The Omaha Royals get a new name

6 Comments

My old man worked for the National Weather Service for 40 years. Weathermen of his generation were mostly ex-military guys who fell into meteorology by accident, like becoming a bartender or something. Staring in the 70s, however, most of the young men who hired on with the NWS were guys who went and got their meteorology degree someplace. Becoming a weatherman these days is something someone does because they really love weather.

This shift from quasi-blue collar weathermen to educated professionals was probably a great thing for the NWS and the forecasting of weather.  The majority of meteorology grads I have met have been bright fellows, committed to their job. My dad certainly preferred supervising those eager young kids better than the irritable civil servants who were his own age. But there is definitely a profile for these guys, and that profile, for lack of a better term, is “total geek.” Weather geek, to be precise, who in the hierarchy of geekdom, should probably be placed somewhere between erotic fanfic writers and people who have Klingon wedding ceremonies. Nice guys, all of them, but they’re odd ducks.

Within that group of odd ducks, exists a smaller subculture: the storm chasers. My dad had a couple of them who worked for him back in the late 80s who I got to know pretty well. They would take all of their accrued vacation time in the spring, drive out to Texas or Oklahoma or someplace, and spend two or three weeks chasing after tornadoes, one hand on a camera, one hand on the wheel, all while hanging out the driver’s window with reckless abandon (note: way more of these dudes die in car wrecks than by getting sucked up by tornadoes).  I know that there is a  TV show about them now on the Discovery Channel, but remember this: producers of those kinds of shows try to find the most interesting people in that subculture to put on TV. The mass of them — and certainly the ones I knew back in the day — are just way too geeky for TV and, unless you knew them better, wouldn’t be the sorts of people you’d feel comfortable around for more than ten seconds.

I offer all of this because yesterday the franchise formerly known as the Omaha Royals — the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A affiliate — changed their name. Ladies and gentlemen I give you . . .

Yep, this is happening. The Omaha Storm Chasers. Because I suppose it would be a step too far to name a team after furries.  According to MLB.com, this was the result of a fan vote.  Ya don’t say.

The best part of this will be when a team named after people who get a chubby off of cumulonimbus clouds, hail, lightning, torrential downpours and tornadoes has a game delayed because of a passing shower.

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
18 Comments

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 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.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
14 Comments

Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

*

Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

*

Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.