Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley were doing the old Twitter question mailbag during a Reds game the other night and someone asked Marty what his greatest fear was.
Kind of a cool question. Certainly better than “who should the Reds trade for” or something. You figure Marty would go with “spiders” or “crowded elevators” or something. Instead, he gets real. Like, almost too real:
You have to tip you hat to Marty for being 100% honest — you can tell he thinks about this, maybe a lot — but I have never in my life been more thankful for Jeff Brantley being around to lighten the mood in my life. I’m just trying to think how he could top it.
“Well, Jeff, I often think of how bad it would be to be buried alive — Votto takes the 2-2 pitch up and in and the count is full — buried alive the way Uma Thurman was in ‘Kill Bill 2.’ Meeting eternity clawing and scratching at the inside of a pine box, screaming in vain. Votto takes ball four high and that’ll bring up Jay Bruce. Awareness of one’s imminent death, I feel anyway, may be life’s greatest possible horror. A horror we all must meet, but some of us, mercifully, unwittingly.
“Bruce is 6 for 20 lifetime against Garcia . . .”
(h/t to Deadspin)
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.