An Unsettling Feeling

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner – Remembering Kirby Puckett. By Jeremy Derfner

After hearing about Kirby Puckett’s death from a stroke earlier this week, I was struck by how torn I felt. He was a fun ballplayer to watch, but since his retirement we’d learned things about his life that made it hard not to end every praising statement with a great big “but.” Jeremy Derfner was a far bigger fan of Puckett than I ever was, and he doesn’t really nail the problem here, but his description of the 1991 World Series reminded me just how great it was (and how my regular poker game suspended for about an hour while we all sat on our host’s bed and watched transfixed as Jack Morris spun his magic that night) and how big a part of those years Puckett was. Well worth reading, in other words.

Mastersball Sold!

FantasyBaseball.com – The Official Website of the Masters of Fantasy Baseball

Jason Grey, Todd Zola, and Rob Leibowitz, the former Masters of Fantasy Baseball, have sold themselves to become the content providers at www.fantasybaseball.com. You have to admire the URL. The Masters have been frequent contributors to the Guide, and one hopes they’ll make tons of money and win even more experts league championships. Best of luck, guys.

Fantasyland: One Lunatic’s Preview

BaseballHQ

This link may not get you to Ron Shandler’s review of Sam Walker’s new book, Fantasyland, after this coming Friday, but you’ll be able to find it in the free section at www.baseballhq.com. Shandler, the Bearded One, is a major character in the book and his reaction seems to me right on.

USA Stats Sold!

Home of the official and original Rotisserie League

In case you haven’t heard, one of the two premium stats services, USA Stats, sold itself to the other, All Star Stats, this past week. USA Stats former owner, Bill Meyer, says the growing licensing issues in the fantasy realm, as MLB tries to gain control of all intellectual property attached to their baseball game, was an irritant but not really a factor. All Star Stats made a good offer at a time when he was looking to do something other than run a stats service for the rest of his life.

Bill grew USA Stats by buying out Jerry Heath’s Heath Data many moons ago and acquiring the official stat service of the Rotisserie League after that, so this is hardly the time to rail against consolidation, but Bill was a very nice and helpful guy who ran what always seemed to be a very friendly operation. He’ll be missed.

Jeff Weaver Signs

Jeff Weaver – Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB – Yahoo! Sports

A jury decided that the Angels could keep LA in their name, and they decided to keep Weaver in LA. The Anaheim ballpark isn’t quite the paradise Dodger Stadium is but there are plenty worse places to pitch. His component ERA has been lower than his actual ERA every year of his career, which suggests to me he does something to make his rough times worse. Whatever, I’m not going to suggest that the bad results were all bad luck, but he pitched better than his ERA looks.

Hope for Reyes

Henderson rejoins Mets as spring training instructor – MLB – Yahoo! Sports

The Mets’ biggest problem is that their worst hitter, Jose Reyes, is likely to be the guy on the team who gets the most PA this coming year. Naming Rickey Henderson as special baserunning/getting on base coach for Reyes and Carlos Beltran can’t hurt. It’s unlikely 10 days late in camp is going to make a big difference, but given Reyes’ skills, if he could find a way to get on base more he’d be an immeasurably more valuable player. Omar Minaya clearly knows that.

ESPN.com – NHL – Theodore tests positive, blames result on Propecia

ESPN.com – NHL – Theodore tests positive, blames result on Propecia

The second hair growth drug test story of the day. Jose Theodore says he’s been taking Propecia for eight years to grow his full head of hair. Hey, it works! At least Zach Lund had the decency to have a receding hair line.

Stealers – How the referees handed Pittsburgh the Super Bowl. By Robert Weintraub

Stealers – How the referees handed Pittsburgh the Super Bowl. By Robert Weintraub

Is it just me, or isn’t the big story of just about every championship game/series these days about the role of the referee/umpire/judge in determining who wins and who loses?

Fantasy Stats and the Intellectual Property Debate — The Hardball Times

Fantasy Stats and the Intellectual Property Debate –Maury Brown

MLB Advanced Media, for which I work sometimes, continues to assert increasing control over the rights to player and team names. I can see why they’re pursuing revenues this way, but there are serious questions about what intellectual property the game owners actually own, and what is in the public domain. On January 19 MLBAM made a deal with the MLBPA for the exclusive rights to all player names and likenesses for online games, which at least centralizes who is in charge. Maury Brown explains most of what this all means.

For the rest, we need the courts to decide.