K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, prosecutor says

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Francisco Rodriguez was arraigned on the text-message/protection order violation yesterday. During the hearing the district attorney painted a dark picture of the Mets closer:

Hothead fireballer K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, a Queens prosecutor said Wednesday.

The chilling assault was revealed in court as Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler painted Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez as a manipulative bully who flouts the law.

“He’s not naive and loving,” Kessler told Queens Justice Ira Margulis. “He’s merely manipulating and controlling.”

The alleged assault that led to his girlfriend’s hospitalization took place in Venezuela, prosecutors say. K-Rod’s attorney denied it. The Mets say no records of it came up when they did a background check before signing him.

I have no idea what the truth is here. Based on both experience and stuff I’ve read, there’s reason to doubt the rigor and/or veracity of Met background checks, Venezuelan court records and the kinds of statements made by prosecutors during criminal arraignments.*  All three have been known to understate or overstate the truth of the matter.

But however this breaks, it’s ugly and sad and, oh how I wish this was merely a case about a knucklehead relief pitcher getting into a comical slap fight with an old guy who insulted his mama. It’s much more than that now.

*To be clear: I have no basis at hand to doubt what the prosecutor said in this particular instance. In the past, however, I have had clients called the most heinous things by prosecutors during preliminary hearings, where it is the prosecutor’s job to cast the accused in the worst light the known evidence will allow in an effort to get a high bail and stringent pretrial conditions placed on the defendant.  

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.