December 2007 - Baseball Wiretap
McGwire Looking For Hall Support
Mark McGwire's Hall of Fame candidacy looked drastically different in December of 2006, when he first appeared on the ballot, than it did when he retired following the 2001 season. The question now is whether the picture looks that much different in his second year of eligibility. McGwire, who retired as the No. 5 home run hitter of all time (he's now eighth), looked like a stone cold lock for immortality back when he called it a career. But by '06, the question of illegal performance-enhancing in drugs in baseball had become a front-burner issue, and McGwire was the first true casualty in Hall of Fame voting. "Big Mac" was named on 23.5 percent of ballots his first time around, ranking ninth among all candidates. It was more than enough to keep him on the ballot for another year, and he's the seventh-leading returning vote-getter on the '08 ballot. The Hall of Fame announcement will be made on Jan. 8.
Texas Coaches To Keep Clemens As Speaker
Roger Clemens will address the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, after all. "We told him we want him to come," Jim Long president of the group told Houston TV station KRIV. "It's not for us to make any other decision." "We're not going to do Roger that way. All of the coaches involved want Roger to speak at our convention." It had been reported that the group was considering removing Clemens as a speaker after he was implicated in the Mitchell Report. The right-hander, who pitched for the New York Yankees last season, was the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Royals Sign Tsao To Minor League Contract
The Kansas City Royals have signed right-handed pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao to a 2008 minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz. Chin-Hui Tsao, 26, a native of Hualien, Taiwan, has spent parts of four seasons in the Majors with the Colorado Rockies (2003-05) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2007), recording a 4-4 record with a 5.40 ERA in 50 games, including eight starts. He was originally signed by the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent on Oct. 7, 1999.
Proposed Bill Would Have Let Pete Rose Back Into Baseball
What would have happened if Congress had called on Major League Baseball to allow Pete Rose back into the game? As far flung as that scenario sounds, it was actually something that an Ohio congressman and Rose's former attorney worked on for weeks, according to interviews with those involved. This proposed bill, which was never introduced because of Rose's reluctance to lobby Congress for the legislation, has never been reported. Neil Volz, chief of staff to former Rep. Bob Ney, said the idea to lobby MLB for Rose's reinstatement came after baseball's all-time hit leader won a spot on the All-Century Team in 1999. Rose, banned from the game since 1989 for betting on baseball games while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds, was allowed to attend Game Two of the 1999 World Series, during which the All-Century Team was introduced.
Jim Leyritz In Desperate Search For Lawyer, Says Agent
His stellar reputation shattered by an alleged drunken-driving crash that killed a hardworking mother, former Yankee slugger Jim Leyritz remained secluded in his Florida home Sunday, distressed and desperate for a good lawyer. With his worried parents, children and ex-wife Karrie providing comfort, Leyritz privately contemplated his spiral from pinstripes to the possibility of serving 15 years in prison stripes. "He was very down and distraught," Leyritz's agent Andrew Levy told the Daily News Sunday after speaking with Leyritz. "This whole thing hasn't settled in yet." Levy said that because of the holidays, Leyritz, who faces charges of manslaughter and drunken driving, has been unable to hire a lawyer. "He's just focused on securing an attorney," Levy said. "Christmas and New Year's, it's not the easiest time. He's taking one thing at a time, and he's at home with his family." Released on $11,000 bail, the one-time World Series hero has yet to speak publicly about the crash early Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale that killed 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch, a mother of two.
Last Shot For Writers To Elect Concepcion
One final shot. One last chance. That is what Reds' shortstop great Dave Concepcion is facing when it comes to his eligibility for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the writers' ballot. Players are limited to 15 years on the ballot, and this is year No. 15 for the man that wore No. 13 in Cincinnati. Not only was Concepcion a member of the legendary "Big Red Machine" that won four pennants -- including World Series championships in 1975-76 -- he is viewed as a trailblazing pioneer for generations of Latino ballplayers enjoying thriving careers. Among those inspired by Concepcion's dazzling skills were two other No. 13's, ranging from Ozzie Guillen to another defensive great Omar Vizquel. "I used to see every move he made," Vizquel once said of Concepcion. "For me, that was like a school. Just watching him during the game was a big inspiration for me."
Dodgers' Saito Emerging As Team Ambassador
It wasn't all that long ago that many skeptics considered Takashi Saito a long shot to make the jump from Japan to the Major Leagues. However, in the span of just two years, Saito has established himself as an All-Star closer and an ambassador for the Dodgers. The 37-year-old from Miyagi, Japan, compiled 63 saves over the past two seasons while earning the admiration of his teammates for his play on the field. And his personality quickly made the man they call "Sammy" one of the more popular players in the Dodgers' clubhouse. The Dodgers think so highly of their right-hander that they asked him to fly back to Los Angeles from his home in Japan to be one of four current players, along with Nomar Garciaparra, Hong-Chih Kuo and James Loney, to represent the team on their first official float at the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday. "It's an honor for me to be a part of this parade," said Saito through his interpreter, Kuni Nakatani. "I always enjoy seeing my teammates, but more than that I am excited to see the famous former Dodger players. I'm very excited and can't wait to see them."
Current And Former Mariners Deny Monahan's Claims
Some current and former members of the Mariners are disputing the claim of former Seattle outfielder Shane Monahan that the clubhouse culture led him to use steroids and amphetamines with the hopes of lengthening his major league career. Monahan openly admitted to ESPN.com that he used performance-enhancing drugs. His claims didn't sit well with current Mariner Raul Ibanez and longtime Seattle pitcher Jamie Moyer, who played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. "It's amazing to me that a guy like Shane -- a guy who was up and down at best and had a very limited cup of coffee with us -- would be able to know what was going on," Ibanez told The Seattle Times. "I was up and down like he was. I was in that same boat that he was in, and everyone makes their choice." Ibanez told the paper that his workout regimen, not steroids, have helped him remain a major league player. "In 10 years, I've never seen a person take a steroid," Ibanez told the Seattle Times. "I've never had anyone come to me in a major-league clubhouse and offer me any." Moyer echoed Ibanez's statements. "I choose not to get involved with all of that stuff," Moyer told the paper. "We're all grown men of many different ages. If he's throwing people under the bus, that's his choice, but it disappoints me."
Pirates Talking To Hernandez About Returning
The Pirates are talking to free-agent starter Runelvys Hernandez about returning. Hernandez, 29, pitched for Kansas City from 2002-06 and made four starts for Class AAA Indianapolis last season -- 8.47 ERA -- but sought his release in September after the Pirates did not add him to the 25-man roster.
Kazmir's Days As A Ray Might Be Numbered
Even though he is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility, there's already talk that Scott Kazmir's days as a Ray are numbered. Kazmir is coming off his best season, reaching career highs in wins (13), innings pitched (2062/3) and strikeouts (an AL-high 239). Considering the way the Rays monitored his workload, limiting his pitch counts and innings for most of the second half, it's clear they consider Kazmir a big part of their future. In an age in which finding quality starting pitching is hard and keeping it more difficult, the Rays - who don't comment on contract negotiations - might be wise to go to the bargaining table and work out a long-term deal with Kazmir. Here's the glitch. The Rays explored the possibility last year, but nothing developed. And Kazmir, who couldn't be reached for comment, doesn't appear to be in a hurry to sign a long-term deal of the likes of Carl Crawford's or Rocco Baldelli's.
Astros' Tejada To Play Winter Ball In Dominican
The Astros granted permission on Saturday to Miguel Tejada to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Pedro Proud That He's Stayed Clean
Mets' ace Pedro Martinez says he is most proud of having remained "clean" during baseball's steroid era.
Leyritz Charged With DUI Manslaughter In Crash
Jim Leyritz faces charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage.
Mets Show Interest In Jon Lieber
RHP Jon Lieber may be a fallback option for the Mets, according to agent Rex Gary.
Yankees Finalize 1-year, $3.75M Deal With Hawkins
The Yankees strengthened their middle relief by signing RHP LaTroy Hawkins on Thursday.
Royals Sign Catcher Olivo To 1-Year Deal
Miguel Olivo was the Marlins' primary catcher the past two seasons and batted .237 in 2007.