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Impostor crashes the Braves alumni event

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John Sullivan was a Braves’ reliever in the late 70s and the Braves bullpen coach during Bobby Cox’s first stint as Braves manager. He left the team when Cox did in 1981.

John Sullivan was at the Braves alumni event/old timers softball game this past weekend. It was not, however, the correct John Sullivan. Indeed, it was an impostor. And not a very good one.

One who, when asked when he played for the Braves said, “1986 or 1987, I’m not sure.” And who was out of shape even for a guy in his 50s and couldn’t even really swing a softball bat. The guy attended John Smoltz’s number retirement ceremony and a dinner and signed autographs for fans and everything before Bobby Cox, Andy Ashby, Jose Alvarez and others figured him out and confronted him.

“He got most of our cell phone numbers,” said Alvarez, who now resides in Greenville, S.C. “He invited me to appear in a golf tournament.”

So close. But if he thought more about his scam he could have pulled it off, actually. Indeed, all a guy with no apparent baseball ability whatsoever needs to do to make people think he played for the 1986-87 Braves would be to claim he was Andres Thomas.

(Thanks to Tim’s Neighbor for the heads up)

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.