When I hear the other fathers in the neighborhood talking about how kids have no shot at playing sports at a high level unless they’re on expensive travelling teams and go to specialized camps and clinics, I roll my eyes. Partially because, damn, don’t you hope your kids pick what they want to do with their lives rather than live vicariously through your frustrated athletic dreams? But also because, while those things may make it easier to excel at sports, a privileged upbringing is not a requirement. Just ask Jonny Gomes:
“I didn’t sleep in a car,’’ Gomes explained. “But if a car had a mailing address, that’s where I was going to get my mail.’’
“You were homeless?’’ I wondered.
“Never more than seven or 10 days,’’ Gomes said. “We’d live in a house two or three months, couldn’t pay rent, we’d get the eviction notice.’’ But friends were generous, as were some of his mother’s patients. “Awesome people took us in,’’ Gomes said.
Good story by Paul Daugherty about the rough road Gomes took to and the good attitude Gomes has about his path to the majors.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.
Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.
Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.
The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.