Yesterday the New York Daily News‘ front page featured the headline “E-Z Pass” next to a photo of Jorge Posada and this text:
Bad news: Yanks must go on the road for playoffs. Good news: They play the Twins.
Some of my fellow Minnesotans who’re apparently unfamiliar with the nature of New York newspapers and their headlines were upset about the whole thing, and now Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the Twins have the front page “hanging on the white board in the clubhouse today.”
Trying to motivate athletes by convincing them everyone else doesn’t respect them is basically standard operating procedure at every level of every sport, but this rings sort of hollow for two reasons.
First and foremost is that no one on or even affiliated with the Yankees actually disrespected the Twins, it was just some headline writer in New York trying to sell a few extra newspapers. Beyond that, the Twins are 18-54 versus the Yankees under manager Ron Gardenhire, so the notion that New Yorkers should be happy to face Minnesota in the first round isn’t exactly a stretch. But hey, whatever works.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been granted a work visa and will soon rejoin the Pirates. Kang had previously not been allowed to enter the U.S. after he was arrested for his third DUI in Seoul in December 2016.
There was some thought that Kang wouldn’t ever play for the Pirates again, but things have worked out in his favor. It will still likely be a while until he actually appears in a major league game, as he will need to get back into game shape and up to game speed.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly said, “After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter the United States. We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the games he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together.
As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community.”
The Pirates signed Kang as an international free agent out of South Korea to a four-year, $11 million contract in January 2015. If he were to appear in the majors this season, he would earn a prorated $3 million. He has a club option for next season worth $5.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.