2002 March

1stThe Red Sox fire GM Dan Duquette and hire Mike Port, on an interim basis.

Giants 2B Jeff Kent breaks his thumb while washing his truck and is expected to be out for the next 4–6 weeks. Rumors immediately start that the accident occurred while Kent was riding his motorcycle, something usually forbidden in a player’s contract under the danger clause. Two 911 calls about a motorcycle accident near Scottsdale Stadium resulted in no police report or accident found. Statesmanlike, Kent remarks, “I think what is sad is that this incident has become bigger than the game. There are so many good things that happen on this field with this team that are good for baseball. I’m not going to comment anymore on the issue.”

4th  Indians CF Alex Escobar will have reconstructive knee surgery, after he crashed into an OF wall, and will miss the entire season. Escobar, who was acquired in the Roberto Alomar trade, was once a highly touted Mets prospect. His stock has fallen considerably in recent years, due to injury problems.

11thThe Red Sox hired Grady Little as their new manager.

Thrown out stealing. The Yankees release OF Ruben Rivera for stealing Derek Jeter’s mitt out of his locker, and selling it on the black market for $2,500. There are rumors that Rivera also took other memorabilia items, such as things belonging to Roger Clemens, but Clemens denies it. Rivera had been signed to a one year contract for $1 million.

12thBaseball czar Bud Selig announced he’s going to start enforcing the 60–40 rule, which says teams can’t have an assets/debts ratio below that level. According to Doug Pappas, an expert on baseball finances, “At best, this is one more example of Bud’s arbitrary and selective enforcement of MLB’s rules, retroactively punishing owners who’ve spent more on players than Bud would like. At worst, it’s yet another grotesque case of Selig, he of the permanent conflict of interest, twisting the rules for his own benefit. In 1995, his Milwaukee Brewers were so far in debt they couldn’t borrow money to contribute to the construction of their new park. Forbes estimated that as of the 1997 season, the Brewers’ debt had risen to an incredible 97% of franchise value. Selig said nothing about the 60/40 rule. But the Brewers’ new park opened in 2001. The first-year attendance spike sent club revenues to a record $113 million. Isn’t it amazing how the Commissioner suddenly decided to enforce the rule just when his own club could finally meet the standard?”

20th  The Brewers trade C Henry Blanco to the Braves for C Paul Bako and P Jose Cabrera.

24th  The Expos trade prospects Jason Bay and Jim Serrano to the Mets for journeyman Lou Collier. Bay hit .361 in the class A Midwest League.

27th  In need of relief help, the Cubs trade RHP Julian Tavarez and three prospects to the Marlins for reliever Antonio Alfonseca and RHP Matt Clement. The three—C Ryan Jorgensen, and pitchers Jose Cuetro and Dontrelle Willis—are rated among the Cubs’ top 20 prospects. Alfonseca, nicknamed El Pulpo (octopus) because he was born with 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot—will replace the injured Tom Gordon.