Nov 16, 2012, 8:54 AM EDT
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.
Jun 19, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
The San Francisco Chronicle spoke to some officials from Oakland who are not at all happy at the A’s and the rest of the world portraying the Coliseum as an antiquated dump. The story from Chris Wright, the general manager of the Coliseum: Wright, however, said there was nothing structurally wrong with the Coliseum’s plumbing…
Jun 19, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT
Everth Cabrera is in the midst of a breakout year as the Padres’ starting shortstop, hitting .305 with an .800 OPS and MLB-leading 31 stolen bases in 69 games, but now he’s headed to the disabled list. Cabrera strained his hamstring Sunday while attempting a stolen base and the Padres have classified the injury as…
Jun 19, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT
Holy bath salts, Batman! I missed this last night. Here’s Jayson Werth‘s quote after last night’s loss to the Phillies: Jayson Werth certainly hasn’t lost confidence or resolve: “We gotta show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody’s face.” — James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) June 19, 2013 Given that, for most of his career, Werth has…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:49 PM EDT
Making official what was reported earlier this week, the Astros announced that they’ve come to an agreement with No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel. Appel, who turned down $3.8 million from the Pirates last year as the No. 8 pick, is expected to receive around $6.35 million. That means returning for his senior season at…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT
Jon Heyman talks to some MLB insiders and reports that, yes Virginia, suspensions are looming in the Biogenesis scandal: Major League Baseball has started interviewing big leaguers linked to the Miami PED investigation, and people who have spoken to MLB investigators are convinced there will be at least some suspensions handed down in the explosive…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT
Less than a month after rejoining the Red Sox following a concussion catcher David Ross is back on the seven-day concussion disabled list with a second brain injury. Ross took a foul tip to the catcher’s mask in Friday’s game and manager John Farrell explained yesterday: He’s still having symptoms with the concussion. The foul…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Had me laughing: Must be fewer sabermetricians in Tacoma: Dustin Ackley hitting .383/.490/.519 in 99 PA in Triple-A. #clearyourhead — Brent Hershey (@BrentHQ) June 19, 2013 And it doesn’t appear as if the improvement is based on Ackley becoming more aggressive or anything. He has walked in 16.16 of plate appearances during his minor…
Jun 19, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT
Danny Espinosa is recovered enough from his wrist injury to be activated from the disabled list, but the second baseman was so bad before being shut down and so bad during his rehab assignment that the Nationals have decided to option him to Triple-A. Anthony Rendon hitting .338 filling in for Espinosa at second base…
Jun 19, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
Look, I love Harvey and Wheeler and wish them nothing but success in all they do outside of games against the Braves. And I think anyone wishing injury on any player — like, say, Joe Simpson seemed to do in yesterday’s game, proving again that he’s awful — is just horrible. But Mets fans would…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Out since May 20 with a strained oblique, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment tonight at Double-A. Assuming he doesn’t have a setback Utley’s rehab stint is expected to be just a few games, potentially setting him up to come off the disabled list this weekend. Philadelphia…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT
Jon Paul Morosi sat down with Astros starter Bud Norris. Norris knows the score: he plays for the Astros and, while the Astros are mildly exceeding expectations, he is clearly a guy they will consider trading for prospects at the deadline. And Norris makes no secret of where he’d like to end up: with the…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT
Five weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a strained elbow Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A. According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com the plan is for Putz to pitch Thursday and Saturday, take Sunday off, and then try to work back-to-back games…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT
I think it was dumb that the Astros put an actual hill in center field when they built their ballpark. But if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t get to see Carlos Gomez climb it and make a great catch. And that’s worth the inevitable broken ankle someone suffers on it someday, yes?
Jun 19, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT
Fernando Martinez was once an elite prospect in the Mets’ farm system, but they let him go for nothing last year and now the Astros have soured on him as well, trading the 24-year-old outfielder to the Yankees for rookie-ball pitcher Charles Basford. I’m sure Mets fans are dreading the possibility of Martinez suddenly figuring…
Jun 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT
Major League Baseball released a statement about the San Jose lawsuit last night: “In considering the issues related to the Oakland Athletics, Major League Baseball has acted in the best interests of our fans, our communities and the league. The lawsuit is an unfounded attack on the fundamental structures of a professional sports league. It…
Jun 19, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT
It seemed likely that Colorado could find a taker for Eric Young Jr. after designating him for assignment last week and sure enough the Rockies traded the utility man to the Mets for right-hander Collin McHugh. Young is far from an impact player, but as a switch-hitter with defensive versatility and blazing speed he’s plenty…
Jun 19, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT
This could either be great fun or a total disaster: #VinScully will take over @Dodgers for the second game of the doubleheader. The twittering and hashtaging begins at 4pm PT. — Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 18, 2013 Since the Dodgers are on the east coast Scully isn’t travelling with the team and will…
Jun 19, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT
Fun story from Jeff Passan at Yahoo!. In the course of his Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler feature he passes along a tale from last year when Matt Harvey was a rookie and Jon Rauch was a reliever for the Mets. It seems that Harvey was trying to take a nap in the clubhouse and Rauch tried…
Jun 19, 2013, 8:48 AM EDT
It’s hard to grasp how truly awful Josh Hamilton was on Tuesday night. He came to the plate five times. Here’s what happened: First Inning: No score, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double play; Third Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double…
Jun 19, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT
Brandon DuBreuil of the Manny Does Taiwan blog passes along some Asian news reports which say that Manny Ramirez has been removed from the roster of the Taiwanese team for which he has been playing and will leave the country on June 21. There are mixed reports about why he is leaving, with some saying he…
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