Last year I participated in my friend Michael Clair’s Charity Blogathon over at Old Time Family Baseball. I will be doing so again this year, and I hope you check it out and help Michael as he raises money for Doctors Without Borders.
The specifics: this Saturday, January 19th, Michael will be posting every half hour for 24 hours to support Doctors Without Borders. As he did last year, all of the posts will be freshly written (i.e. he won’t be pre-writing stuff and setting it to post later). The fundraising page is here, and I’d humbly ask that you consider donating to what is an outrageously worthy cause. Every donation — even if it’s just a buck — enters you into a raffle for a number of baseball prizes including books, movies, baseball cards, video games and such. Some of the prizes can be seen here.
The next day — Sunday, January 20 — Michael will understandably rest. In his stead, he has asked multiple guest bloggers to write posts for him. I am one of the guest bloggers, and at some point a post I wrote will go live over there. I’ll give you the heads up to it once it goes live. I think it’s pretty good.
So, if you’re willing and able, please consider helping Michael and Old Time Family Baseball help Doctors Without Borders. And even if you can’t do that, go read his posts during the blogathon. I bet they get good and loopy by hour 17 or 18.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.