Can someone tell me why Congress has nothing better to do than this?
MLBPA chief labor counsel David Prouty is among
the witnesses who submitted written testimony ahead of Wednesday’s
hearing before a House subcommittee about the use of smokeless tobacco
by baseball players. Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, says he wants to know why smokeless tobacco is banned in the minors but allowed in the majors.
Smoking, chewing and dipping is beyond stupid, no one should do it and if I was running baseball I’d consider every possible means at my disposal to keep players from doing it. But contrary to the way everyone acts in this country, it’s still legal, ballplayers are still adults and as long as they’re not harming anyone else with it Congress should keep the heck out of the matter.
And before anyone offers the most obvious retort, allow me to note that my wife and I are raising our kids ourselves. We’re not depending on ballplayers to do it, and we certainly don’t need Congress to do it either. If my boy sees a ballplayer with a chaw in and asks me what he’s doing I’m going to be honest and say “He’s being stupid, son. Many adults, even the athletes, can be very, very stupid at times.”
Suggestion to Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone: Go fix the financial sector or the elections laws or the environment and let the shortstop dip his Copenhagen and get jaw cancer and everything in peace.
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.