A former White Sox outfielder is the Ambassador to New Zealand


I, and almost certainly no one else who was not employed by the White Sox in the mid-80s, has any memory of Mark Gilbert. He was an outfielder who, at age 28 in 1985, played a grand total of seven games for Chicago. Other than a small-sample OBP of .385, it is of no real note whatsoever to anyone not related to Mark Gilbert.

But now Gilbert, who can always say he made it to the big leagues, has another notable gig: Ambassador to New Zealand. He was confirmed by the Senate on Friday and will hold the post until whoever succeeds Obama appoints someone new.

How does one go from Comiskey Park to a pretty sweet gig in Aukland? The American Way: a job in finance and then into politics and then raking in all kinds of dough for the campaigns of the politician who appointed him. What, you think we train our ambassadors at Ambassador School? Most of them are rewards for wringing the wallets of friends and colleagues in election years.

Of course, absent an immediate escalation in tensions between the United States and New Zealand, most of Gilbert’s time will be spent holding state dinners, smiling and shaking hands and stuff. Tasks which, however foreign they are to most White Sox outfielders, are right in the wheelhouse of finance guys and political fundraisers.


Video: White Sox turn triple play against Astros

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

White Sox starter Iván Nova was able to escape a jam in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Astros with the help of a triple play. Nova had allowed a leadoff double to Tony Kemp, then hit Robinson Chirinos with a pitch to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Facing Jake Marisnick in a 1-1 count, Nova threw a 94 MPH fastball that Marisnick sharply grounded to Yoán Moncada right at the third base bag. Moncada quickly fired the ball to Yolmer Sánchez at second base, then Sánchez whipped the ball to José Abreu at first base just ahead of a lunging Marisnick to complete the triple-killing.

According to Baseball Almanac, it’s the 718th known triple play dating back to 1876. The last time the White Sox turned a triple play was 2016. They turned three triple plays that season, amusingly. The Astros have been victimized by two of the last three triple plays, having also hit into one on April 19 last year against the Mariners.