This morning Buster Olney said — I think in response to a question a lot of us had, but were too respectful of the man’s decision to ask — that the A’s have no expectation that Grant Desme, the prospect who is
leaving baseball to become a priest, is going to change his mind.
I think Aaron covered most of the relevant angles on this the other day, but let me throw one more thought out there: the people who are saying “well, why couldn’t he have waited until after his baseball career was over to have done this?” don’t really have a handle on what becoming a priest really entails.
I’m not talking about the spiritual commitment here — I’m way out of my depth commenting on that. I’m referring to the academic commitment. The logistics and mechanics of seminary school. As the Columbus Dispatch’s Todd Jones* reported in a fabulous six-part series last summer, it is an extremely demanding undertaking. It certainly does not sound like the sort of thing one would be able to slide into easily after several years following some other pursuit.
Upshot: it’s more likely that Desme could wash out of seminary school as a result of its rigorous demands and get back into baseball than it would be for him to play out his baseball career and commit to seminary school.
*Jones is actually a sports reporter by trade, and a good one at that, so I’d be pretty interested to hear his take on all of this.
Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.
Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”
Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.
This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.