Whoever said there wasn't much going on in baseball during the off-season certainly hasn't been reading the newspapers lately - the Gold Glove awards were handed out, some teams have already made some trades (the Atlanta Braves traded drinkin' and cheatin' Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians for a minor-leaguer), and some teams have started courting high-priced free agents. I will address some of these things in a minute, but first let me fill you in on what had me at the edge of my seat for two days last week - the kidnapping and successful rescue of Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos.
Wilson Ramos had a very good rookie season with the Nats, learning the ropes from veteran Iván Rodriguez (sorry, I just had to mention "Pudge"!). Ramos ended the season with a batting average of .267, which included 22 doubles and 15 home runs. Ramos was playing winter ball in his home country of Venezuela and was kidnapped last Wednesday in his parents' home. Luckily Ramos was rescued only two days later, and he seems to be physically fine though he says the psychological wounds will take a long time to heal. (Thanks to my pal John for breaking the good news about the rescue to me via Facebook!). Now if I were Ramos, I would go play winter baseball somewhere else far from my hometown, like, say, Puerto Rico!
Speaking of winter ball in Puerto Rico, Koby Clemens (son or Roger) was playing for the Mayaguez Indians, a baseball team with a long history of star players, championship seasons, and consistent development of up-and-coming talent. Well because Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in another country that has NOTHING to do with Puerto Rico, Koby's daddy demanded that his son leave the island right away for fear of Koby's safety. He said nothing to his teammates or to anyone else; just got on a plane and left for fear that he too would be kidnapped. Now, I lived in Puerto Rico for over 17 years and never heard of a famous person being kidnapped for ransom, let alone a twenty-five-year-old who has spent 6 years in the minor leagues and is no Prince Fielder at first base. So you know what, Roger? Take your precious little boy and continue to raise him in a bubble - and if he's even half as much of an idiot as you are, I can guarantee you that I will dislike him as much as I dislike you!
(Big sigh!) On another note... How about those Miami Marlins? Yes, they officially changed their name yesterday from the Florida Marlins. They will be opening a brand-new ballpark in the spring, they have a new manager in Ozzie Guillen, and they are woo-ing Albert Pujols like he's the Queen of England. I have also heard that Guillen wants his team to sign the now-unemployed Iván Rodriguez, so the Marlins just might be an interesting team to watch next year. Plus Guillen is one of those passionate managers who actually gets excited and worked up, which I always enjoy. Just what Nationals' fans need - another team in the NL East to rain on their parade! No one has signed anything yet though, so we'll just have to see what happens with Pujols, Fielder, and the other free agents who are floating around out there in baseball limbo.