Ernie Harwell

That Mitch Albom-penned Ernie Harwell play is actually happening

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When it was first announced last fall I hoped it was like one of the many projects we hear about but which never come to fruition.  But no, it appears that Mitch Albom’s play about Ernie Harwell is actually happening.  It will officially be announced tomorrow, including introductions of the actor playing Harwell and some remarks by Albom himself.  The play’s description from the production company:

“Ernie” features a two person cast portraying “Ernie” and the “Boy”, a teenager who, on the night Ernie comes to Comerica Park to say goodbye to the fans, encounters his hero and asks him to give a very special broadcast – the broadcast of his life. The play will feature actual footage from historic baseball moments, famous Tigers players and Harwell calls.

Like I said last fall, I think a play about Ernie Harwell could be pretty cool. I just think that Mitch Albom is probably the least-equipped person on he planet to do it.  Albom’s famous books traffic in easy sentimentality and emotional manipulation. They’re feature elderly people who either behave like children or some kind of sage gurus and nothing in between.  His sports writing, while once somewhat fresh back before most of you reading this were born, is so hacky that hacks look at it and say “damn, that guy’s a hack.”  The idea of letting Albom combine is twisted sense of mortality and aging and sports in the form of an Ernie Harwell piece borders on the criminal.

Given that, in contrast to Albom’s works, Harwell was all about understatement, humility, self-deprecation and grace, I feel safe in saying that it’s not exactly a match.

(thanks to Brian Murphy for the link)

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.