December 2011

Wild Month

By Jeff Dickson, Director of Food & Beverage

December has been quite exciting for the baseball hot stove, and the month is only halfway over. After the Miami Marlins made some big, surprising acquisitions it was the L.A. Angels who stole the show, signing top free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson and the best hitter in the game, Albert Pujols. The Pujols deals was a bit of a shock, especially after the Marlins were making a huge push to add him to the new look Miami roster. And of course his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, were right in the mix to sign him as well. But 10 years and $254 million can certainly change things. Fans in St. Louis may have seen this coming, but surely this was still a hard pill to swallow. In the long run, though, they may be better off. Contracts that long don’t have the best track record of working out, especially when the player will be into his 40’s by the time the deal runs out.

The other big baseball news was that Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, and 2011 NL MVP, Ryan Braun reportedly tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. Details of the failed test have not been disclosed, and Braun has appealed, but all signs point to the test being held up, which means Braun will be suspended for 50 games next season.

I may be in the minority here, but I’m not up in arms and calling for Major League Baseball to strip Braun of his MVP award like many seem to want. If the test holds up then, yes, he should be suspended as the current rules and penalties call for. Players are always trying to get a leg up over their competition, going right up to the edge of the rule book and often times even over it. Braun wasn’t the first person to take PEDs, and certainly won’t be the last. But to try to rewrite history would be foolish. Braun had one of the best seasons in the league last year (I actually would have voted for Matt Kemp) and since there is no way to know how PEDs might have helped him, the award should stand.

It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but PEDs are rampant in all sports, not just baseball as much of the media would lead you to believe, and trying to play a strong hand in individual cases just won’t work. Keep testing, keep punishing players as they fail tests, but don’t go back and try to change what’s happened. That will only create more headaches and more questions as we continue to learn about PED use in sports.

Jeff is entering his second season with the ‘Dads and first as the director of food & beverage.  The Oneonta, NY native joined the Crawdads in 2011 as a concessions assistant, and has previously worked with the Oneonta Outlaws as a sports marketing intern.  Jeff is a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Winter Meetings

By Jeff Dickson, Director of Food & Beverage

The Major League Baseball Winter meetings are underway in Dallas, TX, and already we have seen some surprising moves being made. The Miami Marlins, already fit with a new name, stadium, logo and color scheme, are making an early splash with free agent signings. The team agreed to sign former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell to a three year $27 million dollar deal and officially announced that signing on Monday. But the major move was the signing of former New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, one of the most sought after free agents in this class. The deal is for $106 million over six years.

The Marlins may not be done, however, as it is still rumored that they are in contact with Albert Pujols and his agent. Pujols, the best player of his generation and a career long Cardinal, would be on the top of every teams wishlist if not for his hefty price tag. This is what makes the Marlins pursuit of him so shocking; they have long been known as a franchise that struggles to draw fans and, thus, never has a high payroll. That is already changing with the signings of Bell and Reyes, so anything is possible.

Already making a push to be a National League East contender in 2012, a few more moves by Miami and they will start to be recognized as a legitimate World Series favorite next year. The signing of the best hitter in baseball would another move in the right direction. The only question, then, would be, Will Miami draw enough fans to make up for the price they are paying in free agency?

Jeff is entering his second season with the ‘Dads and first as the director of food & beverage.  The Oneonta, NY native joined the Crawdads in 2011 as a concessions assistant, and has previously worked with the Oneonta Outlaws as a sports marketing intern.  Jeff is a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and North Carolina Tar Heels.