Sometimes it’s tempting to look back at former Commissioner Fay Vincent and think about what things would be like if there still were a fully independent Commissioner as opposed to one who came up through ownership like Selig did and one who truly sees the best interests of the game as his highest duty as opposed to the best business interests of the owners.*
But then Vincent — who is always available for an interview, it seems — says stuff like this when asked about what he’d think of Mark Cuban as a baseball owner:
“I don’t think Mr. Cuban’s been an easy partner or owner for David Stern, and that would put me on my guard if he were to come to baseball … The rules are the rules. I think this enormous criticism — the screaming about officials, the kinds of things that got him fined by David — those are not actions of a sensible, responsible owner. I mean winning is not everything, and I’m afraid for some of these owners they get so carried away with winning they believe that’s the objective.”
Whatever, Fay. While troubling on some level, Cuban’s antics are basically a p.r. problem, not a threat to the game. And I would suggest you ask Mavericks fans — or Dodgers fans or fans of other poorly run teams — what, exactly, is more important to them than winning? And then ask yourself where the game would be if every owner had as his first loyalty the kind of harmony you’d like to see rather than putting together teams that win championship hardware.
*Though, to be fair, that approach is not necessarily bad even if it sounds like it is. There’s nothing written in stone that says the Commissioner has to be a statesman. He merely has to keep the game healthy, and Selig has done that, mostly because the best interests of owners have a lot of overlap with the best interests of the game. But now we’re getting into another conversation.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.