The Kansas City Royals made the NRA enemies list somehow

68 Comments

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?

UPDATE: Donald Trump declines Nats offer to throw out the first pitch

Getty Images
87 Comments

UPDATE: Welp, we wont’ get to see that:

Sad!

8:53 AM: It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.

2017 Preview: Texas Rangers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Texas Rangers.

The Rangers somehow won the AL West last year despite not being super great at any one aspect of the game. There are stars here — Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Rougned Odor are all spiffy players — but the Rangers won the division by being greater than the sum of their parts. They scored a decent number of runs despite some bad collective peripheral numbers and they allowed more runs than anyone in the AL except the Twins and Athletics. Yet they had a great record in one-run games and outperformed their pythagorean record by a WHOLE lot. Luck shined brightly on the 2016 Rangers.

It’s hard to expect luck to hold in any instance, but that’s especially the case when there have been some pretty significant changes. Changes like the loss of Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland. In their place: A full season, the Rangers hope, from Shin-Soo Choo, a converted-to-outfield Jurickson Profar and Mike Napoli. That may wash out OK, especially if Choo is healthy, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see some regression in two of those offensive slots.

Starting pitching is also a big question mark. Cole Hamels at the top is not a problem, obviously, and if Yu Darvish is healthy and durable the Rangers have an outstanding 1-2 punch. Martin Perez in the third spot presents promise, but he’s been exactly average so far in five major league seasons. The back end of the rotation has some real problems. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are hurt at the moment and even if healthy, Cashner seems to be a shell of his once-promising self. A.J. Griffin is looking to pitch in his first full season since 2013. If the Rangers are strong contenders all year it’s gonna be on the “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain” model, but I have no idea what rhymes with “Darvish” and that’s sort of a problem.

The bullpen is going to look a lot like it did last year. Sam Dyson will close, but manager Jeff Banister has shown in the past that he’s not a slave to keeping guys in any one role down there. Jeremy Jeffress will likely set up but he’s closed before. Some think Matt Bush or Keone Kela could close. We’ll see Tanner Scheppers and lefty Alex Claudio. Banister has a Manager of the Year Award on his mantle and while that often doesn’t mean anything, it usually suggests that a guy knows how to deal with his pen. Banister will do OK with what he has.

Really, though, the rotation is a concern, as is hoping that a 35-year-old Mike Napoli and a soon-to-be 38-year-old Adrian Beltre can continue to be the types of players who can form the offensive core of a playoff team. There’s talent and a track record here, but there’s a lot of uncertainty. For that reason, I suspect the Rangers will fall back a smidge this year, even if they’re a playoff contender.

Prediction: Second Place, American League West.