Bud Selig wins a big anti-PED Award

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Commissioner Bud Selig has been named the first recipient of Taylor’s Award,
presented by the Taylor Hooton Foundation to “an individual who has made a
major impact on efforts to educate and protect American youth from the
dangers of using performance-enhancing drugs.”

Couple thoughts:

1. Great for Bud! You’ve come a long way, baby!  Ten years ago he didn’t even know what a steroid was, and now he’s the bestest steroid fighter in all the land!

2. Major League Baseball is listed first under the “corporate sponsors” page on The Taylor Hooton Foundation website. In fact, MLB is a founding sponsor of the foundation, having given it a million bucks to get off the ground back in 2005. You know, back when baseball was freaking out over the fact that everyone realized that it didnt’ care about PEDs. Baseball continues to be a major funding source, of course.  I’m sure this is totally unrelated to the bestowing of the award, however.

3.  The Chairman of the Board of the Taylor Hooton foundation is Dr. Gary Wadler. You know Dr. Gary Wadler. He’s the World Anti-Doping Ageny chief who likes to kick baseball’s butt all over the place every time a new PED test comes out or some new testing procedure is announced.

There’s something circular about all of this, isn’t there?  WADA and the Taylor Hooton Foundation need baseball as a funding source and/or a target and Baseball needs the Taylor Hooton Foundation as a means of validation of its steroids policies.  Of course they’re going to give Selig an award to cement the relationship. If they didn’t, people might start to actually wonder what each party really does for the other, and that would be awful.

Not that this is unique to the sports/steroids world. I can’t tell you the number of boards, non-profits and charities to which I’ve been privy that have similarly symbiotic relationships with the corporations or governments they purport to bird-dog. They often exchange awards like this, usually in the course of banquets in which donors are shown what their money is getting them and the recipients are given a nice experience about which they can write in their next newsletter or annual report under headings like “accomplishments” or “community involvement.”

The only bad thing about it all — aside from the banquet chicken, which is always rubbery and cold — is if someone actually takes it seriously. Which I’m not, not should you. Because tomorrow baseball is going to go back to the same PED policies it has had for a few years now, tomorrow Gary Wadler and his people are going to go back to talking about how horrible those policies are, and all anyone will have gained out of this experience is a little P.R. and a dinner that tastes almost, but not entirely, unlike chicken.

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)
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.