Bud Selig defiant

Shocker: Bud Selig believes that which has been thoroughly debunked

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A letter Bud Selig recently wrote is making the rounds this morning. Why? Because in it he says “I really believe that Abner Doubleday is the ‘Father of Baseball,'” and makes reference to “some historians who would dispute this though.” You can see a copy of it over at Deadspin.

Of course, the story of Abner Doubleday creating baseball has been conclusively proven to be hogwash. It was a finding by a committee that was tasked by one A.G. Spalding to find that very thing in the early 20th Century.  See, it had become known that baseball was really just an evolution of any number of British sports such as cricket, rounders and bat and trap, and in those heady, jingoistic days, it just would not do to have our National Pastime be the bastard child of a bunch of limey schoolyard games. Better to create a story in which a Civil War general created it in a pastoral setting rather than to have had it develop over several messy decades among filthy Irishman kicking around New York City slums.

You’d figure Bud would know that.  But then again, you’d figure that he’d realize that eight playoff teams were enough by now too. Or that maybe the umpires could use some help on close calls. Or that it doesn’t take two years for a committee of experts to figure out if it’s better for the Athletics to play in their empty, awful stadium in Oakland or to move into a nice post one in San Jose.

But really, I don’t think Selig is that dense. He can’t be to have gotten where he’s gotten in life. The fact is, he’s a politician.  He’s someone who would do anything to avoid taking a definitive stance on an issue when someone — say, someone who wrote him a letter and whose own feelings on a matter are less than clear — asked him to.  Because the last thing he’d want to do is to upset someone.

And, as is usually the case, his efforts to avoid upsetting someone have upset everyone.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.