The Spaceman and The Excitable Boy

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Dan Epstein has a great column over at Fox today about two rebels/iconoclasts/weirdos who found themselves to be outcasts in businesses that, while superficially promoting and rewarding individuality, genius and fun, really don’t when push comes to shove. The outcasts in questions: Warren Zevon and Bill “the Spaceman” Lee.

As he blazed his weird trail through the 1970s — and particularly, his contentious 1978 season — Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee professed his admiration for Zevon, who after years of toiling, had finally broken into the big time with his 1978 album “Excitable Boy.” Zevon, in turn, took a shine to Lee, recognizing him as a fellow oddball, and wrote a song about him. Eventually they met and became friends, which couldn’t have possibly been good for either of them, even if it sounds like it would’ve been all kinds of fun to hang around them.

Epstein tells their respective weird tales and, as he so often does, in his books and his columns, reminds us of just how damn weird the 1970s were.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.