Articles by Jan Levine

A listing of all the articles written by Jan Levine for the RotoWire Blog.

Lockout Finally Ends, Will You Be Back?

Some of the deal info trickling out is as follows:

– 10-year deal with mutual opt-out after 8

– 7-year max contracts (8 for a team’s own returning players)

– $64.3 Million Cap for 2013, with a floor at 44

– 2 compliance buyouts before the 2013-14 season

– Variance from year to year in salary is 35|PERCENT| (much higher than originally expected when NHL offered 5|PERCENT| and then 10|PERCENT|. However, the lowest number can only be 50|PERCENT| of highest (so if one year the max is $10m, the lowest figure in the deal must be $5m, that eliminates the major scaling down we have seen)

– Expectation that the players will compete in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi

– Salary arbitration walkaway cannot happen unless the player award is at least $3.5 million, which is indexed to increase each year at the rate that salaries rise

– Revenue sharing will spread $200 million with $60m growth fund

– Pension fund – owners will be responsible for the losses and funds based on what MLB players have

– 48-or-50 game season. Conference play only. Season may start January 15.

Training camps are expected to open between Wednesday and Friday and all 14 teams that miss the playoffs are eligible for the first overall pick.

Now for the question, will you be back? If yes, will you be back with the same passion and enthusiasm as before or has the lockout muted it? If no, is that a permanent view or will the siren call of the puck, especially when the playoffs start, bring you back?

Apathy Biggest Issue If|FRONTS|When NHL Lockout Ends?

The news that both sides are actually sitting across from each other may be cause for celebration but even if the lockout is resolved in the near term, has too much damage been done to the fan base?

I had written this elsewhere but would love to get the Rotowire view:
What does this have to do with apathy? Fans, like most of us on this site, are angry. Angry that the game we all love has been taken from us by both sides, who cannot find a way to sit down and bridge the gap, regardless of how wide they believe it is. When and if they settle, regardless of the length of the absence, we likely will be back. The bigger key is a quote that I had seen in another blog: “The owners and the players don’t care about us, I am done caring about them.” That apathy is what will kill the future of the sport after all the gains made in the past year or two. If casual fans don’t care, then the potential for the game to grow and flourish is minimized. Couple that with businesses who may not see the benefit of sponsorship due to decreased ratings and interest, and you have what could be a deadly combination.

This may be the NHL and NHLPA’s last chance to get close to a full season and not lose the interest of the casual and die hard fans, don’t blow it.

Why Is Tony Bernazard Still a Mets Employee?

Whether the accusations, which I document below, are true, there’s certainly enough to warrant his dismissal. I’m not sure what’s worse, ownership dragging its feet (GM Omar Minaya said he’s "investigating" this, 13 times in his press conference), or the hit the team as a whole has taken in the media for this entire circus. It’s bad enough they’ve been an embarrassment on the field, but now it’s extended off-the-field. I am surprised the Wilpons haven’t acted, given how their main concern seems to have always been the bottom line and this can’t be helping current attendance and future renewals, but I guess if you are in good with the owner’s son, who is a key member of management, all your failings get to be overlooked.

Adam Rubin reported in Wednesday’s NY Daily News that Bernazard, already notorious for his alleged influence in the firing of Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson a year ago, apparently was so incensed on a trip to observe the Mets’ Double-A Binghamton team that he ripped off his shirt in the clubhouse after a game and challenged the players to a fight. In addition, the News reported Tuesday that Bernazard recently erupted at the organization’s manager of baseball operations. During a game at Citi Field, scouts took their customary seats in a row behind home plate. Bernazard showed up during play and wanted a seat occupied by a D-Backs scout. Bernazard’s deputy, already seated in the row, suggested to the Mets VP that he wait until the half-inning ended, to minimize the disruption. Bernazard ripped into his deputy with a profanity-laced tirade as scouts and patrons watched in disbelief.

These two recent incidents, the earlier of which having been confirmed by several sources, and the B-Mets one should be enough to tip the balance for someone who is not well liked within the overall Mets organization, save for the Wilpons and Minaya, which is all that may matter. On the minor league incident, the team’s manager and several players have indicated that it was not as bad as had been reported, so Bernazard gets a mild pass there, but there were others. Some other less than favorable occurrences were Carlos Delgado’s refusal to sign with the Mets when he was a free agent due to Bernazard’s actions and his undermining of Randolph. In addition, Bernazard’s constant appearance in the Mets’ clubhouse, which should be off-limits, and management of Latin players under the nose of the manager should weigh the ledger to warrant his dismissal. If these aren’t enough, his failure to live up to his title of VP of Player Development, since can anyone show me what talent the team has recently developed as seen by the view of scouts on the Mets’ players, the record for the Double- and Triple-A affiliates and need to sign older free agents to fill holes that can’t be filled organizationally should serve as enough evidence to fire him.

As a Mets fan and ticket plan holder, I’m embarrassed by what’s gone on between the white lines but it’s the direction of the organization as a whole that’s most troubling. Personally, I would love to see sweeping changes, with Bernazard, Minaya, the scouting director gone and the Wilpons to sell, but if not, start with Bernazard to try and restore some of the luster back to what is now, a sorry-sack franchise. Oh and by the way Omar, watch your back, since Bernanzard is so close with Jeff Wilpon, for all we know, you could be let go and Bernazard stays. If that happens, cancel my tickets now.

Mets to keep Minaya and Manuel

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Mets GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel have been reassured by club higher-ups that their jobs are not in jeopardy. Just what the Mets need, keeping the GM who has made their farm system as bereft as the Expos. Anyone else want to wager that trainer Ray Ramirez and the Hospital for Special Surgery will also be kept and the Wilpons will spin it that all the time lost for injuries is not their fault. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost embarassing to be a Mets fan. Given how the year has gone, it would not be shocking to find out Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes won’t be back at all this year.