Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

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.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.

Daniel Szew: “Landa was a leader, happy-go-lucky guy”

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 1:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo during the Twins' photo day on March 1, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.

Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”

Per Berardino:

He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.

If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.

“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”

Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.