Crash Bag, Vol. 94: Ben Wetzler Lightning Round

NBA trade deadline, labor strife, Little Big League…we’ve got it all this week.

@truelladelphia: “How great is Sam Hinkie?”

Pretty great. Early in the season, I had an expectation of getting at least one first-round pick (either this year or next) for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, but that stopped being realistic a while ago, thanks to the quality of this year’s draft and the NBA’s inscrutable player movement rules, which gridlocked the draft pick market to a certain extent. Hawes and Turner were both going to walk as free agents this summer anyway, so getting literally anything for them was a win. I would’ve liked to see Hawes go to either Oklahoma City or the Clippers, where I think he could’ve played a significant role on a title contender as a rotation big, but Hinkie got a return on Hawes and Turner while not panic trading Thaddeus Young for 50 cents on the dollar. Second-round NBA draft picks are one of the most useless commodities in sports, but this is where the Astros comparison I’ve been harping on all year comes in–if you take over a team without serious assets, you bide your time by placing a bunch of long-shot bets until you can get some assets. Anyway, Hinkie got rid of three veterans (including Lavoy Allen) for which he had no use and took on a net of either five or six (almost certainly six) second-round draft picks. A smart team can get one rotation player out of six second-round picks, or trade them for something else. This is the guy trading the red paper clip for the house.

@kfk5025: “is ratting out these college draft picks the worst thing the Phillies have done with RAJ as GM?”

So…there’s no way I’m not going to talk about Ben Wetzler, huh? Okay. Let’s get into the Ben Wetzler Lightning Round.

For those of you who haven’t been following the story, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America reported Wednesday night that the Phillies had informed the NCAA that Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler and Washington State first baseman Jason Monda had used an agent in negotiations with the Phillies after last year’s draft. Wetzler went in the fifth round, Monda in the sixth, and both decided to turn down the Phillies’ offers and go back to school for their senior seasons.

This is bad because while Monda was cleared of wrongdoing and is back in the lineup, Wetzler has been suspended pending the resolution of an investigation which, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, has been going on since November without resolution.

Anyway…and in the interest of not stockpiling “allegedly”(s), let’s just assume that while I trust Aaron Fitt’s reporting, I’m aware that neither the Phillies nor Wetzler have admitted to or been proven culpable in any unethical act. Let’s just assume, for the sake of clarity, that Wetzler’s agent negotiated directly on his behalf and someone in the Phillies blew the whistle on him.

What Wetzler did is in line with standard practice for every high school senior and college junior who gets drafted–you have to be a special kind of craven, self-loathing advocate of class warfare to suggest that an 18-to-21-year-old, who’s already restricted from earning the market value of his labor by NCAA and MLB rules, shouldn’t have professional representation when negotiating–against professionals–the contract that will sustain them, and in many cases, their families, until they realize a major league free agent dream that only a fraction of a percent will ever realize…I know it’s the rules, but at a certain point, standing up for unjust rules (particularly when their unjustness is so plainly clear the very people…sorry, not people, corporations…who’d stand to benefit from their enforcement look the other way) is to stand up for injustice itself.

As to the original question, I don’t think we can blame Ruben Amaro for this one, even though the buck stops with him, nor do I think Marty Wolever was the tattletale, because whatever you think of the way the Phillies run their baseball ops departments, those guys are pros, and this is a bush league move. Potentially grenading a kid’s season out of spite is childish, and I have faith that Amaro and Wolever know better.

And that’s all this is, spite, because it’s not like the Phillies are missing out on Carlos Rodon here. Wetzler’s the top starting pitcher on the No. 2 team in the country, but he’s a finesse lefty from the fifth round–if you think ratting on him is justified because his returning to Corvallis cost the Phillies a valuable prospect, you know even less about baseball than you do about economic justice.

@Framed_Ace: “Why do you think that people are sometimes so quick to defend ownership/organizations over players?”

Three reasons:

  1. Player salaries and a misunderstanding of the labor theory of value. People see Ryan Howard making $25 million a year to play baseball and they resent that, particularly in the face of rising ticket prices and whatnot, not realizing or not caring that the players’ share of overall revenue is not commensurate with the value they add–i.e. in most sports leagues, it’s about a 50/50 split of revenue between owners and players, when the product being sold is the players themselves. If Ryan Howard were working on an assembly line, he’d be paid for the value of his labor, and his and his confreres’ pay wouldn’t–and shouldn’t–add up to the total value of the car, because the capitalist buys the steel and provides the tools and specifications and so on. But in baseball, there’s no car, no end product. The labor itself is the product, and owners in all sports are taking larger and larger shares unilaterally. But most people don’t see this as an issue of exploited labor, because the labor is extremely well-paid. Ryan Howard is paid $25 million a year for his talents, but much of what he produces goes to multibillionaires who add nothing to the product except having been rich already, and besides are subsidized by the government to the tune of hundreds of millions in stadium costs, infrastructure, tax breaks and so on. Let alone Mike Trout, who made about two percent what Howard did last year, let alone someone like Johnny Manziel, who made millions for Texas A&M but is paid less than a subsistence wage. It’s possible to be very rich and very famous and still be exploited, but most sports fans don’t or won’t see that.
  2. We root for laundry. Nobody except draft wonks and college baseball fans knew who Ben Wetzler was 48 hours ago. Rocco from The Northeast has been rooting for the Phillies (well, let’s be honest, the Eagles, but the Phillies sometimes when they’re good) since 1966–whose side is he going to come down on?
  3. [Redacted 2/3/14]

@ChasingUtley: “who is the worst: NCAA or NFL?”

The NCAA. I love college sports. Love love love college sports. The thing about being a fan of SEC football is you have to try really really hard not to think about how you’re watching a bunch of unpaid (mostly poor, African-American) kids engage in an activity that causes deadly brain trauma for an organization that’ll revoke what little financial and academic support they give if the wrong person buys the kid a pizza, all for the amusement of a (largely white, middle-class) audience who won’t remember most of those players’ names in five years, much less in thirty, when they’re all dying peniless of Lou Gehrig‘s Disease. That’s overstating the case a little, but I try really hard not to think about the moral implications of college football. At least the NFL pays its players.

Come on, there’s got to be at least some way to have some fun with the Ben Wetzler thing before I lose everyone in a haze of left-wing animus.

@CrawfordChrisV: “What college senior would you like to see the Phillies draft in 2013?”

Ah, yes. Because juniors and high schoolers won’t negotiate with them, you see? There is only one answer: Karsten Whitson.

University of Florida pitcher Karsten Whitson, famously beaten into dust as a freshman by my man Michael Roth in the deciding game of the 2011 College World Series. Former No. 9 overall pick of the Padres, Whitson opted to go to school in one of the most baffling draft negotiations of all time. Occasionally, you’ll see a prep pitcher turn down late first-round money to go to school (Gerrit Cole and Mark Prior both did this, and it worked out), but it’s a massive risk. Not only do you have to maintain your effectiveness and improve enough to be more attractive at 21 than you were at 18, but you have to not get hurt in three years of the meat grinder of college baseball. Whitson was pretty good at Florida–he was one of three first-rounders (Brian Johnson of the Red Sox and Jonathon Crawford of the Tigers were the others) in the Gators’ rotation in 2012, though the best pitcher in the bunch was Hudson Randall, who had the kind of stuff that gets college hitters out but doesn’t get you drafted before the seventh round–see: Ben Wetzler. Anyway, Hudson Randall was amazing in college. I saw him for the first time and immediately thought “Ginger righty Cole Hamels.” But that’s not the point. He’s getting the crap beaten out of him in the Tigers’ system right now.

Whitson was pretty good his first couple years at Florida, but heading into his junior year, it was unlikely he was going to better his No. 9 overall status. Then, on the eve of the 2013 season, he had shoulder surgery and missed the whole year. The shoulder, by the way, is the joint pitchers don’t want to injure. Wreck your elbow and you can get Tommy John and be back in 18 months. Wreck your shoulder and all bets are off.

So I’m interested to see if Whitson can get back to his 2011-12 form, and if so, I’d love for the Phillies to take a chance on him.

@MikeFerrinSXM: “Nah, make it tough. Joey Pankake gets picked by the Phillies, goes back to school, gets ratted out: pick a side.”

Apparently that last question wasn’t tough. But neither is this one. See how strongly I reacted to Ben Wetzler? I don’t give a tinker’s damn about Oregon State. America west of the Rockies could fall into the sea tomorrow and I wouldn’t notice. And I’m pissed about Ben Wetzler. Imagine if the Phillies (not the whole organization obviously, but some rogue employee) screwed over my favorite player on my favorite college baseball team–hellfire would rain down.

@Lawson890: “What is the meaning of life?”

I’m not sure. I’d say find the thing in life that’s the biggest deterrent to killing yourself and try to live your life in service of that thing. You’ll be happier that way. And try not to be an asshole to other people if you can avoid it. Which is really more of an aphorism than a meaning. I’m not even sure how a “meaning of life” is supposed to be constructed. Is it a goal? A credo? A theory of everything? Maybe that’s why we don’t know the meaning of life–we as a species suck at asking questions.

@Phillycopa: “what happens first – Sixers win a playoff series, eagles go to a super bowl or Phillies make the playoffs?”

I’m going to go with Sixers win a playoff series over Phillies make the playoffs, but it’ll be close. If I had to pick a year for both, I’d say the Sixers next win a playoff series in 2017 and the Phillies next make the playoffs in 2018, though that depends on how well their respective rebuilds go. If the Sixers draft Jabari Parker and he turns out to be end-stage Hedo Turkoglu, that might set them back some. Which is not to say that I wasn’t a huge Hedo fan when he was playing point forward for Orlando back in 2009, but you know. Anyway, I think both the Phillies and Sixers are about at the bottom of their respective parabolic rides, but where the Sixers are going to wind up in this draft, plus the shorter lead time on NBA prospects, gives them the edge.

I’m not touching the Eagles Super Bowl thing because it relies on winning multiple single-elimination playoff games and the NFL playoffs are almost as crapshooty as baseball’s as a result. I think the Eagles will be in position to achieve that goal first, but thanks to the vagaries of playoff football, they could make the Super Bowl next year or they could go 50 years before the next one. Basketball and baseball, at least to the parameters of the question, are a little more predictable.

@Ugly_Finder: “Who’s best alongside Ramsey in the pivot? Wilshere, Arteta, Flam or Ox?”

I was kind of a fan of the rotating scythe of Song, Wilshere and Fabregas that Arsenal had in 2011, but Ozil doesn’t play as deep as Fabregas did, so that’s not really an option. I know it’s not Arteta, because he’s reached the point where he’s a decent free kick taker who, in the run of play, is kind of okay on the ball and looks like some dude they plucked off the street when he doesn’t have it. And I think with Ox’s speed, he needs to play on a wing.

I was never a huge Flamini fan in his first go-around with Arsenal, but since he left, I’ve come to appreciate that it might be nice to have a dedicated defensive midfielder in the side from time to time. I guess my answer is that I don’t really buy your premise, that Aaron Ramsey’s got to be one of Arsenal’s two holding midfielders. If hey’s healthy, I’d rather have Wilshere, who combines Ramsey’s ball skills with Flamini’s hard-tackling-ness. And beyond that, I’d probably put Ramsey in the side, particularly if Arsenal needed to take the game to their opponent. But definitely not Arteta.

@asigal22: “if they remade little big league this year, what 5 current major leaguers would you want in the movie?”

Ah, fantastic. Who do you figure were the five biggest parts for MLB players were in the original? And I’m not counting Kevin Elster (Pat Corning) and Brad Lesley (Blackout Gatling), who didn’t play themselves. You’ve got to go with Griffey and Randy Johnson, obviously, but after that there’s a divergence between people who talk and people who influence the plot. Because Wally Joyner talks to Lou and is nice, and Mickey Tettleton talks to Mark Hodges (played by former minor league catcher John Minch, no relation to the Pittsburgh murderer of the same name) and is an asshole. There might be others, but they don’t come immediately to mind. But neither Joyner nor Tettleton really advances the plot the way Rickey Henderson does, even though he doesn’t appear on screen. And Dave Magadan, Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar serve as shemozzles, through whose misfortune the Twins advance.

So if this is going to be a real remake, you need a sort of smiling devil position player who exudes cool and a starting pitcher who’s as intimidating as Randy Johnson who can make the surprise relief appearance. I think Mike Trout would be perfect in the Griffey role for both his reputation and his smile, but the two badguys have to be on the same team and C.J. Wilson coming out of the bullpen isn’t quite as intimidating.

The Tigers would be interesting, because you could use Verlander or Scherzer–though both seem like really nice guys and neither generates the kind of fear and awe Randy Johnson did, but the real problem is Miguel Cabrera. He could hit the home run, but does he make the game-saving defensive play? I think not. (Chase Utley and Roy Halladay would’ve been fantastic as a 2010 Griffey and Johnson, for what it’s worth.)

No. The answer is that you can’t use the Twins–it needs to be a National League team, because the pitcher/hitter combo that would work best is Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig. Give it a year or two and maybe you could work in Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen with the Pirates–Cutch fits the Griffey mold better than Puig, actually–but I like the added gravitas the Dodgers have. We’ve got to work on Puig’s English, because if he’s still using an interpreter to pick up girls at bars, he can’t very well banter with Lou Collins, can we?

Let’s replace Wally Joyner’s Royals with Joey Votto‘s Reds, so Lou Collins gets the meaningless single and he banters with Votto, who’s one of a select few National League first basemen who 1) have any personality whatsoever and 2) play for a team with a sense of humor. Imagine if Paul Goldschmidt wanted to have a cameo in Little Big League 2–the Diamondbacks would shut that down and Miguel Montero would go desecrate Jason Robards’ grave. That’s three.

Beyond that, I’d love to see the role of the Indians–whom the Twins beat in four straight to force the one-game playoff against Seattle–taken over by the San Francisco Giants. Having Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval hamming it up onscreen would be great.

So….Puig, Kershaw, Votto and two of Lincecum, Pence, Posey and Sandoval. That’s my five MLB players for Little Big League 2: Medium-Sized Big League.

That’s also it for this week’s Crash Bag. Have a pleasant weekend and GO USA.

 

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41 comments

  1. yizzit

    February 21, 2014 09:57 AM

    What a glorious freaking rant that was.

  2. Calico Beard

    February 21, 2014 11:15 AM

    I have a different opinion on supporting players through disputes than you outlined above. Those are all fair points, especially the fact that their labor is the product. It is difficult to separate millionaires from billionaires and come down on the right side. My problem is with the players never showing any solidarity with their union brothers. I simply do not view them as anything other than a union in name only. I should qualify this by explaining that I am an unapologetic socialist who would welcome a class war in this country as the first just war since WWII. When I saw the legislature of Wisconsin tear down the teachers unions in that state, and the average citizens repeat the propaganda their governor unleashed, all I could think was what a difference it would have made if the Green Bay Packers told the NFLPA they were going to stand in solidarity with the teachers of Wisconsin and not take the field until collective bargaining rights were restored. Pennsylvania will be the next “right to work” battleground. Will the Eagles, Steelers, Phillies, Penguins, or Flyers stand up for the people who scrape together what little they can afford to pay the player’s salaries? They won’t. I don’t side with the Phillies as an organization, or corporation, or collection of billionaire owners. I side with the Phillies as the thing my buddies and I decompress talking about over beers.

  3. max

    February 21, 2014 12:56 PM

    “What is the meaning of life?”

    the correct answer to this, as always, is 42.

  4. CJ

    February 21, 2014 01:47 PM

    The best way to avoid acknowledging the moral quandary of college football is to just tell yourself “these students are academically qualified for college” until you believe it.

  5. awh

    February 21, 2014 02:37 PM

    “while I trust Aaron Fitt’s reporting, I’m aware that neither the Phillies nor Wetzler have admitted to or been proven culpable in any unethical act. Let’s just assume, for the sake of clarity, that Wetzler’s agent negotiated directly on his behalf and someone in the Phillies blew the whistle on him.”

    Well, I don’t necessarily trust Fitt’s reporting. I might trust Fitt, but his reporting could be wrong. all of his “sources” are unnamed , and he provides little or no context.

    You have way too little info at this point to make any assumptions.

    Let’s Review the pertinent point of what Fitt wrote:

    “Several sources have confirmed to Baseball America that the Phillies, who drafted Wetzler in the fifth round last June but did not sign him, told the NCAA in November that Wetzler violated the NCAA’s “no agent” rule.”

    And:

    “But major league teams almost never attempt to contact the NCAA in order to report potential violations. The Phillies, according to sources, did just that with two players they drafted last year: “

    Lastly:

    “It is worth noting that just because the Phillies accused Wetzler and Monda of rules violations, that doesn’t necessarily mean they violated those rules.”

    Quote #1: They “told the NCAA”.
    Quote #2: They contacted the NCAA o report the violation.
    Quote #3: They “accused Wetzler and Monda”.

    Frankly, when I read that, even in the context of the rest of the post (which doesn’t really tell us anything else), I have to wonder – and it’s a question Fitt doesn’t address – what the Phillies MOTIVE was/is in all this. I don’t see one. Do you?

    You assume in your post that it’s spite, but we don’t even know from what Fitt wrote whether the Phillies (or one of the employees) were the FIRST people to contact the NCAA. It could have been anybody, and we have no idea how Fitt even pieced the story together. he obviously heard it from one source first, and then followed up with others, but we have no idea what he was told or who “confirmed” what?

    If the Phillies ratted out this kid and his agent out of spite, then they really were stupid, petty and horribly shortsighted.

    But until we know the whole story, and you and I DON’T, and therefore DON’T know if it was spiteful, we ought no to jump to conclusions.

    • Bob

      February 21, 2014 03:13 PM

      I agree that we don’t know the Phillies’ motivations and until the full story comes out it’s difficult to render judgment. But it’s up to the Phillies’ at this point to clear the air. Only they know what their motivations were. Their silence in the face of pretty serious accusations casts a pall over the whole organization. If they didn’t do it, they should just deny the report. But they’re not even willing to do that. We’re left to conjecture based on the information that we have available, which isn’t complimentary to the Phillies.

      • awh

        February 21, 2014 04:04 PM

        Except, dear sir, the Phillies may be legally prohibited from saying anything at this time. Amaro ACTUALLY said so, citing the NCAA investigation.

        That’s not SILENCE, it’s a public acknowledgement that there is a “situation” being dealt with that they cannot, at this time, comment on.

        Sometimes I think the 24 hr news cycle and the need of so many for instant gratification leaves much to be desired.

      • awh

        February 21, 2014 04:30 PM

        Yes, you are correct, the available info is not complimentary to the Phillies. But as I said in my post above, Fitt does not disclose sources, what info he first had that put him on the story, or how or with whom he verified the information.

        Speculative example:

        Fitt hears that Wetzler is suspended. Contacts coach. Coach verifies and refers him to NCAA. Coach also says “off the record” that the Phillies “told the NCAA” [Fitt’s words]. Fitt contacts NCAA, contacts people he knows with the Phillies, and gets it verified that “yes” the Phillies provided information to the NCAA.

        Nowhere in his post does Fitt say whether or not the Phillies INITIATED the contact with the NCAA. He used 3 iterations of communicating with the NCAA: “told” “accused” and “attempt to contact”.

        So, let’s look at the three:

        “Told” is meaningless, because it provides no context.

        “Accused” is more inflammatory, but he doesn’t elaborate as to what he means by “accused”. If the police contacted me because Bob was reported to have done something illegal, and I verify the information, on a purely technical level I am one of Bob’s ACCUSERS, am I not? So, Fitt can certainly use the word “accused” but he provides ZERO context as to whether or not the Phillies were the instigators in the entire affair. They could be an accuser on a strictly technical basis.

        The last phrase is the most troublesome. “attempt to contact” carries with it the implication that the Phillies were the instigators – the “rats” if you will. However, if I receive a message on my phone from the police asking me to “contact them”, and I call them back and they ask me about Bob and what he did, I in fact, did “attempt to contact” the police (and in that case I was successful).

        Fitt’s piece is a VERY CAREFULLY worded bomb (credit due to him) tossed at an organization. But keep in mind what he DID NOT see fit to put in writing:

        No where does he say the Phillies actually successfully initiated the contact with the NCAA.

        He only states that they “told” – provided information, and that they “accused” – but that is possibly semantics, and that they made an “attempt to contact”.

        This leads me to two possible conclusions:

        One, Fitt doesn’t himself know enough to outright accuse the Phillies of instigating contact with the NCAA, that’s why there’s so much conjecture, or

        two, he knows they weren’t the ones who initially ratted out Wetzler but sensationalized their role in order to get… page hits.

      • Bob

        February 21, 2014 05:38 PM

        How would the Phillies be legally prohibited from discussing this? The Phillies are private organization and the NCAA is a separate organization. Do they have a contract in place between the two prohibiting them from commenting? A non-disclosure agreement? For instance, if I see a college athlete accept money from an agent, why couldn’t I report it to the NCAA and then give an interview? Maybe you can explain how this works.

        Why would Fitt disclose his sources? Very few reporters disclose their sources and some reporters have gone to jail before disclosing. The sources would have little incentive to reveal interesting information if they would be outed.

      • awh

        February 22, 2014 09:38 AM

        “How would the Phillies be legally prohibited from discussing this?”

        MLB and the NCAA have some type of cooperative agreement. Does it “legally” prohibit them from speaking? Maybe not, but certainly in the midst of an investigation it probably places some kind of restriction on them – at least from an ethical perspective.

      • Bob

        February 22, 2014 02:26 PM

        So what you’re saying is that you made that up and have no idea?

      • Phillie697

        February 24, 2014 01:32 PM

        Most organizations, even if they want to honor some kind of a cooperative agreement/understanding, when faced with such serious allegations and PR disaster, will say something like, “we don’t want to speak to details because of the on-going investigation, but we believe once all of the information comes out, the public will see that we acted appropriately and honorably.”

        Guess what? The Phillies didn’t do that.

  6. Tim

    February 21, 2014 03:42 PM

    This is so nauseating. First you imply a disdain for “Rocco of the Northeast” aka any Philadelphia fan who doesn’t align to a hipster view of sports. So what that the guy enjoys his team and is devoted? It doesn’t make him any less aware of the fact he’s rooting for “laundry”. This attitude is just so condescending. Sports are a fictional thing. No one is really going to war on the field, no one is really getting anything fundamentally done for society in the ninth inning. And no one is really solving any problems just because he can steal more bases than a comparable replacement player. We get it. Everyone does. But you’re no better for the way you appreciate the game than anyone else’s approach. We’re still all talking about a subject where a stick hits a ball and you run in circles. So give up the condescension.

    Then you bash Joe Catz, who is one of the most informed and quite frankly appeasing guys on the Philly sports blogosphere. He wants to engage and he has been nothing but open to alternative points of view. Just because the guy doesn’t giggle every time someone insinuates a bone-headed move occurred on the part of the Phillies doesn’t mean he is any less of a worthy contributor to the conversation. He isn’t making anymore excuses for the organization than you are grasping at straws to attack it.

    • Tim

      February 21, 2014 03:44 PM

      *”…isn’t making any more excuses…”

  7. LTG

    February 21, 2014 03:45 PM

    “such a wrongheaded magnum opus of a comment chain”
    Attack JoeCatz for making bad arguments, based on too much speculation, etc. Use insults to do it. Do it on behalf of a kid who has been screwed even if the Phillies did not wrong him. Fine. But why attack the whole conversation as if JoeCatz said stuff and every other participant agreed?

    • Phillie697

      February 24, 2014 01:34 PM

      Kinda wish I saw what MB wrote before he redacted…

  8. joecatz

    February 21, 2014 03:53 PM

    wow.

    You realize you could have made your point without calling me a NAZI right? actually, you could have made your point without calling out another bog or website too.

    If it comes out that the Phillies vindictively did this I’ll be the first person to throw a brick through the window. Sorry If I choose to not crucify without facts here.

    and I take that road a lot because not everyone wants to read a WIP with metrics diatribe day after day.

    And if you took the time to not generalize and generally be a dick, maybe if you looked at some of my stuff you’d see that I’ve been as vocal about this teams misgivings and mistakes and shear idiocy as anyone. I just don’t choose to take that general approach with every situation.

    Classy.

    • Chuck

      February 21, 2014 04:22 PM

      Why should he take the time not to generalize Joe, when in a just world you’d be killed for your opinions?

    • Mike Lacy

      February 21, 2014 09:08 PM

      I consider Joe to be one of – if not THE – best Phillies fans in the blogosphere. Maybe that’s just because as an actual fan of Ruben Amaro (Yes, you read that correctly), I appreciate that Joe is one of the few people who doesn’t seem to operate under the assumption that he is smarter than everyone running the Phillies. Instead, he actually seems to think out his arguments, criticizes where it is merited, and gives credit where credit is due.

      So Joe didn’t jump on the “The Phillies are obviously evil and screwed over this college kid” bandwagon? He actually wants to wait and get all the facts? Yes, that obviously makes him deserving of this type of attack.

      Michael – Maybe the question you and everyone else should be asking is: “Why are we so quick to assume the worst about the Phillies?”

  9. Wet Luzinski

    February 21, 2014 04:16 PM

    Mike, I’m a huge fan of your writing, and, of course, you’re free to castigate people who defend the Phillies as a default, but it’s unfair to put Joecatz in that heap and to do so in such a mean way. True, Joe has been swimming against an overwhelming tide with respect to the “ratting” issue, but he has been doing so speaking from his experience as a high level college player, insightful and analyst of competitive transactions, and, even moreso, with his data on the 2013 college draft picks. Even if your proclivities tend toward labor rights, anti-Phillies or anti- business, given not all is known about what’s going on, you just have to respect and consider his opinion here. I firmly believe such voices make following the Phillies on the Internet better. I include you both in that category, but I’m disappointed in the name-calling. You’re better than that.

    • awh

      February 21, 2014 04:35 PM

      WL, no worries, Bauman is getting the page hit she wants by being a jerk.

      There’s soooo much activity on this blog, you know.

  10. Kevin H

    February 21, 2014 07:10 PM

    I think players deserve all they get and as a fan of players I’d like to see each one earn more, but why not go with marginal revenue product? We aren’t full out Marxists yet. And you partially contradict the point you made referring to Manziel when you correctly say we root for laundry. This especially holds true for college football. Texas A&M would make the same amount of money, maybe minus about $50K in Jersey royalties (look it up), without Manziel. Put Manziel on Colorado or Kent State and he’s probably not a Heisman candidate. If Ryan Howard was playing at the Vet with the channel 17 broadcast contract, Schmidt’s Beer signs, and no MLBAM, there wouldn’t be $25 million for him to earn. None of that is his doing, so the players aren’t creating all the value and getting exploited by the man, comrade.

  11. Phil Ease

    February 21, 2014 08:20 PM

    That attack on JoeCatz is so over-the-top ridiculous that I’ve lost a lot of respect for Baumann.

  12. WayneKerrins

    February 22, 2014 05:58 AM

    Baumann is showing increasing signs of misanthropic tendencies. His polemics which used to be borderline funny had, over the offseason, become increasingly dreary and dull. A corollary was the handful of comments they generally attracted.

    What to do when one isn’t getting the attention one believes one deserves?

    Resort to this type of base rant. Yes Michael you’ve got the attention you were after. Quite a lot of collateral damage to your standing as a person and as a writer though..

    • Joe(NotCatz)

      February 23, 2014 11:15 PM

      Wayne, I think you (and Jerome below) are right on the money. Baumann has really taken too much of a dark turn of late. I used to really enjoy his writing and looked forward to the Friday Crashbags and following him on Twitter, but not so much these days. I’m not sure that it’s the negativity itself that bothers me so much as the impression I get that he looks at anyone who doesn’t share his opinion as someone beneath him. In short: He’s coming off as a complete dick. If that’s what he wants, then fine, but if not then maybe he needs to step back and take a breather and ask himself if this is truly the voice he wants to have.

  13. Jerome

    February 22, 2014 08:43 AM

    I think you need to take a nap. Or a vacation. The grumpy/cynical rants have been increasing lately. When they were more infrequent, they were poignant and/or funny, but lately they have been a drag. Personal attacks like the one of joecatz are rarely, if ever, warranted in a public setting.

    I’m still a fan of your writing and I will continue to look forward to the posting of the Crashbag every Friday. Just take a breather…from personal experience, it’s best not to blog/email/comment while feeling particularly cynical.

  14. Hank

    February 22, 2014 09:51 AM

    As a former US Soccer National Team player I’d like to suggest that you should probably stick to baseball analysis.

    • WayneKerrins

      February 22, 2014 07:19 PM

      No mate. Baumann’s pearls of wisdom on soccer are always entertaining.

  15. John

    February 22, 2014 09:57 AM

    I would love to watch you try to kick a soccer ball. 100% chance you fall.

  16. terry stewart

    February 22, 2014 03:17 PM

    Looks like the battery-throwing Philly fans finally have a front office they can get behind. I’m sure tattling on Wetzler and Monda will open all kinds of doors for the scouting dept. College coaches love seeing their players get screwed.

    BTW the feeling is mutual, everything east of the Rockies is a wasteland that has already slid into the abyss.

  17. Scott G

    February 23, 2014 12:30 AM

    It bothers me that MB posts on this site, has comments directed toward him, and doesn’t have the desire(?)/decency(?)/time(?) to respond.

    • Mike Lacy

      February 23, 2014 10:52 PM

      I see the comments have been redacted with no real explanation. Is this some sort of commentary on the Phillies’ lack of explanation regarding the original issue? Or was this editorial mandate that the author disagrees with?

    • Taco

      February 24, 2014 09:08 PM

      It seems to be available again. I must have been looking for it at around the exact same time he was moving it off of the main page.

      • Scott G

        February 24, 2014 10:08 PM

        I’m still not seeing it?? Where is it?

  18. Phillie697

    February 24, 2014 01:55 PM

    Didn’t read Joecatz’s defense of RAJ and/or the Phillies (I stopped reading them since I don’t understand why anyone would defend RAJ, so I’d rather not cause myself higher blood pressure by reading crap I can’t respect), nor was I here early enough to read MB’s rant about him, so obviously I can’t really speak to something I have zero information about.

    That said, if MB was as upset over the Wetzler situation as I was when I first heard the story, I can see how he may have acted a little too emotionally and said some over-the-top stuff he wish he can take back. I’m sorry, I will repeat the same comment I said in the original story posted by Bill, THE MLB DRAFT IS NOT GOD DAMN SLAVERY!!! You draft the dude, negotiate with the dude, the dude decides you’re not offering enough, and decides he’s going to do something else. Oh well, too bad for you, you who held all the cards before the damn thing even started. Defending the god damn team is about as stupid as Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” comment. There is a team taking advantage of all that is available to itself, then there is a team resorting to thuggery in order to… Actually, I don’t really understand exactly how the team would benefit from this other than the “if we can’t have him then nobody will” childishness.

    It’s been a few days now, and the Phillies aren’t made up of people with the sensibility of three-year-olds (I suppose that can be debatable), yet I’ve heard zero denial. I think at this point we can assume there is some truth to the story. Maybe it didn’t come from RAJ. Maybe it didn’t even come from anyone from the management team. Maybe it was just a pissed-off scout. Doesn’t matter. Somebody from the Phillies did this, and they deserve all the bashing they are getting. I certainly expect some kind of an apology after all is said and done. If not, well, fuck them.

    • TCT

      February 24, 2014 05:44 PM

      So you have an issue with the (likely) behaviour of someone in the Phillies. Guess what, the vast majority of fans share your view.

      That doesn’t in anyway excuse the risible and reprehensible rant of an attention seeking writer who thinks he’s just that bit smarter than he actually is.

      2 different issues.

      • Phillie697

        February 24, 2014 05:47 PM

        Like I said, I didn’t read it, so I am in no position to comment on that. I’m just saying, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Phillies did something far worse here. I’m sure MB deserved his shellacking as well, but I wouldn’t know.

    • TCT

      February 24, 2014 06:36 PM

      Apologies. Didn’t realise the most puerile bits of the rant had been deleted.

    • Pete

      February 25, 2014 01:44 AM

      While I’d like to hear a rational explanation from the Phillies as well, just because none is forthcoming (right now when you demand it) does not mean there is none. And it certainly doesn’t mean the Phillies are guilty of whatever you imagine and for whatever motive you decide to ascribe. The sentiment that an absence of denial confirms truth, even with a qualified “some truth”, strikes me as plain dumb.

      I’m at a loss how so many on this site who normally stand for analytical and rational thought (and often deride others for holding conclusions that aren’t adequately supported by evidence) can so quickly rush to pass judgment on the Phillies organization with so little information. It’s amazing how we can have such high standards for discourse about on field performance (no one had dare mention mindset) and have no standards for discourse about FO performance (let’s vomit our favorite mindset, i.e., pettiness, vindictiveness).

      “Actually, I don’t really understand exactly how the team would benefit from this other than the “if we can’t have him then nobody will” childishness.” Exactly. Can’t you slow down for even a moment and consider the possibility that there’s more to this story than your simple (and convenient for your dislike of the FO) characterization of: “THE MLB DRAFT IS NOT GOD DAMN SLAVERY!!! You draft the dude, negotiate with the dude, the dude decides you’re not offering enough, and decides he’s going to do something else.” Might there be another clause yet to be added to that sentence that changes or softens the criticism being volleyed at the Phillies?

      • Phillie697

        February 26, 2014 12:21 PM

        Pete,

        I understand your point, but this isn’t a court of law, and we live in the real world. This isn’t about “proving” Phillies’ guilt, and a sophisticated organization, which I want to believe the Phillies are, know that PR often times means more than the truth. If they really aren’t even remotely guilty of what they have been accused of, a good PR team would get in front of it. So the fact that there is silence means two things: (1) they are guilty in some fashion, even if it’s just a disgruntled employee acting on his own accord; or (2) the front office doesn’t know what it is doing. I guess you’re right, it could be #2, which IMO is pretty much as bad as #1 for a Phillies fan.

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