CASTRO ANGELOS

MLB is looking into Ozzie’s comments? How intellectually inconsistent of them.

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According to Buster Olney, Major League Baseball is now “reviewing the Ozzie Guillen situation.”  Hurm.

While I disagree with it all, I at least understand where the local outrage in Miami is coming from. While I would hope that it all blows over, I get that whatever happens it will be the local dynamics — put in motion by the community, the local politicians and the Miami Marlins brass — that are going to determine how it all plays out.

But MLB’s official involvement is another thing altogether and should be viewed even more skeptically in this instance. No, not because it has no business in policing players’ and managers’ speech — it has done that in the past, most notably in the John Rocker case — but because it doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to being outraged at pro-Castro sentiment.

Remember when Peter Angelos did this?

source: AP

That was from back in 1999, when the Orioles went down to Havana and played the Cuban national team in an exhibition. A move which did far more to bolster and support Fidel Castro than anything Ozzie Guillen said. This is especially true when, later, Angelos went on record saying that he would never sign a Cuban refugee ballplayer. Rather than simply admire Castro’s ability to not be assassinated, Angelos took it upon himself to enforce a key part of Fidel Castro’s policy and propaganda apparatus on our very shores.

At the time — and to this day, I presume — the Cuban-American community was outraged at Angelos and MLB for making this trip. The “I won’t sign Cuban ballpayers” thing led to even more anger.  Yet Major League Baseball didn’t feel the need to “review the Peter Angelos situation.”  MLB was part of it.

All of which shows quite clearly that, to MLB, this is about public relations and damage control, not about the substance of what Ozzie Guillen said or the anger felt by people in Miami. If Guillen’s comments — or worse comments by anyone — were ignored, the league wouldn’t care.  If this continues to be a big deal, the league will throw Guillen aside with a quickness.

In response to which many would say “hey, MLB has to protect its brand.”  And in response to which I would say, hey, I wish our institutions — and I consider Major League Baseball an institution — actually stood for someone other than its bottom line an public image on occasion.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.