More details on the rescue of Wilson Ramos

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Wilson Ramos was found safely by Venezuelan authorities on Friday, nearly 48 hours after he was taken from his home by four gunmen. Here are some more details on his rescue.

In an interview with Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Ramos said he was lying in a bed in captivity when he began to hear an exchange of gunfire. He immediately jumped to the floor and prayed for his safety before being rescued by Venezuelan police commandos.

“They picked me up off the floor and they said, ‘Hey, Wilson, thank God, you’re safe. Let’s go home. Your family is waiting for you.’”

Ramos said his kidnappers only spoke to him briefly, saying that they were “going to ask for a ton of cash for me.” According to the family, they were never issued a demand for ransom and it’s believed they were not paid. The kidnappers did not hurt him and offered him food and water. While there are no physical scars, Ramos said, “psychologically I underwent very great harm.”

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement earlier this morning regarding Ramos’ rescue:

“I am happy to announce that I have spoken directly with Wilson and he assures me he is unharmed but eager to be reunited with his family,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “He asked me to thank all who played a role in his rescue and all those who kept him and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

“I join Wilson in thanking the many law enforcement officials in Venezuela and investigators with Major League Baseball who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive ending to what has been a frightening ordeal. The only detail that concerns us is that Wilson is safe. The entire Washington Nationals family is thankful that Wilson Ramos is coming home.”

The Associated Press reports that five men were arrested in connection with the kidnapping, including a Colombian “linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups.”

According to Rafael Rojas of Viva Colorado, who has done a tremendous job on this story, Ramos hasn’t ruled out making another appearance in the Venezuelan Winter League in order to acknowledge the tremendous support he and his family received during his ordeal.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.