HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A high school classmate of Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano threatened to reveal an alleged homosexual relationship they had and to write a book about it unless Pavano apologized to him and bought him a navy Range Rover SUV with tan leather, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by police in Connecticut.
The biggest free-agent stars have already signed for big bucks. And while several name players remain -- Adrian Beltre, Rafael Soriano, Vladimir Guerrero, Carl Pavano, Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche to name a half dozen notables -- there are also some relatively low-priced presents still available under the free-agent tree. For teams that saved their money for after-Christmas shopping, these players are worth a look, and probably won't cost eight figures, or in most cases even multiple years.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- With baseball's General Manager meetings taking place this week, some executives are complaining that the free-agent market is weak and shallow. But while that's mostly true if a team seeks a superstar in his prime, that's clearly not the case if you're looking for a certain type of specialist, especially a reliever or designated hitter. While all-around stars are sparing on the market (after Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Adrian Beltre, Adam Dunn, Rafael Soriano, Victor Martinez, Paul Konerko and three Yankees icons Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, there's a distinct dropoff), teams that need strictly a bat or a late-inning arm are in luck.
Carl Pavano avoided arbitration on Tuesday by reaching agreement with the Twins on a guaranteed one-year, $7 million deal for 2010. It is the first time the Twins have ever guaranteed an arbitation-eligible one-year deal.
Free agency once was a yellow brick road to riches. Free agents could count on being wined and dined and enriched. Does anyone remember a recruiting tour of the country by Carl Pavano -- yes, Carl Pavano -- unofficially named Carlpalooza?
MINNEAPOLIS --- About forty-five minutes after Mariano Rivera induced the weak groundout from Brendan Harris that ended this American League Division Series, a few Twins fans lingered in some hidden corner of the Metrodome, testing, for one last time, the stadium's acoustics. "Let's go, Twinkies!" they yelled, their voices echoing throughout the ballpark, well after workers had dug up home plate and had begun to pull the advertisements down from the outfield wall. It was the last time that those words will ever be shouted here.
As team sports go, the regular-season collapse is a phenomenon unique to baseball. After all, there isn't much sense getting too worked up over whether a team blew its chance to be the No. 8 seed in the NHL or NBA playoffs, or one of two wild cards in each conference in the NFL.
The winter meetings in Las Vegas may have ended, but the Yankees are still busy. Two days after landing the free agent market's most coveted hurler, CC Sabathia, they've bolstered their rotation with another free agent, A.J. Burnett. The former Blue Jay has reached a preliminary agreement with the Yankees on a five-year, $82.5 million contract -- pending a physical. If Sabathia's seven-year, $161 million deal carries risks for New York, Burnett's deal arguably carries even more.
Work hard, get promoted, succeed in your new post, and eventually you'll start earning the big money. This progression seems like a firmly ingrained part of the American Dream, and it's certainly worked for a lot of people.
Tuesday night's Red Sox win made it official: The Yankees will miss the 2008 playoffs, making this the first season in the Division Series era in which October will kick off without the Bronx Bombers. That's a reason for celebration in many quarters, and a cause for distress in others, but the team's failure to make the postseason inspires one question from everyone: What now?
It is now time, whether all those playoff-privileged East Coast fans want to admit it or not, to face up to the very tangible possibility that both the Yankees and the defending World Series champion Red Sox might be on the outside looking in this postseason.
Twenty-five years ago, the Yankees hit July 4 at 36-37 on their way to unceremoniously snapping a string of five postseason appearances in six years, including three pennants and two World Series championships. That run could have been six-for-six if not for the demoralizing death of captain Thurman Munson during the 1979 season. The '82 Yankees, who bear a passing resemblance to this year's squad, were a talented bunch (on papyrus) that wheezed in fifth in the A.L. East at 79-83 -- the franchise's first losing record since 1973.
Hindsight being as eagle-eyed as it is, it's easy to see just where the present-day Yankees went wrong. They tried to restock their farm system and compete at the big league level at the same time. They pulled away from what they do best -- nobody bullies people in baseball with a checkbook quite like the guys in the pinstriped front office, whether it's in the free-agent market or at the trade table -- and that's costing them now.
With one quick record-setting stroke of the pen, and one big announcement on the big screen above Yankee Stadium by Roger Clemens, the Yankees moved back into the ballgame Sunday. This is the best $28 million they ever spent (and actually since the salary's pro-rated over the entire season, it'll only cost them between $18-19 million).
No self-respecting manager or front-office team builder would dare use injuries as an excuse for losing. Are you kidding me? Using injuries as an excuse -- justifiably or not -- makes baseball people look weak.
1. Spurs star Tim Duncan says that referee Joey Crawford challenged him to a fight while ejecting him from Sunday's game against the Mavericks. That's strange. Usually the refs and players settle disputes by footraces.
1. Peyton Manning hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Apparently he was difficult to work with. He insisted on preparing multiple scripts for each sketch, then choosing the premise just before the sketch started depending on what look the audience was giving.
Evel Knievel's legendary carcass landed in a heap in the Guinness Book of World Records by dint of his breaking 35 bones, but that geezer spent his days jumping over rows of buses on a motorcycle. Our National Pastime -- a relatively effete sport -- is the home of guys whose injury histories make you wince, but only because you can see the open manhole in their path every time they simply step on the field.
After 14 straight postseason appearances, the Yankees' dominance of the AL East should continue, albeit amid the kind of soap opera atmosphere that Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada & Co. have long tried to avoid. To address some unrest in the clubhouse, G.M. Brian Cashman moved the volatile Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson, neither of whom was a fantasy force in his final season in the Bronx.