Report: Mets considering trade for Kelly Shoppach

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The Mets have reportedly discussed a trade for Rockies’ catcher Ramon Hernandez, but Peter Gammons of MLB Network hears that they are considering alternatives.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last weekend that the Mets are also interested in Mariners’ catcher Miguel Olivo.

If acquired, Shoppach would function as a platoon partner for left-handed hitting Josh Thole. The 32-year-old backstop is hitting .269/.358/.527 with four home runs, 12 RBI and an .885 OPS over 108 plate appearances this season and is still owed roughly half of his $1.35 million salary for 2012. He owns a .902 career OPS against left-handed pitching and would be an immediate improvement over Mike Nickeas, who is hitting just .172 with one home run and a .487 OPS in 93 at-bats this year.

Lavarnway, who made his major league debut last August, is batting .306/.395/.455 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and an .850 OPS in 71 games this season with Triple-A Pawtucket. The 24-year-old has thrown out 32 percent (22-for-68) of attempted basestealers.

The Rockies are mostly motivated to move Hernandez’s salary, so he figures to cost very little in the way of prospects. Shoppach has been a pretty productive platoon partner for Jarrod Saltalamacchia this season, so even with Larvarnway knocking on the door for a promotion, the Red Sox probably won’t move him unless they get something interesting in return.

UPDATE: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that while Shoppach is “definitely” on the Mets’ wish list, they have yet to contact the Red Sox.

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.