Angels, Nationals reportedly discussing Peter Bourjos trade

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We detailed earlier today that Peter Bourjos seems to have gone missing. Now tonight we find that multiple teams are looking for him.

The Los Angeles Angels center fielder hasn’t played much since the Angels called up uber-prospect Mike Trout from the minors, losing ground in a crowded outfield race that also includes Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and an occasional dose of Mark Trumbo.

Bourjos has hurt himself with his struggles at the plate this season, turning himself from a passable-bat, supreme speed/defense guy into merely a supreme speed/defense guy. But he’s still only 25 and his positives and potential make him quite valuable.

Thus, it’s not surprising that some teams are beginning to sniff around. As Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports reports:

The Nationals and Angels have had preliminary discussions about a trade that would send center fielder Peter Bourjos to Washington, major-league sources told FOXSports.com.

The Royals, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays also have checked on the availability of Bourjos, sources say.

Morosi reports that it’s unclear how far along talks are, but that the Angels are surely looking for bullpen help and perhaps a catcher now that Chris Iannetta is facing an extended absence.

Hunter’s contract is up after this season, so that could potentially clear up room in the outfield. But the Angels are likely stuck with Wells through 2014. So in that respect, it sort of makes sense to deal Bourjos. But it could be painful nonetheless for Angels fans down the line if Bourjos ever figures things out at the plate.

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Alabama man arrested for stealing a Braves golf cart from SunTrust Park

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Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.

Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.

That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:

I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.

 

Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

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The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.