I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …
• As hinted at last week Kent aligned himself with tribe-mate Jonathan, who has possession of the hidden immunity idol. And they also brought in a third tribe-mate, Carter, in order to have a stronger alliance with more voting power. Or as Kent put it: “I can control some people.”
• During the weekly immunity challenge Kent came through in the clutch again, this time smashing pots that were perched atop columns by throwing “wrecking balls” tied to a rope. It wasn’t totally unlike the throwing motion used to underhand a double-play ball to a shortstop, at least if you’re like me and need to equate everything he does to baseball in order to make yourself feel better about watching the show.
• As the immunity challenge wound down Kent and a contestant from another tribe, Malcolm, were basically neck and neck hurriedly swinging their wrecking balls. Kent smashed his final pot before Malcolm, allowing his tribe to finish in second place and avoid having to boot someone.
• On the “next time on ‘Survivor’ …” preview Kent was shown rubbing his injured knee, which has a brace on it. And then the footage cut to a medical boat coming to the island and showed several contestants making “wow” faces while harrowing music played, followed by host Jeff Probst saying, “The only time medical gets involved is when someone’s life is in danger.”
• So based on all of that, I guess we’re meant to believe that Kent’s knee injury, which he suffered five minutes into the first episode and had seemingly ceased being a storyline, has now put his life in danger. Or, more likely, that’s the only thing the “Survivor” producers could think of to hype next week’s show.
Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.
Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:
Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.
He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.