Amazing what you can learn while in Scott Boras’ suite
Here’s what I learned or noticed while spending the day at the baseball meetings in the Bellagio.
* Joe Torre and Ned Colletti are staying at the Wynn instead of the Bellagio because they get free rooms. Under owners Frank & Jamie McCourt -- if not players, then rooms.
* Got a private audience with agent Scott Boras, the number of room service carts lined up in his 31st-floor suite suggesting someone is really going to pay to get Mark Teixeira.
* Boras talked to Colletti on Monday and told the Dodgers that Manny Ramirez is interested in playing for the team and suggested the Dodgers should look at the deal he put together for the Giants and Barry Bonds.
Bonds signed a five-year deal, the club having the option to void the fifth year if Bonds failed to hit certain minimum standards such as a number of at-bats over the first four years of the deal. This would allow the Dodgers to get out of the deal earlier if Ramirez pulled a Boston.
* Colletti said he talked to Boras and was told four other teams have expressed an interest in Ramirez. “That’s good,” Colletti said. “I wouldn’t like to see a guy out of work.” The comedian confirmed Boras told the Dodgers what he’s looking for in the length of a contract but said no dollar figures were discussed.
* “Congratulations,” said ESPN’s Steve Phillips when running into Colletti. Why congratulations? “Because he signed Casey Blake,” said Phillips, the former GM of the Mets, and now you know why.
* A reporter for MLB.com asked Colletti if the team had checked out Blake’s sore arm. He said Blake had seen a doctor. “The same one who looked at Jason Schmidt?” he was asked.
“No, a different one,” he said in offering Dodgers fans some hope.
* The report Monday night was the Dodgers had come to terms with Mark Loretta, so now you know why I hopped a 6:15 a.m. flight out of Ontario to get here as fast as I could. The missing piece to the World Series puzzle!
* Colletti just said the deal with Loretta is not complete. I wonder if people had already started lining up at the Dodgers’ ticket office after reading reports that he was already a Dodger?
* If the McCourts are all about image, do they get the public bang for their buck by bringing CC Sabathia to town where he’ll pitch maybe 15 games at Dodger Stadium, the remainder on the road? Or do they get it with Ramirez in the lineup every day? Did I mention I was in Boras’ suite and listening to what he thinks might take place?
* Arte Moreno arrived to meet with Boras and talk about Teixeira and Ramirez. “How did you know?” Boras said. Most folks don’t think Ramirez is the kind of player Mike Scioscia would embrace, but others have heard him say differently. Did I mention I was in Boras’ suite?
* Asked if what I heard in Boras’ suite was accurate, Scioscia said, “yes, it’s accurate.” He said if his staff didn’t think Ramirez would fit with the team that would change things, but he said, “Ramirez would fit here.”
* First words, though, that I heard from Scioscia to start the day: “Let’s go eat.”
* Angels GM Tony Reagins said it’s “probably not a likely scenario” Ramirez ending up with the Angels.
* Colletti read Tim Russert’s book and was so moved about the story of Russert’s son tattooing his father’s initials on his chest so his father would always be by his side, he had it done. Colletti’s father passed away 28 years ago, but he found his father’s signature, lifted his initials -- “NLC,” which obviously doesn’t stand for National League Champs -- and had them tattooed on his side at the True Blue tattoo parlor on Sunset. Colletti’s son did the same with his father’s initials.
* Ran into the Micro Manager, who will be the bench coach in Colorado, and then bumped into him again at breakfast. “You’re like a refrigerator magnet to me,” Jim Tracy said, and he’s still as good a guy as ever.
* The Angels’ Torii Hunter, who has already given more than $1 million of his own money, unveiled an impressive charity drive to fund scholarships for students, including youngsters attending Andre Agassi’s College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.
Hunter went on a radio show being broadcast from here and said he had planned to take Teixeira to a nude beach before they went awry. I don’t think it was because reporters intended to follow.
* Anyone could go to the Bellagio website this week and get a room for $129. Major League Baseball offered a media rate of $172. Most reporters took it, and some wonder why newspaper organizations are in jeopardy of going bankrupt.
* Torre had the leading contender in next May’s Kentucky Derby before his trainer, Bobby Frankel, sold the horse. Why? “He got $12 million for it,” Torre explained.
* If the Dodgers want to get Andruw Jones in shape, they ought to send him here to cover these meetings, the sportswriters walking miles and miles through this winding place to have agents and GMs lie to them.
* As for Jones, Colletti said teams have called to inquire if he’s available, amazingly Colletti not offering to immediately drive the guy over. Colletti said Jones was scheduled to arrive in the Dominican Republic to play winter ball Tuesday, and didn’t argue when someone suggested it might be an “audition.”
* The bum curled up in a ball just off Tropicana Boulevard early Tuesday did not appear to be Oscar De La Hoya.
* It wasn’t 10 a.m. yet, and Red Sox Manager Terry Francona was already playing blackjack. Frank Sinatra could be heard singing in the casino, but it wasn’t “New York, New York.” That would have been perfect.
* Torre said he bumped into an astronaut, who had been on the space station, telling Torre he’d be able to see the sky lab in the heavens at 5:21 p.m. Sounded like as good an excuse as any to leave the meetings and media behind to return to the Wynn.