San Diego Padres: Bullpen Management & Draft Notes

The Padres have the most unique and effective bullpen in MLB, and it’s starting to turn heads. Padres manager Andy Green is as good as it gets in the dugout, and with the media. No one manages a bullpen or 25-man roster better. The Padres are currently 29th in OBP, 27th in SLG, 25th in runs scored, and 18th in total ERA. The only reason they are hanging around in the tough NL West (currently 34-38, 6.5 GB of ARZ) is because of Andy Green (below) and their unique bullpen. Let’s break it down.

On April 8, 2016 San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller claimed LHP Brad Hand off waivers from Miami Marlins (GM: Mike Hill). This happened just before Preller started trading his entire rotation, closer, and anything else he could dump. Brad Hand was available at the that trade deadline, and in 2017, but no fair offers came. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, as Brad Hand (1.78 ERA, 35.1 IP, 21 saves) is now a relief ace and premium closer– under a team-friendly contract with a club option through 2021. Any MLB GM will tell you that is a championship-winning piece to the puzzle. His value may never be higher, but there’s no reason to trade him.

Right-handed set-up man Craig Stammen (above) was acquired on December 23, 2016 as a minor-league free agent, and invited to spring training. He performed and made the 25-man roster, and has been one of Andy Green’s most valuable bullpen pieces in complementing Brad Hand. He’s age 34 with a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 IP so far in 2018. Craig Stammen in 2017 had a 3.14 ERA in 80.1 IP for the Padres. He’s paid $2.25M/yr for 2018 & 2019. He’s a huge bargain in high-leverage situations– exactly where you need it.

On April 26, 2017 the San Diego Padres claimed RHP Kirby Yates (above) off waivers from Los Angeles Angels. Padres fans LOVE this guy! So far in 2018: 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 27.0 IP, with 2 saves. He’s pre-Arb2, with a salary of $1M in 2018. Andy Green sometimes uses Brad Hand in the 8th inning of a tight game, because that’s the match-up advantage or whatever.

Making the closer slot fluid, increases competitiveness in the bullpen. “Closer by committee” is an old-school baseball phrase, but this is something different. The Padres aren’t rotating their closer because they don’t have a reliable finisher, it’s because they have multiple guys capable of closing. This is very similar to the Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” bullpen that won them a World Series in 1990. Kirby Yates is age 31, yet another Padres Arb2 player making $1M in 2018, and can’t be a free agent until 2021– at the earliest.

Righty side-armer (above) Adam Cimber (2018: 3-2, 2.52 ERA, 35.2 IP) is a guy the Padres actually drafted back in 2013, before AJ Preller became GM. But Padres fans know that the previous regime would have gotten rid of this guy long ago, and he’d be helping another team win games. Luckily for the Padres, new management understands the value of a good bullpen in high-leverage situations. It’s the difference between winning & losing a lot of games. Adam Cimber turns age 28 on August 15, and is Arb1, making the league-minimum salary of $545,000.

Rookie LHP José Castillo was acquired as part of the blockbuster Wil Myers deal with the Rays & the Nationals on December 19, 2014. This was AJ Preller’s signature deal as a rookie GM of the San Diego Padres. The key guy Preller gave up was SS Trea Turner to the Nationals. José Castillo is age 22 with electric stuff. He’s just been added to the bullpen, and so far in 2018 he’s 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP (4 games) with 12 K’s. San Diego Padres also sent C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith and 1B Jake Bauers to Tampa in that deal.

As the trading deadline loomed last summer, on July 24, 2017 the Padres traded Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter and RHP Trevor Cahill to the Kansas City Royals for cash, 2B Esteury Ruiz, LHP’s Matt Strahm and Travis Wood.  Matt Strahm (above) and Ruiz were considered the booty in the deal for the Padres, as Travis Wood was released; then he got hurt in Spring Training with the Tigers and is probably finished in MLB. Cahill was a Padres rental, and Mauer & Buchter were fungible.

LHP Matt Strahm (2018 so far: 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP) was envisioned as a potential starter, but he’s still working his way back from a knee injury that he sustained with the Royals. The Padres have used him effectively as a long reliever and their “bullpen starter.” The bullpen start has gotten a lot of notice, especially in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have been forced to start a reliever repeatedly.

The plan for Andy Green is typically to have LHP Matt Strahm go through the line-up once, then bring in a right-handed long reliever to bridge to the “real” bullpen. An advantage of a bullpen start is that it prevents the opposition from stacking their lineup for the righty/lefty match-up advantage.

The Padres have had to use “bullpen starts” because they don’t have enough reliable starters. Teams are supposed to have five starters for a rotation. Most teams today don’t have even four reliable starters, and the Padres are among them. They actually have only two: RHP Tyson Ross & LHP Clayton Richard.

The rest of their “starters” include rookie LHP Eric Lauer who is 3-4, 6.20 ERA in 45 IP in 10 starts with a 1.98 WHIP. Eric Lauer was the Padres top pick in 2016 (#25 overall) out of Kent State, and just turned age 23. He has been rushed up to the majors due to injuries & poor performances, including: RHP Dinelson Lamet (TJ surgery), RHP Luis Perdomo (ineffective, optioned to minors), LHP Joey Lucchesi (DL- hip injury), and RHP Colin Rea (TJ surgery recovery from his one start while with the Marlins in 2016).

Taking a closer look at these numbers reveals a secret behind Andy Green’s success in managing this staff. Eric Lauer (below) has 10 starts with only 45 IP, for a 6.20 ERA. Eric Lauer typically only pitches 4-5 innings, and gives up 3 runs. That’s not good, but it’s not a disaster either. It would be a disaster if Andy Green tried to push Lauer another inning or two. Then those games would get out-of-Hand [!], giving him no chance to use his effective relievers in a situation that matters. By pulling his struggling starters early, or going to a bullpen start; Andy Green keeps the damage to a minimum which gives his team a chance to rally. In baseball, this is called being an outstanding manager, with an excellent “feel” for his team.

On August 1, 2017 RHP Jordan Lyles was released by the Colorado Rockies, and a week later AJ Preller grabbed him. The Padres had priority on NL waivers claims at the time, due to their poor record in 2016. This is just another example of how AJ Preller acquires talent outside-the-box. The Padres have used Lyles in 2018 as a their fill-in 4th starter; so far 2-3, 4.83 ERA in 20 games, seven of them starts. He’s pitched 59.2 innings, which averages 3 innings per appearance. This is the same situation as Eric Lauer, in that Jordan Lyles eats innings, but gets pulled early. This is because winning baseball theory says, “If you leave a 5.00+ ERA pitcher in too long, you lose.”

LHP Robbie Erlin (above) is another organizational soldier who has recovered from Tommy John surgery. Erlin was originally acquired from the Texas Rangers back in 2011 for righty set-up man Mike Adams. Robbie Erlin bombed as a starter in his few opportunities he had earlier this year, but he has found a niche as a lefty longman out of Andy Green’s bullpen. Overall, Robbie Erlin in 2018 is 1-3, with a 4.05 ERA in 40.0 IP and a WHIP of 1.05. His 19 appearances include 2 disaster starts which ballooned his ERA. Robbie Erlin has been very valuable during the bullpen starts, and in long relief.

The only thing left on the current Padres pitching staff (above) are RHP’s Bryan Mitchell & Phil Hughes. On December 12, 2017 the New York Yankees traded 3B Chase Headley, RHP Bryan Mitchell and cash to San Diego Padres for RF Jabari Blash. Blash was quickly DFA’d by the Yankees. This deal was made because 1) the Yankees needed to get under the salary cap as they were about to acquire Giancarlo Stanton; and 2) Padres GM AJ Preller liked RHP Bryan Mitchell.

The Padres took an Chase Headley’s $13M contract for 2018, in the hopes they could squeeze a year out of him and gain a potential starter (Mitchell) in the process. Headley bombed and was DFA’d by the Padres after a slow start, and Bryan Mitchell appears to have serious mechanical issues that are limiting his effectiveness. So far in 2018 Bryan Mitchell is 0 -3, with a 7.08 ERA in 48.1 IP. If that isn’t corrected, then this deal will be a $13M bust for the Padres. This only proves that no one wins them all as a GM in MLB.

Phil Hughes was acquired from the Twins on May 27, 2018 for minor-league C Janigson Villalobos. Twins are paying all of Phil Hughes $13.2M salary in 2018. In 2019 Hughes earns $13,200,000, of which only $5.95M will be paid by San Diego Padres. This deal was made by AJ Preller so he could acquire the 74th pick in this year’s amateur draft, and extra pool money.

Compensation picks are now tradeable in MLB, which is new. Unsurprisingly, AJ Preller was the first to take advantage of this new development, and get an advantage for his franchise. The Padres used this pick from the Twins in the “Competitive Balance B” section of the draft to take OF Grant Little from Texas Tech, with the 74th overall selection. The Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick to the Kansas City Royals for signing unrestricted free agent 1B Eric Hosmer, so this deal made up for that lost draft pick. Nothing is more valuable in MLB than young talent, and AJ Preller (below) knows it.  So far in 2018 with the Padres Phil Hughes is 0-0, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP.

DL Note: Phil Maton is a righty set-up guy the Padres drafted in 2015. His 2018 numbers are 0-0, 0.56 ERA in 16.0 IP, with 17 K’s. Maton is currently on the DL with a right lat strain, and pitching in AA (San Antonio) for rehabilitation. The Padres will get him back after the All Star break at the latest, probably sending Jose Castillo down, as Bryan Mitchell and Phil Hughes can’t be optioned.

And finally… Carter Capps was the Marlins wipe-out closer in 2015, until his elbow snapped, necessitating Tommy John surgery. He was dealt to the Padres during his recovery in the controversial “Cashout” deal. On July 29, 2016 the San Diego Padres traded RHP’s Andrew Cashner & Colin Rea, with RHP-prospect Tayron Guerrero and cash to Miami Marlins for RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps, RHP Luis Castillo and 1B Josh Naylor. This deal has been discussed & analyzed in detail here.

Anyways the prize of the deal for the Padres was Carter Capps, whom they expected to return to form in 2017 as an elite closer after rehabbing his reconstructed right elbow. The problem was (and now forever is) that his delivery to home was an illegal motion. He was hopping off the mound, then replanting his back foot before firing home. This made him unhittable, as his ERA in 2015 was 1.16 in 31.0 IP before he got hurt.

MLB (finally) ruled in Spring Training of 2017, that Carter Capps’ delivery was illegal. Much of this can be seen as extended punishment of AJ Preller by the Eastern Establishment. That aside, the Padres have tried everything to change Capps’ delivery while keeping him effective, but nothing has worked. He’s about to turn age 28, and he’s still getting rocked in the minors. He’s making ~ $1.3M this year, with one more year of arbitration before free agency.

The blame for all this lies with the Miami Marlins, who allowed this pitcher to come through their system with an illegal motion. The Atlanta Braves correctly challenged his delivery in a game, shortly before his was disabled, but were rebuked by the umpires. MLB never acted upon any of this nonsense, until the Padres acquired him. Then it was pronounced illegal. Talk about nullifying a deal by judicial fiat?!!

PADRES 2018 DRAFT SIGNEES (as of this publication)

3 | SS Owen Miller (Illinois St.)
4 | RHP Dylan Coleman (Missouri St.)
5 | OF Dwanya Williams-Sutton (East Carolina)
7 | OF Jawuan Harris (Rutgers)
8 | RHP Steven Wilson (Santa Clara)
9 | 2B Luke Becker (Kentucky)
11 | C Nick Gatewood (Georgia St.)
14 | RHP Erik Sabrowski (Cloud County CC)
16 | C Michael Curry (Georgia)
20 | RHP Reiss Kneher (Fordham)
21 | OF Mason Fox (Gardner-Webb)
22 | RHP Payton Smith (Strom Thurmond HS, S.C.)
25 | 2B Lee Solomon (Lipscomb)
26 | LHP Tyler Mortensen (Davis HS, Calif.)
27 | RHP Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg)
31 | RHP Jake Sims (Saint Leo)
32 | LHP Cody Tyler (Wichita St.)
33 | C Rainier Aguilar (Redlands)
39 | RHP Seth Mayberry (Dinwiddie County HS, Va.)

Draft Notes: Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick in compensation for signing free agent Eric Hosmer. The Kansas City Royals used this 34th overall pick on Daniel Lynch, a LHP from the University of Virginia whose suggested slot value is $2,066,700.

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The worst free-agent signing of the off-season was Alex Cobb (4/$57M) to the Orioles, inked at the end of spring training (March 21, 2018). Alex Cobb was the last “big-name” starting pitcher on the market, and the O’s were desperate. So far for Cobb: 2-8, 7.23 ERA, 56.0 IP.

The Orioles also forfeited their 2nd-round pick to the Rays in this deal. The Rays then selected #31 overall, and took LHP Shane McClanahan out of South Florida, whose slot value is $2,224,400. In a free agent market that had completely collapsed for all but the very best players, this was about as bad a deal as a franchise could make. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, the owner can’t be fired. He needs to be forced to sell.

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The Padres have signed 19 of their 2018 draft picks, including six of their top 11 selections. They have until July 6 to sign these remaining selections:

1st Round: #7 overall Ryan Weathers LHP from Loretto (TN) HS, whose slot value is $5,226,500. Money isn’t a problem for this organization anymore, as this signing is imminent. Ryan is the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers.

Competitive Balance A: #38 overall Xavier Edwards SS North Broward Prep (FL) HS

Competitive Balance B: #74 overall (acquired from Twins) Grant Little, OF from Texas Tech

6th Round: #171 overall Alexuan Vega, LHP, Leonides Morales Rodriguez HS, San German, Puerto Rico

10th Round: #291 overall Jose Quezada, RHP, Texas Tech; this selection was a gamble as he’s a fourth-year senior with a lot of tools. Padres are trying to be creative with their bonus money to sign him. He’s a teammate of the Padres Competitive B selection, Grant Little, discussed above.

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MLB Umpiring Notes: It’s difficult enough for a last-place, west coast team to go on a 10-games-in-10-days east coast road-trip, and beat a 1st-place team. It becomes nearly impossible, when the umpiring is fixed.

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San Diego Padres In -Season Report

These were the top free-agent pitchers available last winter and who actually won.

Hu Darvish: signed with Cubs 6yr/$126M, so far: 1-3, 4.95 ERA, 40 IP; currently on the DL with right triceps tendinitis with no timetable for his return.

Jake Arrieta: signed with the Phillies 3yr/$75M. so far: 5-4, 2.95 ERA, 69.2 IP; he’s been the best performer of all the free-agent pitchers. He’s still an injury risk.

Lance Lynn: signed with the Twins 1yr/$12M, so far: 4-4, 5.08 ERA, 62.0 IP; wasted money for the Twins, but not a disaster deal.

Alex Cobb: signed with the Orioles on March 21 [!] for 4yr/$57M, so far: 2-7, 6.19 ERA, 52.1 IP; this was an inexplicable waste of money as everyone stayed away from him, but that’s Peter Angelos– see also Chris Davis.

Sidenote: Orioles should release 1B/DH Chris Davis (.152/.232/.232), which would be addition by subtraction. He’s age-32 and a sunk cost, so “hoping” for things to turn around is futile. It’s hard to eat over $100M, but that’s the best thing the Orioles can do, if they are concerned about making themselves better, and they should be. This is the worst team in MLB, by far. The Chris Davis contract compares to the Pujols (Angels) & A-Rod (Yankees) albatrosses, and is probably actually worse. His best season under this 7-year deal at ($23M/per) was 2016: .221/.332/.459 in 665 PA. This is all on owner Peter Angelos, of course.

On December 27, 2017 Padres GM AJ Preller inked RHP Tyson Ross (above) to a 1yr/$1.75M deal, so far: 5-3, 3.43 ERA, 76 IP; this was the best free-agent pitcher signing of the off-season. Jake Arrieta has been better, but he costs 15x more money. For GM’s it’s about finding value and properly allocating resources. You can’t do better than what the Padres got here, and they really needed it.

Padres also signed 1B Eric Hosmer 8yr/$144M, who has been an invaluable addition. Without Hosmer, the Padres are at least 10 GB, instead of the 5.5 they currently sit. It’s the leadership he brings with the performance, as Padres fans now understand why Royals fans hated to see him go. This guy is a winner, and was the best position player available last winter in free-agency.

The fact that the Padres are still in last place despite these helpful additions, only proves how far back they actually were. This organization has been rebuilt from the ground, since the in-season sell-off of 2016. People are starting to see how this could be a dangerous team, as they have the best farm system in baseball, with a few interesting pieces at the MLB level.

Media rumors about the upcoming trade deadline (7/31) have again floated Padres closer Brad Hand (above) as an acquisition target for a championship contender. This is the same situation as last year, and the year before– actually. If a team is serious about upgrading their bullpen, then it’s Brad Hand. No one else is even close to his value. So far, no one has been willing to pay the Padres what he’s worth.

In 2018: 32.1 IP, 1.95 ERA, 50 K’s, 1.021 WHIP, with 18 saves. This is your basic wipe-out lefty, who gets stronger as the season progresses. Everyone covets that. Salary: $4M in 2018, then $7M, $7.6M; and the option for 2021 is $10M, with $1M buyout. This was yet another great move by AJ Preller this past winter, and he will sell only if the price is right. Until then, Brad Hand will continue to make manager Andy Green’s job easier, and the Padres look better than they really are. I believe Brad Hand is staying in San Diego.

The Padres have one of the best bullpens in MLB, and a manager who knows how to use it. That’s why they’ve been able to hang around in the NL West. Bullpens are really important, and still underrated & misunderstood by most. Today, most games are won or lost by the bullpens. Starting pitching is valuable when it performs and rests the bullpen. There aren’t a whole lot of those starters left, hence this bullpen revolution in MLB.

No one expects the Padres to seriously compete in 2018, but their dugout and front office haven’t given up on the season either. What’s going on is a constant evaluation process in which management is trying to figure out who their best young players are, and which ones they can trade. Roster management and protecting from the Rule 5 Draft are now issues for the Padres. GM AJ Preller thinks way ahead of everybody on these things, so expect him to make to deals before the deadline.

AJ Preller and company have assembled plenty of talent, so the focus is now on player development & injury management. The Padres drafted another LHP in the 1st Round of the June amateur draft, selecting Ryan Weathers a high-schooler, and the son of David Weathers former MLB pitcher. The Padres have more premium pitching talent than any farm system in baseball, and just added to it. If it is kept healthy and develops on track, then the Padres will be a force in the NL West by 2019, 2020 at the latest.

Meanwhile, this is a (mostly) young team that makes lots of mistakes, but doesn’t quit. They aren’t a good team, but they aren’t a joke either, and that’s an improvement. The energy is there, the brains are there, and the talent is coming. Padres fans are excited in ways they’ve never been before, and we’re talking about a franchise with a 50-year history.

They actually have a farm system and a plan to succeed long-term, based on home-grown talent. This never existed before AJ Preller was hired in 2014, and it’s all the difference in the world. Fans don’t mind watching a young scrappy last-place team, that they believe will get better over time. But fans won’t tolerate an old, overpaid team tanking into oblivion, with no hope for next year– see the 2018 Orioles.

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Hashbag & Bashtag Campaigns

By now everyone has heard about the byebyebikini campaign for the 2019 Miss America pageant, which has been instituted by the MeToo-ers.

Also the “evening gown” competition has been changed, to allow the contestants to wear whatever they choose. The organizers claim this will allow the contestants to better display their talent in representing Miss America.

Of course, “talent” for women means their ability to make a man get a hard-on, and then satisfying his whims. All this leads to the obvious question: what if a contestant chooses to come out IN A BIKINI!?! It could be a winning move, considering her talent.

Final point: you can’t remove the bikini from the optional wardrobe section of the Miss America competition, without taking away a woman’s right to choose. Checkmate

Nothing irritates these hysterical brainless hashbags more than being mated without their consent.

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Free Julian Assange Now!!

Julian Assange has been a political prisoner for nearly eight years. For the past six years, he has been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, under conditions that have deteriorated into cruel & inhumane confinement. Julian Assange has committed no crime. He is being persecuted for exposing the crimes of the global ruling class- primarily those of the US & UK.

This attack campaign began with sensationalist rape charges in November 2010, by Swedish authorities on behalf of two women with which Assange had been intimate. These initial allegations have since been revoked by the accusers, after they were proven to be false and part of a frame-up. The criminal case has been dismissed by Swedish authorities, yet Assange’s detention continues– as the US/UK deep states are the motor forces behind silencing Assange.

This video, titled “Collateral Murder” forever earned Assange (& Wikileaks) the enmity of US imperialism. After viewing this footage, most people around the world responded with shock & horror. It’s instructive to notice how liberal apologists (CBS here) respond with blathering nonsense such as, “It’s important for all of us to remember; it was a hectic, violent, and uneasy day…”

Julian Assange can only liberated from this sadistic punishment through a direct assault on the institutions that are imprisoning him. The US government-military-corporate-intelligence apparatus has worked together to censor opposition to his illegal detention, while slandering him in the media. These corrupt bastions of reaction must been courageously confronted, ruthlessly exposed, and finally smashed.

This offensive against fascism must be relentless & global. Every government of every nation has abandoned Julian Assange and shifted to the right, and thus his only political ally is a united international working class armed with a program of revolutionary socialism.

Everyone who freely lives & breathes needs to join this fight, as Julian Assange has represented those who didn’t have a voice. Therefore, it is now our turn to speak up and act in his behalf, as he personifies the yearning for freedom that burns inside all of those who resist oppression, and strive for peace & equality.

Haters, Step Aside!

Free Julian Assange!!

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Beauty, Athletics & Revolution

Introduction: This piece was intended as a one-off, but turned into a serial– due to circumstances. Once again, I injected myself into the narrative, and dominated discussion through persuasive & convincing analysis of the facts. In the end it got ugly, as it’s the money that turns beauty into disgrace.

There is a shift in how retiring from professional sports is viewed, and the reason is women. That’s exciting in itself, because there is no better reason. There are now female athletes who are international superstars, and that never existed in numbers before. What began in US Women’s Soccer during World Cup 1999, was the beginning of a cultural change in sports. More young girls play sports, and play seriously- which I know is an oxymoron.

The point is women now command a place in televised sports, and they certainly have owned social media since its inception. This is a powerful coalescence of nature & technology. Glamorous superstars such as Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, Serena & Venus Williams have marketing power that will endure long after they leave their sports.

Take Maria Sharapova, who two years ago was banned from professional tennis for taking meldonium, which had just been quietly outlawed by the WTA & WADA. She lost all her sponsors overnight, and was vilified in the media for months.

Until her return over a year-and-a half later at the US Open in 2017, where she was the lead story of the tournament. Few remember that Sloane Stephens actually won the tournament on the women’s side, because it’s all about marketing power & appeal for the women. We ask women athletes to always be ravishing, smiling, gracious & victorious– in that order. That’s all we ask.

Staying with women’s tennis, the French Open has advanced to the second round as of this publication. The story of this tournament is the return of Serena Williams, after a year-and-a-half absence– due to giving birth and ensuing medical complications. The expectations for her are different now at age 36, as even she realizes winning the tournament is probably not possible, and motherhood is her priority.

But she’s a great champion, and that mentality says as long as you can stand on two legs and hold a racket, then compete in the Majors until retiring. So it’s a situation where she’s no longer the overwhelming favorite to win, but instead the fan favorite. Women have options available to them, that men don’t, simply due to biology. This is revolutionary in that it’s changing the rules for the athletes transitioning into retirement & their new lives. Male athletes will eventually adapt and catch up, due to their competitive nature.

Danica Patrick is a most-recent example of this phenomena of which I speak. The racing icon crashed out of the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, which was her final race. Her last several seasons in NASCAR were painful for her and her fans. She was repeatedly, intentionally & viciously wrecked. But does her lack of winning results on the track affect her popularity or appeal? Not in the least. This woman will be in demand for a long time. Consider what I posted 5-29-18 on Facebook, concerning Danica Patrick and this phenomena:

I am being blocked, censored & blacklisted by the government-military-intelligence-corporate complex; yet “Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often In NASCAR?” went viral- again. Everyone is looking for perspective now that she is retired, and this piece hits the mark. I don’t bother to edit it, even though some of the YouTube videos have been taken down. In its own way, that is confirmation on the points I made, as the haters who own the videos don’t want it used against their Danica-hating agenda.

I wrote this piece because I didn’t want to see her get killed. I believe this went a long ways towards educating fans on what was going on, which protected her from the haters who were having their way for the longest time. ESPN was clueless on Danica Patrick’s NASCAR run, until this was published. This piece resonates because people get emotional about beautiful women. People (myself included) get very angry at haters who have no respect.

I can only thank Danica Patrick (whom I’ve never met), for exposing me to so many people!

I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it again, as it is really important to understand: beautiful women rule the world. Everyone wants love, so beautiful women own all the straight men & the lesbians. The gay men must follow, because these women capture all the men. The less beautiful & older women are always jealous, but follow just the same. There is nothing else.

So women are figuring out new ways to leave their athletic careers, and still be relevant in the world. I see this leading into exciting new directions in the post-career health of professional athletes. For too long, sports has been solely the domain of men, who left their games crippled & concussed. Thus they were discarded, because they no longer had use value.

Men will have to learn to temper their competitive instincts better, especially in the second-halves of their careers, to reap these benefits that women are claiming. Fans can usually forgive transgressions of youth, but they expect champions (in particular), to learn how to behave and be gracious in victory, as well as defeat.

Fans also are tired of the doping, and the lying & manipulations that allow them to get away with it– for a time. These obsessive & unhealthy practices never endear athletes to sports fans. PED use always ends in shame & injuries, with ensuing medical complications; yet there is still a group of holdout jocks that insist they are correct. They always hide their illicit immorality, and that’s why their dangerous myths must be exposed.

Today, more than ever, the fan/celebrity relationship is an interactive one. When fans & athletes are correctly understanding all these issues, sports becomes more watchable & less cynical. The reporting & commenting becomes more nuanced & informative. Everyone has more fun.

We as a society value women differently, for better & worse. The better part is they have the power to move in their own direction and make everyone follow. If it’s a good direction, then everyone (men included) benefit from their gains. That is the revolutionary power & potential of women is sports today. We choose to move in this direction when we give these pioneers our support.

Postscript– 2018 French Open, 3rd & 4th Round:

Posted June 3, 2018 on Fakebook:

Venus & Serena Williams lost their doubles match today at Roland-Garros 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0. After Serena won her 3rd-Round match yesterday, she could have bailed on doubles to save herself for Maria Sharapova on Monday– but she didn’t. Serena Williams played because you don’t leave your sister (and fans) hanging, and that marks a great champion with integrity.

Posted June 4, 2018:

Update June 5, 2018 (11:30 AM ET):

Serena Williams is getting an MRI on her torn chest muscles today. The mismanagement of Serena’s health post-partum, has been scandalous from a fan perspective. When she lost badly on the hard-courts earlier this year, Serena and her camp were forced to admit that she had “tried to come back too soon.” Now she tears her pectoral muscle after a last-minute decision to play in the French Open, but no one will step-up and admit she came back too soon– again!

Serena Williams’ “comeback” has been aborted by short-sighted ignorance in sports medicine. It’s time for everyone involved here, to wake up & look at reality with an objective eye. Serena’s drop in serve velocity from 110 MPH to 80 MPH was the most damning red flag that was ignored.

As Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou has a responsibility to protect her from abuse. The serve in tennis is the same motion as pitching a baseball. Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw just went on the DL after pitching in a game where his fastball dropped nearly 5% from its normal velocity. Serena Williams’ serve dropped nearly 30%, yet she was left in her doubles match, with tape [!] over her torn pectoral muscle.

It was Mouratoglou who was pushing this French Open return for Serena from the start, when she was nowhere near ready. Whether she could have made a real comeback later will be debated among sports fans, you can bet.

Injuries are now stacking up on Serena Williams, and all their “plans” have only made things worse. There are entirely too many people in the Williams’ camp that are vicariously living their dreams of sports glory through her. What a shame.

If this is the end for Serena Williams’ professional career, then she at least died a warrior’s death. The greatest women’s tennis player had to retire to Maria Sharapova. Isn’t it ironic…?

Since I’m covering the French Open, here are my thoughts on the men’s side, and how champions separate themselves. First, I predict Rafa Nadal will win his 11th French Open title [!] this week.That is an unbreakable record to which he keeps adding. It is the story every year at Roland-Garros. Only injuries (& Novak Djokovic’s brilliant run) interrupted his accumulation of French Open titles. Simply amazing.

Secondly, tennis fans may have noticed that Roger Federer isn’t in this tournament. Why? Because he knows he can’t win it, and trying to only hurts his chances at Wimbledon, which is a tournament he can win.

The grind of winning the French Open at his advanced age pretty much takes Rafa Nadal out of contention at Wimbledon, so in essence they concede these Majors to each other, and play the hard-courts straight up, where Federer is the better player. This intelligence of Roger Federer in managing his career on the back-end is what separates him from the rest of the champions– IMO.

Update June 6, 2018 ~8:00 PM (ET):

On Monday (6/4), upon finding out just before her long-anticipated match with Serena Williams that she had withdrawn due to injury, Maria Sharapova released this statement: “I was looking forward to my match against Serena today and am disappointed that she had to withdraw. I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon.”

Earlier today (6/6) Maria Sharapova looked lethargic & out-of-rhythm, as she lost badly in her quarterfinal match to Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1. In her press conference afterwards she was asked by ESPN press to respond to Serena Williams’ claims that her autobiography Unstoppable (2017) was “100% hearsay”. Sharapova replied, “I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years … I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me. It would be very strange, I think, if I didn’t write anything about her … When you’re writing an autobiography, I don’t think there is any reason to write anything that’s not true.”

Still no news on the results of Serena Williams’ MRI, despite her words to concerned fans on Tuesday (6/5) for continuous updates. ESPN ‘reporters’ Peter Bodo & Bonnie D. Ford keep writing hatchet pieces on Sharapova, while covering for Serena. This “Great Comeback” which they had been hyping has collapsed before everyone’s eyes, as this turned out to be the end. No one saw this coming, as even I was surprised when it happened. I have called it frame-by-frame, and am (again) hated for it– by corporate-propaganda interests.

Serena Williams is tied not only to the American sports machinery, but also to the reactionary Black Lives Matter & #MeToo campaigns. I’ve exposed their selfishness, corruption & lack of transparency. Therefore, I’m censored. Bitch factor has definitely been turned up. You didn’t think it just went away, did you?

I don’t expect a significant announcement on Serena’s medical condition anytime soon. She’s been allowed to play this game of lies & deception in the media for so long, why stop now? Her fans are pawns to be manipulated in her view. This is also unprofessional & disrespectful to her colleagues, who are being overshadowed on-the-court by all of Serena’s retirement drama. She can’t let go, and selfishly only considers her perspective. The fans have been educated here, and she’s losing much of her clout. That’s what happens when you lie to me.

Update June 9 (Saturday) ~ Noon ET– French Open Wrap-up:

Top-seeded Simona Halep from Romania, defeated Sloane Stephens in the finals: 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Halep was the dominant player on the women’s side this year at Roland-Garros. She beat Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals, and Garbine Muguguza (handily) in the semis. It’s Simona Halep’s 1st Grand Slam title, and it was impressive. Halep is age 26, and Stephens age 25; which means both are near their peak. The next great women’s tennis player in the “post-Williams’ sisters” era is still an unknown teenager.

Rafa Nadal will face 24-year old Austrian Dominic Theim on Sunday. Nadal has won 16 Grand Slam titles already, going for his 11th French Open title. Theim has none. Everyone expects Nadal to win in straight sets, four at the most.

Final notes:

Still no injury update from Serena Williams. I called that. At this point she can’t say anything, as the finals are in progress, and it’s really bad form to call a press conference now. Eventually she’ll have to do just that, as Wimbledon is just around the corner– July 2-15 in London, UK. Serena Williams has won there 7 times, and as recently as 2016, so surely she will get a wild-card entry. The problem is she went from ~ 50-60% entering the French Open; to 0% now. If she continues to delay the inevitable retirement announcement, her fans will just move on without her. That’s how the world works. Fans would love to see her & Venus retire together, and it’s time. Venus turns 38 on June 17, and (IMO) doesn’t get enough love, so Happy Birthday Venus!!

Thoughts on Wimbledon: The location of this tournament should give pause for all of us to reflect on (and speak in behalf of) a man who has been incarcerated in the Ecuadorian embassy for the past seven-and-a-half years. It’s a lot more important than what happens on any tennis court.

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Trump’s North Korean Shell Game

What’s going on with North Korea? That’s the question everyone is asking, but not getting any factual answers to. Any bourgeois analysis is (at best) conjecture, which is useless. Can anyone explain why Donald Trump keeps flipping his position on North Korea? I can, and here it is.

This mess began on September 3, 2017 when an underground nuclear test at Mount Mantrap in North Korea collapsed the mountain, killing over 200 workers and causing a “Chernobyl-like meltdown” of the facility. This tragic mishap instantly wiped out North Korea’s nuclear capability. I published my account of all  this on November 5, 2017.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known for his regime of repressive state censorship, so it comes as no surprise that he would hide this accident, and there have been no official reports of this catastrophe in any North Korean media. The true conspiracy is the fact that the US-led media in the West has chosen to censor this fantastic story. There can be no doubt that every nation’s intelligence apparatus around the globe knew/knows of this event.

Even Russia Today (RT) is censoring this story, as there are explosive  international ramifications. Below is a RT story on the recent team of international journalists that went to North Korea’s secret nuclear test site to witness its “demolition. ” It is their only one that even mentioned the possibility of the September 3, 2017 accident. It did not report it as fact. I conveniently copied & pasted this story when I first read it, as it mentioned the nuclear meltdown in its final paragraph. It has since been edited, to hide that fact in the middle of the story. No other Russia Today story mentions this event, to date.

RT arrives in N. Korea to witness closure of Punggye-ri nuclear test site (VIDEO)
Published time: 22 May, 2018 20:43
Edited time: 22 May, 2018 21:12

RT arrives in N. Korea to witness closure of Punggye-ri nuclear test site (VIDEO)
Kim Jong-un inspects a ballistic missile in 2017. / Reuters

After a two-hour charter flight from Beijing, RT’s Igor Zhdanov and a small team of international journalists have arrived in North Korea, where they will witness Pyongyang close its only nuclear test site at Punggye-ri.

After Tuesday night’s trip to the nuclear site was called off, the team is staying in the resort city of Wonsan overnight. When they finally reach the nuclear site some 600 kilometers away, the Kim regime has promised a spectacle.

“The whole site will be razed to the ground and technical buildings reduced to rubble,” North Korean officials said.

The destruction will be witnessed by a group of around 20 journalists from Britain, Russia, China and the US. South Korean journalists were snubbed after Kim cancelled a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week in response to joint military exercises between the US and South Korea.

READ MORE: Bolton wants all of North Korea’s nukes shipped to US in exchange for ‘security assurances’

While the closure of the Punggye-ri site is a much-touted gesture of goodwill, it is unclear if the site even remains usable. Following a powerful nuclear test there last year, a collapse left as many as 200 North Korean laborers dead.

That one line of conjecture in Russia Today is the only press coverage of the entire North Korea/US diplomacy that even hints at the critical fact of a catastrophic nuclear accident. Upon this charade “demolition,” US President Donald Trump called off the supposed “peace summit,” which is to be held on June 12 in Singapore. This was entirely predictable using dialectics, if one understood the underlying facts & political motivations,

The dialectical turning point in this entire sordid affair was on May 10, 2018 when Science magazine published its topographical analysis of North Korea’s mountain test site: “The rise, collapse, and compaction of Mt. Mantap from the 3 September 2017 North Korean nuclear test.” The conclusions are obvious: this was a colossal collapse which likely buried the facility, and surely rendered it useless. On May 13th, I publishedUS Conspiracy to Hide North Korea’s Nuclear Meltdown on September 3, 2017.”

During this time, it was announced by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that they would be “demolishing” their test site on May 23-25. They invited international journalist to witness the event. Many, many more than the 20-or-so journalists who were selected wanted to go.  This set May 23rd, 2018 as “dialects day” for Marxists, as this was clearly when the Trump administration was going to have to make its counter move. I posted this warning on Fakebook on May 23rd:

The journalists were delayed a day by bad weather, so the site wasn’t reached until May 24. The “demolition” was photographed, and explosions were made. The Trump administration responded by canceling the summit, in this public letter shown below. There was a lot of fanfare that went with it.

Reuters, May 24, 2017: On again? Trump says still chance of June 12 North Korea summit [1]

Then…. yet another zig-zag from the Trump administration, which has been caught with their pants down. They wanted “maximum pressure,” but (of course) it blew up in their faces. Actually, it blew up in North Korea on September 3rd, 2017, a disaster that is now widely known in the media, but yet still isn’t being reported. Why is that?

The upshot is that everyone now knows the North Korean military has no nuclear capacity. Thus, Trump can’t posture tough anymore, without looking like the bully picking a fight with a defenseless enemy. That’s why he’s “re-thinking” the summit, which he must attend. Got all that, James Cogan of the World Socialist Web Site?!

Conclusion: This lack of dialectics & clear Marxist analysis on US/North Korean diplomacy is creating dissension among WSWS readership. That creates openings for unprincipled agitators to wreak havoc.

Taking a wait-and-see approach to the facts, while interpreting Trump administration press releases as serious business, is bourgeois reporting. Marxists seek out & uncover the facts, then rationally & scientifically analyze them to discover the truth; so when 2+2=? presents itself dialectically, they can surmise the answer to be four. Political careerists always fail at this, proving the WSWS needs more dialectical revolutionaries in its ranks & leadership. That’s where the working people of the world are with North Korea, and US intrigue diplomacy.

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Letter of Apology

I’ve made a lot of enemies on this site. What I sing, write, and film isn’t popular with the people who run the world. They make sure I suffer for it.

It’s to them I owe this to. They blacklist, censor, and lie about me. This sends a message to all their Republican/Democrat minions to hate on me, and I feel it in real life & online– everyday.

You see I brought this on myself, and therefore deserve to be censored, spied upon, and targeted as an “enemy of the state,” or any other vague & unconstitutional (illegal) term that’s used.

I am a Marxist, a revolutionary socialist. But those terms aren’t allowed to be used in the media, so I’m instead referred to (in fake news terminology) as a “Russian troll bot,” or whatever…

You see, I never learned that you can go “too far” with the truth. Most people like the truth, but aren’t in love with it– if you get my meaning. They want the truth, so long as it’s convenient, and fits their agenda & bias. But when it blows that, the truth becomes a liability. This is why things are so fucked-up.

So this letter is for all the former friends, colleagues & acquaintances that I’ve offended. It’s hard to put into words how I truly feel, as it’s a combination of disgust & disappointment, tempered with creative optimism that adheres to a dialectical Marxist method.

What this means is real life, is that I’m going nowhere financially, and therefore will not be able to afford a beautiful woman, raise a family, and find happiness. No worries, I simply carry on with my work (in every field), without adulation or even recognition. This makes me like 80-90% of the world’s population, who mostly keep their mouths shut, which is why they are starving or in the neighborhood. For all this, I’m made to feel compelled to apologize to the paymasters.

There are many in power who recognize Ric Size, but my name (in any version) is not to be mentioned publicly–EVER! Ric Size is the great unmentionable artist & political leader of today, as he represents Trotskyism & total creative freedom. No other artist in music, film, painting, literature (or anything else!), dares to stand with Ric Size on principle, proving them all phonies– at least to that extent. For this I must apologize, as many sensibilities will be bruised over this.

Of course, it’s too late for apologies, as I can never be forgiven by the deep state ruling apparatus. I let the proverbial genie out of the bottle too many times already for forgiveness. I’ve also called-out too many celebrity athletes & entertainers for their hypocrisy, to which they have no reply– except censorship.

My comments & criticisms have made some of them “uncomfortable,” devalued the brands & companies of others, and have basically made them look bad. This rabble-rousing commentary is considered counter-productive to capitalist market efficiency. What do you think Warren Buffet or Mark Zuckerberg would pay to make all Ric Size content disappear?

Nobody does what I’ve done, and gets away with it. So therefore, I owe an apology. Here it is.

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Finishing with the Feet

When I began writing about hip & back injuries, I had a good start on my personal rehabilitation. From this came my theory on healing deep-core injuries, and a natural program for stubborn fat loss. Being an ambidextrous athlete is also part of this program, as it activates both sides of the body, developing total coordination with increased power.

What I didn’t know (when I began writing), was the endpoint. There are so many gains, followed by long plateaus in hip & back rehabilitation, that it feels like the goalposts are constantly being moved. This is a mountain you are climbing, so how do you know you are near/at the summit?

The answer, I have found is in the feet. For many people age-40 & older, their feet are a total wreck, and it’s why they have pooch guts and saggy butts. Here’s a review of the most common foot maladies in bold, with their practical applications to my methods, so we’re all speaking & understanding the same language.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the small bursae sacs which contain synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is equivalent to motor oil in an engine; keeping muscles, tendons & bones gliding past each other without friction. When bursae sacs become inflamed from repetitive overuse or trauma, friction ensues as movement becomes more painful & joint stiffness sets in. This is the cause of “sore arches” in high-heels wearers.

Calcific bursitis refers to calcium deposits within the bursae, which occur after injury. This natural mechanism creates the stiffness which immobilizes the injured area, so healing can occur. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed & rehabilitated (or given insufficient time to heal properly), then a secondary healing occurs– where further calcifications are made around the afflicted area, so no more damage can occur.

Presuming it’s an athletic injury, the typical time-line in such a case includes resuming activity too soon, with diminishing results. There may be little/no pain, because the injured area has been splinted with calcifications, but the athlete notices reduced performance & endurance. Attempts to break past this without proper rehabilitation only lead to further pain, injury & frustration for the athlete.

So many athletes (and ex-athletes) have unreconciled stubbed-toes, torn ligaments, tweaked ankles, etc, (above). Taking the extra time & effort to fully heal even these seemingly minor injuries, pays huge dividends over time. There is simply no way to regain your previous athleticism, without all the healthy muscles you once had working in harmony.

Since gravity pulls us towards the center of the Earth, our feet are at the bottom of who we are. Our feet root us to the ground, and everything that flows through our body tends to want to settle in our feet during the day. This is why bunions and all other forms of calcifications occur in the feet. If we need to be immobilized, due to injury, the feet will first be cut off by inflammation, then calcium deposits. Once the joints are fossilized, these calcifications are difficult & painful to remove. What I describe below is my method for foot/feet rehabilitation.

Go barefoot as much as possible. This allows your foot to impact the ground, with you feeling the full force– precisely. Thick-bottomed sports shoes give the athlete a false sense of security. Yes, the pounding on your feet is reduced, but much of that is simply transferred to the knees, hips & back. Improper mechanics are being reinforced with sport-specialized orthopedic footwear. This only leads to further breakdowns in the kinetic chain.

Focus on your feet. I’m talking about entire workouts that break-up these calcifications, and start to re-establish muscle fibers in the feet. Barefoot exercise followed by this type of rehabilitation is the fastest way to full body recovery of hip & back injuries. Read that last sentence again, because it’s the essence of everything here. The feet are the end-point. Once the feet can flex & extend in all directions with power, control & sustain; then everything in the body can heal, and stubborn fat can finally disappear. This only happens when all the calcifications are broken away.

Unfixed feet are the nemesis. The reason for this is that every joint in the body is connected to the rest. The big toe connects to the hip, through the ankle & knee; then the hip connects to the hyoid bone in the neck, through the ribs, sternum & clavicle. The hyoid bone (Adam’s apple) is the only bone in the human body that is not directly connected to another bone. It “floats” in the middle of the neck, lashed there by muscles from the hip below, and the face above. When you see someone with a “double chin” or a “turkey neck,” then you know the muscles connected to their hyoid bone have atrophied. Those muscles connect all the way down to the feet.

Calcium deposits in injured joints act as an “internal cast,” limiting range & energy of movement. Again, it’s joints– plural; as everything in the body connects to something else. What this means is that a localized injury, especially in critical joints (hips & back), will eventually spread calcifications & muscle atrophy to the head, hands & toes. If you try to move beyond calcified parameters, pain immediately sets in. This is what people commonly refer to as “getting old.” It’s a misnomer, it sucks, and I recommend avoiding it.

A bunion (above) is a gradual, but painful deformity of the joint which connects the big toe to the foot. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, autoimmune disorder that affects joints. Arthritis causes inflammation, which can become painful & debilitating. Plantar fasciitis is a similar-type disorder of the insertion site of the ligament on the bone– characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of calcaneal spurs (below).

A calcaneal spur (or heel spur) is a bony exostosis from the heel bone. When a foot is exposed to constant stress, calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone.

Metatarsalgia is when what I’ve described affects the ball of the foot. The metatarsals are bones that connect the toes to the ankles. All these foot disorders exacerbate a condition known as ankylosing spondylitis, which is a long-term arthritic inflammation of the joints in the spine. Back pain is a characteristic symptom, but anything from eye & ear, to bowel & urinary problems may occur. Stiffness of the affected joints generally worsens over time.

Conclusion: If I could do my rehabilitation over again (and I would never want to), I would focus more on my feet to start. I didn’t know what I was doing when I began, and had to work my way towards this answer. I kept stretching and working my abs & lower back, beyond the point of getting any results, when it was my feet that were failing me all along.

So much of what we do depends on our feet, and we tend to ignore, even abuse them. Foot pain affects every step you take, every move you make. To avoid being the “King of Pain,” you need to get active with what I’ve outline above. This pain is inside most of us, and it is making us miserable. That’s a painful truth in itself. It is up to us to face it and work it out, to make things better for ourselves & everyone else. We must use this (and any other) knowledge & heal thyself.

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Derek Jeter & Disrespect

The initial indicator that Derek Jeter was going to be a bonehead executive for the Marlins was when he first floated RF Giancarlo Stanton, without getting approval to waive his full no-trade clause. A competent MLB executive would have approached Stanton and said something like, “Look, the franchise needs a new direction, etc.” Veteran players understand that, and Stanton possibly would have acquiesced with a list of teams, which helps with leverage. Instead newly-minted executive Derek Jeter, and hold-over GM Hill, negotiated deals with the Giants & Cardinals, without Stanton’s approval.

Try to envision scenes like this, in Marlins’ team discussions back in December 2017:

Jeter/Hill: We’ve worked out a great deal with the Cardinals! They’re a superb organization, with a winning tradition, and a full crowd every night! Plus, they’ve offered us the best package in money & prospects. We think you’re gonna love your new team! Whaddya say?

Stanton: I’m not going to St. Louis.

Jeter/Hill: [blank stares]

Stanton: I’ll only go to the Yankees.

At that point, Jeter should have kept Stanton, but he had already decided to trade him– at any cost. The Giancarlo Stanton contract needed to be factored into the cost of purchasing the franchise, instead of being viewed of as a liability– to be dumped by ownership. Thus, Jeter’s former boss Brian Cashman, schooled his protoge in the fine art of dropping-the-hammer on someone who is clueless & desperate to dump salary. Jeter & Hill had to take expensive mess 2B Starlin Castro in return, and got no significant prospects for their franchise player & MVP. Perhaps this may explain why Derek Jeter can’t show up at Yankee Stadium when the Marlins are playing there?

It would have been much wiser for ownership (Jeter & majority owner Bruce Sherman) to evaluate the situation in Miami for at least a season before making any major moves. There are so many issues with this franchise that needed to be understood in their complexity. Instead Jeter came into town, full of arrogance, which betrayed impatience & ignorance. He’s clearly not cut out to run a MLB franchise, and was only given this opportunity because of his name & money.

It’s the Christian Yelich deal that deserves the most scrutiny, as he was the prize asset everyone was in on last winter, and should have gotten the Marlins a nice return. GM Mike Hill went with the Brewers’ package which centered around age-24 CF Lewis Brinson (.171/.221/.293), who looks more like a track athlete than a ballplayer. The Braves & Padres both wanted Yelich and had better prospects. It appears that GM Mike Hill cared more about running a multi-continental marathon event, than making a good deal for Christian Yelich.

All this damage occurred since new ownership took over last summer, which teaches a lesson: no matter how bad current ownership is (and Jeffery Loria was the bottom), there’s always something greedy & nefarious ready to pose as a savior and take it’s place. New ownership over-paid, and now has to cut everything to the bone to extract profits. The Marlins will be big recipients in revenue sharing money, which is nothing new in Miami.

This team had a championship lineup, no question. Unfortunately, the cataclysmic event for the Marlins was the Jose Fernandez tragedy. You can’t replace a 24-year old true ace, who is also the heart & soul of a franchise. This franchise was on a World Series trajectory, before his boating accident. All they needed was one more starting pitcher and some bullpen help. Everything changed for the Marlins on September 25, 2016, as he was irreplaceable.

On top of everything, there was a criminal owner (Loria) who pumped & dumped the franchise, leaving the taxpayers of Miami to pay the $1.3B bill on their new stadium– which no one wanted. The purchase cost of the franchise for Jeter & Sherman was $1.3B, which tells you that the only asset the Marlins really have is their taxpayer-funded stadium. The Marlins’ organization has been gutted, and is basically worthless at this point. Their players stink, and they have no fans.

Does anyone believe that Derek Jeter has the brainpower to make it valuable again? He certainly doesn’t have the money. It starts with respect, and Derek Jeter forgot about that long ago. The fans never entered into any of his crude equations.

This complex & highly-emotional situation surrounding the sale of the Marlins has become a political issue. The fans of Miami have said “Enough!” Attendance has no chance of improving, despite having a brand-new retractable-roof stadium with all the bells & whistles, paid for by the citizens of Miami.

Most didn’t ask for this, in fact many fought Loria tooth & nail, against all these back-room maneuverings; until (inevitably) enough politicians were bribed to get the new stadium deal passed. The “deal” with the fans was there would be an investment in the franchise to win. That’s why Dee Gordon and others were signed. Then after the 2017 season where the Marlins finished 77-85, it was all torn apart.

Derek Jeter’s “Project Wolverine” was of course disclosed to MLB during the transfer-of-sale process, but not revealed to the fans or people of Miami who were paying for the Marlins’ ballpark. When confronted by ESPN reporter Dan LeBatard in a phone interview, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred evaded & denied everything, claiming he didn’t know what Jeter/Sherman’s plan was for the Marlins after acquisition. LeBatard correctly called this “unbelievable,” and basically everyone who saw the interview agreed. Judge for yourself:

Conclusion: It’s not that Derek Jeter traded away his best players, it’s the crap he got in return than burns with the fans. Also, a bunch of GM’s around MLB feel jerked-around by his incompetence & miscommunication. These colleagues are seriously competitive people who value their time above all else, and when you disrespect them, you’ve become a liability to the franchise you own.

Derek Jeter put himself in a position where he had to make deals because he is short on money, which hurt his return. Mike Hill (and the rest of this inept front office) should have been fired when new ownership took over, which only proves a lack of brains all-around.

This is why the Marlins are going to draw <10,000 fans per game this season– and into perpetuity. They won’t do anything to boost the oppositions’ gate either. This is a franchise that (unless something truly dramatic happens) will lose 100+ games for (at least) the next three seasons. It will likely be 5-6 years before a winning season is possible again. They already need new ownership, which seems inconceivable, but it’s true.

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NASCAR’s “Danica Gap”

Jimmie Johnson is NASCAR’s greatest active legend– a 7-time series champion. His career sponsor Lowe’s is canceling its iconic affiliation with the #48 car after this season. What is not discussed is the unthinkable, which is Jimmie Johnson being forced into retirement, much like Danica Patrick, due to lack of sponsorship in NASCAR.

Note that Jimmie Johnson can’t even begin to court new sponsors until the season is over, because he has to fulfill his obligations to Lowe’s. All while he is running with Chevrolet, who are clearly inferior to Ford & Toyota in 2018. Jimmie Johnson mentioned this manufacturing disadvantage last fall, so it’s no surprise to those who follow.

His drop-off in performance isn’t because he suddenly stinks, as Jimmie Johnson is a serious athlete who keeps himself in top condition; biking, running, skiing, etc. He has managed to dominate his sport because he out-works and out-thinks everyone else. Plus he’s a great driver, who respects his competition.

When NASCAR is diddling around with Goldman Sachs trying to figure out if it should sell out, this creates instability in the market. This makes it HARDER for Jimmie Johnson (and everyone else) to find sponsorship. It’s pretty simple, when the bosses are completely selfish & blind, then there’s nothing you can do.

Jimmie Johnson is taking most of this with professional ease, as he’s been through the wars. He knows which battles you can’t win, and when to move on. This may be the end for Jimmie Johnson, yet no one wants to say this is the end. Brian France immediately denied they were exploring a sale of NASCAR, by sending a memo to all employees. Fans wondered if Goldman Sach’s got a memo?

Most NASCAR faithful want Brian France & family out, so the question becomes: what is NASCAR worth? A lot of what NASCAR is worth depends on who you ask. I don’t see a whole lot of assets (beyond the TV deal), so France may refuse if he feels the price is too low. On the other hand he may just want to dump this expensive mess, because eventually (2024) the TV money will dry up, with only a fraction of that will replace it. That’s the gun being held to Brian France’s head by corporate America.

Corporate may be offering 2 cents on the dollar, which of course is an insult France must refuse. The problem is: all the leverage is with corporate, and they are going to be nasty about going to even two-and-a-half cents…

Another problem for France & family is their “Danica gap.” Danica Patrick is an icon who brought tens-of-millions of kids into NASCAR, something no other driver could possibly do. What those kids saw (over & over) was her being sabotaged by her own team, and wrecked by her competition– all sanctioned by NASCAR. It was a big joke to those haters and could never control their hard-ons.

The ‘Danica gap” immediately revealed itself when she left the sport (which showed her no love), and all her fans went with her. That’s what happened after Daytona, three months ago. All her fans care about now is her final run at the Indianapolis 500, while NASCAR is begging for a respectable buyout offer. The sponsors & corporate America see Brian France as a sitting duck, waist-deep in his own excrement and rising…

NASCAR is holding their annual All Star race this fortnight in Charlotte, NC which has been their real headquarters for awhile now. Matt Kenseth, who just came out of retirement last week [!] is in the race. That’s NASCAR for you.

The qualifying race has no interest because Danica Patrick isn’t in it this year. She always should have been in the main event on fan voting, as she had more fan popularity than the entire field combined, but that ballot was always rigged. For instance, last year (2017) Chase Elliott was given the nod on the fan vote, immediately after he failed to win a stage in the qualifier. Just another example of how NASCAR shot itself in the foot.

The confluence of all these disasters & maneuverings leads to the question of questions for all you racing guys. Which would you rather have: NASCAR or Danica Patrick?

On rain-out policy & taking care of the fans:

Many long-time NASCAR fans have exclaimed the need for this sport to scale back, and regionalize itself again in the Southeast. They are correct. This would reduce travel expenses and allow NASCAR to reconnect with its roots. If NASCAR held 3-4 races per season at 6-8 regional tracks, then rain-outs could easily be accommodated.

Running a race on Monday when everyone has left to get back to reality, dismisses the investment fans make to attend a race. A washout ticket should get you free entry to the next race held at that track. THAT would get race fans excited, while protecting their investment in a ticket & advanced travel expenses. This should roll over to the next season if the final race at that site is a rain-out, or apply to any other regional track if that is more convenient for the fan.

NASCAR has to get real and start taking care of its fans, or else it’s going to be lights out. I don’t believe the sponsors & networks are willing to cooperate or be reasonable. Instead they want full control. Brian France & family are apparently too greedy & ignorant to care. This power struggle is tearing NASCAR apart, which sucks for the fans.

On NASCAR backroom politics:

What’s going on here is a behind-the-scenes power struggle. On one side is NASCAR, with all it’s good ‘ol boys on the family payroll. On the other side is (Yankee) corporate, represented by NBC, Fox, and all the sponsors, who demand accountability & profits. Who is going to manage & control this sport? Brian France & his entire NASCAR organization is being called into question by big money. This will be a fight to the death.

The issue that isn’t being brought up is organizing driver representation. If there is to be any progress, then drivers & pit crew grievances & issues must be brought to the bargaining table in an organized & unified manner– with full fan support. Fans want to support their drivers & teammates, but certain “stars” (who really ain’t shit) need to come back to Earth and join their underpaid brethren competitors, otherwise there will be no future for NASCAR.

This is the scorecard fans hold up when it is announced that the France family is exploring the sale of NASCAR. Selling depends on value, and all sides must agree. otherwise it’s an impasse. The sides that are never consulted are the fans & drivers.

The chatter from corporate on an impeding takeover is their salivation over obtaining “360 deals” with the drivers. For those not understanding this meaning, 360-deals are an entertainment industry contract term, which gives corporate all rights over every aspect of the star’s life.

Any private ventures, book deals, etc., fall under corporate ownership & control. They are called “360-deals,” because like 360 degrees in a circle, they encompass every aspect of your life. Corporate makes lots of money off that, while sucking the performer dry. This is corporate America’s vision for NASCAR’s future, complete enslavement of the drivers to maximize their profits. That’s capitalism, baby!

On BK Racing’s bankruptcy hearings:

This could be an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Ron Devine (Boss Hogg) shedding crocodile years for his team which he has repeatedly ripped off. Subplot: Can Gray Gaulding (Coy/Vance) keep his professional racing dreams alive, while Daisy is off running the Indy 500? Tune in next week!

Misc Notes:

For people new to NASCAR, here’s a cheat sheet. The modern era of this sport began after Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona Super-speedway on February 18, 2001. The greatest champion of the old timers was Richard Petty, who doesn’t even own his team anymore. Of the current era (which is now coming to close); Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Jimmie Johnson are it’s greatest champions. Dale Earnhardt, Jr & Danica Patrick have been it’s greatest ambassadors. One was adored & endlessly glorified, while the other was hated, wrecked & dumped upon.

On PED’s in NASCAR:

Adderall is in the amphetamine class of drugs, a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall is medically prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall has been banned in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA. In a podcast interview last fall, Denny Hamlin estimated ~70% of NASCAR drivers use Adderall.

On Talladega:

On Sunday, April 29, 2018 the winner was Joey Logano.  There was no “Big One” this year at spring Talladega, (photo above is 2017). This was NASCAR’s first “post-Danica” restrictor plate race. Without her on the track, there’s no reason for these rednecks to wreck each other.

NASCAR update 5-20-17:

Rob Kauffman says RTA’s new executive hired to help owners align   Bob Pockrass ESPN.com

This is the latest development in the sale of NASCAR. The team owners feel the need for legal representation, if there is indeed going to be a sell-out to corporate by Brian France & family. Rob Kauffman loves the charter system, so owner & NASCAR interests are covered.

What’s missing is legal representation for the drivers & crew. As we’ve seen in the BK Racing bankruptcy court transcripts, owners don’t always pay the help, so they better organize their own leadership which bargains collectively. Otherwise the drivers & crew members will get eaten up. That’s the economic game behind-the-scenes, and the drivers are asleep-at-the-wheel on it.

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