There was a big baseball scandal, sorta

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Ben Badler of Baseball America reports on an age/identity scandal involving one of the more notable buscones in the Dominican Republic, who actually falsified his own son’s age in order to induce the Mariners into signing him:

A son of Enrique Soto, one of the most powerful trainers in the Dominican Republic over the last two decades, used a false age when he signed with the Mariners in 2007, according to multiple sources familiar with the case.

George Soto signed with Seattle for $700,000 in February 2007, presenting himself as a 17-year-old shortstop with a birthdate of Nov. 19, 1989. According to George Soto’s new paperwork, he was born Nov. 17, 1985, which would have made him 21 when he signed.

That’s interesting as far as these things go and will likely be cited by MLB as one of the excesses of the current system as it continues to push for an international draft.  But that’s not why I’m posting this. I’m posting this because, man, I kinda feel let down.

Why? Because almost all of the baseball people on Twitter were watching this one closely for like a half hour thanks to Badler’s delicious tweet prior to posting the story:

Exciting! So exciting that it led to all kinds of fun and mostly ridiculous speculation as to what it might be.  Among my favorites:

 

 

My personal theory involved either (a) Aroldis Chapman being Keyser Soze; or (b) players actually taking them two or three games at a time instead of the alleged one game at a time they so often claim.

So, yeah, I’m let down. It’s not Badler’s fault. He’s a fine reporter and on his beat this stuff with Enrique Soto is big news and is, technically, scandalous.

But I really was hoping that we were aiming higher, or lower, on this sleepy Wednesday afternoon.

Madison Bumgarner apparently hunts bears, too

Madison Bumgarner
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We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).

Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.

On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”

As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.