I don't think wounded veterans care that Oliver Perez didn't visit them

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My guess is that just about every baseball team that visits the Nationals takes a side trip to Walter Reed Hospital to visit wounded vets. My guess is that just about every team has a few guys who don’t make the trip for whatever reason, be it business or personal. My guess, however, is that only the Mets have the combination of (a) touchy players; and (b) muckraking media covering them that turns such a common state of affairs into something newsworthy:

The
event perhaps also offered perspective on the Mets’ relationship with
the three most prominent players who skipped the non-mandatory event –
Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. All three have had
issues with the Mets recently.

Still, David Wright was disappointed that everyone didn’t go. “You’d
like to see everybody. I don’t think it’s big enough until you get
everybody.”

An alternative argument could be that (a) not every event “offers perspective” on the state of Mets personnel (sometimes things just happen); and (b) that our wounded veterans have already accomplished and suffered enough for our country that they really don’t need to pretend to enjoy spending time with Oliver Perez.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.