The Cuban government's futile attempt to erase defecting ballplayers from history

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Missed this one the other day, but the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kat O’Brien reports on the efforts the Cuban government takes to erase from history those ballplayers who defect to the U.S.:

Another taxi driver, Jose, said: “When the players go, then we don’t
have any more news about them.” A waiter at the upscale Havana
restaurant La Piazza, whose walls are covered in baseball memorabilia,
said the restaurant has pictures only of Cuban players who did not
defect. In a low voice, he said there used to be a picture of Orlando
“El Duque” Hernandez, but it was taken down after a government official
grew upset.

In the eyes of Cuban government officials and police,
any player who defects is to be erased from memory.

Fellini once said that censorship is advertising paid for by the government. The people are not idiots. They won’t forget about El Duque and Aroldis Chapman simply because the government bans their visages from public. Quite the opposite, actually. By trying to erase evidence of their existence Mr. Castro and Co. only make bigger legends out of them in the minds of the people and render ridiculous whatever shreds of credibility the regime may retain by accident or otherwise.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.