Tuesday, November 06, 2001


So I see that Michael Bloomberg will be the next mayor of New York City. I have a great idea. He's got billions. New York needs rebuilding. He should pay for it. All of it. Heck, he gets free housing in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. What would he need money for?


Bank of America runs a commercial with a blind martial arts student. That's wrong so many ways I can hardly enumerate them.


Man, I'd hardly hit the "send" key when Major League Baseball nuked itself. Owners today voted to remove two teams from their number. As usual, they did it unilaterally; as usual, they did it after suckering municipalities to be their friends, then kicking those towns right in the kneecaps.

Baseball clubs are franchises. You get the MLB franchise in Cleveland, in Houston, in Phoenix, in Seattle, in New York. You pay a lot of money for that... in 1998, Arizona and Tampa Bay's franchise fees were something like $130 million. Now MLB is saying that it's happy to take your money, but don't expect us to keep you around.

Rumor has it the franchises likely to be yanked are the Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins. The Expos were an expansion club born in 1969. They made the playoffs once, in 1981... in a year that had an odd playoff format invented just to make up for games lost midseason to a player strike. This past year they averaged between seven and eight thousand spectators per game in a year when it seems just about every other franchise drew 3 million. They also have one of the very best players in the game today, Vladimir Guerrero, who would be like the second coming of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mark McGwire if he played in a market like New York or Los Angeles. And they've always been a city no major leaguer from the USA wanted to play, having to deal with multiple tax situations, high taxes, and exchange rates. Minnesota used to be the FIRST Washington Senators franchise -- owner Calvin Griffith moved the club because there were too few white faces in the seats at Griffith Stadium -- and actually won two World Series, the last time just 10 years ago in a set that was every bit the match of the series just concluded. This year they finished second, and led for much of the year.

But MLB apparently isn't doing away with its four-year-old franchise in Tampa Bay, a team that has been nothing but horrible since its inception and plays in a domed stadium that makes the Kingdump (excuse me, the Kingdome) look like Camden Yards. Florida, which tore itself apart seemingly even as Craig Counsell scored the World Series-winning run in 1997, looks to stay. Kansas City, which hasn't competed since the mid-1980s, looks to stay. So why Minnesota? Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says it's leverage. Because Minnesota has been successful, it's a good town to threaten to move to. So one day it might be the Minnesota Marlins.

Dumber still? There'll have to be some switching of leagues and divisions. The plan I heard puts -- get this -- the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the American League West. You'd think winning the World Series would let you play in your league the following year. The irony? Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo practically pulled out a 2-by-4 to force his way into the National League when expansion came around.

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