All the news that’s fit to invent

Even in the offseason, baseball provides a whole bunch of news. And baseball writers, eager to make a name for themselves, are happy to oblige, serving as conduits between source and audience. Here, a writer who already made a name for himself—it’s up there, in the byline—gets equally inventive with some of the baseball news while repeating, er, reporting all the original stuff.

Ante up

Fresh off the news that rapper Jay-Z is repping Robinson Cano in the Yankees second baseman’s free agency, Lady Gaga has announced that she will represent Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in his efforts to land the biggest free-agent contract possible. According to reports, the 31-year-old Korean chose Ms. Gaga over other savvy negotiators such as Ke$ha and Katy Perry not because of her outlandish costumes, musicianship or quick and powerful vibrato but, rather, because of her her her her p-p-p-poker face.

Oh Captain! My Captain!

In other baseball news, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has announced that he is starting his own publishing division, Jeter Publishing, in partnership with Simon & Schuster. Rumors are not yet confirmed, but the buzz is that Jeter’s first published offering will be a handy how-to guide titled The Kama Jetra.

Going deep

Word out of Texas this offseason is that the Rangers will part with some of their middle-infield depth. Just yesterday, GM Jon Daniels confirmed the reports, citing the fact that Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler have discussed “The Myth of Sisyphus” for nigh on five years now, and that Jurickson Profar just wrote a 98-page treatise on big-league dugouts as they relate to Plato’s Cave.

Author’s note: Word out of Texas and Detroit on Wednesday night is that the Rangers did indeed part with some of that depth, trading Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder. According to the author’s sources, most of them somewhere in his right cerebral cortex, Andrus and Profar have responded to the news by watching some PBS.

Bean burritos, and then some

According to various Tweets, blogs and other things that confuse old people, Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel recently spotted a Taco Bell sign that read, “Now Hiring Closers,” to which the closer drolly responded, “Hmmmm….”—an indication that he might just apply for the job. Meanwhile, over in Oakland, free agent ace David Price reportedly saw a sign just outside the plumbing-challenged Coliseum that read, “Needed: One really good stopper.”

A suit that fits

This just in: In response to a lawsuit leveled against him for causing a head injury that ended a minor-leaguer’s baseball career, former big-leaguer Jose Offerman has vanished, dropping out of sight and far from the reach of the courts. This also just in: Noting the cause-and-effect relationship of lawsuits and vanishing acts, the Yankees have just filed suit against Vernon Wells.

It’s all in the name

Recent accounts have revealed that Hall of Famer George Brett lately berated an aggressive autograph-seeker in no uncertain terms, telling the profiteer that he, Brett, would do bodily harm to him, the profiteer, if said profiteer ever harassed the Hall of Famer again. Accounts have also revealed that former Brett teammate Pete LaCock berated the same profiteer for not requesting his autograph, and, perhaps predictably, for laughing at his name.

The price really is right

News out of TV land this week is that game show Jeopardy took a shot at the hapless Astros, using this answer—“The large valve used to control wellbore fluids on oil rigs is this ‘preventer;’ the Astros could have used one”—to set up this low-blow question: “What is a blowout preventer?”

Baseball Coding with Rust – Intro
Getting into the nitty gritty of baseball action via a new(er) programming language.

In other game-show news, Agnes Schneider of Eden Prairie, Minn., recently won the Showcase on The Price Is Right after passing on showcase number one, the Colorado Rockies pitching staff, and watching as Agnes Schroeder, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, made a blatant overbid of $538 for Juan Nicasio, Jeff Francis, Rafael Betancourt, et al. Knowing that she pretty much had it won at that point, Schneider then made a strategically lowball offer of two pigs, two roosters and a hen for showcase number two, the Mariners bullpen.

You’ll probably see the reruns

Other news from TV land is that Kim DeJesus and Nicky Getz, wives of MLB players David DeJesus and Chris Getz, were recently eliminated from CBS-TV’s The Amazing Race, coming up short in a dune-buggy drive up a sandy mountainside in the United Arab Emirates. Still more TV news is that Don Denkinger is still in the running on MLB TV’s The Amazing Base.

Clubhouse personalities

News out of Houston this week is that Minute Maid Park will host the 2014 Civil Rights Game. News out of Venezuela, meanwhile, is that Carlos Zambrano will host the 2014 Sybil Rights Game, a showcase for the moody pitcher’s multiple personalities and his natural liberty to display them.

But no, he’s not an Aggie

According to recent reports in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Twins will auction off various parts of their former home, the Metrodome, once the stadium is demolished following the completion of the Vikings season. Included in the online auction are several padded folding chairs, six wall-mounted benches and even the old “Baggie,” the 16-foot-tall plastic wall extension in right field. Not included is the old “Naggie,” the somewhat elusive bugaboo that plagued Kent Hrbek for much of his 14-year career.

Out by a whisker

According to published reports, free agent (and yeah, free spirit) reliever Brian Wilson will not sign with the Yankees because he refuses to comply with the team’s facial-hair prohibition by shaving his trademark beard. According to unpublished reports, 20-year-old Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar will not join teammates on their annual Mountain Man Retreat this winter because he can’t comply with their beard requirement by growing one.

Improved sightlines

Word on the Tampa streets this week is that the Rays are making Tropicana Field more fan-friendly by creating walkways behind outfield seating areas and turning the Batters Eye restaurant into open-air common space. Word on the Houston streets, meanwhile, is that the Astros are making Minute Maid Park more fan-friendly by orienting the seats away from the field of play.

Making connections

According to a recent press release, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host Babe Ruth Bobblehead Day on Tuesday, September 9 of next season, an honor due the Bambino, at least according to the Dodgers, because he served the team as a base coach in 1938. On the heels of that news, the Texas Rangers have just scheduled a Joe DiMaggio Bobblehead Day because General Manager Jon Daniels once saw the Yankee Clipper at the Newark Airport.

Theft prevention

Word on the Interwebz this week is that St. Louis reliever John Axford left an interesting note for a motorist in Canada on Tuesday: “Your car was running for a long time. So I turned it off, locked it, and gave it a hug. Your keys are at the front desk of Goodlife Fitness. Sorry & you’re welcome.”

Additional word is that St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina left an interesting note for a manager in America this past season: “Your team was running for a long time. So I turned it off. Your keys are on the next plane out. Sorry.”

Practice makes perfect two-hopper

Interesting news out of L.A. this week: Seems that Yasiel Puig invited 50 kids to play ball at Dodger Stadium one evening, and even took the time to throw batting practice to them. The other news is that one of the kids threw batting practice to Michael Young, who somehow hit into 52 double plays.

Sizemore, more size

The Boston Globe is reporting that Grady Sizemore—yes, that Grady Sizemore, the same Grady Sizemore that fluttered the hearts of ladies and fantasy owners alike by slash-lining his way to three All-Star games through his age-25 season while sporting Hall-worthy dimples—might be making a return next season and is drawing a lot of looks. Of course, owing to injuries, the outfielder has played in only 210 games since the 2008 season and is therefore less dimpletastic than ever, at least if recent reports are true.

You try smiling through five years of frustration,” said those reports.

In other dimple-related news, Tigers, uh, Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder has continued to wear an off-the-rack Speedo during offseason workouts.

A real mouthful

From Baseball America comes the news that Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena has defected in the hopes of signing with a big-league club. From Syllable America comes the news that Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has challenged Arruebarruena to a so-called “syllable-off,” in which participants race to recite the names Kirk Dressendorfer and Tim Spooneybarger. In case of a tie, participants must then recite the names Steve Wojciechowski, Jason Isringhausen, Adeiny Hechavarria and, strangely, Ed Ott while chomping on a giant wad of Big League Chew.

Hold opportunity, save opportunity

The news is old by now, but it’s still pretty good: According to reports, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins and another male passenger helped flight attendants subdue a disruptive man on a late-October American Airlines flight to Santiago, Chile, ultimately ushering the troublemaker off the plane in Peru. Now via press release comes word that MSNBC has hired Hawkins to accompany new talk-show host Alec Baldwin on all commercial flights.

The root of the problem

This report out of Chicagoland is kind of interesting: Seems that Frank Thomas, long of the White Sox, is still pretty steamed about the Steroid Era, claiming to a Joliet audience that he “probably could have won four more MVPs” were it not for PED users. Also from Chicagoland comes the report that Dr. Frank Davidson, long of Davidson Pediatric Dentistry, is claiming that little Jimmy Deegan of nearby Plainfield “probably could have won four more MVPs—that’s Most Valuable Patient!”—had he used more PEZ.

No, not Guffman

Recent Tweets are suggesting that the Boston Red Sox and free agent Carlos Beltran have lately engaged in some “serious dialogue.” Additional Tweets have revealed the precise nature of that “serious dialogue,” noting that it’s a word-for-word recitation of Act II in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

It’s all in the name, Part II

News out of Cleveland this week is that free agent David Murphy has signed with the Indians. News out of New York, meanwhile, is that 47 percent of baseball fans will now think that Daniel Murphy plays for the Indians.

From the mouths of babes

And speaking of David (not Daniel) Murphy, ESPN Dallas is reporting that it wasn’t Jon Heyman who broke the news of the Murphy signing but, rather, Murphy’s own daughter at her daycare. Meanwhile, Daycare Venezuela is reporting that Carlos Zambrano has his used his indoor voice a personal record three times this week, and that he has served only five timeouts.

Mistaken identity

The other breaking news out of Cleveland is that the Indians have brought in Suzi Quatro to serve as the team’s hitting instructor. Of course, breaking news is often incorrect news. As such, a follow-up to the first report revealed that the new batting coach is not the singer-songwriter, bass player and actress but, rather, Matt Quatraro, a career minor-leaguer who peaked at No. 4 with his duet Stumblin’ In with Chris Norman—no, sorry, who peaked at Triple A Durham in 2002.


The Kansas City Star is reporting that singer Lorde’s hit song Royals, which has lorded over the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks, and which has topped Billboard’s Rock Songs chart for about as long, had its inspiration in a published photo of former Royal and current autograph-seeker-cusser-outer George Brett. Meanwhile, The Hardball Times is reporting that previous Rock Songs chart-toppers Wheels and Walk and Rope, all by the Foo Fighters, actually form a three-part musical tribute to speedy, selective, line-drive-hitting Angels outfielder Mike Trout.

At the same time, THT has been unable to confirm that Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know was inspired by San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Toxic behavior

GQ has just released its annual Men of the Year issue, and in it, the magazine names Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig its Phenom of the Year. Meanwhile, PQ – or, Poisons Quarterly – has credited the toxin in the scorpion that stung Brewers GM Doug Melvin during Spring Training as its Venom of the Year, barely outpacing whatever it was that inspired Matt Garza to unleash that bizarre, venomous rant against Eric Sogard and his wife.

Going for the Corona

Word out of the Mexican League this week is that Oaxaca Warriors pitcher Gabriel Alfaro has signed a minor-league contract with the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, word out of the Tex-Mex League is that the Waco Gringos are going for “the whole enchilada” by signing Jim Rice and both Billy Bean(e)s. They are also seeking a hurler who can bring the cheese.

The state of negotiations

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, free agent catcher Brian McCann is expected to soon begin visiting teams that are interested in his services. Meanwhile, Buster Busterman of is reporting that while the Yankees are dangling the Yankees mystique and their 27 titles as a free-agent carrot, and while the Red Sox are dangling their 2013 World Series title and the Boston Strong mystique, the Rangers are dangling a plate of Texas barbecue, a tall glass of sweet iced tea and a laminated copy of Article 8, Section 24 of the Constitution of Texas, which places various restrictions on the ability of the Legislature to impose a state income tax. is also reporting that when the Rangers dangled the barbecue plate, all the ribs, all the brisket and most of the beans fell off.

Pocket aces, no; pocket shortstops, yes is reporting that the Rangers’ Jon Daniels was the only general manager at the recent GM Meetings to outwardly declare that his team will absolutely have to make a free-agent signing, quoting the GM as saying, “We have to go outside and make a move.” Meantime, is reporting that Daniels was the lone GM to reveal his down cards at the late-night game of Texas Hold ’Em, quoting him as saying, “Look, guys, I have two sixes—no, wait, two fours—no, two sixes. What should I do now?”

Author’s note: Alas, it seems that Daniels got rid of his four.

Reducing bad hops

Via press release, the Baseball United Foundation has announced that a group of professional baseball scouts, coaches and players will conduct instructional baseball clinics in Ireland early next year. Also via press release, the Guinness United Foundation has announced that as soon as humanly possible, a group of professional brewers will conduct instructional brewing clinics at the Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

So they loaded up the truck and they moved to . . .

Shocking news out of Atlanta this week: Seems the Braves will be moving to a new ballpark in the northern (i.e., wealthy) suburbs following the 2016 season. Equally shocking news out of KC: Seems the perennially under-funded Royals will also move to a richer locale, by putting Kauffman Stadium on 62 wide-load trailers and hauling it to Beverly Hills. Word in the clubhouse is that Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain are ambivalent about the move while Billy Butler is excited due to the obvious nickname possibilities.

Career-defining move

Recent reports have indicated that in the wake of a concussion he suffered as a catcher this past season, Minnesota’s Joe Mauer will be moving from home plate to first base to begin the 2014 campaign. Separate reports are indicating that in the wake of a season in which he posted a career-worst .244/.313/.669 slash line, Paul Konerko might move from first to home.*

*Sadly, perhaps, this one is kind of true.

John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.
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