Zambrano's mother recovered, but everyone's still antsy about Venezuela

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Victor Zambrano’s mother was recovered from kidnappers in Venezuela on Tuesday.  That’s good.  The threat to anyone connected with Major League Baseball, however, remains the same: if they think you can pay a ransom, your family is subject to kidnappers.  That’s bad!  So bad that the Mets are considering asking their catching prospect Josh Thole to return home from his winter league team there.

Whether Thole — a young, not-yet-rich American who presumably has no family in Venezuela — faces the kind of threat that rich, native Venezuelan starts like Zambrano and Yorvit Torrealba do is an open question. I mean, it’s my uneducated guess that these kinds of people don’t want to risk the kind of heat that would come down if they started picking up random U.S. citizens, but who the hell knows? 

What I do know, though, is that if I were running a Major League team I’d (a) do everything I could to persuade my Venezuelan players to relocate their families; and (b) I’d probably not want anyone playing in the Venezuelan winter leagues.  Baseball simply ain’t worth this kind of thing.

Video reviews overturn 42% rate; Boston most successful

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NEW YORK (AP) Video reviews overturned 42.4% of calls checked during Major League Baseball’s shortened regular season, down slightly from 44% in 2019.

Boston was the most successful team, gaining overturned calls on 10 of 13 challenges for 76.9%. The Chicago White Sox were second, successful on eight of 11 challenges for 72.7%, followed by Kansas City at seven of 10 (70%).

Pittsburgh was the least successful at 2 of 11 (18.2%), and Toronto was 7 of 25 (28%).

Minnesota had the most challenges with 28 and was successful on nine (32.1%). The New York Yankees and Milwaukee tied for the fewest with nine each; the Yankees were successful on five (55.6%) and the Brewers three (33.3%).

MLB said Tuesday there were 468 manager challenges and 58 crew chief reviews among 526 total reviews during 898 games. The average time of a review was 1 minute, 25 seconds, up from 1:16 the previous season, when there 1,186 manager challenges and 170 crew chief reviews among 1,356 reviews during 2,429 games.

This year’s replays had 104 calls confirmed (19.8%), 181 that stood (34.4%) and 223 overturned. An additional 12 calls (2.3%) were for rules checks and six (1.1%) for recording keeping.

In 2019 there were 277 calls confirmed (12.5%), 463 that stood (34.1%) and 597 overturned. An additional nine calls (0.7%) were for rules checks and 10 (0.7%) for record keeping.

Expanded video review started in 2014.