Category Archives: Baseball

Studio 60 Concludes, In a New Format!

I want to take you on a journey toward what is perhaps the dumbest creative endeavor I’ve ever undertaken.

You may recall a few weeks ago, episode 12 of Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue ended in a bit of a cliffhanger, with the classic two-parter stinger “To Be Continued.” For those who have been on the edge of their seats wondering how everything could possibly be wrapped up in a neat little package, wonder no more. The exciting conclusion, the one that will leave no question unanswered, is now contained in an ebook collection cleverly entitled Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: The Complete Scripts. It is the first ever Scratchbomb ebook and it is now available from Amazon for the insultingly low price of 99 cents.

This ebook not only includes all 13 episodes of the only series to combine a funhouse mirror image of the Mets’ season with the golden pen of Aaron Sorkin. It also contains a foreword by the greatest and most intense televisual dramaturge of our age, a preface by the often-shackled Yo-Yo Ma, and sketches of story arcs for future, unrealized seasons. And you can read it all on your Kindle or Kindle-type app on the device of your choice this very moment for less than a dollar.

Why am I charging anything for this ebook? A great deal of time and effort went into this endeavor, both in the writing and the technical flimflammery necessary for ebook conversion. I feel this has value and that a nominal fee is reflective of that value. I know this is the internet age and we’re all supposed to get all our entertainment for free, but I don’t feel all that bad for asking money for something that took considerable hours and brain-wracking to make. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, there’s a lot of my writing in a lot of different places on the interwebs for free and you may still feast on that.

But if this quixotic publication appeals to you and you think that 99 cents is a small price to pay for it, please download! If you dig it, RT, Facebook it, give it a good review on Amazon, shout out your window at random strangers, and so on. Every little bit helps. If you don’t like it, please scream at me on the social networking platform of your choice.

If you’d like to read this ridiculous thing but don’t have a Kindle device or app, I am currently looking into what it will take to get it out there for other such devices. This will depend largely on the cost and hours in the day at my disposal, but I’m one of those weirdos who likes to figure out how to do things technically, so if there is any way at all I can make this ebook for other formats, I will. Stay alive! No matter what occurs I will find you (and accommodate your technical needs)!

For those who will purchase it, I thank you, and personally guarantee this will be the most pointless thing you will ever read. And just for the record, this Studio 60 compendium is not the massive tome I’m working on that I often allude to on Twitter. That is still a good ways away from being completed, but completed it shall be.

Onward and upward!

Bless You, Random Vandal

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that the one team I truly, deeply hate is the Florida Marlins. There are other teams I dislike at various times for various reasons, but the Marlins are the only one who incite in me a white-hot burning rage.

Why? I delineated many of the reasons in this piece, so it seems pointless (and blood pressure raising) to do so again. But one cause I just glanced over was their owner, Jeff Loria, who I daresay could out-douche George Steinbrenner at The Boss’s infantile height.

Loria is the man most responsible for choking off the Expos at the root so they could move out of Montreal. Granted, he couldn’t have done this if Bud Selig et al weren’t so keen on making it happen, but the fact remains that he, more than anyone else, destroyed that franchise. (For some arcane reason, this move also necessary to allow the current Red Sox ownership to take over. It is a complicated tapestry of deceit.) He picked a needless public fight with Joe Girardi (who has done just fine for himself elsewhere), and fired another good skipper in Fredi Gonzalez, thereby serving up the next manager for a division rival (the Braves) up on a silver platter. He keeps his payroll at poverty levels (by baseball standards) and bullied Miami into building him a new stadium, only to be revealed as a lying scumbag who puts MLB revenue sharing money into his own pocket.

He has a huge man-crush on Hanley Ramirez to the detriment of his other players, despite the fact that shortstop’s tantrums and lack of hustle have increased at the same rate his performance has declined. He is also the kind of person who would buy his team the largest–and therefore best!–World Series rings ever when they came out of nowhere to win a title in 2003. And quickly returned to nowhere, as he dismantled the team piece by piece. Take a big steamy gawk at this thing and tell me this man should own a baseball team. Go ahead, I dare you.

That is why I have taken particular delight in this altered entry on Loria’s Wikipedia page. Bless you, random vandal. You are truly doing the Lord’s work. (Hat tip to @jameskann whose tweeting alerted me to this.)


Bud Selig: I Am the Worst

I am the worst. The absolute worst. Oh my god, you would not believe. I am just a shitty person in every conceivable way. Think of a way a man can be terrible and I will guarantee you that I have done it or am doing it as we speak.

Children scatter when I walk down the street. Flowers wilt. Dogs growl. You feel a chill in the air that you can only feel when in the presence of a horrible, horrible human being.

When you’re this awful, it’s hard to do things that reinforce your awfulness. People come to expect you do the the worst thing at all times. That’s when I pride myself in digging deep and finding new ways to turn people’s stomachs.

Not allowing a team to wear hats in tribute to 9/11 first responders because of MLB’s lucrative contract with New Era? That’s pretty bad. But demanding a player who dared defy it take off his cap posthaste, midgame, even though he only wore it in the dugout? That’s the kind of mind-numbingly bureaucratic horse-shittery that only a true scumbag could pull off. And to top it off, I make one of my cowering lickspittles take the fall for the decision. Yes, kneel before me, Joe Torre! Who knows where you might be if not for my criminally lax steroid policies?

And I do this all while doing nothing to fix the many ills that actually plague the sport for which I am the supposed caretaker. It’s the 21st century and my stupid sport that I hate and can’t stand doesn’t use instant replay, yet I pretend to be concerned with caps? That is some weapons-grade horse-shittery, if I do say so myself.

I wake up every day, look myself in the mirror, and before it cracks in disgust at having to reflect my hateful image, say to myself, “Today I will be the worst me I can be.” Then I set something in the yard on fire and blame it on the neighbors’ weird kids. On the way to work, I try to hit as many squirrels with my car as possible. My record is 12. I once hit at least one squirrel on five consecutive blocks. I’m like the Joe DiMaggio of killing small animals! And when I get to work, I see how quickly I can make my secretary cry.

I eat poop. Constantly. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Midnight snacks, too. Not always my own, either. Whatever I can find. I am that disgusting.

Hoping I’ll retire due to old age so someone not hideous can run baseball? Never gonna happen! I have used the Dark Arts to prolong the usefulness of this withered husk of a mortal shell. I am constantly protected by two hulking demons, who remain at my side at all times. Only those as wretched as me can see them! I will outlive you, your grandchildren, the pyramids themselves!

I am fucking terrible and can not be stopped! Ever! Play ball, you brainless insects!

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 12

STUDIO 60 ON ROOSEVELT AVENUE
EPISODE 11
WRITTEN COMPLETELY BY AARON SORKIN TOTALLY ALONE AND UNDER GREAT DURESS
RELIVE THE EXCITING INAUGURAL SEASON!
PILOT | EPISODE 2 | EPISODE 3 | EPISODE 4 |
EPISODE 5
| EPISODE 6 | EPISODE 7 | EPISODE 8
EPISODE 9 | EPISODE 10 | EPISODE 11

LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise in the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?

ACT I

The office. PAUL DEPODESTA and J.P. RICCIARDI are standing near a Xerox machine as it whirs away, crumpling up pieces of copy paper and shooting them, basketball style, into a large, overflowing recycling bin.

DEPODESTA
If you could be any tyrant in history, who would you be?

RICCIARDI
Define “tyrant.”

DEPODESTA
Autocratic giant ruling his land with an iron fist.

RICCIARDI
Why would I want to be that?

DEPODESTA
Imagine you had no choice. Which one would you pick that would be the least distasteful to you?

RICCIARDI
I guess…Louis XIV. Seems like you’d be pretty far removed from most of the horror, and you could wear powdered wigs. How about you?

DEPODESTA
Abraham Lincoln.

RICCIARDI
What?! Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a tyrant!

DEPODESTA
The South thought he was. That’s why Booth yelled “sic semper tyrannus!” just before he shot him.

RICCIARDI
That’s a loophole. I didn’t know I could pick Lincoln.

DEPODESTA
Shoulda come with me on that trip to Gettysburg.

MACKENZIE CARLIN walks in, looking annoyed.

CARLIN
What are you two doing? You’re supposed to be copying all the 40-man-roster salary info for today’s meeting.

DEPODESTA
We are. And while we do, we are having a very important discussion abut tyranny, while also playing recycling bin basketball.

RICCIARDI
And I’m winning, mostly because I didn’t call Abe Lincoln a tyrant.

CARLIN
[grabbing the overflowing recycling bin] Is somebody gonna clean this thing out?

RICCIARDI
Yes, I assume somebody will. Could you put it down? I’m trying to line up a three pointer.

CARLIN
[rooting through the trash] What is this?

RICCIARDI
It’s you looking through garbage, for some reason.

CARLIN
No, this.

CARLIN pulls out something from the trash. It looks like a card. She shows it to RICCIARDI and DEPODESTA, who immediately look intrigued.

Cut to DAVID EINHORN’s office. He’s sitting on the edge of his desk with a large square of grass-covered sod in each hand, weighing them carefully. He hears a knock at his door.

EINHORN
Come in, but this better be important. I’m trying to choose grass for my dog’s new putting green.

CARLIN, RICCIARDI, and DEPODESTA enter.

CARLIN
I thought you’d want to see this.

CARLIN hands EINHORN the card. He too is immediately intrigued.

Continue reading Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 12

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 11

STUDIO 60 ON ROOSEVELT AVENUE
EPISODE 11
WRITTEN COMPLETELY BY AARON SORKIN TOTALLY ALONE AND UNDER GREAT DURESS
RELIVE THE EXCITING INAUGURAL SEASON!
PILOT | EPISODE 2 | EPISODE 3 | EPISODE 4 |
EPISODE 5
| EPISODE 6 | EPISODE 7 | EPISODE 8
EPISODE 9 | EPISODE 10

LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise in the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?

ACT I

SANDY ALDERSON enters the front office through a large set of glass doors and is immediately flanked by J.P. RICCIARDI, PAUL DEPODESTA, and MACKENZIE CARLIN, who trail him as he walks through the office

ALDERSON
So what’s the bad news, chums?

RICCIARDI
A Native American civil rights group believes our stadium was built on a Seminole burial ground.

ALDERSON
Inform them there were never Seminole tribes in this area but we have the utmost respect for their ancient and sacred beliefs nonetheless. Next?

DEPODESTA
Our new third baseman wants a patch on his uniform to commemorate Jerry Garcia.

ALDERSON
If he can sew it on himself, he’s welcome to. Next?

CARLIN
The city’s board of health has traced an outbreak of swine flu back to one of our concession stands.

ALDERSON
Then I guess we’re sending out for pizza today. Is that all? Sounds like an easy day, by my standards.

CARLIN
No, there is also a huge guy in a muscle tee in your office, demanding to speak with you.

ALDERSON
We didn’t lead with that, huh?

CARLIN
Always put your best stuff last.

ALDERSON enters his office and sees JOSE CANSECO sitting at his desk, feet up, frantically mashing a cable remote and flipping through channels on a large wall-mounted flat screen. An enormous, messy meatball sub sits on the desk. CANSECO is wearing very faded zubaz and a muscle tee that stops just above a protruding gut.

CANSECO
Do you guys get the pay porn channels here? I think this girl I knew in rehab is gonna be on one of ‘em in like five minutes.

ALDERSON
By all means, make yourself at home.

CANSECO
I already have.

ALDERSON
Yes, clearly. I was being…never mind. What do you want?

CANSECO
Don’t you wish they could make, like, a buffalo meatball? You got buffalo wings and buffalo chicken sandwiches but no buffalo meatballs? How come nobody’s done that yet? I would eat the hell out of a buffalo meatball sub. I’d eat the hell out of two of ‘em. Not even blink, man. I don’t care what I do.

ALDERSON
What do you want from me, Jose?

CANSECO
Remember when we talked in the parking lot the other day, Sandy?

ALDERSON
Yes, I recall you scaring me half to death, then ending our meeting with a vague threat.

CANSECO
C’mon, that’s all water over the bridge. I’m here because I can help you, Sandy.

ALDERSON
Yes, my office was dangerously low on marinara stains. I appreciate you helping out in that department.

CANSECO
No, in the playoff hunt! If you guys wanna make a run at the championship cup, you’re gonna need a bat like mine in your lineup.

ALDERSON
You do realize that at this point in the season, we can’t add any more players, because if we did, we’d have to expose someone on our 40-man roster to waivers, which…what am I saying, of course you don’t realize that.

CANSECO
Just gimme a tryout, Sandy. Let me prove there’s still some sugar left in this gas tank!

ALDERSON
Why do you even want to play baseball again? You look like you’ve been exercising to a John Belushi workout routine.

CANSECO
Because I miss it, Sandy. The crowds, the cheers, and yeah, even the boos. I miss the way I felt when I would walk out on a baseball field—alive, truly alive. I haven’t felt that way in years, and I want to feel it again, even if it’s just once before I die. And I also have at least three exes on my ass for child support payments. They repossessed my PS3, man!

ALDERSON
Fine. I’ll call up the coaches and scouts and get them to…

CANSECO
No, Sandy, I want you to give me a tryout. Throw me some BP. It’ll be just like old times!

ALDERSON
I never threw batting practice in Oakland.

CANSECO
I mean the old times the way they oughta be!

ALDERSON
[sighs] Fine, just give me a minute.

ALDERSON skirts around the desk and grabs the doorknob for his private bathroom.

CANSECO
I wouldn’t go in there. Someone clogged it up real good.

ALDERSON
Was that someone you?

CANSECO
I’m not sayin’ nothing. I ain’t no snitch!

Continue reading Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 11

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 10

STUDIO 60 ON ROOSEVELT AVENUE
EPISODE 10
WRITTEN COMPLETELY BY AARON SORKIN TOTALLY ALONE AND UNDER GREAT DURESS
RELIVE THE EXCITING INAUGURAL SEASON!
PILOT | EPISODE 2 | EPISODE 3 | EPISODE 4 |
EPISODE 5
| EPISODE 6 | EPISODE 7 | EPISODE 8
EPISODE 9

LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise in the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?

ACT I

The office. J.P. RICCIARDI, PAUL DEPODESTA, and MACKENZIE CARLIN sit in a bank of cubes, typing away on their computers with their backs to one another.

DEPODESTA
Do you ever feel completely meaningless?

RICCIARDI
No, that’s just you.

DEPODESTA
I’m serious. Sometimes I feel like I’m just here to serve others.

RICCIARDI
Yes, your boss. It’s called “having a job.”

DEPODESTA
No, I mean it just feels like I’m here to advance a plot. You know, so someone else can have a person to bounce dialogue off of.

CARLIN
Not me. I am fully in charge of my own universe.

DEPODESTA
How do you know that? How do you know you’re not some bit player in a drama that’s not even about you? Like, the camera just lingers on you only when you’re talking to the “star,” and the rest of your existence is completely without meaning or purpose?

CARLIN
I have never thought that in my entire life. I went to Harvard!

A large man covered in head to toe in umpire’s gear, including mask, quickly zips past their cube bank. Only DEPODESTA seems to notice him.

DEPODESTA
Did you guys see that?

CARLIN
See what?

DEPODESTA
An umpire just ran by.

RICCIARDI
Umpires aren’t allowed inside front offices. You know that.

DEPODESTA
So maybe we should report him.

CARLIN
If it’s a problem, I’m sure someone will take care of it.

DEPODESTA
Don’t you understand? This is our chance to be part of the drama, to act before the camera cuts away!

Cut to: SANDY ALDERSON’s office. He sits at his desk, talking on the phone. Bright sunlight trails in from his windows, and we see a beautiful green ballfield cascading off into the distance behind him.

ALDERSON
Yes, you can quote me on that…Yes, I do believe that before the decade is out, there will be a cyborg in the major leagues, and I have no issue with that…Should cyborgs be allowed to take performance enhancing drugs? Well, that’s a separate issue. Let’s wait until cyborgs actually exist before we tackle that conundrum.

The UMPIRE kicks down ALDERSON’s office door.

ALDERSON
Excuse me, I’m having a private and extremely hypothetical discussion here.

The UMPIRE pulls a gun from his pocket, walks over to ALDERSON’s desk, grabs the phone with his free hand, and hangs it up.

ALDERSON
Mike Lupica is going to be very upset if he thinks I hung up on him.

UMPIRE
You’d do better to concern yourself with the gun I have pointed at you, Mr. Alderson.

ALDERSON
I’ve spent some time in the Marines, sir, so I try not to worry about guns until they go off. Didn’t catch your name, by the way.

UMPIRE
My name is not important. I am foot soldier in the Arbiters Liberation Army, and I’m here to take you hostage.

ALDERSON
Would Ted be okay? I’ve always liked the name Ted.

UMPIRE
Your glibness will not save you, Mr. Alderson. This is a very serious matter, and I suggest you take it as such, because I have no qualms about ventilating your smug little body.

ALDERSON
Forgive me. I was in 17 hostage situations last season alone, so I forget it’s not a complete bore to everyone. Please, sit on my couch, put your feet up. I imagine we’re going to be here for a while as you make your demands and lecture me on something or other.

UMPIRE
SILENCE! I am in charge of this situation! I will not be condescended to by my hostage and I WILL be heard! But I am a little tired after skulking all the way here, so if you don’t mind…

ALDERSON
By all means.

The UMPIRE sits down on ALDERSON’s couch and takes off his shoes.

UMPIRE
Oof. My dogs are barkin’ today.

Continue reading Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 10

Tony LaRussa Shall Not Be Mocked

Do you hear those insolent fans, Yadier?

Yes, sire. I believe that’s the local custom of “giving you the business.”

I care not a whit for what these barbarians call it in their vulgar dialect. They’re mocking me, Yadier. Me! Would you not say that the Cardinals play the game of baseball the way t’was intended to be played?

No one would dare say otherwise, sire.

And would you also not say that baseball is the Good Lord’s game?

Certainly, sire.

Of course you would. Therefore, it follows that the Almighty has appointed me to rule these Cardinals. To stand for such insolence against me would be to mock His Divine Will. And that I cannot brook! Instruct the pitcher to hurl the sphere toward one of their beloved favorites.

Certainly, sire. I will command him to dent Ryan Braun’s upper back. Will that be all?

Continue reading Tony LaRussa Shall Not Be Mocked

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue Marathon!

Hi folks, this is Sandy Alderson, TV’s Sandy Alderson on Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue. I’m sorry to say there won’t be a new episode this week, as NBS is airing a special two-hour edition of So You Think You Can Catch a Predator?

However, if you want to relive the exciting first season of the most compelling program of this or any era, you can have a marathon in the privacy of your own home! Just click on any of the links below to view your favorite episode(s) and fall in love with our little cowtown show about high-powered baseball executives all over again. Enjoy!

PILOT: The Origin Begins. The front office is thrown into chaos when Fred Wilpon trashes the team and a brash new owner, David Einhorn, comes aboard. How will Alderson handle it? No doubt with dignity and grace.

EPISODE 2: The Priest, They Called Him. Jose Reyes leaves the team to rejoin the priesthood. Oh, the scrutiny this brings on our beloved GM, you would not imagine! Plus, a new addition comes to the front office. Can Sandy trust her?

EPISODE 3: According to Our New Arrival. Einhorn goes over Sandy’s head and trades for controversial superstar Grant Linwood. Meanwhile, we get hints that perhaps Sandy is not the impenetrable rock he makes himself out to be.

EPISODE 4: The Pupil Dilates. Sandy’s former protege, Billy Beane, has gone Hollywood and is eager to show his old boss his new movie. Einhorn is eager woo Beane into the front office fold. And Alderson reveals a tad more about his troubled past!

EPISODE 5: Why Do You Think They Call It Dodo’s Blood? When Linwood suffers a catastrophic injury, Einhorn tries to keep his star player on the field by any means necessary. Namely, tons of dangerous drugs.

EPISODE 6: Numbers Will Lie. Brian Cashman throws his considerable financial weight around, while a persistent reporter threatens to expose Sandy’s obsession with statistics, the love that dare not speak its name.

EPISODE 7: The Secrets that Men Keep. A team-building trip turns out to be an elaborate ruse for contract negotiations with Linwood. Both Einhorn and Wilpon want credit for bringing back their superstar. Hilarious hijinks ensue, and only Sandy can untangle them.

EPISODE 8: To Vest an Option. When Einhorn tries everything he can to keep his closer’s pricey option from vesting, the closer takes the law into his own hands. Once again, it falls on Sandy to sort things out.

EPISODE 9: Drawing a Bead. Einhorn tries to get back into Wilpon’s good graces, but Sandy can not bail him out this time. He is wrestling with his own fearsome yet comfortable demons.

Bud, You Ignorant Slut

I’m sure Jerry Meals is a decent guy. Or at least I have no real evidence to suggest he’s not, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he made one of the worst calls in the history of professional sports last night because he’s a terrible person. I don’t even think he did it because he was exhausted after 19 innings and just wanted to go to sleep. At least not consciously.

What I do think happened is that, with runners at the corners and one out in the bottom of the 19th, he figured the end was nigh. He visualized making a safe call at home and sending the home crowd home happy (what was left of it, anyway). He figured that if the hitter put his bat on the ball, one way or another this game was over. He figured this so much that when a ball was put in play, he couldn’t see anything else, even though every single other person in the known universe could.

It was a terrible, laughable, sorry excuse for an umpiring call, but I believe it was an honest mistake. He shouldn’t have to apologize today. Well, he probably should apologize, and he sort of has already. But the person who really needs to apologize is Bud Selig. His inexplicable clinging to antiquated ideas about replay means there was no mechanism to overturn Meals’ call. That is far more inexcusable than anything Meals did.

If you want to know why baseball has lost so much ground to other sports, this is a prime reason: It is the only sport where we actually debate whether getting things right might violate some notion of what the game means. Every decision about how to modernize baseball carries with it the weight of history and religious reverence. There are people who fear that any innovation may somehow prevent fathers from playing catch with their sons or grabbing a hot dog at the game. Every other sport–every other sport–changes its rules with insane regularity and nobody bats an eye. Baseball needs to start doing the same, the whining traditionalists be damned, or else devolve into an athletic cousin of Civil War recreation.

Last year, when Armando Galarraga was cheated out of a perfect game because of a bad call at first base, we were supposed to be salved by the grand gestures of good sportsmanship put on by the pitcher in its immediate aftermath. Oh, look at that, Galarraga brought out the lineup card! What a trooper! We’ve all learned a valuable lesson about being good sports! Hurray! We’re all getting pizza after the game!

That’s wonderful fluff for the Mitch Alboms of the world. The rest of us would rather see a game that can reverse terrible calls and have an actual sense of justice. Bud Selig, rather than take this opportunity to press for replay, instead emphasized the Albom-ian cheesiness of it all and let a chance to improve his game fade away along with the outrage. It was like saying that slamming your car into ditch taught you a lesson about not driving so fast into ditches, when the lesson you should take from that experience is to not drive into ditches at all.

Sports are meaningless without an assumption of fairness. The participants have to believe that everything is on the level to put forward their best effort. If you get screwed out of a win and the guy in charge just shrugs his shoulders, that’s not a sport. That’s a shell game.

I’ve puzzled for a while as to why Bud Selig is so hidebound on this issue, when he’s had no problem changing baseball in drastic ways elsewhere. During his tenure as commissioner, he’s added four expansion teams, restructured the divisions, moved one team from the AL to the NL (Brewers) and allowed another to wither and die (Expos), added a wild card berth and whole extra round for the playoffs (and is considering even more), aggressively took on both the players’ and umpires’ unions, oversaw the construction of the most new stadiums in the history of the game, allowed an astronomical amount of ownership changes, made the All Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series for some fakakte reason…need I go on? If you look at his record, Selig has done virtually nothing but alter the game of baseball. Why is replay so beyond the pale for him?

And then I figured it out: Every single one of the items I mentioned made Bud Selig and the other owners money. Bud Selig has no incentive to push for replay, no passion for the issue, because it will not line his pockets or the pockets of his buddies. Though he divested his stake in the Brewers a while ago, he clearly retains an owner’s mentality and sense of values, which essentially boils down to What’s in it for me?

There is nothing in replay for him apart from the added cost of outfitting stadiums with video equipment and hiring new umpires to man them. The cost of not adding replay is minimal and ephemeral–basically, he gets yelled at by guys like me when the Jerry Meals of the game fuck up, and that’s about it. A billionaire can handle being yelled at if it means he won’t lose any money.

Of course, there are long term costs to not adopting replay, such as failure to attract new/younger fans who can’t abide such idiocy. How can baseball possibly entice a generation of sports fans for whom the idea of not being able to overturn a bad call is unthinkable? Imagine if the Meals call happened in a football game. There’d be car-fllipping riots in the streets. The survivors would envy the dead.

Outside of Jackie Robinson, baseball has never been ahead of the curve, and it has never changed its worst, most damaging features until it was almost too late. Gambling, for instance, plagued the sport for decades before the ugly Black Sox scandal blew up. It allowed owners’ collusion to continue unfettered, which fostered resentment among the player and may have been the biggest factor in the 1994 strike (even if Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning didn’t mention it at all). It had no PED policy to speak of for far too long, which both allowed steroids to flourish and made MLB’s response to the problem (once McGwire and Sosa couldn’t “save” the game any more) hamfisted and incomplete.

Baseball doesn’t have to exist. There’s a lot of entertainment out there competing for people’s dollars and attention, entertainment that doesn’t pull the rug out from under people’s feet with no recourse for retribution. At some point, people are going to decide that they can’t watch this antiquated shadow of a sport just because of apple pie and mom. If Selig doesn’t institute replay, and soon, the next terrible call will not generate any outrage at all, because no one will be watching.

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 9

STUDIO 60 ON ROOSEVELT AVENUE
EPISODE 9
WRITTEN COMPLETELY BY AARON SORKIN TOTALLY ALONE AND UNDER GREAT DURESS
RELIVE THE EXCITING INAUGURAL SEASON!
PILOT | EPISODE 2 | EPISODE 3 | EPISODE 4 |
EPISODE 5
| EPISODE 6 | EPISODE 7 | EPISODE 8

LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise in the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?

ACT I

FRED WILPON’s office. He’s sitting across the desk from RAY BARTOSZEK, a rotund, bald man of Eastern European extraction in a garish suit. They are laughing together when DAVID EINHORN walks past the open office door. He stops in his tracks and looks inside. The two men shoot each other strained glances. EINHORN stalks off, looking angry and almost tearful.

Cut to: SANDY ALDERSON’s office. He stands at his window, looking out on the field contemplatively as groundskeepers water it. EINHORN bursts in.

EINHORN
I’m being pushed out!

ALDERSON
Nice to see you, too.

EINHORN
Do you know that Wilpon’s in his office right now, talking to Ray Bartoszek?

ALDERSON
No, I didn’t know that, for despite all evidence to the contrary, I have not yet been granted omniscience.

EINHORN
Bartoszek was the guy Wilpon talked to about investing in the team before he chose me. Now he’s got him in his office and they’re laughing it up like a bunch of…laughing guys! Do you know what this means?

ALDERSON
Someone told a humorous anecdote?

EINHORN
It means I’m being pushed out! Wilpon wants another investor in this team!

ALDERSON
So? He’s not going to have majority control like you do.

EINHORN
I don’t have majority control! I don’t have any control! I just have exclusive negotiating rights with Wilpon. Except, I kinda forgot to negotiate anything. Officially, I don’t own anything yet, and Wilpon’s gonna sell it out right from underneath me!

ALDERSON
So you’ve been calling the shots for this team, making trades, taking us on team-building conferences, and you don’t even own the team yet?!

EINHORN
I was gonna take care of it, but my brother was in town for a few weeks, and then there was that day I had to pick up a chair I bought on Craigslist…I got a lot on my plate, okay! I need you to fix this, pronto!

ALDERSON
Why? You just told me you’re not officially in charge of anything. Why do I need to do what you say when I have so many other things to take care of? Just this morning I found out my second baseman will be featured on an upcoming episode of Hoarders.

EINHORN
Well…all the fun times we’ve had, for one thing.

ALDERSON
Like when you traded for the most expensive player in baseball behind my back, then filled him with enough drugs to kill Keith Richards.

EINHORN
Only some of those words are true! C’mon, I thought you loved solving crises!

ALDERSON
I don’t love it, I’m just incredibly good at it.

EINHORN
Sandy, please, I need your help. You’re the closest thing I have to a friend right now. Everyone else I know is either indicted or in mutual funds.

ALDERSON
That’s rough, mutual funds. [begins to walk EINHORN out the door] All I can tell you, David, is that a business partnership is like a relationship.

EINHORN
Because you pay for it with cash and hate each other?

ALDERSON
No, because every now and then you have to rekindle the spark. Why did you and Wilpon do business in the first place? Remember that, and you’ll find the way to get back in his good graces.

EINHORN
What if I can’t think of it?

ALDERSON
You can ask J.P., or Paul, or Carlin. They’re all top-notch assistants who can help you with your problem when they’re not managing the incredibly difficult job of keeping a ball club together.

EINHORN
And what if they can’t help me?

ALDERSON
Then maybe you and Wilpon shouldn’t have been together in the first place. David, I’m sorry, but I need to be alone right now.

ALDERSON gently pushes EINHORN out of his office and shuts the door. EINHORN looks worried as J.P. RICCIARDI and PAUL DEPODESTA walk by.

EINHORN
What’s with Sandy? He normally loves to solve problems like this.

RICCIARDI
He’s been a bit on edge lately. He gets like that every now and then.

DEPODESTA
Best to just wait it out. A genius mind like that needs a break from time to time.

Cut to inside ALDERSON’s office. He’s staring out the window again. From a nearby corner, an apparition of ALDERSON’S FATHER emerges, dressed in army fatigues and a GI helmet.

ALDERSON
I thought I told you to leave me alone.

FATHER
You never listened when I told you to get a haircut, ya damn hippie, so now I’m returning the favor. You know why I’m here, son–to berate you into relapse

ALDERSON
I’m not doing that.

FATHER
It’s right in your desk drawer. Why do you have it if you don’t plan on using it? You want to use it, you weakling!

ALDERSON clenches his eyes, grasps his temples and tries to massage the pain away. FATHER chuckles.

Continue reading Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 9