TCR Friday Notes

Al at BCB scores an interview with Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts.

BCB: Are you open to expanding the payroll a little if there’s an acquisition, let’s say, the middle of this season that might help get the Cubs over the top into the playoffs? Jim Hendry comes and says I’d like to get this guy it’ll cost $8 million, are you...

TR: I’m not sure .. probably not an $8 million mid -season addition, but what we’re always talking about and what Jim likes to do … we’re going to play out the first half of the season we’ll see what we need I think it’s good I think he has a philosophy to bring in a fresh guy or two at the trade deadline to help push the team forward the last couple months. We’ll be open minded to that stuff.

There's plenty of interesting information in there, along with a healthy dose of Trib bashing by Crane Kenney.

- Now that the Ricketts are in charge, hopefullly they'll spice up the Cubs advertising. Not that I'm particularly hopeful after the first ad which pretty much just sells the Wrigley experience and history. That is a WGN ad, so it's very possible the Cubs management had nothing to do with it either. The reason I bring up the advertising is the folks that run the Rockies, Twins and Mariners campaigns know what they're doing.

It would be nice to see a little Cubs personality in the ads, there's certainly enough ad agencies in Chicago willing to take up the task.

- There seems to be some strong sentiment that Ron Gardenhire isn't a good manager. I could probably count on one hand how many Twins games I've watched over the last few years, but nothing has struck me as too odd in terms of in-game management. What is odd is that the Twins have won 5 of 8 division titles and been above .500 7 of those 8 years with a middle of the road payroll for the most part. I'd be comfortable with Dusty Baker butchering arms and his crayon-drawn lineups for the Cubs if it saw them make the playoffs with that kind of consistency. I'll turn the mic over to Rob Neyer for the finish.

Let me tell you something, though: There aren't many Earl Weavers and Davey Johnsons out there. Some guys really know the numbers, and some guys really know how to handle 25 men at a time. And the numbers? Friends, there are only so many things a manager can do with the numbers. You've got your nine guys who play most days, and you've got your dozen pitchers with generally prescribed roles ... that doesn't leave much room for managerial maneuvering.



You take the manager who (just) knows the numbers, I'll take the manager who (just) knows how to keep his players playing for six months, and I'll beat you 55-60 percent of the time. Ron Gardenhire? He's won 55 percent of the games he's managed.

- Another big buzz around MLB was the idea of floating realignment.

The committee already has made good on Selig's promise by discussing a radical form of "floating" realignment in which teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.



The concept gained strong support among committee members, many of whom believe there are non-economic avenues that should be explored to improve competitive balance, similar to the NFL's former use of scheduling to help parity (in which weaker teams were awarded a weaker schedule the next season).

The devil is in the details though and to be fair, it was nothing more than throwing out an idea at the moment. Back when I started writing online back in 2004, I recall suggesting an idea to realign the divisions based more on payrolls and media markets, so I'm intrigued by the idea, as impractical as it sounds at the moment.

- I'm on vacation next week and hopefully have secured a few guest bloggers to keep things going. Treat them well. Arizona Phil will be around as well although the Cubs are away most of the week.

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Comments

Northeast:
Boston
Toronto
New York A
New York N
Philadephia

Southeast:
Washington
Baltimore
Atlanta
Florida
Tampa Bay

Midwest:
Chicago N
Chicago A
Milwaukee
Minnesota
St. Louis

Ghettoss:
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Detroit
Kansas City

California:
San Francisco
Oakland
Los Angeles A
Los Angeles N
San Diego

Freaks:
Houston
Texas
Colorado
Arizona
Seattle

For the record, the alignment we currently have is way better than the proposed floating crap. Tampa Bay had the chance to join the NL and screwed themselves; Toronto is a big market team in mid market facepaint; and Baltimore - well, I'd feel bad for Baltimore if the owner wasn't such a dick.

For the record, the alignment we currently have is way better than the proposed floating crap

How do you know?

couple of ideas were thrown into the pool, let's see if anything floats. I think it would be nearly impossible to enact, but I like the idea of the discussion.

Desipio had the idea of getting rid of the divisions which I don't mind, but I think they need to contract 2 teams or add 2 teams. This 16/14 league disparity isn't particularly fair. Get rid of the unbalanced schedule and the top 4 teams make it in each league.

The topic of competitive balance in baseball is one of my favorites, and one of the hardest to solve, both because of the economics and the politics surrounding the issue.

Floating realignment sounds crazy and may turn out to be completely unworkable, but at least MLB is being open minded. In my opinion, something has to be done. There is probably one-third of the teams (without taking a head count) that enter the season with no realistic chance of contending. Not only is that demoralizing to the fans of these teams, but it's destructive to the general interest in the game.

Why should a kid growing up in Pittsburgh care about baseball. The team hasn't had a winning season in 17 years. And if he doesn't have an interest in his hometown team, why care about the game at all? Better to follow football or some other sport.

Baseball has to eventually deal with this issue. Opening up the discussion to all ideas is a step in the right direction.

***Blatant Plug Warning***

If you're interested, here's a link to a post I wrote recently concerning a proposal ESPN's Jayson Stark made to improve competitive balance:

http://cubsnotebook.com/hope-springs-eternal/

I have to disagree with this. The Marlins contend pretty regularly. The Rays beat the Red Sox and the Yankees two years ago. The system is not so flawed that teams don't have a chance. It is so flawed that poorly run teams don't have a chance, but you can say the same thing about the NFL and the NBA.

Teams shouldn't have a say in which division they play; much less an "annual" say.

If they were going to do it just on geography, it would be hard to have the divisions equal size based on travel distance. I personally would like something like this to maximize rivalries and fan travel, but of course this would never fly:

Colonial Division:
Boston
New York
New York
Philadelphia

Rustbelt Division:
Toronto
Detroit
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Pittsburgh

Railroad and Beer Division:
Chicago
Chicago
Minnesota
St. Louis
Milwaukee
Kansas City

Pacific Coast Division:
Seattle
San Francisco
Oakland
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Diego

Southeast Division:
Tampa
Miami
Atlanta
Baltimore
Washington DC

Mountain and Desert Division:
Houston
Dallas
Phoenix
Denver

they really need to add a team in Portland

Assholes Division:

Boston
New York
New York
Philadelphia

Stick to Football Division:

Baltimore
Washington DC
Cleveland
Pittsburgh

Flyover Divison:
Chicago
Chicago
Minnesota
Detroit
Kansas City

Go Surfing Division:

Seattle
San Francisco
Oakland
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Diego

Hill Jack's Division:

Atlanta
St Louis
Cincinnati
Houston
Texas
Milwaukee

Shouldn't Have Team Division:

Phoenix
Denver
Tampa
Miami
Toronto

~yes I'm in a bad. why do you ask?~

How is Atlanta not in the asshole divisio... oh... nevermind I see.

If I were Crane I wouldn't be burning a bridges. You can only play make believe baseball man for so long.

what bridge are you talking about? I got through about 6 paragraphs before I fell asleep and my forehead slammed against the keyboard. I guess I missed the good stuff.

a cool interview snag for BCB, though...not bad if you're into it.

Ya, a pretty good scoop. Maybe Rob could upstage it with a Milton Bradley interview.

he did grow up in Long Beach, maybe I'll do an investigative report on his childhood home

Do you look like Colleen Dominguez? That may help.

In a shocking development, Rob G. discovers he used to be white and his first name used to be Michael.

"along with a healthy dose of Trib bashing by Crane Kenney."

I just saw that.

Kenney goes off a few times about things that Trib wouldn't let him do or things they can do now that the Ricketts are in charge.

I don't understand the Gardenhire bashing. What has he done that's so bad? I don't follow the Twins very closely, but where is the hate coming from?

Considering he has led his team to five division titles in eight years, I would think Gardenhire is in line for praise rather than damnation. What other manager has been able to accomplish that feat? Now take out the clubs with payrolls in the top 50% of all teams. Who's left?

I'm not exactly sure how to judge a baseball manager. Some guys talk a good game and some guys just win games (some guys don't do either). Gardenhire may not end up on Leno or Letterman, but his teams do win games. That's good enough for me.

almost everyone hates their manager after enough time unless you're one of the rare ones...gard's just been on the job a long time and lately they keep losing the ALDS. it's beyond the just "making it" stage at this point...the fans seem to want a little closure.

...as if that's his fault.

he's not exactly out there making bonehead decision after bonehead decision while his 55-65m teams work their way through a season. his players seem happy. most of the complaints i've read from players leaving there is the joy of not having to play on that turf or shag flies in the dome.

I don't understand any AL manager bashing... seriously, how hard can it be?

high five

lol, I second the high five.

Fontenot, Diamond and Theriot with good games. Jeff Baker finally gets a hit.

J. Jackson not ready for prime time, 3 runs in 0.2 IP.

diamond would be a nice bonus. wonder how his control is beyond the raw numbers.

Here's why Jason Frasor is likely to be a Cub...

http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/news/article....

If The Car Jumper makes their 25 man roster, they really really could use another OF.

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

EAST:
NYM
PHI
PIT
WAS

NORTH:
CUBS
COL
MIL
STL

SOUTH:
ATL
CIN
FLA
HOU

WEST:
AZ
LAD
SD
SF

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

EAST:
BOS
NYY
TOR

NORTH:
CHW
CLE
DET
MIN

SOUTH:
BAL
KC
TB
TEX

WEST:
LAA
OAK
SEA

Four division winners and two WC teams, with the two WC teams playing a best 2-out-of-3 "play-in" series at the two division winners with the worst records pre-LDS.

If the MLBPA would agree to eliminate the DH and cut active rosters from 25 to 24 and reduce the MLB Reserve List limit from 40 to 36, two expansion teams could be added (probably Portland and Charlotte), with Portland going to the A. L. West and Charlotte to the A. L. South, and Baltimore to the A. L. East from A. L. South. If the economics could be worked out, MLB might consider expanding to either Mexico City or Monterrey instead of Portland or Charlotte.

Also, Rule 5 should be changed to where clubs can select as many players as slots they have open on their MLB Reserve List, but any player selected must be kept on the drafting club's 40-man roster (hopefully to be reduced to a 36-man roster limit) for one year (until the next Rule 5 Draft), and the drafting club cannot trade or outrighht the player to the minors for one year. However, the drafting club would be allowed to option the player to the minors, just like any other player on the 40-man roster. Combining this change in Rule 5 with cutting the 40-man roster from 40 to 36 would redistribute talent at the prospect level, helping small market/low revenue clubs acquire talented players and improve from within, without the need for a salary cap or a payroll tax or any other form of revenue sharing.

Vitters the winning hit, LeMahieu and Burke 1 for 1, Flaherty and Jackson 0 for 1 in the Vegas game.

That's a pretty flattering picture of her what with it being a little out of focus. Even under the ESPN make-up she looks a little rough to me. Kind like seeing a porn star in HD. You don't want to look to closely

Cubs vs Homer Bailey, 1-1 bottom 3

Adduci doobel, Barney rbi single after Castro advances runner

other than the kids, it's Soriano, ARam and Tracy. Sean Marshall 3 IP, 2H, 1 HR.

Cub kiddies beating up on Reds.

They don't know how good they are!

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