Homers in the Gloaming

Baseball, statistics, and the Chicago Cubs

Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category

Must-read for ballhawks

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Interesting article in the Times about MLB’s new authentication process.

Cosmo Lubrano, an authenticator who is a sergeant in the New York Police Department, hustled to retrieve the ball. He stuck a high-tech hologram decal on it, scanned a bar code to enter it into a computer system and turned the ball over to the Yankees.

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Written by ollie

27 April 2009 at 3:50 pm

Posted in miscellany

And we’re back

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After a brief hiatus, mostly due to a move, grad school beginning, and a trip to Chicago, Homers in the Gloaming has returned.

Written by ollie

11 September 2008 at 2:06 pm

Posted in miscellany

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Enjoy the day off…

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…with some nonsense.  Cubs first break since the All-Star Game.  It’s the Cardinals coming up next.

Written by ollie

7 August 2008 at 1:34 am

Posted in miscellany

Cuban defectors?

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Chicago Sun-Times/John J. Kim

Chicago Sun-Times/John J. Kim

There is a good article about Mark Cuban, one of the billion dollar men, and the Cubs in today’s New York Times.

‘The Cubs are an amazing franchise and brand,’ Cuban wrote in an e-mail message. ‘I think the owner of any major sports franchise has two jobs: first, it’s to work hard to win a championship year after year, and second, to be the caretaker of the franchise in the community.’

Also, some input from the Sox:

But John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and a Cuban booster, wrote in an e-mail message, ‘The commissioner’s office abhors owners who speak their minds and fight for the rights of their respective franchises.’ He added that he could think ‘of no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term’ than Cuban.

Written by ollie

3 August 2008 at 1:10 pm

The billion dollar men

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Five groups have made the Tribune Co.’s cut to continue bidding on the Cubs and Wrigley Field.  All groups remaining have bid at least $1 billion.  The heads of the approved groups are:

Mark Cuban. Billionaire entrepreneur, often-controversial owner of the Dallas Mavericks, founder of HDNet.  Attended University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University.  Keeps a wonderful blog here.  Was once on Dancing with the Stars.  He got eighth.  Personally, I am all for Cuban becoming the owner.  He is clearly smart, and would no doubt be passionate and knowledgeable.  Also, he is by far the easiest to obtain information on, so it is easiest to picture his ownership.  He supposedly matches all fines levied on him by the NBA with a matching charitable donation.

Tom Ricketts. Chief executive of investment bank Incapital, AB and MBA from the University of Chicago.  Greatest accomplishment?  “Starting Incapital from scratch, and being back in the market as a major underwriter of bonds in a very short period of time. What Incapital’s done on a relatively small budget is unprecedented. Small investment banks don’t underwrite $40 billion in debt and open European offices. It’s unique, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”  Fascinating.

Michael Tokarz. Chairman of business development company MVC Capital, BA and MBA from the University of Illinois.  Joining Tokarz’s group is a group led by New York City taxi mogul Andrew Murstein, Sports Properties Acquisitions Corp.  SPA includes Hank Aaron and Jack Kemp.  Also part of Tokarz’s group is “private equity investor and Republican operative” Fred Malek, who in the past has bid on the Nationals and owned a piece of the Rangers.

Hersch Klaff. Real estate investor in Chicago, born in South Africa, “in 1982, his first big deal was arranging (with partners), to buy the old Marshall Fields men’s building in downtown Chicago and redevelop it into a multi-tenant retail, office and medical complex.”

Leo Hindery. Media investor, runs New York-based InterMedia Partners, used to run the Yankee’s YES network.  He was presidential candidate John Edwards’s Senior Economic Policy Advisor 2006 to 2008, supposedly there was talk of him becoming the head of the Democratic National Committee in 2004, and he is currently an advisor to Barack Obama.

The stated goal of the Tribune Co. is to maximize revenues from the sale.  Reports from Comcast SportsNet say that Cuban’s bid was highest, at $1.3 billion.  There are also tax issues, which may eventually determine the winning bidder, aside from the size of the bids.  Here is coverage in the Sun-Times as well as as Crain’s.

Sadly, dreams of a Bill Murray ownership don’t seem likely to be realized.  But seriously, how cool would it be if this guy owned the Cubs?

Written by ollie

29 July 2008 at 10:36 am

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Those guys at Fenway

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Dennis Drinkwater (Boston Globe)

Dennis Drinkwater (Boston.com)

I’ve been watching a lot of the All-Red Sox Network (ESPN) lately, and I’ve always wondered who those two guys always sitting right behind home plate at Fenway are.  One dude sits directly behind home plate, and the other dude sits a bit to the right, and looks quite a bit like my girlfriend’s father.  So I did some digging.

Mr. Directly Behind Home is Dennis Drinkwater, the president of Giant Glass.  Mr. Off To The Right is Jeremy Kapstein, a former baseball super-agent and now “Senior Advisor/Baseball Projects” for the Red Sox.

Jeremy Kapstein (AP)

Jeremy Kapstein (AP)

I get a real kick out of these guys, especially Kapstein.  I can remember about one time he ever applauded anything that happened in the game.  I’ve never seen him eat a hot dog.  I remember once he drank some water.  He never flinches when balls are fouled back.  A real pro.  I remember after Manny Ramirez’s walk-off home run in last year’s ALDS, right when Manny made contact, Kapstein immediately got up and darted for the exit.  Gotta beat the rush.

Speaking of Manny’s walk-off, you can see Drinkwater’s face in the background here, and you can see Kapstein heading for the exit here (in the suit, back turned).

These guys are a somewhat different breed of fan than Pink Hat Guy, the guy often behind home plate at Wrigley.  I could only find this (not great) photo.  No one argues more vehemently with the umpires than him, and you can often actually hear him on the television broadcasts.  In fact, it might do him some good to calm down a bit.  But hey, he loves the Cubs, I love the Cubs, there you go…  His real name: Jim Anixter, president of wire and cable company A-Z Industries.  Reportedly he has launched a couple of unsucessful bids to buy the Cubs.

Written by ollie

29 July 2008 at 7:45 am

Baseball quote of the moment

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“Without sinking into a morass of Philosophy 101 disputation about whether statistics reside in the things we observe or whether we impose them, let’s look at the ‘reality’ of the thing itself, which for our purposes is the game of baseball.  The form in which it comes to most of us is a telecast, which flattens the game into two dimensions, transforming baseball into ambulatory chess or Pac-Man; to restore contours to the game we have to imagine it even as we watch it.  The televeised game offers signposts of what baseball is like for those on the field or at the park; to recreate that feeling, the viewer relies upon his experience of playing the game or of seeing it in the open.  This act of imagination, this reconstructing of the video image, profresses from what is seen to what is unseen.  Disorientingly, in this instance the game that is seen is the abstraction while the unseen game is concrete, or ‘real.’

“This movement from the seen to the unseen describes the impulse and the activity of the game’s statisticians, too.  For them, plumbing the meaning of numbers is not mere accounting; to bring the hidden game of baseball into the open is an act of imagination, an apprehension and approximation of truth, and perhaps even a pursuit of beauty and justice.”

–John Thorn and Pete Palmer, The Hidden Game of Baseball

Written by ollie

25 July 2008 at 3:58 am