That time Ron Gant and Connie Mack got into a bar fight

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This has nothing to do with anything, but even I need a break from BSOHL stories for a little while.

Congressman Connie Mack IV — who is now running for Senate — is the great grandson of Connie Mack the baseball guy. But that’s not his only baseball connection! Nope, seems that he has a history with former Braves slugger Ron Gant. Specifically, Gant broke Mack’s ankle in a bar fight back in 1992:

The incidents came to light after a February 1992 brawl with then-professional baseball player Ron Gant at an Atlanta bar called Calico Jack’s. A waitress testified that Mack, who had been heavily drinking beer and Jagermeister shots all night, took the first swing at Gant. Mack testified he couldn’t remember how much beer he drank, but said he had only one liquor shot — of tequila.

Gant claims a drunken Mack repeatedly bumped into him, precipitating a fight. Mack claims Gant attacked him for no reason.

During the melee, Gant head-locked Mack. Mack testified that he couldn’t breath. So he starting striking and grabbing the ball player’s crotch. At a certain point, the club’s bouncers got involved and Mack broke his ankle. He sued Gant, who was held liable. But a jury awarded no damages.

Given that Gant was still with the Braves then, I’m surprised I had never heard about that. Oh well. Worth noting that Gant had his worst full season to date in 1992. I’m going to choose to blame those Connie Mack crotch shots/grabs as the reason for his big power dropoff that year.

Anyway, if you live in Florida and you want a Senator who is unafraid to punch and grab a ballplayer’s junk in a bar fight, Connie Mack should get your vote.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.