There are a lot of people upset about neither Fox nor Major League Baseball doing anything during the All-Star Game last night to honor Tony Gwynn. For what it’s worth, Fox is saying that they did too honor him. In the form of a video that, apparently, aired during pregame programming on Fox Sports 1:
I say “apparently,” because I’ve tried five times to get the video linked there to work and I can’t, but I’ll take their word for it. One reader says that he saw it and that it was a good piece featuring Ken Rosenthal interviews and such.
Not that this is going to make the people who are mad about this very happy. I presume the response will be that it didn’t air during the game and that it didn’t air on Fox, but on Fox’s cable channel which isn’t widely viewed.
Personally I think the outrage over this is a bit much. Obviously a well-done tribute to Gwynn would’ve been welcome, but I hardly see it as a capital crime that one did not take place during the game. There are major figures in baseball who die every year. Some do get honored during All-Star or World Series broadcasts. Some don’t. I don’t recall baseball making a point to run video montages and things like the Oscars do. And it’s probably worth noting that the Oscars frequently get criticized for missing someone here or there.
At bottom, I don’t think it’s fair to say Major League Baseball has somehow snubbed Gywnn’s death. When it happened there was all manner of nice gestures both by the league, its teams, broadcasters and almost anyone else you can imagine. If your thoughts about last night are “it would’ve been nice to see something,” that’s fine. But if you’re suggesting that Fox or MLB is somehow “disrespecting” Gwynn here, or that they owe apologies and the like, I think you’re overstating things.
This is especially true if you’re one of those people whose default mode is to think everything Fox and MLB do is somehow ill-conceived and mock-worthy. In that case, would you really want them to do something, or are you just firing complaints at big, common targets?
There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.
Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:
The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.
When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.
Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?
Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.
The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.