Batman logo

Corey Hart: coolest baseball player on the planet, scorpion expert

22 Comments

I’m at the Brewers’ complex and I just got done talking to Corey Hart. For the second straight year he’s on crutches while I’m here, so that kind of stinks. But he’s having an MRI tomorrow. Assuming it’s all good he’ll be able to start the slow march back to playing condition.  And he’s optimistic that it’ll be a clean MRI. He’s feeling good.

The important thing here, however, is that he and I talked about Batman for a while. It was gonna happen. I’m wearing a Batman t-shirt today. He has a big Batman tattoo on his forearm and down his spine he has the worlds “Why so serious?” That’s some quality.  I did notice, however, that on the back of each hand he has a Superman-esque tattoo, one with his first initial in the shield, one with his wife’s. I had to ask:

“You’re sending some mixed signals here. Which is it: Batman or Superman?” I asked.

“Batman, definitely,” He said.

“Why Batman?”

“Because he’s a normal person without super powers but still does what he does. And he’s a good example. There are a lot of rich people. They don’t all do good things. Batman uses his money to fight evil.”

Can’t argue with that.

He then went to grab his phone to show me pictures of his extensive super hero action figure collection, which he has literally hanging on walls in the packages. We were interrupted, though, because some other reporters needed to ask him about baseball and things. As if that were important. Hart told me he’d catch me later to show me the collection, which he’s quite excited about.  MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy was there and as we walked out he told me that he’s seen the collection and that it’s impressive. I can’t wait.

Just before the Batman conversation Hart held court about Doug Melvin’s encounter with the scorpion. Hart, who makes his home in Arizona, is something of an expert on scorpions, and he talked about how one does and does not dispose of them in the home. He didn’t put too fine a point on it, but he made it pretty clear that Melvin did not go about it the right way.

“You don’t grab them,” Hart said. “You hit ’em with a hammer. They’re tough. Try to squish them and they’re still going to sting you.”

I’m not sure if Batman ever fought a villain named The Scorpion, but if he did, I bet he knows that.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
6 Comments

Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.

Report: White Sox, Nationals making “strong progress” on a Chris Sale deal

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox deliivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
8 Comments

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.

Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.

The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.

Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.