I follow Mike Gentz on Twitter. Mostly because his avatar is Wooderson from “Dazed and Confused.” Also because he’s around my age and his youthful baseball memories — centering on the Ralph Houk/Les Moss/Sparky Anderson Tigers — match my own pretty perfectly. Oh, and he’s a nice guy too.
Unfortunately, he and his two boys have had a horrible, awful year as Mike’s wife Dawn died of melanoma in April. Watching him from afar, via Twitter, as he has dealt with his loss while being there for his boys, running a business and still trying to keep up with his beloved Detroit Tigers has been at turns sad, funny, touching and always moving. Life goes on, even when it’s hard.
Recently the Detroit Tigers did something really nice for Mike: they invited him and his sons to Comerica Park for a day with the team. Mike wrote it up today over at the Bless You Boys blog. You want to go check it out now.
Great job, Tigers. And great job Mike.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.