Tony Bosch (60 Minutes - CBS)

So, about Alex Rodriguez’s friend who wanted Tony Bosch dead…

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Someone is going to put him in jail, right?

I mean, MLB’s chief operating officer Rob Manfred made it quite clear on 60 Minutes that the threat against Tony Bosch’s life, made by an associate of Alex Rodriguez, needed to be taken seriously, even if he couldn’t go into any details about it. It’s no secret that MLB had hired guards to protect Bosch after it was revealed that he’d cooperate with the investigation. He wouldn’t name the person behind the threat, other than to connect the person with Rodriguez.

It also seems Manfred wanted us to believe that this, along with the attempted bribing of Bosch, is part of why Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games, reduced now to 162, for his PED usage, when other players got only 50 games. Bug Selig, also interviewed, was so bothered by what Rodriguez did that he couldn’t seem to provide any detail at all. Perhaps it was unsuitable for a prime time network audience. But it was there and it was huge and it was worth an extra 161 games.

So, what about it?

Manfred said that it’s definite that Rodriguez is an associate of this individual, but he added that he couldn’t know if Rodriguez himself was aware of the threat.

Also unknown is whether MLB turned any evidence about said threat over to the proper authorities. Did Bosch want that? It doesn’t seem he ever went to the police himself about any threats. Of course, that probably would have presented some complications, given his various illegal activities.

Indeed, it seems MLB’s only real interest in the threat was as more leverage against Rodriguez. That was certainly how it was presented as tonight. Rather than talk about Bosch’s other clients or how easy MLB’s drug testing was to beat or maybe delve into how the league perhaps benefited from PEDs during the 1990s, we were treated to a segment on how a criminal no one in the audience cares about may have had to fear for his life because of undisclosed threats, even though since, obviously, he’s talking on TV right now, nothing ever came of them.

And that seems incredibly weak to me. There was no investigating on the part of 60 Minutes here: everything from tonight’s program was supplied by Bosch and documents owned by MLB. If the segment was going to spend time on this threat on Bosch’s life, it would have been nice had it dug up some facts on who actually made the threat. Bosch knows. Manfred knows. Selig knows. So, why don’t we?

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.