Over the weekend we noted how Comerica Park’s famous singing hot dog vendor, Charley Marcuse, was fired. We presumed it was because of, you know, the singing. But that’s not what some people are saying. From the Detroit News:
There are rumblings the real reason was ketchup — or Marcuse’s disdain for it. Marcuse, at the ballpark and on Twitter, has been a strong crusader for only putting mustard on a frank. And some fans thought he got combative when they asked for ketchup. There were complaints filed.
Politics, man. Politics.
For what it’s worth, I respect the purists who go mustard-only on hot dogs. And, for the most part, that’s how I roll myself. But I’ve liberalized my views on this over the past year or so. Men and women died for our freedoms in this country, and one of those freedoms is to put ketchup on a gosh dang hot dog if you want. And if that’s what you want, far be it from me to condemn you for it.
Or, as Voltaire put it, I may disapprove of what you put on your hot dog, but I will defend to the death your right to put it there, you know, on your hot dog. At least I’m almost positive that that’s what he was talking about.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.