I don’t mean which of those two can bench the most, I’m talking about power defined in terms of influence, appeal, marketability and money. Which of them can most easily impose their whims on we mere mortals and most expect us to do their bidding?
Well neither of them can, but the people who write BusinessWeek Magazine enjoy ranking people as if they can, and today they’ve announced their “Power 100” athlete list. Topping the list is Tiger Woods, which means that they complied this thing before Thanksgiving.
But what about baseball players? I was rather surprised to learn that Albert Pujols is the top ballplayer. I mean, he’s awesome and all, but he doesn’t exactly dominate the national zeitgeist in any appreciable way. Derek Jeter does, yet he somehow falls behind Pujols, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and CC Sabathia (and Usain Bolt, Shaq and Jeff Gordon and some other questionable choices for that matter). Sure, they say that their methodology took on-the-field performance and things like marketability into account, but unless Subway Commercials get a multiplier of, like, a thousand, I’m having trouble seeing how guys like Howard outstrip Jetes no matter how you calculate it all.
Or — and sit down for this, because it may shock you — the people at BusinessWeek could have pulled this list entirely out of their rectums in an effort to get people to click through each of the 100 individual pages each athlete gets.
Nah. That would never happen.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.