Link-O-Rama: Bloomquist is proving it all night

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* Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star is the latest in a long line of mainstream media members to inexplicably fawn over Willie Bloomquist. Here’s my favorite excerpt:
Bloomquist, 31, has already set career highs this season in virtually every offensive category. His 342 at-bats through Wednesday put him on pace to finish with 440 after never getting more than 251 in Seattle. And he finds satisfaction in proving, finally, that he only needed a chance to prove he can be a regular player.
Bloomquist is hitting .257 with four homers and 25 RBIs, so this stuff about “setting career-highs in virtually every offensive category” and “proving finally that he only needed a chance to prove he can be a regular player” is laughable.
He came into this season with a lifetime .263 average and .645 OPS. This season he has a .257 average and .654 OPS. The only thing he’s really “proving” is that newspaper writers take care of friendly players who provide them with good quotes. Dutton, incidentally, is president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
* San Francisco is reportedly the team that claimed Trevor Hoffman off waivers, but the odds of a trade taking place seem slim. Instead the Giants likely just wanted to make sure that he doesn’t win up with the Dodgers or Rockies.
* His dad finally seems to be out of the spotlight, but 22-year-old catcher/outfielder Koby Clemens is making a name for himself by hitting .346 with 20 homers and 65 total extra-base hits in 106 games at high Single-A.
* According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the Twins are close to acquiring veteran left-handed reliever Ron Mahay from the Royals. Mahay was designated for assignment earlier this week after posting a 4.79 ERA and 34/19 K/BB ratio in 41.1 innings, but prior to struggling this season he had ERAs of 3.95, 2.55, and 3.48 with solid K/BB ratios in the previous three years.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.