Bill Veeck

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.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.