Everybody enjoy the fourth-snowiest month in recorded Twin Cities history? I thought so! Here’s yer linkies.
To begin with sad matters, Pema Levy re-examined the Kirby Puckett sexual-assault case from 2002, interviewing various legal advocates from both sides. Basically, the consensus is “he did it,” although opinions vary on whether the evidence was strong enough to prosecute. (Puckett received a “not guilty” verdict, but had several other well-documented instances of violence towards women.) It comes up now because the then-chief-Hennepin County attorney, Amy Klobuchar, is running for President. Was choosing to prosecute the case about justice or ambition? (Could, of course, be both.)
Jacque Jones was just found liable for violating California’s revenge porn laws, will pay the victim $67000, and may be responsible for far more money in reimbursing her legal fees. Recap from when the case was filed in 2017 here. (H/T to DJL44 for catching the story.)
More happily, A’s pitcher Daniel Mengden saved some puppies. They’d fallen in a storm drain, and Mengden had fishing waders at home nearby, so he saved puppies. Aww! (He also had a cave-exploring headlamp for some reason.) And Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle stood up for hat-factory workers in New York state.
Collusion confusion: Nothing too big on this front, although players are still suspicious. Francisco Liriano says that he got identical minor-league offers from several teams all on the same day. The league has floated an idea of revisiting the CBA before it expires in 2021. (Don’t trust ‘em, players!) And while not strictly collusion nor illegal, the union is pretty ticked about Toronto making BS excuses to start heralded prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the minors.
(By the way, I always wanted Guerrero, Senior, to open a head shop after he retired. So then we could call him “Vlad The Inhaler.”)
Pittsburgh’s owner says he’s too poor to spend anything on salaries, bringing the number of teams who’ve admitted this out loud to essentially, Everybody Except The Phillies/Padres. The Nationals will be charging fans who bring backpacks to the stadium. And Atlanta is selling T-shirts that instruct fans on how to do the hideous “tomahawk chop.”
Neil DeMause has a fascinating read on why the Rays can’t sell tickets. Essentially, the ballpark’s in the wrong spot, the owner’s a jerk, and Florida has so many spring-training / minor-league options fans can watch games for much cheaper.
Odds & ends: Some of you may recall that FSN’s Marney Gellner paired a little bit with local biker Dan Gladden for some play-by-play work in Ft. Myers. Apparently she’s pretty tight with the Gladden family, and they rib each other a lot. Fortnite legend Trevor May was featured (only in photo form) on an article about Fortnite players, which the author describes as a game where “you hit the wrong button and die a lot.” A.J. Pierzynski once had a contract announced by a guy in a ham store.
A college game was delayed when Eagle fought Osprey over fish, and the fish fell on the field. (Now my stupid news feed keeps giving me college baseball scores, which I don’t want.) And Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan played catch with some little kid at a spring game. It went... awkwardly.
And, finally, Bryan Murphy at the SB Giants’ site had the best summary yet of current MLB executive groupthink (in an otherwise unrelated article about the team’s bullpen). Here’s some selections:
I don’t mean to sound alarmist here, but have you stopped to think about the human beings who occupy front offices these days? They’re not competitors, they’re risk managers. Front offices have more in common with an insurance company than a dugout. They’re not acting rationally in the context of the theater in which they’re acting.
The past two offseasons in particular have demonstrated that all thirty teams have changed their approach to roster management and resource allocation. A marginal upgrade is no upgrade at all. It’s better to flex intelligence than the wallet. Cheap platoons are more valuable than solid veterans. And trades are primarily for salary dumping.
That’s the bigger point — very few teams feel motivated to act in terms of need or desperation during the offseason these days, so it’s logical to conclude that such thinking will carry over to the regular season and the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Baseball execs want to show off what they personally can do rather than what their teams can do.
Teams are profitable whether or not they make it to the postseason and too “smart” to make a trade that reduces future possibilities, prospects are perhaps wildly overvalued these days, and execs seem more interested in submitting their lowball offers at the same exact time than working independently to make their team better.
Don’t stick your hand in a jammed snowblower, anybody!