A disturbing buried sentence
Tom Verducci of SI recently wrote an article about what he termed the "Class of 68," basically big name sluggers like Bagwell, Piazza, Thomas, and Sosa, all of whom were born in 1968, the "Year of the Pitcher," spent their careers in the "Era of Offense" and now are taking cut-rate contracts as the game has passed their stellar careers by.
Not much to report about the article itself, which reads more like its just something to write about, but what really concerned me was the sentence about Sammy Sosa buried in the middle of the article (and I mean nothing bad by the term "buried"--it isn't important to the article even if it is important to Nats fans).
Verducci suggests that Sosa may sign a deal (and I assume he does not mean a minor-league deal, but he doesn't say) "with the MLB-owned Washington Nationals largely because commissioner Bud Selig has had a strong relationship with Sosa and wants to get this erstwhile ambassador of the sport off the street, hat in hand. "
Now, I don't know if Verducci has any sources citing that as the reason, but if true, that is remarkably disturbing and opens the door to every conspiracy theory one can come up with regarding Nats signings and failures to sign. That essentially the Nats aren't operating anywhere near a "real team" that happens to have a check on pursestrings because of MLB ownership, but in essence acts as a pawn of MLB.
What Verducci's statement means is that 29 "real" owners thought Sosa wasn't worth a sniff, but MLB figures they can send a worthless player to its holding company, the Washington Nationals, to be an "ambassador" to the sport. What's next? Dumping huge contracts on the new owner because some "real team" calls Bud Selig and says "I no longer feel like paying this guy?" Making trades where we spread the Nationals' next five years of draft picks among the other 29 teams in exchange for the rights to Doug Flynn in case he comes out of retirement?
Maybe Verducci was just talking for talking's sake, but if he's right, it makes me think that there are a lot of things we will never know about how much MLB was/is pulling some very crooked strings that could take the new owner years to correct.