Irish baseball cap

Baseball United Foundation: spreading the game to Ireland

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I’ve spoken in the past with John Fitzgerald of the Baseball United Foundation. He’s a good guy who is part of a cool organization, the goal of which is to fgrow the game of baseball in places where the game is relatively new. Places like Ireland, where the game has started to take hold over the past decade or two.

They do stuff like this:

Chicago White Sox scout John Tumminia and former MLB pitcher Rob Bell will be leading the group of baseball pros – known as The Baseball Miracles group – with the help of the Baseball United Foundation. The group is scheduled to visit Dublin and Limerick in January 2014.

“The clinics will help to further establish the game of youth baseball in Ireland,” explained Baseball United Foundation founder John Fitzgerald. “We’re very excited to bring such a high caliber of coaching and instruction to the kids who are playing the game in Dublin and those who want to begin playing in Limerick.”

Baseball was very much a game for Irish immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century. Kinda cool that it’s taking hold back home now.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.