a tighter grip on their wallets these days. When the Dodgers offered him a two-year deal for $45 million after the season Manny and his agent Scott Boras basically laughed it off, thinking that a larger deal lay ahead for him. As for the Dodgers end, the offer was seen as nothing more than an attempt to quell the fan base with a “Hey, we tried to keep him.” Now it’s starting to look more and more like Manny is going to wind up back in L.A., and he may have to end up accepting the Dodgers arbitration offer.

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At Times John Kruk Wants To Punch Karl Ravech

Have you ever been watching “Baseball Tonight” or any other studio show on ESPN and wondered if the anchors actually liked each other? I mean, I know I can’t stand most of the talking heads ESPN puts on the air so you have to figure there are times when Mike Ditka wants to reach across the desk and punch Stuart Scott right in his lazy eye when he says “Boo-ya!”

The one ESPN personality who I think has probably had it worse than anybody else is Karl Ravech. As host of Baseball Tonight he’s had to work with his fair share of idiots.  Sure, dealing with Harold Reynolds wasn’t too bad — well, except for Harold’s insistence on post-show hugs — and Peter Gammons is an icon, but aside from those two there are a lot more Steve Phillips and John Kruks sitting behind that desk. There has to be occasions where Ravvy just wants to choke Krukker after he says something that makes no real sense, but if there have been, Karl isn’t talking.

Of course, the same can’t be said of Kruk.

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Guest List: Cuban, Simmons, King, Glazer … SbB?

The sports business industry’s magazine of record, SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, has a feature today on must-visit sports websites, and I’m happy to report that SbB is prominently featured:

SportsBusiness Journal's Must-Read Sports Destinations

The piece is preceded with this description: “We have our own must-read sports destinations on the Web, and we asked others for their list of hot reads.

A host of writers and websites are noted, including Yardbarker.com, Bill Simmons, Peter King, Jay Glazer, Mark Cuban and Buster Olney, among others.

So just how in holy hell did we end up invited to that party? Read more…

ESPN Baseball Nerds Start Fantasy Umpire League

You thought you were all geeked out this baseball season with your five different fantasy teams — each one with different stats, metrics, scoring style, and clever names like “Shane Halter Tops” and “Mlicki Mouse Club.” But the ESPN gang probably has you beat. Buster Olney shared in his blog (Insider only, sorry freeloaders) that he’s part of a fantasy baseball league where GMs only draft umpires.

Umpires arguing

(”Whoever’s umpiring the Cubs game” is not a valid fantasy selection.)

The roto rules seem pretty simple: “[W]e were not scanning the names of the candidates with thoughts of QuesTec or bang-bang play efficiency. No, we considered only one factor. Ejections.” Read more…