Bad joke gets good singer dropped from ALCS opener

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Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has become a Yankee Stadium staple during the playoffs, singing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning, but the New York Daily News has details on why he won’t be at the ALCS opener tonight:

His attempt at telling a joke offended a Jewish doctor who found it to be anti-Semitic. Tynan apologized, telling WNBC, “I would never want to hurt anybody’s feelings. It was stupid of me to be so callous.” But the Yankees still canceled his appearance at the stadium Friday night.



The trouble started when Tynan, 49, bumped into a real estate agent showing an apartment in his East Side apartment building to a doctor from NYU Medical Center. The agent told Tynan, “Don’t worry, they are not Red Sox fans,” according to apartment-hunter Gabrielle Gold-von Simson. “I don’t care about that, as long as they are not Jewish,” was Tynan’s reply.

NBCNewYork.com has a few more details, including Tynan replying that Jewish women who’d previously looked at the apartment were “scary” when asked to explain what he’d just said. Tynan has since issued several apologies, including the always amusing “a lot of my friends are Jewish” with the added twist of “there are three members of my band that are Jewish … I call them my brothers from another mother.”
What lessons can we learn from the situation? Well, for starters there’s a reason why Irish tenors aren’t known for their comedy chops. Beyond that, I’ve generally found that trying to make an off-color joke in front of someone with a hyphen in their last name is a mistake. And lastly, trotting out the old “but some of my best friends are [fill in the blank]!” quasi-apology has never, in the history of mankind, come off as sincere.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.