Wannabe a Sucker?

On August 11, 2017 it was announced in the Miami Herald that owner Jeffrey Loria had agreed to sell the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion, to a group led by New York businessman Bruce Sherman and former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter. Much exhalation ensued, as fans celebrated the exiting of one of the most hated owners in sports history. But like so many other major stories, when people think it’s over, it’s really only the beginning. For Marlins fans, how could anything be worse than the Loria-era?

The story of this MLB off-season, since the Shohei Ohtani affair (which of course never happened), has been the on-going fire sale of the Miami Marlins. Derek Jeter is now CEO of Marlins baseball operations. So far he has given away RF Giancarlo Stanton, CF Marcel Ozuna, and 2B Dee Gordon; each of them All-Stars and one the reigning MVP. Now Jeter is dangling LF Christian Yelich, and catcher JT Realmuto.

When you say you’ll only accept an “overpay,” yet put your team in a position where it MUST sell– then you won’t make a deal with grown-ups.

Notable Unsigned MLB Free Agents:

1B Eric Hosmer
RHP Yu Darvish
RF J.D. Martinez
RHP Jake Arrieta
CF Lorenzo Cain
3B Mike Moustakas
3B Todd Frazier

The reason the MLB free-agent market has been so slow the winter, is because everyone is waiting for the Marlins to complete their fire sale, now with Yelich & Realmuto on the block. Unfortunately, Jeter has once again over-valued his assets, and can’t pull either of them back, without losing even more value. Jeter is putting the Marlins franchise in a position to make another mistake, by insisting on too much, and thus freezing out the market which includes the Braves, White Sox, Padres, Phillies, Nationals & Diamondbacks among others.

One point on money & wins above replacement (WAR). It can’t be valued at anything higher than $5M/win on the free-agent market, without becoming distorted. Contract length should not exceed 5 years, as these players are all age 27 or older which means they are about to go into decline. Albert Pujols & A-Rod albatrosses not only cripple individual franchises who buy into them, but also irrationally set the market.

There are smart GM’s in play, and top prospects are gold, so you can’t steal top talent like you used to, even a few years back. This gap between Derek Jeter’s wannabe-GM expectations, and current market realities, is what’s holding up this off-season. As of now, no GM wants to make a big free-agent signing until Derek Jeter is done blowing up the Marlins. That’s why Eric Hosmer & JD Martinez are still unsigned, and haven’t drawn much interest as of yet.

Derek Jeter is way out of his league running a franchise, and the only reason he’s doing so, is because he’s 4% owner. The reason your hire a front office & GM is to separate money from brains, as much as possible– which is wise. Jeter is simply making decisions that benefit him as an owner, under the guise of being a qualified baseball executive. The baseball fans of Miami, who have been swindled over & over again, are seeing it happen once again right before their eyes, and they aren’t fooled.

If Jeter doesn’t like the prospect packages that are being offered, then why doesn’t he insist someone take LHP Wei-Yin Chen, to move some dead money? That’s what Jeter really wants, as we all saw in the Stanton dump/gift. Proof? Look at the three players the Marlins are apparently going to arbitration with, the difference in money is $1,175,000– total! It doesn’t get much cheaper than this:

MLB.com has confirmed JT Realmuto has filed for $3.5 million, while the Marlins’ offer is $2.9 million. Justin Bour’s figure is $3.4 million, with the team countering at $3 million. RHP Dan Straily is seeking $3.55 million, to the team’s $3.375 million. [1]

When you poison the mood of the franchise, by immediately coming in and putting the reigning NL MVP on the trade block, before ever consulting him and his teammates, then you are not respecting the players. When you disrespect longtime fans by summarily dismissing popular announcers & other organizational personnel, then business will suffer. If you then try to hire some of them back after the negative PR backlash, then you haven’t planned anything [2].

Jeter was “The Captain” in the Bronx at shortstop, and pretty much demanded he be given that title from ownership, which George Steinbrenner did– against manager Joe Torre’s advice. Management of the NY Yankees franchise suffered from that point on, as they became married to an expensive and aging SS (a poor defender from the start), who still demanded superstar pay & pampering. Now as Marlins GM & owner, Jeter skinflints three valuable young players in arbitration.

Alex Rodriguez was never allowed to play SS in the Bronx, because of Derek Jeter’s ego, and the Yankees suffered for it, winning only one World Series (2009) while the two were “teammates,” on a roster with annually the highest payroll in baseball. Of course, teammates in any real sense of the term implies support & love for one another, and clearly that was never their relationship. It was always Jeter’s call, since he was the prince of the town, with all his past World Series glory in the bank.

Instead, he chose to be selfish and flex his muscle as “The Captain,” making Alex Rodriguez move to 3B. The Yankees could never fill CF adequately, and still haven’t. A winning team positions it’s players carefully, where they are most valuable; not according to the whims of a star player or media clamoring. Instead of moving to centerfield, like the team needed, Derek Jeter stayed at shortstop and distanced himself from Arod at every turn. If you didn’t see this when it was happening, then you weren’t paying attention.

The Marlins did have a great CF, until Jeter gave him away to the Cardinals. Marcell Ozuna slashed .312/.376/.548 in 2017, worth 5.8 WAR. On December 14, 2017, Derek Jeter flipped two years of Marcell Ozuna under arbitration control for Daniel Castano (minors), Zac Gallen (minors), fringy righty-reliever Sandy Alcantara, and light-hitting lefty outfielder Magneuris Sierra. The two prospects (Castano & Gallen) are middling-to-fringy.

The week before, on December 7, 2017, Jeter traded 2B Dee Gordon along with international bonus slot money to the Seattle Mariners for Robert Dugger (minors), Nick Neidert (minors) and Christopher Torres (minors). Gordon hit .308/.341/.375 with good defense in 2017, good for 3.1 WAR. This was probably Derek Jeter’s best trade so far (not saying much), getting two pitchers and a switching-hitting middle infield prospect. Dee Gordon will be age 30 this April, and is a luxury the Marlins probably can’t afford for the next three seasons. Let’s see how the player development & farm rebuilding pans out for the Marlins.

Of course, a major MLB earthquake occurred on December 11, 2017, when the Marlins dumped RF Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees, who took on $265M out of the $295M owed to him. The Stanton deal was a straight salary dump for the Marlins, and a poorly executed one at that. The Miami Marlins will pay $30M to New York Yankees when Stanton does not opt-out, following the 2020 season. The Marlins also took on $24M for 2B Starlin Castro over the next two seasons, including his buyout after 2019. Expect Jeter to dump Castro, after Yelich & Realmuto. The two “prospects” the Marlins received in the Stanton deal were:

1) RHP Jorge Guzman, about to turn age 22, a starter who never pitched above low-A, with only 162 IP in 3 professional seasons.

2) SS/2B prospect Jose Devers: 1 pro season .245/.336/.342.

This is what the Marlins got for the NL MVP! When Jeter couldn’t get a decent offer for Giancarlo Stanton, he should have taken him off the market and rolled through 2018 with him. Stanton has 10 years left on his deal, so why the rush to trade him? Derek Jeter got a 28-YO poor-fielding 2B with a career line of .282/.320/.413, who is owed $24M through the next 2 seasons in Starlin Castro. Giancarlo Stanton is worth much more than that, even with his backloaded contract. The Marlins desperately need prospects, and got junk. Jeter opted for cash savings, and the Marlins franchise got fleeced. Now Jeter insists anyone else who deals with the Marlins must “overpay.” That’s delusional. How about some solid work instead, Derek Jeter?

Ownership in Miami is short-stacked. Derek Jeter owns 4% non-controlling stake of the team, which means he kicked in ~$50M towards the $1.2B purchase-price for the Marlins. Bruce Sherman is the majority owner, and he put Jeter in charge of the baseball side, with a five year deal worth ~ $50M in salary. Convenient, huh? Jeter has no GM experience. It is clear that this new ownership group overpaid, and is now out of cash. That’s why they dumped the reigning NL MVP to the Yankees. Meanwhile the taxpayers of Miami continue to pay the $1.2B note on the bond to build the new Marlins stadium, which no one wanted– except their owner.  BTW, that stadium debt and the Marlins sale price being identical (at $1.2 billion), is just another coincidence.

While all this looks good for the Marlins bottom line, it hurts their ability to compete & their fan friendliness– immeasurably. Most of this is on Jeffery Loria, as he pumped & dumped the Marlins, but Sherman & Jeter are also at fault for overpaying, and putting themselves in this no-win situation. Under this existing plan, Marlins fans are looking at a 6-8 year rebuild– minimum. If you know anything about this franchise’s past, then you know there won’t be any Marlins fans left by then.

MLB.com Censorship:

Since the Ohtani Affair, everyone who posts on mlb.com lost their screen name, and reclaiming it has been a difficult process for most. I have reclaimed mine, and am no longer “commenter,” like many others– still.  Unfortunately, I am now unable to post a comment:

Even my “Likes” get ghosted!

Fans everywhere have noticed all this, and are starting to figure it out & direct their anger towards those responsible. This is the greatest fear of MLB owners, the corporate media, and the entire political-economic set-up. This is why everything on the Internet is being censored at this point.

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Jacking Around

Each part of this country has their own local color, or regional terminology. In the Midwest, jacking around & drinking beer are part of college life. Jacking around is defined as straight guys getting together and giving each other shit. It’s been going on for eons. Inebriation is a required part of the Midwest version of this primitive male ritual, the object of which is to thicken one’s skin, and weed out the pussies.

It involves getting really personal & obnoxiously in-your-face. It means disrespecting conventional social boundaries. Hence no gays ever last very long at this, as they have too many emotional issues. Feminine perspectives are also disregarded. This is the male equivalent of a bitch-fest.

If you wanna to jack, you gotta strap on a sack, and hang with the business & communications majors (and other rich kids taking easy college classes), who have too much time on their hands. It provides valuable real-world business skills, and is part of the full dormitory & campus experience. For what higher education costs today, you need to realize full value as a student.

Here’s how it goes, imagine a huge keg party with hundreds of underage college kids getting as drunk as possible for $2 or less, until the cops show up. Things are slow (meaning no babes in sight), so maybe you go up to someone in a group, and start jacking around.

After a few brief introductions & friendly toasts, you perhaps insinuate (to another in the group) that their manhood has just been impugned by the person standing next to you. It’s something you just made up on-the-spot, but it’s also based on observation of tendencies and mannerisms. It often gets something going, and you can then confide to the one you’ve implicated, who’s ear is right next to you…

Another party example: someone is pouring their heart out to a group over some horrible misfortune, and when he’s finished and everyone is tear-in-a-beer quiet & sympathetic, you loudly exclaim, “Really? I heard you liked that!”  Once the first bystander laughs, it’s over. Of course, it helps to be a comedian, and you need brass balls. You can get quite a reputation (in a hurry) doing this.

One more. A young girl is puking her guts out into the bushes, with her friend looking after her. Just as she finishes and picks up her head, with vomit hanging off her chin, you ‘help’ by reminding her, “Whatever you do, don’t think about eating greasy pork sandwiches with thick gobs of mayonnaise.” If there’s anything left in her stomach it will come up, and who’s to say you haven’t done her a favor?

When people get drunk, they lose track of what’s going on, as well as control of their inhibitions. A situation can escalate in seconds, and be re-ignited at will by a master jacker. Once both sides are on high-testosterone alert, he can drop in a jack– such as, “Hey, if you wanna let him show you up, and be a pussy, that’s cool with me,” and then back off while shaking your head.  As you drift towards another group, a muscle-headed argument will often erupt in your wake!  You can then offer the new group your version of events, as everyone is interested in first-hand gossip…

Believe me, I was an amateur when I was introduced. My college buddies were merciless on me, and anyone else that tried to compete with them. It is an effective way to manipulate impulsive people, but also very dangerous– which is why people get such a kick out of doing it. The jazz of it can be addicting, as well as fascinating to observe. I mostly went along, participating some, while seeing the dark humor in it, but always disdaining the mean-spirited destructiveness it spawned. The lesson being, you have to stop before it turns cruel, and becomes bad karma.

With that said, there is a perverse (but also healthy) pleasure in making hysterical & self-absorbed people breakdown. They deserve it. Being intelligent, direct & relentless is how to jack. It helps to be resourceful, along with knowing when to stop. It’s usually just after yet another head-case is about to lose it, and you ask them “What’s wrong, you can’t take a jack?”

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Internet Censorship

Once people are made aware of an idea, it can’t be taken back or erased. It’s already out there, as part of collective human knowledge. Censors never understand this elementary fact of social life.

The thing with censorship is, people instinctively are drawn towards what’s blacklisted, therefore it always backfires– in the long run. In politics today, there is no more “long run,” as everything is now measured in milli-second gains & losses. The political game is to keep everyone permanently distracted, until the reaction is ready to strike when the final economic collapse hits.

Therefore breaking through this political blacklist becomes a revolutionary task. There are definite interests, with specific names, who are behind this nefarious campaign. It began as Russian interference & fake news, and has now morphed into a right-wing feminist witch-hunt in the form of #MeToo.

The interest behind every one of these campaigns is the same: to stifle, intimidate & marginalize political dissent. Here’s the latest: Fakebook just announced it will favor cute & cuddly posts, over hard political content. Family values and all that…

Everything flows in the same direction, and it’s no accident. The media is owned by a handful of corporations, and the world is controlled by a few thousand wealthy people & families. That level of inequality is not justifiable, much less sustainable, yet everyone must keep dancing in denial until the music ends.

This time around expect massive wildcat strike action, as the unions can no longer claim to represent the rank-and-file. Everyone one of them has sold out in the name of “corporate partnership.” On campuses around the world there will be unprecedented protest & revolutionary action from dissatisfied students who largely see no future.

These stories are never broadcast or analyzed in the mainstream news. There is virtually no labor coverage in mass media. Workers and their jobs are discussed only abstractly by Wall Street analysts & talking heads, all of whom have no understanding, much less sympathy for the conditions of the great majority. The economy is only measured by the DJIA & NASDAQ.

As one who has been censored for a long time now, let me describe how the process typically unfolds. I publish an idea that is controversial & adversarial to major interests. Most people don’t respond to it, for one of two reasons: 1) They disagree, or 2) They are stunned, and now unsure. This latter group wrestles with it and then carries the idea, so censoring the source won’t contain this new concept. As more people rationalize the idea, the more it shows up in social media, and (eventually) has to be acknowledged in the mass media.

You can’t kill an idea. If you could, Marxism & Trotskyism would have perished decades ago. They live because of their power, in that they reveal social & economic truths which we must grasp and use, otherwise we are a doomed species. Fascism is preparing it’s coup d’état, and the deep state has it’s own designs on power– in the form of removing Donald Trump from office on the 25th amendment, citing mental incompetence.

Once again, no one denies Donald Trump is an imbecilic, racist sociopath. The point is, the two-party system, the banks & corporate America allowed him to win the Electoral College. Any system that does that is bankrupt. They only admit it now, because they realize what a disaster Trump is. The ruling establishment wants the public to forget their own dirty roles in aiding his electoral victory.

These ideas are out there, and the sentiment for them is only growing stronger. Hollywood’s hold on the population is also slipping, and the #MeToo campaign has revealed its hypocrisy. While claiming to represent the ideals of women everywhere, they only represent themselves. The problem for them is that people can now get on social media, and call them out in forums and on their Fakebook & Twitter pages. Other fans see this, and are thus influenced. The same is true for sports and the rest.

You can’t really censor the Internet, without shutting it down completely, and no one wants that. There’s too much sharing, which is happening very quickly. These fresh ideas and innovations are what keep us alive, and excited about living. The censors are always a step or two behind, but when their hammer comes down, it hurts.

The people controlling the Internet are those who own the social media platforms & online distribution: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates & Jeff Bezos are among the richest people in the world. They work with the NSA, FBI, CIA and any other government agencies, to give them whatever they demand. At this point, that means near-total blacklisting of any voices of dissent.

People stopped watching the evening news and buying newspapers long ago, and the reason is– they don’t believe in it anymore. The more any idea is blacklisted, the more exotic & alluring it becomes– especially when truth is no longer allowed in the official media. Once the revolutionary rubber meets the road, and the working class organizes against this treachery, the possibilities become limitless, as this is the last defense of a dying capitalist system. There are no more ideological barriers, once this blacklist is exposed. At that point it becomes an open fight to the death– socialism vs annihilation.

The job of socialists is to be as active as possible in learning, teaching and organizing. Once again the Internet provides many vehicles for this purpose, and is only limited by your imagination & time. Censorship can and will be defeated, by active & relentless exposure. This means tracing it all the way back to its sources, and holding everyone accountable to the end. That’s what is known as a socialist revolution, and the dialectics of censorship.

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Power Couples & Brain Drain

Danica Patrick & Aaron Rodgers (QB– Green Bay Packers), are dating. Have you heard?  It keeps showing up in my online news feeds, so I suppose I must comment. For the record, I am a fan of both of them. I don’t like the NFL, just as I despise NASCAR, as both are fronts for capitalist hypocrisy– like the rest of sports & entertainment. As a socialist, I always support the workers who create the actual value. Sports are entertainment, and athletes are the performers we pay to watch. When our needs are met, we all like to be entertained.

Fact: Both of these world-class athletes have had numerous concussions in their careers.  “Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR?” is the most-read piece on this site. Published in the spring of 2016, a few YouTube videos I used as evidence, have since been taken down by their owners. I’ve left everything alone, as everything stands up, while illustrating the progression of reaction [1].

Danica Patrick has been wrecked so often, and so violently, that she surely has a level of CTE. Her behavior at the end of the 2017 season betrayed an inability to process reality, namely that her career was ending [2]. The word around the track was that she often exploded with a torrent of expletives.  Many blow-it-off as her being a superstar, and snapping under the pressure. But it’s on top of the repeated concussions she received, that puts everything into context. The point is, she was never intentionally wrecked in Indycar, compared to the way she has been viciously taken out of races in NASCAR. She’s likely suffered brain damage from this, but no one will admit it– or even comment on it. Except me [3].

Keep in mind that Daytona & Talladega Superspeedways are the two most dangerous race tracks in the world [4]. Danica Patrick rarely even finishes those races anymore. Her last run in NASCAR is to be this year’s Daytona 500, their signature event. This mass insanity is the Super Bowl kick-off to NASCAR’s premier series, which is losing sponsorship by the second. In this sense, NASCAR is grateful to have Danica one last time, until the race actually starts that is. Then NASCAR wants her out– ASAP. Nothing shrivels up NASCAR faster than Danica running up front.

In 2017, corporate sponsors insisted on a staged-race format, which allowed more TV timeouts for advertisers & the networks [5]. It’s so interesting to hear them talk, while the race is stopped, just for them. Of course, fans universally hated it, but have been told they have no choice but to agree, as television money is the only thing keeping NASCAR from bankrupting itself [6].

Owned & run by the France family since its inception, NASCAR prospered during the post-war boom, and became a trademark of pride in the South. Since the mid-1990’s, it has been forced to expand into other US markets, in order to find the money. NASCAR die-hards don’t get excited about races in Chicago, Kansas, Las Vegas & California; but that’s where NASCAR’s owners built the new tracks for its premier series.

I don’t write much about the NFL, because I feel I covered it already in two pieces I published in 2015, just before the Ray Rice incident hit the media [7]. Nothing has changed, in terms of the NFL (or the NFLPA) in getting better, so the final score on that piece remains: Ric Size– 256,  NFL– 3  [8].  Jan Stenerud (and too many others) were just too great, otherwise I had a shut-out. I tip my helmet to all the players, for their toughness, while being sympathetic to the pain & injustices they’ve had to endure from their owners and the league.

As I mentioned in that piece, Aaron Rodgers is a HoF QB. As of this publication, he is still recovering from a gruesome collar bone injury he sustained during the 2017 NFL season. I recall him appearing on a late-night talk show soon after he had surgery, claiming he had 13 screws in his shoulder, and was narced up on opioid painkillers [9]. That’s life in the NFL, boys & girls. Whatever he gets paid, it’s probably not enough, as 80+% of NFL players are broke 5 years after they retire [10].

As for brand Danica, she always finds a way to hustle the money. That largely defines her, and it’s why she manages her image so carefully. Her retirement campaign slogan is “1000 Miles,” in that she plans to run Daytona in February, which will cap her NASCAR career, and then run the Indianapolis 500— one last time. The rumor is she will do this with Chip-Gnassi Racing, but nothing has been made official yet. Therefore it may, or may not happen– we still don’t really know?

Here it is on her site [11]:

02.18.18 Daytona 500 Daytona Intl. Speedway FOX – 2:30 PM

05.27.18 Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway ABC – 12:00 PM

I hope it happens, but I don’t expect her to get to 1000 miles. She always seems to get wrecked at the Daytona 500, just check the records & review the video. She’s been wrecked in qualifying & practice there, mostly by Denny Hamlin. Joe Gibbs Racing targets her, and she no longer has the protection of Stewart Haas Racing, or her “boyfriend” Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. I put that intimate term in quotation marks here, because I never saw anything but a relationship of convenience between those two. Many NASCAR fans will be interested to hear what Stenhouse has to say at Daytona. Honestly, I’ve seen & heard enough already.

Personally, I hope Danica Patrick sponsors herself at Daytona, as she has plenty of product in her clothing line, winery, etc… If it’s your last run, do it for yourself– I say. She can surely afford it. Aspen Dental was her primary sponsor in 2017, and they are a criminal corporate enterprise, which is starting to negatively impact her brand [12]. That’s when things get serious for her. These are the most-interesting storylines, for me.

Mostly I only hope she doesn’t get wrecked. At least it’s not Talladega, which is the most dangerous track in the world [13].  My final thoughts on safety at both those tracks is for all their races to become road course design. You can run part of the lap on the fast track, then divert to road course to spill the drivers out somewhere else up the track. This would eliminate the all-dangerous draft, which happens when cars build up speed lap-after-lap on a super-speedway, especially as they run together. These death tracks becomes two long lines of cars separated by mere inches going ~200 MPH, while surging forwards & backwards. Mayhem ensues when someone (inevitably) bumps someone or goes three-wide at the wrong time, usually in a corner. This road course innovation would also eliminate the hated restrictor plate.

I’m more excited to see Patrick finish (for real) at the Indianapolis 500. For those who don’t know, this happens every Memorial Day weekend, as it’s a big event in racing– worldwide. The Indianapolis 500 is much bigger than anything NASCAR puts on, as they run their Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on the same day. Their goal is to claim superiority at their new home track, on mileage, if not in quality of the race. Note that when NASCAR last ran at Indianapolis, they ended up cutting the race short– due to reckless incompetence & impending darkness [14].

Danica Patrick will go down as one of the all-time great drivers, simply for surviving her career. Her skills behind the wheel are elite, and can’t be measured by her finishes– especially in NASCAR. She faced obstacles no other competitor ever had to face. Perhaps her greatest contribution will be her part in exposing the hypocrisy that is NASCAR, and it’s broadcast partners in the media. Her fans were shell-shocked for the longest time, until something [?] woke them up.

Danica Patrick was never (& still isn’t) allowed to say how she really feels about everything that’s happened to her, as the sponsors have her under contract. When she wrecks, they make more money. Parading across the finish line in 23rd place doesn’t have the same effect. You understand, pardner?  Her fans now understand all this much better.

In many ways, Danica Patrick & Aaron Rodgers are trading in their brains for all the money they can get now. This is only natural, as they both are still smart enough to know they are probably going to need the money. But what about their brains? Note that these are the winners, whom everyone admires. No one sees anything else, because no one actually cares about them as people. Few of us think outside ourselves, in the context of the greater hypocrisy that is capitalism. This new couple is simply presented as the best of capitalism, personified.

They are only admired & coveted because they are beautiful & rich. Too many people still want this for themselves, not realizing that the existing economic set-up is unsustainable. I hope Patrick & Rodgers stay together and take care of each other, even if they become afflicted & poor. They are going to need each other. Others need to realize that, and what all this means.

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