At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mental Lint: Cuba Out of WBC; Mueller In at LA; Nomar Explores His Options

– Thoughts Clogging the Cranial Vent –

‘World’ Baseball Classic? Maybe Not so Much. The U.S. Treasury Department yesterday denied the permit needed to allow Cuba to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While I understand the political motivations of the move – Cuba is, after all, under U.S. trade embargo – it does leave me wondering just how ‘World’ the event really is. Would one country be allowed to prevent another from participating if this were the Olympics? Not likely. But then, the WBC is an MLB marketing mechanism, and not a State Department cultural exchange initiative, so perhaps the rules of fair play are not meant to apply. How sad! Here’s hoping the WBC organizers are successful in their efforts to reverse the ruling.

Mueller Signs with Dodgers: A Good Guy Gets His Due. Former Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller yesterday agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million contract to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Sox had offered Mueller arbitration, but it was clear even before they acquired Mike Lowell from the Marlins that they did so not because they wished him to return, but to ensure they received draft-pick compensation from whatever team he went to. Well, yesterday they got their wish, and the business of baseball being what it is, the practicality of the maneuver can’t really be criticized. However, as he departs, let’s for once give Mueller the public appreciation he deserves. All he did during his three years here was hit well and field superlatively, and he did so at bargain rates. It’s nice to see him get his due in LA, and we wish him nothing but continued success. Go get ’em, Billy!

Nomar to NY? Doubt It. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the agent for Nomar Garciaparra said the former Cub and Red Sox is considering four teams to be his home next season, and that one of those teams is the Yankees. While the other three were not revealed, they are believed to be the Astros, Dodgers, and Indians. This is a tough one to handicap, for there are apparent attractions in all four places. For instance, Garciaparra’s good friend Lou Merloni has just rejoined the Indians, his former manager Grady Little has just been named manager of the Dodgers, the Astros could use some infield reinforcement (I know Nomar said he’s willing to play anywhere, but he’ll always be an infielder at heart), and the Yankees, well, are the Yankees. Personally, I’m leaning toward either Cleveland, which is only a puzzle piece or two away from again being an American League force, or LA, which is Garciaparra’s home town. We’ll see soon enough!

That’s all for now – see you at the ballyard!

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