Last week, it was announced that retired Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The medal is the highest honor given to a civilian, meant to honor those “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The ceremony was held on Tuesday afternoon at the White House. Scully was one of 21 recipients. Others included Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bruce Springsteen.
Here’s video of President Obama introducing Scully:
The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds. You hear the crack of the bat, you got the crowd singing in the seventh-inning stretch, and you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully. Most fans listen to a game’s broadcast when they can’t be at the ballpark. Generations of Dodgers fans brought their radios into the stands because you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories. Most play-by-play announcers partner with an analyst in the booth to chat about the action. Vin worked alone and talked just with us. Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations. When he heard about this honor, Vin asked with characteristic humility, ‘Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.’ And we had to inform him that, to Americans of all ages, you are an old friend. In fact, I thought about him doing all these citations which would have been very cool, but I thought we shouldn’t make him sing for his supper like that.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, there is a “growing sense” that free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will land a five-year contract. Earlier this month, Cespedes opted out with two years and $47.5 million remaining on his contract with the Mets in order to become a free agent.
Cespedes finished the 2016 regular season with a .280/.354/.530 triple-slash line with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances. The Giants, Dodgers, Nationals, Yankees, and Mets have all had reported interest in the two-time All-Star.
Matthew Pouliot ranked Cespedes as the best of 111 free agents available this offseason.
As presently constructed, the Mets’ outfield would feature Jay Bruce in right field, Curtis Granderson in center, and Michael Conforto in left field. The Mets are taking offers for Bruce and might pursue other free agent outfielders (such as Jose Bautista) if they get a sense that Cespedes moves out of their price range.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that free agent catcher Jason Castro has multiple three-year ofers and suggests that the team that is willing to go four years might get an edge to procure the backstop’s services.
The Twins, Braves, Rays, and Angels are among the handful of teams that have reported interest in Castro. The 29-year-old finished the 2016 season having hit .210/.307/.377 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 376 plate appearances. Given that Castro has, over the course of his six-year career, hit lefties much better than righties, he might be a good fit as part of a platoon.
Rosenthal adds that free agent catcher Nick Hundley can serve as a “Plan B” for the clubs who miss out on Castro. The Orioles in particular seem to be enamored with a reunion with Hundley.