Notes + Scribbles 3
Notes + Scribbles is a recurring feature here at ryanferguson.co.uk. It is where I share assorted thoughts, flotsam, observations and tidbits in a stream of consciousness format, grouped under logical – if eclectic – subheadings. Think of it as a periodic dose of ‘things that would have been tweets’ before Elon happened. Think of it as a messy throwback to 2000s-style blogging. Think of it as a cathartic emptying of my battered notebook. Onwards, dear reader. Onwards
San Diego Padres
- I was saddened by the passing of San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler at the age of 63 this week. By all accounts a real gentleman, Seidler made the Padres relevant again with a big-spending, win-at-all-costs approach. Once considered a small market backwater, San Diego is now home to a plethora of megastars, including Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís Jr., Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Yu Darvish. In this age of lousy sports team owners who care more about the balance sheet than the trophy case, Seidler was a real throwback. I considered him a latter day George Steinbrenner – only softer, and without the ceaseless controversy. Baseball needs people like Peter Seidler, and his loss will leave a terrible void. Rest in peace.
- The Astros recently hired former bench coach Joe Espada as their new manager, in what will eventually be considered a very astute move. Espada has earned his shot, having worked under Dusty Baker and AJ Hinch, and his baseball intellect is well renowned. For all the criticism levelled against Houston, you have to admire the way it consistently regenerates from within. With seven straight ALCS appearances, the Astros are a model of sustainability, and seamless transitions in leadership are key to that approach. Expect the Astros’ excellence to continue under Espada.
New York Yankees
- Gerrit Cole became the first Yankee to win the Cy Young Award since Roger Clemens in 2001. This, surely, is another reminder to Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner that the Yankees’ competitive window needs urgent attention. To waste the prime seasons of Cole (33) and Aaron Judge (31) would be a major failure. Add to that core before it is too late.
- Incidentally, and for what it is worth, Judge recently passed Don Mattingly for the most career wins above replacement (WAR) by any Yankee without a World Series ring. Mattingly is synonymous with rare Yankees futility, so Judge is under pressure to avert a lost pinstriped generation.
- Elsewhere in the land of pressurised Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton was called out by Cashman this week. While speaking with reporters, Cashman said that, based on track record, he expects Stanton to miss a chunk of playing time through injury in 2024. Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, responded in explosive terms: “I think it’s a good reminder for all free agents considering signing in New York, both foreign and domestic, that to play for that team, you’ve got to be made of Teflon, both mentally and physically, because you can never let your guard down – even in the offseason.”
For once, Cashman’s comments were actually accurate. Stanton is an injury-prone liability. However, the worrying aspect for Yankees fans is that Wolfe also represents Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the prized Japanese free agent pitcher due to be posted soon. The Yankees have strong interest in Yamamoto, and Wolfe’s explicit reference to ‘foreign’ free agents was taken as a shot across the bows. Far from ideal.
- In a saving grace for the Yankees, there are plenty of elite stars available this winter. In my view, to extend that waning competitive window, they need to acquire at least two, but preferably three, of the following prime-age difference-makers: Soto (25), Yamamoto (25), Cody Bellinger (28), Shohei Ohtani (29), Mike Trout (32), Josh Hader (29). Good luck.
- One last baseball note – yesterday, the MLB owners voted unanimously to approve the Athletics’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas, set for 2028. Though long predicted, this is a travesty for the diehard baseball fans of Oakland. I intend to explore this fully in a dedicated feature soon, but my initial thoughts are of great sadness. I have always had a soft spot for the A’s. From their iconic uniforms through Moneyball and Billy Beane – there is so much to love. Shame on owner John Fisher, the very antithesis of Seidler and his community-minded ambition. Shame, too, on all those complicit in this grotesque money grab.
- Finally, this has been a big week for Pete Doherty, one of my ultimate idols. As long-term readers will know, Pete and The Libertines played a huge role in my recovery from depression and suicidal ideation, and I’m eternally grateful for their genius. Two landmark Doherty documentaries were released this week – first, Stranger in My Own Skin, then a classic collaboration with Louis Theroux, another of my favourites. I highly recommend both films. They are tough to watch at times, but tell important stories on the perilous volatility of human creativity.
- I have had the pleasure of meeting Pete on numerous occasions, at various gigs and events. In tribute, here are some photos I have with the big man, along with assorted memorabilia: