Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “I’m a motorcycle dealer”

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I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …

• Kent explains to the camera that last week he went back and forth on whether to direct his alliance to vote out Jonathan, ultimately deciding against it. Moments later Jonathan tells the camera: “I think Jeff and I have built a trust with each other.”

• The two remaining tribes merge, creating one 11-person tribe. Kent makes it clear that he wants to get rid of Jonathan and Michael, both of whom are returning contestants from previous “Survivor” seasons, saying: “I believe a veteran player should not win this game.”

• Upon meeting his new tribemates Kent is pleased that none of them seem to know his identity and when they all go around in a circle introducing themselves he leaves out the part about earning $90 million as a professional baseball player, instead lying: “I live in Texas. I have a ranch. I’m a motorcycle dealer. I’m a salesman.”

• Kent gets into a conversation with two new tribemates and tells them he doesn’t like Jonathan, doesn’t want Jonathan to win, and wants to “get him out of here.” They begin to scheme ways to get rid of Jonathan as Kent tells the camera: “I’ll join any gang as long as I can get Jonathan out before I get out.” This is about the time I begin sympathizing with Barry Bonds.

• This week’s immunity challenge involves every contestant trying to keep their grip on a rope that’s holding up a bucket containing 20 percent of their body weight in sand. Kent is one of the final three and seemingly taunts the other two guys. He says “attaboy Artis!” as Artis’ grip is slipping away. And then with Carter as his only competition Kent tells him “c’mon young buck!”

• Minutes later Kent appears to be struggling and tries to cut some sort of a deal with Carter, saying: “If I drop you owe me one, if you drop I owe you one, OK?” Carter doesn’t really respond and then says he wants to win, at which point Kent loses his grip and is eliminated in second place.

• Kent talks to Michael–who he previously talked about wanting to get rid of–about voting out Jonathan, saying: “I can’t let Jonathan beat me in this game.”

• Kent talks to Carter about what to do, but they’re interrupted when Jonathan strolls over and pleads his case to them by bringing up his “loyalty.” Kent and Carter can barely make eye contact with him.

• It becomes pretty obvious that Kent controls the whole situation and can essentially choose who he wants to vote out. He then makes what is now a weekly forced baseball reference: “If you treat baseball with disrespect you’re gonna get bit in the ass and I know if you treat this game with disrespect you’re gonna get bit in the ass too. With all humbleness, a decision on who goes home tonight is gonna go based on which way I go tonight.”

• Kent’s growing alliance group decides to vote for both Jonathan and R.C., figuring Jonathan will either have to use up his immunity idol in order to remain in the game or will get voted out if he opts not to use it. Jonathan is smart enough to play the immunity idol, saving himself from what would have been elimination, and R.C. is voted out instead.

• In the preview for next week’s episode Jonathan is basically shown going rogue now that he knows Kent and everyone else were screwing with him.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.