-P- The Winnipeg Free Press revisits Randall Simon's sausage-smacking incident. Simon's now playing for the Fargo-Morehead RedHawks (who are, weirdly, the second team named "RedHawks" he's played for). Yurendell DeCaster plays for Fargo too.
Anyway, this is actually a pretty interesting article, if not exactly an accurate one:
"But the thing that hurt me the most was Pittsburgh at the time kind of hung me out. They never said anything on my behalf. And people at the time, I think, must have thought I really was a bad guy because my team didn't stand up for me"...
While he'll forever be best remembered for his one big mistake, what is easy to overlook is that Simon put up very good numbers in the majors: In 537 games, he batted .283, drove in a run in almost every two games on average and struck out less than once in every 10 at-bats.
But when the bigs turn their back on you, they turn their back on you.
Right, the reason Simon isn't in the big leagues anymore is that he smacked a sausage, and not because he was awful at every skill involved in playing baseball except hand-eye coordination. He was actually pretty lucky to have made it back with the Phillies in 2006; I have no idea what the Phils were thinking then.
Lost in all the vilification of Simon was this forgotten fact -- Simon was the man former Atlanta Braves closer John Rocker referred to as a "fat monkey" in that infamous racist and homophobic interview Rocker gave to Sports Illustrated in 1999.
"I could have made a big deal about it," Simon says. "But I said nothing. He apologized to me and I accepted his apology. He made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. But you learn from it."
That's not true. Simon said Rocker was lying about the context of his comment and that "If he said that to my face, I'd tear him up." Personally I think Simon had every right to be furious, but the idea that he said "nothing" just isn't accurate. His comments were quoted at length on SportsCenter, for Pete's sake.
-P- After reporting that there might be some possibility that the Pirates and Mariners would make a deal involving Jack Wilson and Yuniesky Betancourt, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times continues to discuss Betancourt trade rumors, this time with regard to the Padres. Unfortunately, these particular rumors are so outlandish that it makes you wonder about the Wilson ones:
Well, I'm now told the Mariners have discussed a Betancourt trade with the San Diego Padres as well. The Padres need a shortstop, having just placed Luis Rodriguez on the DL with a sprained ankle and having claimed Josh Wilson off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks...
Two names I've heard mentioned as trade returns for the Mariners would be either a package of, or choice between switch-hitting left fielder Chase Headley and Class AAA second baseman Matt Antonelli. I'm trying to pin down whether it is one or the other, or both, being offered up.
That's absurd. I suppose Antonelli, who was once a highly regarded prospect but hasn't hit at all since 2007, might theoretically be a possibility. But I frankly doubt that the Padres--a rebuilding team smart enough to be aware of Betancourt's wretched defensive numbers--would give up even a prospect of Antonelli's caliber. Headley, forget it. That's ridiculous. He's pretty likely to turn out to be a decent major league starter, and the Padres know that. USS Mariner concurs.
-P- To discuss Padres trades that are actually in the realm of reality, San Diego has shipped Jody Gerut to the Brewers for Tony Gwynn Jr. I'm not a big believer in Gerut and I never have been, but he did post a 130 OPS+ last year. He's struggled this year, but I'm not sure why you ship him off for Tony Gwynn's son unless it's a salary dump or a PR move or both. The younger Gwynn has no power at all and is a fifth outfielder at best.