Teams are inquiring about Alfonso Soriano for some reason

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Ken Rosenthal says that teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano. I can only assume this means that they are kicking in anger, like you might kick the tires of your car when it breaks down on the side of the road. Not like you would when you were considering an investment in a quality used automobile.

Which leads me to ask: what, if anything, does kicking the tires on a car actually do? Is the car supposed to fall over if it’s no good? Is there a certain satisfying sound you’re supposed to get, not unlike when you plunk a melon in the grocery store?  Also: if I ask to look under the hood but I know nothing about cars, is there something specific I should pretend to do so the salesman doesn’t take me for the rube I am?  So many questions.

Back to Soriano: he’s owed $54 million over the next three years. People say stuff like “if the Cubs were to eat most of his salary …” but, really, even then, who wants Soriano?  He’s probably a DH at best now, and even then he’s a bit-of-power/no-OBP skills option.

Which of course means that the Braves will probably get him and stick him in left field. God, why do I bother to think these things through?

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.