“Rain or Shine, It’s Football Time”

by Eddie Mayrose

If you’ve ever played a sport at any level, it’s likely that you have at least one great story about a coach.

That man, or woman, who taught you not just the rules and techniques of a sport, but more important things about loyalty, commitment and being part of something bigger than yourself. Let’s face it, no matter what the game we play, we eventually have to stop. Once that happens, we’re left with the life lessons handed out along the way by someone who cared more deeply about us than how we may have filled out a stat sheet.

I think that the biggest reason for my lifelong love affair with sports has been the good fortune that has blessed me with great mentors. First, and foremost, was my father, who taught me the intricacies of every position on a baseball field. More than that, he cared about teaching the game to every kid on the team, no matter his skill level. I would watch him during a game, unnecessarily calling to us in the outfield to shift positions and wonder why he bothered.

“Keeps you in the game and makes you feel a part of things,” he’d say. “That’ll make you love the game and become better players.” Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

No More Calls…We Have a Winner

It happens every spring. As certainly as the tulips will bloom, Major League Baseball owners will victimize fans with their own, annual scam, known on these pages as Arbitration Fraud.

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the owners and the players association, a player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. There is another category called “Super Two”, in which players with more than two years and less than three who have accumulated 86 days of service in the previous season are also arbitration eligible.  If, that is, they rank in the top 17% of service time for ALL players. So, if the promotion of a player is held up for two months, he will is likely to fall below the Super Two line and will definitely have another season added before he makes the three year mark.

To that end, many small market teams assign their top prospects to their AAA affiliates when they break camp, no matter how dire their needs.  While the “head fake” given to the fans is always something along te lines of”…he needs more seasoning”, the actual reason is that the organization is delaying the start of the “Arbitration clock” by a year, thus delaying his first big payday.  This “seasoning”, always comes, miraculously, around the end of May, no matter who the player might be. Continue reading »

Sometimes, The Game Doesn’t Matter At All

by Eddie Mayrose

A while back, after some aging stars negotiated a special clause in their contracts, the National Baseball Hall of Fame took matters into its own hands by announcing that the final decision on which team’s cap would be worn on the plaque of an inductee would be the Hall’s alone. This made a non-issue of the deals swung by Wade Boggs and Jose Canseco with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that, upon their possible induction, they’d go in as Rays, even though the bulk of their careers had been spent elsewhere. The Hall still allows the player to choose, but will step in if that choice is a silly one.

I remember having a discussion with another Mets fan about which hat should be worn by Mike Piazza upon his enshrinement. An argument can be made for both the Mets and Dodgers and the choice between the two will fall to, in this case, the player. I have no idea which way the former catcher is leaning, but my hope is it will be the Mets. Not because they’re my favorite team, but, rather, because he was wearing that uniform for one of the most memorable and uplifting sports moments I’ve ever witnessed. Continue reading »

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