Ogden Raptors issue press release after receiving backlash for “Hourglass Appreciation Night”

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Last night, we learned about a poorly-thought-through promotion idea the Ogden Raptors posted on their website, called “Hourglass Appreciation Night.” The post featured an illustration of three women in string bikinis, just in case the intent of the promotion wasn’t clear, which was for heterosexual men to ogle conventionally attractive women.

The Raptors received quite a bit of backlash on social media and the post on the Raptors’ website was quickly removed.

On Tuesday, Raptors president Dave Baggott issued a statement:

The Ogden Raptors regret that an unauthorized press release was disseminated over the weekend announcing a promotion that was not approved or scheduled by club ownership or management. This promotion will not take place and steps have been put in place to ensure that this will not happen again. The Ogden Raptors offer a sincere apology to anyone who was offended by the promotion itself and the contents of the press release, and in no way supports or condones the objectification of women. It is not reflective of the values of the Ogden Raptors, Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the Pioneer Baseball League or Minor League Baseball. The Raptors will not be taking phone calls or conducting interviews on this matter.

Of course, to say that the Raptors’ promotion “is not reflective of the values of […] the Pioneer Baseball League” is inaccurate. The Orem Owlz, the Angels’ minor league affiliate in the Pioneer League, cooked up a “Caucasian Heritage Night” two years ago. That, too, was canceled after receiving a torrent of backlash.

The real problem is that men still make up nearly 100 percent of all leadership positions in front offices across baseball. Judging by name, the only woman listed on the Raptors’ website is Stacy Oliver, who’s the director of food service and personnel. Hiring people who aren’t straight, white, heterosexual, cisgendered men — and paying them a living wage — is an easy first step teams can take towards avoiding publicly embarrassing moments like the one the Raptors had to endure on Monday.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.