The Week That Was in Baseball: February 7-13, 2011
Albert Pujols, Kansas City Royal? • Some of Tony Malinosky's Final Words
Taking Stock in a Share of the Milwaukee Braves • Ferris Bueller's Days Off at Wrigley
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So who’s going to pay Pujols that kind of dough? Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn’t think that Pujols’ best suitors will be the usual cash-flush suspects like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Philadelphia Phillies, but instead would bewait for itthe Kansas City Royals. (You may now spit up whatever you’re drinking.)
What’s Gordon rationale behind this seemingly irrational theory? It’s actually not so far-fetched. The Royals are no doubt a low-budget operation with a decidedly losing tradition of late, but with the exception of Billy Butler, they have no major amounts of money committed to contracted players past this year, meaning there may be enough room to pay Pujols his $30 million; also, with what is considered the majors’ best crop of up-and-coming prospects in the minorssome of whom are very close to being major-league readythe Royals can raise a talented young roster around Pujols and not have to worry about paying any of them big money for years. And if all of this comes to fruition, the ensuing success could begin a rolling stone of positive momentum that might entice other free agents to jump on the Royal bandwagon. Finally, there’s the intangible that Pujols grew up in Kansas City and met his wife there.Pujols will surely see taking any offer from the Royals as a calculated risk, but Gordon is right; if Pujols rejects any K.C. overture outright without doing his homework, it might be a mistake.
In an interview with the Tampa Tribune, Dukes claims that he smoked marijuana before games and said he saw other players “smuggle” pot and cocaine onto the team plane. When he alerted MLB about these issues, Dukes says its response was to blackball him and keep a lid on a dirty little secret. MLB denies the allegations, and league executive Rob Manfred says that if Dukes does have information about recreational drug use in the majors, then he’s all ears. And what is Dukes doing now? He’s attempting a rap career under the handle of Fly Eli.
The Young and the Restless
Young, a six-time All-Star and perennial .300 hitter who collected at least 200 hits per year over five straight seasons, can relate to Milton. Originally stationed at second base, Young was asked by the team in 2004 to move over to shortstop to make room for Alfonso Soriano. Four years later, Young was asked again to move, this time to third, to bring in untested (but promising) 20-year old shortstop Elvis Andrus. In January, the Rangers signed free agent Adrian Beltrea third baseman. As we mentioned back then, we can only imagine which poor sap in the Rangers’ front office had to be assigned the job of informing Young that he had to move againthis time to the designated hitter spot.
Milton was too timid to complain, but Young clearly is not. He was upset after being bumped to third by Andrus, and after initially stating he was okay with this latest shift to the DH spot, that changed this past week when he finally said publicly what he’s really been thinking: “I want to be traded because I’ve been misled and manipulated and I’m sick of it.”Young nearly got his wish earlier in the week, but a deal with the Colorado Rockies fell through. Other rumored suitors include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Los Angeles of Anaheim and St. Louis, but as of upload time, the official line from the Rangers is that Young will be dealt only if it helps improve their ballclub. For now, Young will have to bide his timebut hopefully for him, he still has the proverbial red stapler.
After recently bringing up the subject again, Stallenow a 58-year old music teacher living in New Jerseywas given a more welcoming reception. Memorabilia collectors, seeing the stock certificate as something of a rare artifact, believe its value to be as high as $800; the Hall of Fame also wouldn’t mind having it for its library. But Stalle has decided on what he’ll do: Donate it to the Braves, who will auction it off for charity.
The Fuss Over Russ
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
The Passing of a Baseball Centenarian
“…I dragged my feet for several months when it came to traveling south to Oxnard to interview the oldest living baseball player. He’s 100 years old and his is name Tony Malinosky. One night my wife said, ‘You better get down there and interview this guy. If he dies while you’re sitting here, it’ll mess up your book.’ (With so many retired players out there, there’s actually only one who’s 100.) She’s right, I thought. So I called Malinosky’s number and made arrangements with his caregiver, Becky, to come down that following Sunday. I drove 12 hours roundtrip to get the interview, and it was a pleasure. Malinosky played only one season for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and one of his college buddies was Richard Nixon.
Some amusing things he shared with me:
About his late buddy Richard Nixon: We knew each other while attending Whittier College. Many years later, he insisted that I start calling him Mr. President, but I wasn’t doing that. I called him Dick and he didn’t like it, but that’s just tough, now isn’t it?
About his old friend Tommy Lasorda: He spews out so much B.S., that guy. When he managed the Dodgers, he kept referring to the “big Dodger in the sky.” What a bunch of … He’s talking to grown men this way, not high school kids. They don’t go for that crap. They’re out there for the dough, instead of worrying about the big Dodger in the sky or the little Dodger down below!
His salary in 1935: These players today get more money playing one inning than I made my entire career. Do you know how much the Brooklyn Dodgers paid me back then? Four hundred bucks a month, can you imagine that? We lived on White Castle hamburgers and coffee back then because we were sending our checks home.
About his longevity: How did I do it? It’s simple. It’s called continuous breathing. I’m so tired of that question. What else do you want me to say? It’s a dumb question. All my friends from college, my baseball teammates, and my war buddies are long gone but me. So what do I do about it? I get old, what the hell can I do? Next question.”Malinosky’s death leaves Connie Marrero, who turns 100 in August, as the oldest living ex-major leaguer. Eleven others who began their careers in the 1930s are still with us.
Chuck Tanner, 1929-2011
The Real Iron Man of Camden Yards
Excusing Hollywood reality, the bigger question is: How does Ferris Bueller cut out of school, grab his friends by mid-morning, go to see one Cub game (let alone two), visit the museum, the Chicago stock exchange and the top of Sears Tower, sit down for a fancy lunch posing as the sausage king of Chicago, and crash the St. Patrick’s Day parade (during baseball season?) all in one day?For the record, the Cubs lost both games that were evoked and spliced together for the film. And the crowd count at Wrigley the day Bueller and Company actually appeared? It was 6,947.
The Kid Who Caught Maris
Lock of the Week
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