Parade

Nothin’ like a parade! In Phoenix! In July! At noon!

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People keep asking me if I’m going to Phoenix for the All-Star Game.  I keep telling them no.

A number of reasons, really. For one thing, I’m not really a proper reporter, so I’m not sure what I’d do there except get in everyone’s way while I did that “what the heck am I doing here” Hunter S. Thompson thing that, while always good in theory, tends to just annoy everyone in practice.

Secondly, I was just in Phoenix for spring training, and while that lends itself to reporting too, a ten day boondoggle is a little different because you can grok the zeitgeist a little more than you can with a two-day kind of deal. And it’s easier to indulge the Thompson fantasies when you have more time and space to spread out.

There’s also the fact that I don’t find the All-Star Game particularly interesting, so I wouldn’t exactly be doing much besides grouching about things, and even a cynic like me has to acknowledge that that’s not the highest and best use of a press pass.

But mostly it’s the heat. I hate the heat, and I don’t want to be in 100 degree weather no matter how dry it is.  So forgive me if I watch this — straight from the press release factory at Major League Baseball — on TV:

Fans will have an opportunity to see their favorite 2011 MLB All-Stars up close on the streets of Phoenix and on television nationally on MLB Network as part of the seventh annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet.

On Tuesday, July 12, fans are invited to watch the procession of All-Stars to the 82nd Midsummer Classic as they make their way down an approximately 1,750 foot red carpet stretching 1/3 of a mile from the corner of 1stSt. and Jefferson St. down 4th St. and ending at Chase Field.

The event, which begins at 12:00 p.m. local time, is scheduled to feature all the Major League Baseball All-Stars riding in Chevrolet Silverados. Serving as Grand Marshal, MLB All-Star Ambassador and five-time MLB All-Star Luis Gonzalez will lead the parade through the streets.

Nothing like a parade at high noon in Phoenix in July.  I’ll be in my fortified compound sipping cool beverages.

Yordano Venutra killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.