Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Clutch puzzle solving

6 Comments

Jeff Kent was featured prominently in the season premiere of “Survivor” last week, but he was mostly an afterthought in the second episode last night. And yet because I wasted an hour of my life watching the show I’m going to do a Kent-centric recap now:

• The producers are clearly trying to make him a major character, as Kent and former “Facts of Life” actress Lisa Whelchel were the first two contestants mentioned in the whole “last week on …” recap.

• Kent was shown early on having a rough time with the island’s constant rainy weather because his knee, which he injured in the episode, continues to give him problems.

• His first words this week were an attempt to link the show and baseball: “I played baseball for 17 years. ‘Survivor’ is going to be a long season for me. If you don’t have anything left in the tank in October you aren’t going to be a champion. I’m making sure I’m taking care of my knee and making sure I have enough energy to help our team win.”

• Fun fact, considering that quote: Kent never actually won a champion during his MLB career.

• Kent does not know how to make a fire, so he fits in perfectly with seemingly everyone else on the show. How nearly everyone finds out they’re going to be on “Survivor” and doesn’t bother a), doing some cardio, and b) learning how to make a fire is beyond me.

• Despite the knee injury Kent volunteers to do extra work pulling a heavy sled during the immunity challenge, which makes sense even with the injury since he’s a former professional athlete and the other people are mostly just very good at being annoying.

• After doing a solid job pulling the sled Kent then goes to work trying to put together a large puzzle. He nimbly hops up onto the table where the puzzle is, suggesting last week’s fears about a torn MCL were overblown.

• His team falls behind in the puzzle making, but Kent fits the final pieces together by diving onto the table to flatten it into place to win second place and the reward of a tarp. He celebrates by lying on his back with legs and arms in the air while appearing to have some sort of brace or wrap on his knee, which means he either brought that or someone on the show gave it to him. Hmm.

• Kent and his tribe avoided tribal council for another week, which in turns means I have to watch this show for at least one more episode.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
Getty Images
2 Comments

Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa hits an RBI-single off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias to drive home Neil Walker in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
1 Comment

First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
Leave a comment

Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
6 Comments

Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.