Back in the Swing of Things

Sensing he may not make it in baseball, Michael Taylor prepares for a possible future career switch and sharpens up his journalist skills by interviewing CSN Bay Area reporter Kate Longworth. (Photo: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area)

Hey folks, sorry once again for the lack of updates, being on Spring Break with a crappy computer doesn’t really motivate me to work on the blog, but now that the regular season has sort of started I’ll be doing all I can to provide daily updates.

It seems like it was just yesterday that players began reporting to camp, and with just a few days left to go in March we’re already two games into the regular season schedule.

Before I break down the games from the Land of the Rising Sun (in another entry to follow later today, or tomorrow), there’s a few things I wanted to discuss.

  • In my last entry I listed the players who were the first cuts in camp. There have been many more moves since then, but probably none more noteworthy than Chris Carter and Michael Taylor. It seems like I’ve been talking both of these guys up forever, and although I still believe they can be Major Leaguers, I have to admit that I’m quickly losing the faith. I really thought that 2012 would be the season that they break out and finally reward us for our patience. Carter, who I always maintained didn’t get consistent at-bats in his call-up stints in 2010 and 2011 to prove himself, didn’t do much of anything in camp, hitting .217/.321/.304 with no homers in 28 trips to the plate. Taylor had a similarly miserable spring, posting a .200/.292/.200 slash line in 24 appearances, failing to register an extra base hit. It’s likely that we’ll see them both up in the show sometime this season, but it is endlessly disappointing and discouraging to see them fail to break camp with the big club yet again.
  • Susan Slusser reported last week that Daric Barton is still in the mix for the starting first base job when the regular season begins on American soil April 6. I’m not sure if this should be taken as a sign that management believes in Daric, or that they have zero confidence in Brandon Allen and Kila Ka’aihue. We can forget about Carter at first for the time being. Barton is clearly the best defender the A’s have at first, but he has only played one game there so far this spring as he recovers from right shoulder surgery. The team was allowed a 28-man roster for the trip to Japan, and despite not crossing the Pacific with the team, Barton was included on the roster. If you ask me, it’s a foregone conclusion that Barton will be at first when the A’s host the Mariners for the home opener.
  • Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross wrote about a possible conflict of interest regarding the management of the Oakland Coliseum complex. According to the report, former State Senate President Don Perata, who now runs a political consultancy company, paid $37,500 to Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente in exchange for support for Proposition 29, an initiative set up by Perata to help fund cancer research. The conflict in question stems from the fact that Perata also works for SMG, the current operator of the facility and one of three bidders vying for the next contract, and De La Fuente is one of eight authority members who will vote on a contract, as well as being with the committee that will formally review the bids. Both men claim they have no hidden agenda, with De La Fuente saying he merely forgot to report the payments. When you take the history of both these guys into consideration, it’s hard not to be a little suspicious.
  • Last but not least, the media has been buzzing with the news that the group headed by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Peter Guber won the bidding for the Dodgers with an astounding $2.15 billion offer. In addition to the insane dollar amount, it’s even crazier when you consider that the bid is strictly a cash offer. Interestingly, the $2.15 billion bid is in two parts: $2 billion is for the team and stadium, while $150 million is for the parking lots through a joint venture with outgoing owner Frank McCourt. The high sale price also ensures that McCourt will stand to profit about $1 billion after buying the team for $430 million in 2004. So, despite essentially running the franchise into the ground by treating it as his personal ATM, McCourt will rake in a hefty payday while still having some connection to the team by holding dominion over the surrounding parking lots. Shrewd move, Frankie. So how does this affect the A’s? Marine Layer over at New A’s Ballpark speculates that this purchase could strengthen the Giants’ claims to the South Bay territory since they could argue that the money they get from Silicon Valley is essential for them to remain competitive with a Dodgers team that is sure to soon see a huge influx of cash.

That’s all for now. Be on the lookout later today (or tomorrow) as I’ll be posting a recap of the two games in Japan, as well as a preview of the upcoming season (err, the remaining season) in the next few days.

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