April 16, 2014

While We’re Waiting… The Tribe rotation and sports as a “passion purchase”

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“Lord only knows what to make of this rotation, which I’ve compared to truck stop dining on the turnpike. The Indians feel Justin Masterson has done a fine job focusing on pounding the zone and keeping the ball down, and they feel he’s embraced the No. 1 starter mentality. But Masterson had trouble avoiding the big inning last year, and that was the case in his start against the Reds on Sunday, when he was hit hard in the first. Masterson feels his travails last year really came down to just a handful of bad innings. “I had seven games that were really bad, and it made everything look bad,” he said. “Within those games, it was just one inning.” All the innings count, of course. “It’s good that Justin has taken some time to reflect back on things and think about adjustments he needs to make,” Antonetti said. “But I don’t want to read too much into it.” [Castrovince/MLB.com]

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“Including two minor league games, Kazmir now has 18 strikeouts and three walks in his 16 innings of work — evidence, at the very least, that he’s solved the control problems that led to his release by Angels in 2011. In the wake of his previous turn, a scout who had been watching his progress told Baseball Prospectus’ John Perrotto, “He’s not as good as he was when was making All-Star teams with Tampa Bay, but he’s pitching pretty darn well… He’s got most of his velocity back, and his change-up has been outstanding. I think he’s ready to get big-league hitters out again.” [Jaffe/SI.com]

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Continuing the conversation on journalism and paid content- “Consumer demand for credible news and information is greater than ever. The problem is the 100-year-old model for producing it is forever broken. That’s why more attention must be paid to finding new ways to produce quality journalism — efficiently, at scale and at a price supported by mobile CPMs, which at best are 50% lower than desktop CPMs, which if you’re lucky come in two-thirds lower than print CPMs. In other words, a high-cost newsroom structure built for the print age will never work in a smartphone or tablet world.” [DVorkin/Forbes]

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“Passion always keeps the bubble from bursting completely. Sport is still at its core a passion purchase, the industry having perfected the illusion that it is an essential part of life. People care, and while the business of caring can overcome antipathy over strikes and lockouts, losing seasons and losses of innocence, PEDs and ticket increases, passion itself isn’t enough. The public has a finite amount of money in its wallet. The defining headlines since 2007 have been acutely financial. In a time of high unemployment, low job creation, few new markets and retrenchment, oddly, there still seemed to be money for sports. A closer look at the bubble itself reveals a largely stagnant industry — except for skyrocketing media rights to broadcast sports on television, iPads and cell phones.” [Bryant/ESPN]

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“Giambi has always been popular in the clubhouse for his ability to laugh at himself and his generosity. Members of the Yankees support staff, who depended on playoff bonuses to augment meager salaries, would rave about Giambi taking up their cause. When his former coach in Oakland, Ron Washington, now the manager of the Texas Rangers, sustained damage to his New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina, Giambi wrote a check, no questions asked.

He was also revered in the Rockies’ clubhouse, where a photo of Giambi celebrating a game-ending homer — bat flipped high in the air — still hangs in a hallway above the word “character.” This would seem incongruous to those inclined to dismiss Giambi’s career with a different word: steroids. The Rockies were not among those people.” [Kepner/NY Times]