Baseball in Orlando?

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WFTV in Orlando reports that an exploratory committee has been formed with the purpose of enticing a team to relocate to central Florida. That’s not necessarily significant — I’ve formed a dozen exploratory committees in my life, most dealing with either bringing back “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and/or getting Todd Rundgren inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — but we’ll take it as news seeing as though we’re stuck in the horse latitudes of the baseball offseason.

Though any relocation is highly unlikely, you have to figure that there are really only two candidates who are even remotely likely to move: The Rays and the Athletics. The Rays would make the most sense inasmuch as they, you know, play right down the street from Orlando, have played a handful of regular season games in Orlando already and don’t yet have their stadium crap in order.  The A’s are far less likely, but assuming they don’t make San Jose work they’ll have to go somewhere.  It won’t happen, but the chances are technically not zero.

Which makes the sole candidate identified by reporter in the piece kind of nuts:  The Brewers. You know, the team with a big new stadium in Wisconsin? The team that has drawn over 3 million fans the past couple of seasons? The team with a clause in its stadium deal that assesses a gigantic financial penalty if they move? The team that was once owned by the Commissioner of Baseball — a man who rose from used car dealer to multi-millionaire sports mogul on the power of bringing baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves left in the 1960s —  and is located in his home town? The team who laughed off the report as “beyond hilarious”?

That’s some sharp reporting there, Skip.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.