The President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum defends the decision to move the Legacy Awards Show

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Last week I posted  a link to Sam Mellinger’s story in the Kansas City Star about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s decision not to hold its annual Legacy Awards Show this month.  Today I received an email from the President of the NLBM, Dr. Raymond Doswell, who takes issue with Mellinger’s characterization and, subsequently, my posting regarding it.  Dr. Doswell writes:

 

Thanks again for sharing information about the NLBM on your blog recently.  Let me say that much of what Mr. Mellinger wrote needs clarification.  He was, at best, “incomplete,” at worst “selective,” in his “reporting” of our plans.

Let me start by attaching the full press release regarding our awards and planned changes for the event moving forward.  I will also include you on our media blasts moving forward.

Some quick notes of clarification:

1.       The Legacy Awards were not cancelled; they were never planned for this year.  Not sure how you can cancel an event that was not planned.  It is traditionally held in January, but his date of last weekend for the event is his own creation.  One of the issues we always run into with January is being pinched between the Baseball Writers Awards in NYC, the Super Bowl, and the start of Spring Training. Plus, if you look outside, we are not having “chamber of commerce” kind of weather lately (8 inches of snow and ice just last week).

2.       It is not true that sponsors were not notified of the new direction.  As noted in our statement, we held a focus group with key sponsors and patrons after the last event to recommend changes.  The move from January to November was one of them in part for some of the reasons stated above.  We will have the 2011 season gala come back on 11/11/11 and it will feature centennial salutes to O’Neil and Josh Gibson.   We certainly wanted to announce things a lot sooner, I admit, and we may not have gotten notice to everyone we wanted sooner.  There was much happening in our leadership transition that needed to take priority.

We are very excited for our winners for this year and about our program moving forward.  The museum feels it has made a prudent decision to enhance all of our events for 2011 and position us for a great 2012 with the coming of the MLB All-Star Game.

 

I don’t deign to know enough about what goes on with the Museum to say anything particularly intelligent here.  At most I’ll say that, if Mellinger is correct and that the Legacy Awards have been held in January for the past decade, it’s a bit cute to say that “they were not cancelled; they were never planned for this year.”  Dr. Doswell admits that the decision was made late and that communication of it was less-than-ideal.  If that’s all it was, fine, but one of the signs of a healthy organization is that attention to this sort of thing is well-paid. Of course, as Dr. Doswell admitted to me in his email — and will admit to anyone who asks, I presume — the Museum is not where it wants to be and could use all the support it can get.

People familiar with the Museum will know best about this. For my part, I trust Sam Mellinger’s reporting and have come to have confidence in his opinions. Same for Joe Posnanski, who has previously voiced his concern over the state of the Museum and its management.  Still, in the absence of first-hand knowledge about this stuff, it seems only fair to provide Dr. Doswell with equal time, as it were. Read the press release in full. Read Mellinger’s piece if you haven’t already.  Read Posnanski’s from a couple of months ago.

Jeurys Familia’s domestic violence suspension to be announced today

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Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the announcement of Jeurys Familia‘s domestic violence suspension is expected some time today.

Familia was arrested in October following an incident at his home. Criminal charges were dropped in December. As we know, however, MLB’s domestic violence policy does not require criminal proceedings to be commenced, let alone completed, before the leveling of league punishment. MLB has been investigating the incident for the past several months.

Billy Witz of the New York Times reported Monday that the suspension is “almost certain” to be lighter than the 30-game suspension Aroldis Chapman received one year ago. However much time Familia misses, the Mets are expecting Addison Reed to fill in at closer until he returns.

2017 Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

Let’s look first at the strengths. There’s Mike Trout, the undisputed best player in the game. That’s always a good start. I could bore you with a bunch of stats and historical comparisons here but we’re friends here and, let’s be honest, we don’t need or even want that. The guy is good, ’nuff said.

Indeed, I had an impulse to simply photoshop Trout’s head on this poster and be done with the entire Angels preview:

 

You could almost stop reading now and know what’s up in Anaheim this year.

But honestly, Trout isn’t the only strength here. The Angels have the best defensive shortstop in the league in Andrelton Simmons and a lot of other good defensive players as well, from Kole Calhoun in right, Cameron Maybin in left, Luis Valbuena at first (or wherever he’s slotted once he comes back from a hamstring injury) and Danny Espinosa at second. Their catching corps — Martin Maldonado and Carlos Perez — are solid too. When you lack team depth and have pitching challenges like the Angels do, not kicking the ball all over the field is a good thing. The Angels have kicked the ball a lot in recent years but they’ll be pretty good with the leather in 2017, and that can make up for a lot of faults.

But I ain’t gonna lie, there are a lot of faults here.

Garrett Richards is back from a UCL injury that sidelined him most of last season. He didn’t get Tommy John surgery — he went with stem cell treatment — so the recovery time is lower. Still, it seems like a lot of guys who go the rehab route end up going under the knife eventually anyway, so everyone will have their eye on the Angels’ ace as the season goes on.

Beyond Richards the rotation is suspect. Matt ShoemakerRicky NolascoTyler Skaggs — also coming back from injury — and Jesse Chavez do not, as a group, strike fear into anyone’s hearts. I guess the hope here is that Nolasco’s pitching after he came over from Minnesota is more indicative of what he can do than what he did earlier in the year. Or, for that matter, for the past three seasons. If Richards is healthy he’s an ace. The rest of these guys are basically average at best.

The pen has issues. Cam Bedrosian had a fantastic 2016, but it was definitely a huge step up for him and may have been an aberration. closer Huston Street did not have a fantastic 2016, is recovering from a strained lat now and it’s fair to ask whether he’s got what it takes to close in the bigs anymore. Even if that’s too pessimistic an assessment, he’s missed a lot of time this spring. Andrew Bailey, like Nolasco, pitched well after coming to Anaheim last summer but poorly before that, with the poorly looking more like his true level than the well. Otherwise Mike Scioscia has a lot of young arms but not a lot of particularly good ones. Look for his bullpen to feature a cast of thousands.

As for the lineup: Trout is Trout. Albert Pujols is recovering from yet another foot issue. He still has old man strength and can hit some dingers, but he’s a shell of his former self and it’s fair to ask how many lower body maladies a guy whose primary value is tied up in power can tolerate. Yunel Escobar, Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron are useful and predictable, even if they’re not game-changers. The Angels were 10th in offense in the AL last year. It’s hard to see them making a big leap from that level this year, even if they’re not likely to be too much worse either.

Ultimately, there’s not enough pitching here and there’s not a scary enough secondary or tertiary offensive threat behind Trout to make the offense difficult to deal with. If you play the Angels you’ll score some runs and you can pitch to everyone who isn’t wearing the number 27. That’s not gonna cut it in the AL West this year.

Prediction: Fourth place, American League West.