Must-click link: Tim Marchman on Bill Veeck

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Over at Baseball Prospectus today, Tim Marchman writes a piece about Bill Veeck that isn’t like any piece you’ve read about Bill Veeck. It’s partially about Chicago (where Marchman lives and Veeck lived) but mostly about Veeck’s forays into way ahead-of-its-time baseball television.

One of the things he did was a pilot for a show called “Bill Veeck’s Front Office,” which was filmed in 1951. The premise: Veeck talking about baseball. That’s pretty much it. Here’s the transcript of Veeck’s introduction:

“I suppose I should introduce myself,” he says. “My name’s Veeck, Bill Veeck, and I’m figuring on being here every evening to run over the ball scores and to give you a little information that you may or may not have noticed during the ballgame, something possibly that the papers have missed, or your radio commentator. Of course I, being very egotistical, believe I’m eminently qualified to do this thing, because I’ve been in baseball all my life.

Except for the phrase “because I’ve been around baseball all my life,” it pretty much describes my And That Happened features.  Although I’d bet anything that Veeck’s version would be way better. If I had some sort of affiliation with a sports broadcast network looking to expand its content base, I’d propose that they do something like that, complete with Veeck’s idea of having an open bar going while the baseball chatter ensues. Oh well, what can you do?

Marchman goes on to describe that and other media ventures by Veeck, with links to various clips of them over at mediaburn.org, where they live.  But really, you should read Marchman’s piece before simply watching the clips, because he gives it the background and flavor that’ll make it way more worthwhile.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.