PETA would prefer the Marlins use robot fish

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Last week we found out that the Florida Marlins are planning to put real fish in real salt water aquariums in the wall behind home plate at their new ballpark.

This week we find out the predictable reaction: PETA is protesting the proposal. The organization sent a letter to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria denouncing the idea, according to the Miami Herald.

“Being exposed to the loud crowds, bright lights, and reverberations of a baseball stadium would be stressful and maddening for any large animals held captive in tanks that, to them, are like bathtubs,” wrote PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman in the letter to Loria.

The Marlins, who unveiled the aquarium plans last week, said the see-through tanks would be constructed with the same material used in bullet-proof glass to ensure fish safety.

Marlins president David Samson told the Herald that he had not seen the letter, but said the fish would be “treated as well, or better, than any fish can be,” and didn’t sound willing to budge on the issue.

“I guess that’s a philosophical issue,” Samson said. “But there are beautiful aquariums all over the world and this will be one of them.”

But give PETA some credit, for Instead of simply protesting the use of fish at the ballpark, the organization actually offered up some palatable (to them) alternatives, including the use of “robotic fish that can ‘swim’ through water.”

Intrigued by the idea of robot fish, I did a little research (i.e. Google) and discovered that the Japanese have already invented a robot carp. Eureka!

Why a robot carp, you ask? I’m not sure, but I believe the Japanese will make a robot version of pretty much anything. They just like robots that much, and if they want to create this or this or this, who are we to discourage them?

Besides, they have done us a huge favor by solving this budding controversy over the Marlins’ ballpark aquarium. All the team has to do is shell out about $250,000 for each robot carp. No problem right?

 

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Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.