It takes a certain type of owner to fire someone who is probably going to be named manager of the year after keeping a team with a $15 million payroll in the playoff hunt until the final two weeks of the season. Then again, Jeffrey Loria is a special owner. Who else in this day and age would begin a season without a radio contract (as Loria did with the Expos in 2000)?
Fortunately, Loria is offering his years of wisdom and baseball expertise to everyone in a new book: "All I Really Need to Know About Owning a Baseball Team, I Learned in Kindergarten" by Jeffrey Loria.
1. Share everything.
This applies to crayons and finger paint and tinkertoys, but most of all, to baseball revenue. For instance, thanks to the riches of the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox and others, my Marlins received $28 million in revenue sharing this year. We also received $20 million in national broadcasting revenue. We also should receive $10 million from the sale of the Nationals, which is a really sweet deal considering I already sold the exact same franchise to MLB for $120 million! That's $68 million I received from the generosity of others. And I'm paying my players only $15 million! See how good it is to share? That's why I also ask our fans to share in the cost of a new $530 million stadium with a retractable roof.
2. Play fair.
Hey, Cyclops! Yeah, I'm talking to you! Is it that hard to find @#%$ umpires who have the same strike zone for my rookie pitchers as you do for pampered, overpaid veterans like Greg Maddux? Why is it considered all right for you to squeeze the strike zone for rookies? Sure, maybe you'll give them that pitch on the outside corner after they've been in the majors for five or six years, but what good will that do since I'll have traded them to Boston by then? I mean, I know all you @#&% umps are incompetent, but can't you be consistently incompetent?
No, Joe, YOU shut the @% up! I'll yell at who I want!
3. Put things back where you found them.
Either that or Las Vegas.
4. Clean up your own mess.
And the best way is to get the city to pitch in and help by building us a new stadium $530 million stadium with a retractable roof that will allow us to generate enough revenues do just that. Many hands make light work. P.S.: Don't be afraid to yell.
5. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody.
This is very important. For instance, I told Girardi, "I'm sorry Joe, but I'm going to have to go ahead and fire you."
6. Wash your hands before you eat.
And also be sure to wipe the guilt from your hands after another capricious firing of a valuable skipper who will probably be named manager of the year -- you'll sleep better at night. I know I do.
And flush regularly. Nothing inspires employees to work harder than the constant fear of losing their jobs. That's why I've gone through four managers in just five years. Keeps them on their toes!
8. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Which is why we need a $530 million stadium with a retractable roof, 120 luxury suites and concourses wide enough for plenty of concession stands to sell those warm cookies and milk.
9. Live a balanced life.
I balance my life by wearing my owner's cap during the day and my fan's cap during the night. It allows me to vent my frustrations at incompetent umpires. And I don't need any cocky managers telling me to shut up, either.
10. Learn some and think some and draw some and paint and dance and play and work every day.
Painting is not only relaxing, it's lucrative. Well, maybe not for the painters who generally have to die before their work has any value. But certainly for the art dealer who feeds on their talent. Look at me!
11. Take a nap every afternoon.
Five or six hours is reasonable. And if your employees haven't made you more money by the time you wake up, fire them.
12. When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
This is crucial. Heavy traffic means a large population base and a large population base means a potential market for relocation. And sticking together means that when your employer wants to yell at an umpire, you don't embarrass him in public by telling him to sit down and shut up.
13. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why. We are like that, too.
I try to tell our fans this every day. Teams go down in the standings and they go up in the standings and it has nothing to do with the payroll or the overrated manager. In fact, I won a World Series three years ago.
BOX SCORE LINE OF THE WEEK
Reader Chuck Kleindorfer points out this beauty: St. Louis reliever Tyler Johnson entered the game on Sept. 27 to face pinch-hitter Mark Bellhorn in the top of the eighth with runners on second and third, two outs and the scored tied. His sixth pitch to Bellhorn went back to the screen, allowing Khalil Green to score from third. Adrian Gonzalez tried to score from second on the same pitch but was thrown out to end the inning. The Cardinals pinch-hit for Johnson in the bottom of the eighth and wound up scoring three runs on Albert Pujols' three-run home run, en route to a 4-2 win.
So, Johnson did not officially face or retire a batter and he turned a 1-1 game into a 2-1 deficit with a wild pitch, but through the wonders of scoring he still got the win, the first of his career.
That looked as if it would be the week's winner until Devern Hansack finished up Boston's season Sunday. The last thing a team out of contention wants on the final day of the season is a rain delay, particularly one that lasts three hours and 23 minutes. But at least Hansack made the wait worthwhile. The former lobster fisherman (the Red Sox discovered him while he was pitching in Holland) no-hit the Orioles for five innings before the rain resumed and the game was called with the Red Sox leading 9-0. That gave Hansack a victory but did it also give him a no-hitter?
Before you answer, here's Hansack's award-winning line:
5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K Now, was it a no-hitter? Fay Vincent didn't do much when he was commissioner and one of the few things he actually did was bad: changing the rule that used to credit a pitcher with a no-hitter if the game was shortened by rain. Off Base doesn't understand this. Do such games count in the standings? Yes. Do all the stats count? Yes. Does the pitcher get credit for a complete game? Yes. Were any hits allowed? No. Then that makes them no-hitters, no matter what Vincent says.
TELL YOUR STATISTICS TO SHUT UP
With his 5-for-5 game in the series opener against Detroit, Derek Jeter now has 147 postseason hits. That's more hits than Ted Williams had in the 1958 season, when he led the league in batting.
"After the Yankees win the World Series, A-Rod will throw a big party. Out of habit he'll throw it over the first baseman's head, into the dugout."
-- Conan O'Brien
A lot of people agreed with last week's Off Base about new limits on clinching celebrations, though most everyone wanted to make an exception for their own team. Tim in Waukesha asks, "Your celebration guidelines were appropriate for winning franchises, but what about teams like the Brewers, who haven't had a winning season since before President Clinton the First was elected? Can they at least break out juice boxes and orange slices in 2009 when they capture win No. 82?"
Yes, Tim, they may. In fact, they can drink the Miller brewing company dry. (And I like your attitude on that Clinton the First thing.)
Jason Muehler, a big Minnesota fan, wrote, "Even though I am excited to see what the Twins have done, in my heart I wanted them to do something different (than celebrating clinching the wild card). My hope after the Sox lost and they clinched beating ... oh yeah, the worst team in baseball ... was to high-five each other, shake hands ... go into the locker room ... and then look into the cameras and say 'We're looking to win the World Series, not the wild card.'" That's the spirit, Jason.
Patrick Torborg had a great observation: "And while we are talking about teams spraying liquids in celebration I have a question. When did our huge macho superstar invincible sports heroes become so darn afraid of a little Dom P getting on their travel suit? Can they not afford dry cleaning? Or another darn suit? Did the Babe or DiMaggio ever yell 'Hold on fellas, the plastic is not up yet!' Where are the photos of Mean Joe Greene in the bathroom moments later running club soda over his blazer? Guys, if it is going to be a celebration, let it go. Let's see some real emotion, not this made-for-TV champagne showers that we have come to expect and that have actually become cliche."
And finally, Randy Myers would like to see the celebration rules expanded. "I think you may have overlooked the worst celebration in sports today, the walk-off winning-hit plate hop. It doesn't matter if you were up five runs going into the ninth and blew a lead, only to come back and win, or if it was 0-0 for 20 innings -- the boys are going to hop. Record is also irrelevant. Two nights ago I watched the M's win in extra innings over the A's, and there went the hop again. Just like when and how to celebrate playoff clinchers, there should be a rules set governing when the team can do the Home-Plate-Hop."
Agreed. These home plate rallies are out of control. From now on, they should be reserved only for games that decide a playoff spot. Or any time you beat the Yankees. And finally, I'm still getting e-mail about reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams facing an 18-month jail sentence for not revealing their sources on the BALCO story. Among my favorites is this one from Edwin Ortega: "I just read your Off Base column. It is really sorry what is happening to the 'Game of the Shadows' guys. I'm originally Colombian, and I really know what is to live in a country where you can lose your life for expressing yourself out. I thought here in the U.S. it would be different. It is so sad to know that there are people that don't realize what they have here."