I can’t decide if Bob Brookover’s Hall of Fame column is:
A. The coolest thing ever because it finally applies the character and integrity clause to something besides steroids;
B. The worst thing ever because of the thing to which he chooses to apply the character and integrity clause; or
C. Is actually a biting satire of other writers’ misguided Hall of Fame columns.
Hahaha, just kidding. I can decide. It’s weapons-grade stupid. After saying he doesn’t vote for Bagwell despite there being no evidence that he took steroids he says …
I’m just not sure I believe him, and the reason is because I’ve watched players lie in front of Congress. If they can lie there, they can lie anywhere about anything. Schilling, one of the more outspoken players in his contempt for steroid users, once was asked if he was still dipping smokeless tobacco during his playing days with the Phillies. He assured the questioners he was not. It was a lie that was revealed by his wife, Shonda, just a few days later.
That’s questionable integrity and character. Many of Schilling’s teammates would tell you he displayed a lack of character, sportsmanship, and integrity more than a few times during his career. I still think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but the rules on the ballot would argue against his case.
This man has a Hall of Fame vote. Dozens of working baseball writers who spend countless hours thinking about baseball in non-idiotic ways don’t.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.