WikiLeaks released State Department documents in which an American diplomat calls Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “the George Steinbrenner of Iran” regarding what the Associated Press refers to as “the meddling with his country’s national soccer team.”
Naturally the AP went to Steinbrenner’s son and Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner for comment and he called it “a ridiculous comparison” and “obviously very inappropriate.”
Ahmadinejad, who’s a former soccer player, reportedly “used his position to influence the firing of two coaches in a matter of weeks” and has “repeated violations of soccer’s governing body’s rules against political interference.”
As the AP notes, Steinbrenner fired 21 managers in 37 years as Yankees owner and was suspended for two years in the 1980s for allegedly paying a gambler to obtain information about Dave Winfield. In fairness to The Boss, any comparison to Ahmadinejad should probably end right there.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.