The Supreme Court loves its baseball

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There was a nice story in the New York Times yesterday detailing just how crazy U.S. Supreme Court justices have tended to be about baseball over the years.  Alito is a huge Phillies fan who, despite observing that the Phanatic, well, kind of smells, had him as a guest at a party once.  Sotomayor is a big Yankees fan. Nominee Elena Kagan is a Mets freak.  The person she would replace — Justice Stevens — was actually at the game in the 1932 World Series when Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot.

The best bit in the whole story, however, comes in an anecdote that makes me feel better about all the time I spent thinking about baseball while working back at the law firm:

Intense devotion to the national pastime at the Supreme Court is not a new phenomenon. In 1973, while the court heard arguments during the National League Championship Series, Justice Potter Stewart passed a note to Justice Harry A. Blackmun that exhibited a nice sense of proportion.

“V.P. Agnew just resigned!!” the note said, adding, “Mets 2 Reds 0.”

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.