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Preparing The Ground

Posted on December 4, 2009 at 9:38 AM
Filed Under: New York Yankees | St. Louis Cardinals
Are you ready to see Matt Holliday walk?

That seems to be the thrust of today's story at the Post-Dispatch.  Some of the verbal dancing we've come to expect from ownership makes a return, as they seem to start letting people down easy in regard to their Holliday wishes.

While it might not be the best way to go about it, it's not anything reasonable fans are surprised at.  Indeed, the more surprising thing was to think that they might really try to keep him around.  As I have said before, unless they planned to take payroll to the $125 million range, there would be too much money tied in all of this, with Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse already bringing in major portions of the payroll.

I have never honestly held my breath on a Holliday return, though I realize that it's still possible.  I just don't know that tying up that much long-term is in the best interest of the franchise.  Holliday's a great player, to be sure, but I don't think that'd help the stated goal of staying as competitive as possible as often as possible.

I do want to see them take that monney they might have spent on Holliday (or at least a substantial portion of it) and bolster the club for 2010.  There's a report that they were interested in Vicente Padilla.  That's not the direction I'd like to see, and thankfully Matthew Leach basically shot that down.  I still think I'd like to see a Ben Sheets/Rich Harden type gamble, because you are never going to get talent like that at a lower price.

It really will be interesting to see what ownership does this offseason, because there's not a lot of really attractive options.  It may be some one-year deals and look to do this again next off-season.

Changing gears, I want to mention a situation that came to my attention through the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  There is a blog called The Yankee Universe that covers, as you might imagine, the Yankees.  However, it's likely not to be called that much longer, since the Yankees and MLB have come after them with a cease and desist order.  The bloggers' response can be found here.

This seems like a tough situation.  On the one hand, it seems petty for the Yankees to come after a blog.  I mean, honestly, does anyone think that it's an "official" blog?  Are there any such things?  Anything that is official from a player or team is more of the press release/bland generalities genre, not actually a discussion blog.  While people like Matthew Leach blog for the official site, they aren't team blogs by any stretch of the imagination.  So if you are seeing analysis and discussion, you can't actually think that it's approved by a Steinbrenner, can you?

Add to that side the fact that it's your fan base, and in general you don't necessarily want to do irritating and picky stuff with your fans, because that's a darn good way to make them ex-fans.  They are promoting your brand and advertising your team, so you'd think you'd want to help them do that.

The flip side of that, though, is that the Yankees apparently have been using "Yankee Universe" in a charity fashion, which does lend to some confusion, and the simple fact that you have to defend trademarks, because if you don't, eventually you lose them.  (One of the few things I remember from college business law.)  If you don't stop people from using them without permission, there comes a point where you can't claim it as yours.  It sucks, but from a long-term perspective, it has to be done.

The BBA ran into this during our voting of post-season awards.  Since we were using MVP, Cy Young, etc. as our titles, which were registered to the Baseball Writers of America, we got an e-mail requesting we change our award titles, which we'll do next year (as soon as we figure out what we want to change them to).  Some of our membership questioned whether they can do that, as other organizations use similar terms, but when you are a small group, you don't argue with anything that could cause legal trouble unless you are 120% sure you can deal with it.

Which means that, no matter the rightness or wrongness of it, most likely The Yankee Universe will become known as something else in the coming days.  If someone in that organizaiton was more open to new media, though, you think they could have worked out some sort of compromise or agreement rather than using the considerable weight of the franchise to squash a fly, as it were.

A good weekend to you and yours and we'll get back together next week to talk about the winter meetings!

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

Yankees HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTECT THEIR BRAND.They market their brand world wide.

I don't argue with that. It just seems like there could be some sort of agreement or concession that would still protect their brand while not coming off as a jerk throwing his weight around.

As a point of order, neither MVP nor Cy Young Award are registered trademarks of BBWAA. I looked it up after you broke the news of their request to the BBA.

The BBA took the high road regarding the Baseball Writer's request, and that's fine; but we were under no obligation to do so.

Thanks, Mike. Did I misread what the BBWAA was asking, then? I posted that e-mail for all to see. Maybe I read something that wasn't there.

That said, it really wasn't worth fussing about, in my book.

No, I don't think you misread what they were asking you to do. Their reason for asking the BBA to stop using Cy Young and MVP, that those terms are trademarks of the BBWAA, was inaccurate. A couple of other BBA members pointed this out in the comment thread as well.

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