Craig Calcaterra

Royals Celebrate

What would you do with the ball from the final out of the World Series?


Remember Doug Mientkiewicz? He caught the final out of the 2004 World Series and kept the baseball. A baseball that, on the open market, would’ve snagged a gabillion dollars given the 86-year World Series drought and Boston craziness and all of that. He kept it, though, as many guys who caught final World Series outs kept it. What was the big deal, right?

Well, since it was Boston, it became a big deal. It was a controversy. He got death threats. The Red Sox insulted him publicly as a “rent-a-player” and they filed a lawsuit against him. He was otherwise hounded until Hell wouldn’t have it before, in 2006, both sides agreed to donate the ball to the Hall of Fame.

The ball which led to the final out of the 2015 World Series is in the possession of a player too. That player: Drew Butera, who has it in a safe at his Florida home. Jon Morosi of Fox tells his story. It’s not that controversial a story. Butera plans to donate it to the Royals Hall of Fame at Kauffman Stadium. I guess we live in a simpler time now.

My favorite bit from the story is this, when the MLB people approached him right after the final out:

“As soon as we started jumping around, they came straight to me and said, ‘We need that ball,'” Butera remembered. “I said, ‘I don’t know if I want to give it to you.’ But they said, ‘No, no, we just want to authenticate it.’ So they put the sticker on it, gave it back to me, and I went right back into the pile.

All of which makes me think that the greatest baseball heist would not be to steal any memorabilia. Rather, it would be to steal those little stickers. It wouldn’t be easy to pull off, of course. I’d say you’re looking at a Boesky, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros, and a Leon Spinks. Oh, and the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever. For starters.

But really, a man could do a lot of damage with those.

All of this makes me wonder about what I’d do if I caught the final out of the World Series. I suppose, the Doug Mientkiewicz situation — a truly historic ball that people REALLY care about — is somewhat rare. Maybe it’d be a similar situation if the Cubs won the World Series after all of this time, but beyond that, even those such balls aren’t so insanely valuable, especially compared to what baseball players make.

But would you want it around to look at sometime? Maybe some day, after your career is over, and you’re feeling bad about life? Maybe you’d want it on your mantle or in your den to remember the time when, man, you were at the top of the world?

I shall now tell you which states belong to the Midwest

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East coast media elites love to tell Real America what’s right and what’s wrong and what they think and what they don’t. They set the trends and rule the markets and act like they’re the only place where it’s ever snowed. It’s highly annoying, frankly.

One of the fancy-schmancy east coast media outlets is now even pretending to have say over what is and what isn’t the Midwest (a/k/a “The Land of Righteousness and Purity as Ordained by God Almighty Himself”). I’m talking Vox, whose very name sounds all snobby what with it’s school-taught Latin malarkey.

Vox has a post up in which they ask people to define what is and what is not the Midwest, under the pretense that it is at all controversial. Go pretend to know what you’re talking about when it comes to the Midwest here.

Wait, I’ll save you the trouble. This is the Midwest. There can be no real debate about it:

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Oh, OK, I’ll maybe grant some mild argument about the Dakotas, Kansas and Nebraska. I know a lot of people there say they’re part of the Midwest, but I think they’re really in The Great Plains. I’ll also note that Missouri is really tough to categorize in that different parts of the state are very different from one another, but on the whole I’ll give it Midwestern status. The rest are no-brainers of course. If your state had a college in the Big Ten prior to Penn State joining, your state is in the Midwest.

In discussing this on Twitter, some people have made some pretty audacious claims. Such as the one in which Michigan and Ohio are allegedly not Midwestern states. Ha!  I have lived on this Earth for 42 years. For 33 of them — depending on how you count college years — I have lived in either Michigan or Ohio. In light of that, I think I’m pretty qualified to say what those places are and, by gum, they ARE in the Midwest. If you claim otherwise, I’d ask you to tell me what region they actually belong to. And no, “rust belt” is not a region. That’s a term network news anchors made up to slag on depressed areas in the 1970s. Either way, if you honestly think Michigan and Ohio are not part of the Midwest you’re so deluded I’d ask you to consult a physician so that you may be put on medication and/or be confined to a long-term treatment facility.

There are other people who say things like “how can any of these places be anything-“west” given that they’re leaning sort of eastern/northern!” To that I say go read a history book or look at an old map, with an emphasis on terms like “Western Reserve,” “Northwest Territories” and the “Northwest Ordinance of 1787.” The world didn’t begin in the 20th century, Bunky. There is history and heritage at stake here.

In any event, I invite you to offer any differing opinion you might have on the proper definition of the Midwest in the comments. Know that before you say anything, however, you’re wrong. I nonetheless invite you to offer your opinion all the same.

There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, you guys. That’s how you learn.

The Nats claim their bad TV deal and dispute with the Orioles harms their ability to compete


On one level I feel bad for the Nats with respect to their TV situation. They did have a deal with the Orioles and MASN that was to increase the amount they are paid by the Orioles-owned TV network over time. The Orioles and MASN have reneged on that and litigated it and have done everything they can not to pay the Nats more money under the deal. Finally, either their lawyers or Major League Baseball or someone messed up the legal strategy in such a way that this dispute has dragged on even longer than it should have and now there is no end in sight.

But on another level, they should not be allowed to use this as an excuse for failing to improve their club, and that sounds like exactly what they are doing. From the Washington Post, reporting on Nats’ ownership’s statements in a sworn affidavit in the ongoing legal saga:

“While the Nationals have a strong business, with access to revolving credit lines, and maintain adequate cash reserves, the Nationals nevertheless have various cash flow needs necessitated by payroll and other ongoing expenses,” Cohen said. “MASN’s underpayment of rights fees has already required the Nationals to fund payroll and other expenses from its own reserves, and further delay could require the Nationals to seek further financing.

“This is not only burdensome in its own right, but it places the Nationals at a competitive disadvantage to other baseball clubs, which typically receive fair market value from their regional sports networks for their telecast rights.”

The Nationals made a reported $200 million offer to Jason Heyward, a reported $100 million offer to Yoenis Cespedes and made efforts to get Darren O'Day, Brandon Phillips and others this offseason. In the past couple of years they have given MONSTROUS sums of money to Max Scherzer and several other free agents. They have one of the higher payrolls in all of baseball, sought to send it higher this winter and at no time have been reported to be insolvent or even particularly struggling. They draw well, have a favorable stadium deal and have owners who are freakin’ billionaires.

The Washington Nationals are not getting the money they deserve under a certain media deal and that needs to be addressed, but it is NOT keeping them from fielding a competitive team. To the extent free agents don’t want to come to Washington it’s either because the Nats’ pursuit of them has been somehow lacking or, possibly, the Nationals’ dysfunction over the past year or two is enough to scare them away.

All of which is to say that the Nats owners are either making excuses to their fans for their failures, trying to puff up their damages in litigation or, in all likelihood, both. Don’t buy it for a second.