Nov 16, 2012, 8:54 AM EST
Warning. Long story ahead. But it’s the offseason and I’m bored and anyone who has read my stuff over the past 5+ years know that I tend to do this between November and February.
I’m not exactly a huge fan of my governor, John Kasich. He’s OK. A nice man and, despite his best efforts, has done little if any harm to my state, but I didn’t vote for him in 2010 and, unless the Democrats put up a real tomato can next time around, I likely won’t vote for him in 2014. But I will give him this: the man follows through. Before the baseball part of this, a rambling story from my youth:
Back in 1993, when I was a college sophomore, a couple of friends of mine and I took part in some little global affairs conference for honors students at Ohio State. Think of it as a mini-model United Nations or something. Teams of four were given a topic of global interest and were asked to give some sort of presentation on it. John Kasich, who was then a congressman, was the keynote speaker at the event. Before the presentations he gave some talk about how bad it was that the incoming Clinton Administration was seemingly all wimpy and rudderless when it came to defense and foreign policy.
That year the topic of the conference was some vague question about whether rising nationalism in Eastern Europe in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union was a good thing. My teammates and I found this boring, so rather than answer the question we decided to come up with a military solution to the war in the former Yugoslavia, which was in no way a part of the question the conference organizers were asking.
We dove into it with the enthusiasm and flaming ignorance and naivete that only college sophomores can muster. I’ll spare you the details, but the upshot is that while every other team gave carefully-worded and politically correct answers about “balance” and “sensitivity” with respect to the varied cultures of the former Soviet satellite countries, our presentation was solely concerned with bombing the living crap out of anyone who did not love and embrace peace. We didn’t even give a nod to internationalism in our warmongering: it was to be a United States mission only. It was truly something that only kids who watched a lot of “Iron Eagle” and “Red Dawn” on HBO in the 1980s could have put together. And it was glorious. At one point, due to us misreading an old DoD map, we had Trieste, Italy as a bombing target.
The judges and organizers of the event — scholars and diplomats who were committed to peace in an uncertain world — listened to our presentation with jaws agape. I’m sure at some point someone was asked where in the hell these little Reaganite warmongers came from, but we were oblivious to their horror. Someone weakly thanked us. We left the stage and gave each other high fives. And then we didn’t win any awards or anything at the end and felt totally ripped off about that.
Feeling slighted, we decided to print out our presentation and send it to Congressman Kasich’s office, attaching a cover letter that basically said “We were inspired by your talk at the conference. You’re right, Clinton doesn’t have a plan. Here’s ours. Feel free to use it and let us know if you want any other ideas.” We had this vision that we’d be hired to be some sort of secret military think tank because, dudes, genius like this doesn’t grow on trees.
A couple of weeks later someone from Congressman Kasich’s office actually called me in my dorm room. I assumed he wanted to give us jobs, so I riffed about a few other equally-awesome proposals we had and explained how deciding the fate of the world like this our calling, just as much as it was America’s. He thanked me and hung up. We never heard from him or Kasich again. In hindsight I think he was more interested in making sure my friends and I weren’t some sort of crazy, homegrown terrorists in training.
But the biggest takeaway from all of this — other than the fact that we were actually right about what would end the crap going on in the former Yugoslavia — was that John Kasich, whatever his faults, follows through.
And so it is with baseball too. For, once upon a time, Pittsburgh native and Pirates fan John Kasich told former Pirates star — and Ohio native — Al Oliver that he would do whatever he could to support Oliver’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame. And he has now done that, writing the Baseball Hall of Fame on Oliver’s behalf and following through with Oliver just like he did with those dumb kids back in 1993:
Ohio Governor John Kasich has gone to bat for former Pittsburgh Pirates great and Portsmouth native Al Oliver, by writing a letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame, urging Oliver’s election. Now, the Hall has responded with a response to Kasich.
“We thank you for taking the time to write and share your recommendation and suggestion with us,” Brad Horn, Senior Director of Communications and Education, said. “Your letter will become part of materials that are available to members of the Historical Overview Committee and the Era committees that consider candidates for Hall of Fame election.”
Based on his quotes in the story, Oliver was clearly surprised and impressed that Kasich followed through like that. Which, even if you don’t have anything positive to say about Kasich’s policies, is pretty damn admirable. I’m guessing, however, that Oliver’s chances of making the Hall of Fame are far less than the chances that a crazy, half-cocked military proposal cooked up by four 19 year-old kids would one day be adopted by NATO.
OK. Gonna go see if there’s any actual baseball news going down.
Dec 17, 2013, 11:12 PM EST
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi has the exclusive report … Mariners close to bringing Franklin Gutierrez back on a 1-year, major league contract sources tell @FOXSports1. — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 18, 2013 Gutierrez batted .248 with a .278 on-base percentage in 151 plate appearances this past year with Seattle and has played in just 81…
Dec 17, 2013, 10:05 PM EST
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Mariners have signed free agent outfielder Cole Gillespie to a minor league contract. It presumably comes with an invitation to spring training. Gillespie has a promising .290/.386/.475 career batting line at Triple-A, but it’s just .225/.293/.337 at the major level and the 29-year-old is unlikely to…
Dec 17, 2013, 8:59 PM EST
It’s a night of subtle tweaks for the Red Sox, who have announced a minor league agreement with Japanese reliever Shunsuke Watanabe and the release of Chris Carpenter — the lesser-known one — who will go pitch for NPB’s Yakult Swallows. Watanabe is an extreme submariner coming off a poor season in Japan and seems…
Dec 17, 2013, 7:48 PM EST
From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that the Dodgers finalized a two-year contract with left-hander J.P. Howell on Tuesday afternoon. The two-year pact, which carries $11.5 million in guaranteed money along with a $6.25 million vesting option for 2016, will be officially announced Thursday after Howell passes his pre-signing physical exam. Howell drew heavy free…
Dec 17, 2013, 6:23 PM EST
As first reported by Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Cubs have reached agreement on a one-year, $4 million contract with right-handed reliever Jose Veras. The deal also carries a $5.5 million club option for the 2015 season along with some undisclosed performance-based incentives. Veras drew interest on the open market from the Astros and…
Dec 17, 2013, 5:05 PM EST
Maury Brown of Forbes reports that Major League Baseball’s 2013 revenues will exceed $8 billion. Which will be an all-time record. And that next year, thanks to new TV revenues coming online, the figure could approach $9 billion. By way of comparison, revenues were at $1.4 billion in 1995, the year after the baseball strike.…
Dec 17, 2013, 4:40 PM EST
Mark Mulder is 36 years old and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, but that isn’t stopping him from seeking a major-league contract in his comeback attempt. San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean dropped that tidbit on reporters today while explaining why the Giants haven’t signed Mulder. Basically the Giants contacted Mulder to express…
Dec 17, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
I like when teams play musical chairs with their Triple-A affiliates. It adds some sort of fun tension to the offseason. Who will be stuck with Las Vegas or New Orleans? How many years will a team be affiliated with one city before I stop thinking of them being affiliated with another? Fact: I still…
Dec 17, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
Grant Balfour was said to be close to signing with the Orioles a week ago and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides are on the verge of a two-year deal. Balfour is 36 years old, but based on his performance as the A’s closer during the past two seasons he’s likely…
Dec 17, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians asked the Rays what it would take to get David Price. And the Rays said, in essence, everything you got: When the Tribe talked to Tampa Bay, names mentioned by the Rays were Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar. I was told those two were starting…
Dec 17, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Bored? Cold? Stressed by the holidays and your team’s lack of good hot stove moves? Never fear, Japanese variety shows are here. Featuring future MLBer — we think, anyway — Masahiro Tanaka, doing silly dances: Thanks to Dan Zinski at FanSided for finding this gem, and thanks to HBT reader NatsLady for pointing it out…
Dec 17, 2013, 12:40 PM EST
Matt Thornton, whose $6 million option for 2014 was declined by the Red Sox, has signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Yankees according to Jack Curry of YES Network. After a five-year run as one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball Thornton showed some signs of slipping this year, particularly with his…
Dec 17, 2013, 12:18 PM EST
UPDATE: I spoke to a source with knowledge of the Pirates’ TV deal, and the source tells me that the deal is not in the top half of MLB TV deals in terms of average annual value. Far from it. If, as Coonelly says, the Pirates are in the top half of all deals it’s…
Dec 17, 2013, 11:41 AM EST
Yasiel Puig may not play the game the right way and all of that noise, but he’s working hard this offseason: I don’t know if running with parachutes tied to your back is a common athletic training technique. But even if it is, it’s 100 times more fun to watch Yasiel Puig do it.
Dec 17, 2013, 11:13 AM EST
That is, if you believe Page Six, which reports that A-Rod is set to tell-all in book form and that the two publishing giants are jockeying for the rights. This makes me sad. It’s the first I’ve heard of this. As the Internet’s number one A-rod apologist, I would have at least thought I’d get…
Dec 17, 2013, 10:47 AM EST
Gavin Floyd signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Braves yesterday and in doing so turned down a bigger offer from the Orioles. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles offered the Maryland native a two-year deal worth up to $20 million based on incentives. By comparison, his deal with the Braves…
Dec 17, 2013, 10:05 AM EST
UPDATE: Heyman now says Valverde has not signed and remains a free agent, adding “I miss-interpreted a text” that led him to believe it was a done deal. ========== Man, talk about getting the band back together. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that one day after trading for White Sox closer Addison Reed the Diamondbacks…
Dec 17, 2013, 9:22 AM EST
“Ground ball to Jeter, he tosses it to Roberts, Roberts relays it to Teixeira and . . . oh, man. All three of them broke their hips.” Brian Roberts and Yankees have agreement for 1-year deal worth around $2 million plus incentives, sources tell @Ken_Rosenthal and me. — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 17, 2013 …
Dec 17, 2013, 8:50 AM EST
I guess Tracy Ringolsby is in some argument, real or imagined, with someone about Hall of Fame stuff. Because that’s the only time you see idiocy like this: Is MLB considering changing post-season format, ignoring wins and loses because they aren’t important, and use WAR for standings? — Tracy Ringolsby (@TracyRingolsby) December 17, 2013 Probably…
Dec 17, 2013, 6:24 AM EST
From Page Six of the New York Post — pointed out to us by Larry Brown Sports — evidence of the wisdom and savvy of Derek Jeter: We’re told the famously private Yankee has a basket in the foyer of his 30,875-square-foot, multimillion dollar Davis Island home, dubbed by locals “St. Jetersburg.” All guests are…
- Dodgers re-sign left-handed reliever J.P. Howell to a two-year, $11.5 million contract 1
- Cubs sign reliever Jose Veras to one-year pact 1
- Report: MLB recorded record revenues in 2013 32
- The Yankees agree to a one-year, $2 million deal with Brian Roberts 70
- Diamondbacks trade for White Sox closer Addison Reed 28
- Not everyone is happy about home plate collisions being taken away (135)
- Managers, GMs to meet today to discuss the abolition of home plate collisions (113)
- Hall of Fame voting expert: Greg Maddux makes it. No one else does. (105)
- Robinson Cano, Yankees trade barbs about “disrespect” (104)
- Two thoughts about the elimination of home plate collisions (95)