Posted by Bob Greenberger on July 31, 2004
The deadline for Major League Baseball trading, without submitting players to the waiver process, is at 4 p.m. EST. All week long, teams have been rumored to be doing this and that but yesterday the dominoes started to fall.
The Florida/Los Angeles deal leaves me scratching my head. It seems to help Florida more than LA, although the west coast team did upgrade catchers by acquiring Charles Johnson. We’ll see how this plays out since LA is fighting for the lead and Florida still has hopes.
As do the Mets. The NL East is the weakest division in baseball this season, a surprise considering how much work the Phillies did in the off-season. No one really wants the lead but the Braves seem ready to settle in atop the division and fight off all comers. Oddly, they have, on paper, a pretty mediocre team.
As do the Mets. It’s aging and can’t play consistently. The upgrade at the coahcing level (pitching coach Rick Peterson and hitting coach Don Baylor) may indicate a brighter future but not today. Obviously, the management thinks otherwise and pulled the trigger twice in succession yesterday around 5:15 p.m.
So, let’s look at what they did. 3B David Wright played his way into a starting role now, and that made Ty Wigginton expendable. He’s young, inexpensive and is a contact hitter with a great playing ethic. He’s a starter and shouldn’t be a utility bench player. They already have Joe McEwing for that (and he’s become the forgotten man this season). If Wright falters, they still have Todd Zeile, doing a fine job in what is likely his last season in the game.
This meant the Mets could dangle a bonifide starter plus prospects to upgrade pithcing. Fans can tell you that the last few weeks has proven the need to upgrade the bullpen but management’s thinking clearly was to upgrade the starting rotation, make it a little younger and hopefully not need the bullpen as often.
To acquire Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson, the Mets gave away not only Wigginton, but top prospects including Scott Kazmir and Matt Peterson. Rick Peterson thinks he can make these guys even better pitchers than they are and if he’s right, the Mets are in good shape for the next few years. I suspect the ownership is worried about promising pitchers proving to be busts. After all, they got badly burned when the trio of Bill Pulsipher, Paul Wilson and Jason Isringhausen made it to the majors and underperformed so badly the team looked foolish promoting them. (Pulsipher still pitches, but the for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League while Wilson has finally found some luck with the Reds and Isringhausen found new life as a closer in St. Louis.)
The Mets want to challenge for the division. Not the Wild Card. And that’s commendable. But, they have mortgaged a bit of the future for today and just because the bullpen is in better shape doesn’t mean the hitters will be any better at driving in men in scoring position. The team rolled the dice and may roll it again before today is out. Right now, they seem a stronger, more balanced team but it’s how they perform on the field that will tell the tale.
One final thought: Justin Huber, a well regarded catching prospect, was also dealt away. This basically means Jason Phillips and Vance Wilson have job security for a while longer. If either really hit well, it would encourage me to once more call for Mike Pizza to be sent away. He’s no longer the team leader he was, no longer the threat at the plate he was and costs the team too much money for the stats he’s posted this year.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on July 30, 2004
For years now, I have had an on again/off again debate with the head guy at Cablevision-Norwalk, the local office for the main company. I’ve been a long-time proponent of ala carte pricing for cable. Why should I be paying for channels when I could care less?
I’ve always gotten nowhere, but earlier this year the debate started up again when John McCain (the only Republican I would ever consider electing to the White House) brought it up. I immediately sent an endorsement of the notion to my Congressman and two state senators and heard…nothing.
Still, the debate continues and there have been congressional and FCC hearings. Cable insists many channels would fail to even launch without being bundled as part of a tier (i.e. Basic). One channel noted they charge the cable operator something like 50 cents under the current configuration but would have to raise their rate to $3.50 under an ala carte system. There wasn’t a particularly good reason given for such a move although I suspect it has something to do with making up for absent ad revenues given audience attrition.
Having recently completed a book on Darwin, I keep coming back to the notion of survival of the fittest, along with Paul Levitz’s theories on price elasticity. Let’s say the channel above was the Spud Channel. Currently, the Spud Channel is piped into 10 million homes and can charge rates accordingly. Now it’s suddenly ala carte and they find only 500,000 dedicated Spud fans (no doubt confusing potatos with the more adorable Spuds McKenzie). Odds are, they can keep raising their rates from 50 cents to the $3.50 mark and not lose too many of those 500,000 Spud fans. After all, people really like their channel.
A possible mid-ground might be clusters of channels aimed at similar demographics. Many cable operators already do this with Sports so why not others? A Shopping package, a women’s package (We, Lifetime, Oxygen, Soap), a family package (Disney, Nick, USA, TNT, etc.) and many other combinations. And then, for those who really only want, say, C-Span and Court TV, an ala carte menu would exist.
More food for thought can be found here Wired article.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on
Thanks to Nomi Burstein, I have now been syndicated via LiveJournal. I’m not sure if this is anything like being similar to Paul Harvey but it’s kinda neat to know this will be seen by lots of bored people.
Deb thinks this will freak Katie out, but she has her own LJ space; it’s nice and personal and I can’t read her innermost thoughts. Which is fine. She’s 18, about to head off to George Washington University and should be encouraged to have her very own innermost thoughts.
Anway, as soon as Glenn tells me how, we’ll be adding a link with a complete bibliography and, I suppose, a biography for those meeting me for the first time.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on
Glenn tells me we’re live to those interested. The comments section works and all those wishing to chat have to register with TypeKey. It’s a necessary evil but after some horrendous experiences over at Peter’s board, it’s safer this way.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on July 28, 2004
And yes, it’s a Star Trek reference. As many know, I have enjoyed the series since the 1960s and it has been a key part of my life.
However, the specific term originated with an old friend, Mike Flynn, when he invited me to share his Rotisserie Baseball team with me. Mike helped found one league, which foundered and then quickly joined the team, founded by Bob Rozakis, that rose from its ashes. Anyway, the Federal League is still around, with no one from the initial line-up still involved. Mike, who had been DC’s PR man for a while, was prepping to move to Seattle, with his lovely wife Liz.
Expressing interest in the League and the world of fantasy baseball, Mike invited me to share his team during his final year in New York and then take it over uponhis departure. This was back in the 1980s, long before being part of a League was easy thanks to cyberspace and high speed internet connections. So anyway, Mike says it needs a new name and we brainstormed a few until he suggested the Final Frontiersmen. And the name has stuck ever since.
I’m still having fun with the League. Finished in second place last year and am duking it out for first as I type. There’s about 1.5 points between me and the guy who has finished first the last few years. With our trading deadline matching Major League Baseball’s this week’s moves could spell the difference between finally taking first…or not.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on
Well, gosh, everyone’s doing it.
And if everyone were to jump off the bridge, would I follow? When Mr. Siskind first asked me that in fourth grade, I didn’t have a ready answer for him. It was my only run-in with the principal so I got off lucky, I suppose.
Today, the answer is, of course not. Still, building a web site to promote one’s self and one’s work has become absolutely acceptable. And blogging looks like so much fun. A few days back, I had time to kill–on my birthday no less–so started playing around with the notion of finally taking the plunge. The timing may seem odd, considering most of my 2004 output is already on sale, but now we can chat about the books.
Then I screwed up the FrontPage tutorial and was feeling less than proud of myself. So, I turned to an old pal, Glenn Hauman, and the next thing you know…there’s a web site. It”ll start evolving over the next few weeks, with an official bio and bibliography and the like. I even want to include photos since it jazzes up the site a bit.
I love engaging in dialogue with readers, fans and friends. I may not be as scitillating as my other pal, Peter David, but I’ll try and make it worth having you stop by every now and again.
Hence, some ground rules. I work for DC Comics, owned by TimeWarner. As a result, just because we’re chatting here, don’t expect me to reveal secrets the company would rather contain or have me bash our competition. And since I hope to continue writing Star Trek fiction in the future, don’t try and drag me into a debate over the merits of Paramount’s property. Beyond that, we’re good to go.
What’s going on?
Well, I’m feeling pretty chuffed, as they say. My collection Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons, featuring the work of writer Paul Dini and artist Bruce Timm, won the presitigous Eisner Award at the San Diego ComicCon this past weekend. Considering how many reprint collections hit the shelves these days, even making the top five nominees seemed pretty impressive. To win…well, that feels special.
Someone asked me what criteria was used to judge the Best Reprint. I honestly don’t know. I’ll presume it starts with the subject matter but has to include the way it’s collected, what other material was added to enhance the original stories, the design, paper stock, etc. Fortunately, Bruce had plenty of stuff lying around that he was happy to share. His commentary, interspersed throughout, also helped the pacing. And the cover. I was so thrilled to receive it.
Actually, when I first opened the FedEx package and took it out, the image seemed less polished than I was used to from Bruce. It seemed more impressionistic. He also flopped the image without telling me and I stared at it for a while and finally popped off an e-mail acknowledging receipt and questioning the artistic choices he made.
He replied something along the lines of, “What are you smoking?”
So, I turned the page over, and there was the gorgeous cover I was expecting. He works with color markers and I was looking at the side where the dyes bled through rather than the intended original art.
Secrets of the comics revealed.