I haven’t seen the press release yet, but Gordon Edes reports that Bud Selig has announced the formation of a committee that will study the origins of the game of baseball. On the committee: Baseball historian John Thorn, noted plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin, and sepia tycoon Ken Burns.
I don’t want to make rash predictions, but my guess is that with this crowd running things it will be determined that baseball was invented by Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams some time in the mid-1960s. And the text of the report will be lifted in its entirety from A Time to Remember by Rose Kennedy.
Ah well, probably doesn’t matter anyway. This is a Bud Selig-created committee. The same Bud Selig who last year was either so ignorant or so unwilling to ruffle feathers that he said that he believed Abner Doubleday invented the game, and everyone knows that’s a bunch of malarkey. And given his track record with committees, we won’t have any results out of this thing until sometime in the spring of 2025.
Personally speaking I’m opposed to the search for the origins of baseball. I believe in baseball Creationism. The game is too orderly to have simply evolved. A man can throw a ball that curves? You can’t explain that!
UPDATE: Oh, one more thing: before Bud Selig unleashes his committee, perhaps he’d be well-served to watch the movie — that was produced by MLB.com itself — about the origins of baseball. I watched at the SABR convention back in 2008. It was pretty good! Sort of defeats the purpose of the committee too!
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.