Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Jose Canseco to play for an independent team for a weekend

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Jose Canseco hasn’t played a game that counted in 16 years, but he’s still out there, taking his hacks. He just signed a short-term contract to play for the independent Pittsburg Diamonds in a series taking place in June 23-25. If you’re unaware, Pittsburg is a town in Contra Costa County, California. The Diamonds play in the Pacific Association.

This is the third year in a row the Diamonds have signed Canseco. He has been their designated hitter and has pitched some in the past. He throws a knuckle curve. Whatever works.

Caneco will remain in his day job, which is working as TV analyst for NBC Sports California’s A’s broadcasts. Which I guess makes him sort of my colleague.

And you thought Baer and I were the oddest ducks around here.

Game on: Tragedy won’t stop annual baseball game

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WASHINGTON (AP) The game will go on.

The annual Congressional Baseball Game, which dates to 1909 and is a summertime tradition on Capitol Hill, will be played Thursday despite Wednesday’s shooting at the GOP squad’s practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

It’s an annual tradition in which aging former Little Leaguers don their spikes and dust off their gloves in a game played for bragging rights and to benefit several charities. It’s also a somewhat rare example of bipartisanship in an increasingly polarized Washington.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., assured lawmakers assembled at a members’ briefing that the game will be played as scheduled, prompting a standing ovation.

“It will be `Play Ball!’ tomorrow night at 7:05,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the longtime manager of the GOP squad.

Once a relatively cozy affair, played at a minor league ballpark in Maryland, the game has gone big time in recent years and has been played at Nationals Park, just a few blocks from the Capitol.

“We do it for really three reasons. We do it for fellowship amongst ourselves. We do it for charity,” Barton said. “We raise a lot of money for three charities. And we do it because we like to play baseball and try to recapture a little bit of our youth. It’s a positive thing. Of all the things Congress does, this is one of the most benign, positive activities.”

Members of Congress practice for months for the event, and typically don the jerseys of a team from back home. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call sponsors the game and awards a trophy once a side wins three of five games.

“It’s a good way raise money for charity and for members to get to know each other,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., whose election in 2010 upended the competitive balance of the annual event. Richmond played baseball in college and kicked off his congressional career with a one-hitter in 2011 and has been the game’s dominant player pretty much since then.

Last year, however, Democrats lost the game 8-7, ending a seven-game winning streak that mostly coincided with Richmond joining the Democratic side.

“I was fresh off of surgery, but they made more plays than we made last year,” Richmond told reporters. “This was a year we wanted to get even.”

Congressional leaders typically attend the event and former President Barack Obama – famous for shunning opportunities to rub shoulders with lawmakers – even went two years ago, watching from the Democratic dugout. Obama’s appearance came as he was struggling to win Democratic votes for an unpopular trade-related measure.

President Donald Trump will not be attending Thursday’s game, however, due to security concerns.

“While the president would like to attend the game and show his support for all of these brave public servants, he has been advised that there is not enough time to follow Secret Service protocols,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday.

To lawmakers, the annual game is one of the better opportunities for lawmakers to get to know each other outside of their partisan roles.

“The things that used to bring members together, whether it’s travel – that’s frowned upon. If you belong to the gym, they think `well, that’s a perk you shouldn’t have,”‘ said Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, the manager of the Democratic team. “All the chances to interact with each other outside our suits, and outside floor debate, are few and far between.”

Online: https://www.congressionalbaseball.org/

Hall of Fame denies Pete Rose’s request to stand for election

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Baseball Hall of Fame has denied Pete Rose’s request to stand for election.

Rose had already been denied reinstatement by Major League Baseball. Theoretically, one can be banned from baseball and elected to the Hall of Fame, as they are separate institutions. Not long after Rose’s ban, however, the Hall of Fame changed its rules to prohibit any banned player from appearing on ballots. This move, most assumed, likely correctly, was aimed specifically at Rose. They may be separate institutions, but the Hall of Fame tends to land on all fours with MLB with most things and didn’t want to embarrass the league by giving Rose the honor of induction.

Not that Rose isn’t remembered by the Hall in some respects. As the article notes, there are plenty of Rose artifacts on display in the Hall of Fame. And Hall president Jeff Idelson notes, “[y]ou certainly can’t tell the history of baseball without including Pete Rose.” In this he’s like the PED-era guys who are defacto banned by the BBWAA yet still have their memorabilia on display and their feats chronicled in the museum.

As we’ve noted many, many times around here, if we were in charge, we’d keep Rose banned from baseball as he is utterly unrepentant about his very serious transgressions and has lied about them whenever it has served his interests, either personal or financial. While at 76 he’s not likely to be given a position of real responsibility in the game anymore, it’s not unreasonable to think that he’d be a bad influence if he’s allowed any authority over players. It’s not worth the risk, frankly.

That said: the Hall of Fame is about history, and Rose the ballplayer was one of baseball’s greatest figures. He deserves induction. His fans, of which there are many, would love to see it take place. That the Hall of Fame won’t even allow the possibility of that happening is a shame.