Allstate Sugar Bowl - Ohio State v Arkansas

Getting a late start this morning. Please blame football.

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Because I still have a soft spot for my alma mater despite its many trespasses (and the fact that it’s freakin’ football) I stayed up late last night watching the Sugar Bowl. Go Bucks. A couple of observations:

  • Anyone who complains about baseball being a slow, draggy sport should just can it. This was a regulation football game that lasted nearly four hours. There were 11 minutes between the end of the National Anthem and the start of the game for cryin’ out loud. They took 10 minutes and two plays after the clock ran out in the third quarter. Baseball is simply better in every conceivable way than football, even in the playoffs, even with late starts and long games, and I just won’t argue the point.
  • I don’t care that everyone who made important plays for Ohio State in that game has been found to have violated NCAA rules. They’re dumb, hypocritical exploitative rules and I will not for one second slam college football players for not abiding by NCAA idiocy. Especially when that same NCAA idiocy allowed them to play anyway. We’re all a part of the same hypocrisy, Senator.
  • Ryan Mallett may have thrown the interception that effectively ended that game, but the dude was betrayed by his receivers all damn night. I feel bad for the guy. If he had one guy making even half the plays for him on offense, Arkansas wins that game easily.
  • I don’t care about the BCS title game or the NFL playoffs, so for all intents and purposes, I consider football season to be over now. Let’s have spring training start tomorrow, mmmkay?

OK, that’s it. I wrote this post before I went to bed last night so I could sleep in a bit and be all fresh for the Hall of Fame outrage I expect to muster later today. Talk to you in a few minutes, y’all.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.