Marx Lennon

Reader Dissent: “Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool”

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This is in response to the Luke Scott stuff, obviously. And I disagree with it even if the reader is 66% correct in his first sentence:

Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool.  You certainly are not qualified to comment on anyone’s beliefs, even those that aren’t part of the orchestrated drivel the “news” feeds us.  You are part of the mind feck that MSNBC and all those sites engage in.  The only sheep are those that don’t question the shite that is force-fed down Americans’ throats.  The fact that you use your sports blog on a major website to forward your political beliefs shows what a complete tool you are.  I would love for you to see Scott again and he kick the libel b.s. out of your arse to teach you some manners.

And no, I didn’t change his spelling. He used the cleaned-up version of the curse words on his own.  I appreciate that kind of courtesy.

As for the substance: sorry, but you don’t get to place “100% counter-factual assertions” into the category of “beliefs.”  A difference in beliefs would exist if Luke Scott was a passionate supporter of the Taft-Hartley Act and I, in contrast, believed that it was in conflict with important principles of our democratic society.  In that case, to each his own, and I don’t think anyone would be objecting to Scott’s statement today. But the assertion of something that is 100% factually incorrect gets no protection as the product of one’s belief system. Unless one’s belief system is premised on stupidity.

One other thing: someone asked me today why I think this is even blog-worthy.  The easy answer is that, well, it’s interesting, as the  response to it makes clear.  But I’ll give you an even deeper answer, and it has to do with athletes and how we view them as a society.

There are no public figures in life who are more lionized than professional athletes. They are presumed — without any reason other than their athletic exploits — to be role models before we know anything about them. Unlike other people, they are lauded as heroes for simply doing their job. The only people who deserve that kind of treatment are fireman, policemen, soldiers and the people in the business of saving lives, in my opinion.  While many athletes are admirable and wonderful people — and it always makes me happy when we learn that they are — many are given a status in our society that far outstrips their actual accomplishments simply by virtue of their ability to hit or throw or tackle or dunk.

As such, when one reveals himself to be aggressively and proudly ignorant regarding the issues of the day, yes, I do believe that is worth discussing in this forum, if for no other reason than to make the case that athletes are of little value to the public at large beyond the entertainment value they provide.  And they do provide a ton of entertainment. But let us not forget that we are their fans because of what they do on the field. Not because they’re smarter or better or more respectable than any of us are.

Not even Luke Scott, believe it or not.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.