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.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.