Many thought that Bobby Valentine’s return from Japan would mean a manager’s job. Washington? Pass. Cleveland? Pass. Queens? Pending. In the meantime, however, it’s good to see that he’s keeping busy:
Bobby Valentine has guided baseball teams to championship titles in faraway
countries, helped professional baseball players gain free agency rights
and won a National League pennant with the New York Mets. Now, the Stamford native will attempt to reform the city’s fire service.
Valentine, the hometown celebrity whose career in professional baseball brought him from manager of two Major League Baseball teams to the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, will join local fire
officials, attorneys and politicians on a group formed by Mayor Michael Pavia.
The group’s goal, the mayor said, is to improve the city’s fire service
after years of litigation, mistrust and dysfunction between the city
and its six fire departments.
My old man once headed up a similar task force with respect to ambulance services in Flint, Michigan back in the mid 70s. It bought him a bunch of headaches and even a few death threats from the people who didn’t much care to be reformed. Eventually he said to hell with it. Here’s hoping Bobby V. has better luck.
Especially considering that I have a vested interest in certain buildings in Stamford, Connecticut not burning down to the ground because of some bureaucratic snafu. No, I don’t work in Stamford, but I’ve got an NBC Sports fanny pack on order, it’s probably in a warehouse there right now and I’d hate to have something happen to it.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.