Twins to give away souvenir glorifying blatant cheating awful underhanded play*

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I think approximately 500 people sent me links to the pic of this Kent Hrbek-Ron Gant bobblehead when it started making the rounds a couple of weeks ago.  I held off writing about it because it’s not good to blog angry, but now the Twins have officially announced it as a promotion, so what the heck:

The giveaway comes on the first day of what is being billed as “1991 World Series Champs Reunion Weekend,” marking the title-winning team’s 20th anniversary.

Hrbek, the former Twins first baseman, and Atlanta’s Gant got tangled up in a play during the World Series that led to the base runner being called out as he rounded first and was retreating back to the base. Unsettled all these years is whether Hrbek unfairly overpowered Gant on the play.

Unsettled? Unsettled?!! Close study of the footage of that play reveals that not only did Hrbek physically remove Gant from the bag in order to tag him out, but that he used close-melee weapons to do so. He then proceeded to punch him, kick him, sleep with is wife and then burn down Gant’s mother’s house.  Don’t try to Google that stuff though. The Twins Industrial Complex has had it scrubbed from most websites because that’s just how they roll.

Really, though, this is the worst part of it all:

Braves director of public relations Beth Marshall said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune that “we begrudgingly gave our approval [to the design] because, although it wasn’t a great moment in Braves history, it was for the Twins!”

You see? Their reach is nearly unlimited. They have successfully planted a mole within the Braves power structure working to bring it down from the inside.  Like most right-thinking people I’m normally against half-crazed purges of suspected traitors within respectable organizations, but in this case I will make an exception. Whatever is behind this conspiracy makes the Illuminati look like women’s auxiliary of the local Lions Club and its malevolence must be stopped.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to track down that picture I saw one time of Jack Morris doctoring Game 7 baseballs with Dapper Dan Pomade and I need to finish the elaborate diagram I’ve been working on that explains how Lonnie Smith owed Kirby Puckett millions in gambling debts, thereby leading to a certain base running “gaffe.”

 

*I consulted Gleeman on the headline. He preferred “blatant cheating fantastic underhanded play.*

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Dodgers owner Mark Walter is involved in a scandal

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The Dodgers last owner, Frank McCourt, was a mainstay of the gossip pages. The new administration has been pretty drama free since taking over five years ago. That is, until now.

Multiple outlets, ranging from the New York Post to the Wall Street Journal, have been reporting on a scandal brewing at Guggenheim Partners, the multi-billion investment firm led by Mark Walter, its CEO. Walter is also the head of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the offshoot of the firm which owns the Dodgers. Walter is the Dodgers’ named owner — the “control person” — as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.

The scandal does not directly relate to the baseball team. Rather, it involves allegations that Walter bought a $13 million Pacific Palisades home for a younger female executive named Alexandra Court:

In the past 24 hours, the company has pushed back on multiple reports that CEO Mark Walter will step down; its chief investment officer has claimed on CNBC that there’s “no tumult” at the company; and Guggenheim has denied reports on a real-estate blog and in the New York Post that Walter bought a California mansion for a younger female executive at the company.

The denial regarding who bought the mansion is a bit too cute, though, as the company only denies that Walter bought it or owns it. In fact, the mansion is owned by a holding company that also bought Walter’s personal residence in Malibu. Billionaires don’t go to closings at title company offices, of course. They buy houses through companies and LLCs and trusts and stuff. As such, the claim that Walter didn’t buy the house may be technically and legally true but entirely misleading all the same. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter and Court have a “personal relationship.” Walter, who is married, and the company deny this. Court is on an extended leave of absence.

Walter and Guggenheim are denying that Walter is going to step down as CEO. That remains to be seen. The question for our purposes is whether, if he steps down from Guggenheim Partners, he would necessarily have to step down from Guggenheim Baseball Management and thus relinquish control of the Dodgers. I suspect not — they’re distinct legal entities, and his departure from Partners would be unrelated to stuff having to do with the baseball team — but you never know. It’s not like he put up $2 billion of his personal dollars for the team. There are likely a lot of strings attached and contingencies involved to the arrangement.

Something to watch.