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The Kansas City Royals made the NRA enemies list somehow


Because it’s the winter and because the Super Bowl is in a couple of days, there is NO baseball news happening. Really, not even crappy players signing one-year contracts to avoid arbitration. We’re desperate here!

Thank God, then, for the NRA.  A few minutes ago I saw people tweeting about the “enemies list” they apparently keep. In the NRA’s parlance, a list of “National Organizations with Anti-Gun Policies.”  Which, sure, if you’re an advocacy group you understandably want to keep a list of people who oppose your agenda, so fair enough. But the list is pretty hilarious, mostly because it goes way beyond actual opposition groups who work to counter the NRA’s agenda and seems to include just about anyone who has ever had a thought about gun ownership that runs counter to the NRA.

Indeed, it has a list of “celebrities” — and since Louie Anderson is on it, that term is defined EXTREMELY loosely. Heck, it has two “Family Feud” hosts on there and doesn’t even include Richard Dawson or Ray Combs. And don’t give me that “because they’re dead!” baloney. Nora Ephron is on the list and she’s dead. Boyz II Men is on the list and they’ve been dead since the early 90s.

Anyway, if you scroll down the list long enough — and you really should — you get to this one:

Kansas City Royals
David Glass, CEO
P.O. Box 419969
Kansas City, MO 64141
Pro Baseball Team

Which, I don’t even know. The Royals haven’t been a threat to anything and haven’t stood for anything since at least the late 80s. But I guess their pitching staffs for the last 20 years have shown an institutional aversion to high caliber firepower, but that’s stretching it a bit. Really, I’m perplexed.  Worth noting while we’re at it that former MLBer Mike Torrez is on the list too. Guessing lots of bitter fans of the 1978 Red Sox are in the NRA.

But I’m not gonna worry about offending the NRA about this. Because if you scroll down even further you get here:

National Broadcasting Company
NBC Television Network
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Anyway, it’s a fun read, and that’s the case no matter how you feel about gun ownership.  Indeed, if you’re pro gun-ownership this list should make you laugh even more. I mean, if you’re prepared to shoot an intruder in your own home, how threatened are you by Art Garfunkel?

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

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We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?