Corey Hart: coolest baseball player on the planet, scorpion expert

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I’m at the Brewers’ complex and I just got done talking to Corey Hart. For the second straight year he’s on crutches while I’m here, so that kind of stinks. But he’s having an MRI tomorrow. Assuming it’s all good he’ll be able to start the slow march back to playing condition.  And he’s optimistic that it’ll be a clean MRI. He’s feeling good.

The important thing here, however, is that he and I talked about Batman for a while. It was gonna happen. I’m wearing a Batman t-shirt today. He has a big Batman tattoo on his forearm and down his spine he has the worlds “Why so serious?” That’s some quality.  I did notice, however, that on the back of each hand he has a Superman-esque tattoo, one with his first initial in the shield, one with his wife’s. I had to ask:

“You’re sending some mixed signals here. Which is it: Batman or Superman?” I asked.

“Batman, definitely,” He said.

“Why Batman?”

“Because he’s a normal person without super powers but still does what he does. And he’s a good example. There are a lot of rich people. They don’t all do good things. Batman uses his money to fight evil.”

Can’t argue with that.

He then went to grab his phone to show me pictures of his extensive super hero action figure collection, which he has literally hanging on walls in the packages. We were interrupted, though, because some other reporters needed to ask him about baseball and things. As if that were important. Hart told me he’d catch me later to show me the collection, which he’s quite excited about.  MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy was there and as we walked out he told me that he’s seen the collection and that it’s impressive. I can’t wait.

Just before the Batman conversation Hart held court about Doug Melvin’s encounter with the scorpion. Hart, who makes his home in Arizona, is something of an expert on scorpions, and he talked about how one does and does not dispose of them in the home. He didn’t put too fine a point on it, but he made it pretty clear that Melvin did not go about it the right way.

“You don’t grab them,” Hart said. “You hit ’em with a hammer. They’re tough. Try to squish them and they’re still going to sting you.”

I’m not sure if Batman ever fought a villain named The Scorpion, but if he did, I bet he knows that.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

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We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.

It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.

He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four.  He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.

He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.

Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.

Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.

This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.