Oh noes! All the criminals are wearing Yankees caps!

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From today’s New York Times:

Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of
interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees
apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or
arraignment. The tally is based on a review of New York Police
Department news releases, surveillance video and images of robberies and
other crimes, as well as police sketches and newspaper articles that
described suspects’ clothing. No other sports team comes close.

“Yankees are number1 ! Yankees are number 1! Wooo!  Suck it Red Sux!”

Oh, wait, that wasn’t the point of the story. The point of the story was that this is a “curious phenomenon.” And a troubling one too!  If not, the Times wouldn’t have consulted “criminologists, sports marketing analysts, and consumer psychologists.” Could this be . . . .a disturbing trend?

Must be, because one of the “experts” in the article blames Jay Z, who — you may or may not realize — occasionally wears a Yankees cap. Even gives the trend a name: “The Jay Z Effect.” I think anyone who lived through the awful “big ass clocks around the neck” crime spree from 1989 and the and The Great Hammer Pants Heist from 1992* knows how serious this is.

Or, you know, maybe this is just a b.s. trend piece that, at the most, unwittingly identifies a correlation between criminals being on the young side and youth culture wearing a lot of sports gear these days, with the Yankees just so happening to be the most popular team in the city.

OK, that’s being cynical. This is the Paper of Record, so there must be something to this.  But maybe it’s not about the Yankees. Maybe the real disturbing trend here is the increasing unpopularity of skiing, based on the clear fact that there are far fewer ski mask-wearing crooks today then their used to be.

And you know, if they’re going to go with skiing, if they tried hard, they could even throw in a global warming angle too . . .

*Props to Jay Destro for the Hammer Pants line. He’s dope on the floor and magic on the mic.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Getty Images
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.