July 26th, 2006

Koufax

Paper Heroes...

Today's Slate has a piece on baseball cards, and how the bottom has dropped out of what was once one of the few investments that never lost money. Of course, the reason for the former was that too many people figured out the latter at about the same time, with predictable results. The demand for cards, especially the highly sought after "rookie" cards, i.e., the first card upon which a particular player had appeared, went through the roof. Card shops and card shows proliferated, and the manufacturers started producing more card sets to meet the demand, each more special than the rest. When I was a kid, there was just one manufacturer, and one set, Topps, which we bought a pack at a time. Ten cards a stick of rock-hard gum for a nickel. Even into the mid-eighties, there were still only three competing sets, Topps, Fleer, and Donruss.

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Harold Reynolds was fired yesterday from ESPN's Baseball Tonight, and since no one at ESPN is commenting, speculation was rampant over at the Griddle. There is some very funny stuff over there. As for the actual reason he got fired, there are rumors that it was either for sexual harrassment, or because he had a melt down in a meeting about the network's coverage of A-Rod's recent problems. I'm thinking it would have to be one hell of a meltdown for it to have been the latter, but if it was the former, why would ESPN then give Reynolds's spot on BBTN to Steve Phillips, who was fired as GM of the Mets for sexual harrassment?

[eta] And Reynolds has confirmed that it was for sexual harrassment, although he claims his inappropriate hug was misinterpreted. Could be. When you see things on TV like the President of the United States giving uninvited neck rubs to the Chancellor of Germany, it's entirely possible Reynolds thought his actions were appropriate. Sure it is...

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Speaking of Phillips, he has been vociferously calling for the Yanks to trade A-Rod, and folks are questioning if he might not be all together unbiased on the subject. Truth be told, Phillips was a terrible GM, and any criticism he has for other GMs has to be taken with a colossal grain of salt. Hey, I'd take A-Rod in a New York second, but Brian Cashman isn't that stupid.