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Report: Royals considering signing Luke Heimlich

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Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich. In 2012, when he was 15 years old, Heimlich pleaded guilty to a felony charge of molesting his then-six-year-old niece. Viewed by many scouts as one of the most talented pitchers in college baseball, Heimlich went undrafted in the 2017 and 2018 drafts.

Heimlich has maintained his innocence despite pleading guilty. The victim’s mother said to The New York Times, “There is no way he didn’t do it,” describing her daughter’s details as “very specific.”

That a baseball team would be interested in Heimlich despite his past is not surprising. Teams look past all kinds of wretched off-field behavior as long as they get a player who can help them win. But the Royals’ interest, in particular, is perplexing since the team has gone out of its way to position itself as a moral bellwether. Last year, we learned that the Royals teach their players about the detrimental effects of drugs and alcohol, as well as pornography. GM Dayton Moore said, “[We’re] very transparent about things that happen in our game, not only with drugs and alcohol. We talk about pornography, and the effects of what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to abuse of — domestic abuse — to abuse of women. How it impacts relationships — we talk about a lot of things. And I don’t mind sharing with you.”

The Royals held an anti-porn seminar in March as well:

If you’re going to go around wagging your finger at people for perceived moral shortcomings, you had better walk the straight and narrow yourself. For the Royals to do this and then show interest in Heimlich calls into question their credibility both on a baseball level and on a social level.

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: “We suck”

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As I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Baltimore lost its 107th game last night, tying its 1988 mark for the most losses in Orioles history. They will certainly break that record and will almost certainly blast by the all-time franchise loss record of 111, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. That team only played a 154-game schedule so the O’s likely won’t be the worst team in the franchise’s 118-season history by winning percentage, but it’ll be close enough.

Over at The Athletic Dan Connolly reports that one Oriole, catcher Caleb Joseph, is well aware of how bad the Orioles are and he is not mincing words about it:

“I’m not a loser. So, to be associated with that severity of losing is embarrassing. It’s shameful really . . . I don’t blame [fans] at all [for not attending games]. We suck.”

That last bit was in response to Matt Olson of the Athletics coming up to him before a recent game, noticing how many empty seats there were in Camden Yards and asking Joseph if it was always like that. Let that sink in: a player for the Oakland Athletics who, year after year, have some of the worst attendance in baseball, is shocked at how poorly Baltimore is drawing.

As for Joseph, he spends a lot of time talking about how the attitude is all wrong with the Orioles, how there does not seem to be any accountability and how things weren’t like that when he came up back when the Orioles were winning. Which, well, yeah.

Baseball players often attribute winning and losing to whatever attitude is prevailing around the clubhouse. Maybe that’s true on greatly underachieving teams or borderline teams that aren’t catching the breaks, but it seems far more likely that winning makes teams happy and instills camaraderie while losing makes teams sad and makes people look inward. Players tend to get the causation wrong about all of that because, I suspect, they don’t want to admit that they’re not as talented as the competition so it has to come down to some motivational or mental defect. Which, if that makes a player feel better, fine, but these O’s weren’t going to win many games even if they came in with smiles on their faces while singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of their rear ends every day. They just aren’t good.

Whatever you think of all of that, one thing is clear: the O’s need to clean house in a major, major way.