Focusing on national and regional politics with a healthy dose of sports and entertainment, the RFL Blog offers readers a chance to further explore today's headline news through the writings of industry insiders, commentators and special guests.
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
– Noam Chomsky
Sites we like block
If you’re like most Americans, you’re inundated with the obligations of day-to-day life. You have probably heard only in passing, the dire warning on your local TV newscast, "Washington gets closer to going over Fiscal Cliff." Sadly, such government paralysis has become routine, Washington is so polarized that less than a month after the Presidential Election, it seems elected officials are in the same situation of getting nothing done.
Have you noticed yet that just about every political decision from Washington these days comes down to the very end, scaring the American People about repercussions? Will unemployment benefits run out for those barely surviving? Are cuts to Medicare looming for seniors? Will you soon lose the Mortgage Interest deduction on your taxes?
When the news broke this morning courtesy of Ed Coleman that David Wright had agreed to a contract extension, Met fans in the tri-star area rejoiced and rightfully so. I have known David Wright for almost 10 years and I can safely say he embodies what a New York Met should be. He is a talented player who understands that talent without hard work yields no results. He also knows that New York is a tough town that will both be critical and loyal at the same time and David Wright embraces that.
The evolution of these negotiations was fascinating to me and it played out on Twitter all week long with Met fans weighing in on the pros and cons of signing Wright to this extension. To me, the issue was always a simple one: This is a home-grown player who deserved to be paid well for what he has done and what he will ultimately provide. I have always said that one day David Wright's uniform # will forever reside on CitiField's left field wall mostly because of his numbers but also because of what he means to Met fans.
I have heard Met fans lament about their team because they simply repeat what the media keeps saying about the Mets but I am here to tell you Sandy Alderson has a plan and a year or 2 from now, Met fans will be pleased with what they see. But the first step to making this team a contender is making sure David Wright and RA Dickey are both part of the solution.
And I honestly think that will happen. Simply put, David Wright is the face of this franchise and his #5 will be sitting next to the other retired numbers on the CitiField outfield wall one day but more importantly, he's a bona-fide run producer and you do not find that on every street corner especially at the third base position.
When news surfaced yesterday that the Miami Marlins were unloading most of their team to the Toronto Blue Jays in yet another salary dump I thought of the scene in the movie Wall Street when the Charlie Sheen character said to Gordon Gecco, "I just heard about the fire sale at Blue Star. I thought you were going to turn the company around, not upside down." Gecco's response, "It's all about the bucks--the rest is just conversation."
Enter Jeffrey Loria who insisted that his new stadium would set the scene for the "New Marlins." He even changed the team logo and then went out and signed every free agent who would agree to a "no-trade clause" for insane money. The city of Miami went along with it not only giving him a new stadium but also giving him all kinds of secondary benefits like the parking concessions for instance around the new stadium.
One thing is crystal clear from my conversations with Sandy Alderson and that is he intends to make changes this off-season as the evaluation process with this team has concluded. He will continue to reinforce his minor league system and we saw the start of that with the advent of the "Matt Harvey Era" last season. There are others on the way but the intention is to improve the team this off-season with more power in the lineup and more power arms in the bullpen. The free-agent class is not deep this year so he will have to be creative but all eyes will be on a general manager who enters his first off-season in the post-Madoff era.
One thing we should have all learned this season is that building a baseball team is not about throwing millions of dollars at a problem. It certainly did not work for the Miami Marlins. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels have spent the last 12 months spending money like a teenager who just got dad's credit card, it should be noted that the subtle moves made the difference in places like San Francisco where Marco Scutaro became the bargain of the trading deadline.