With the series against the Yankees looming, Yankees blogger Neil Keefe had a chat about the series with some guy named Brandon Kraeling who thinks he knows a little something about Reds baseball. Their chat took in everything from the now-famous Todd Frazier-Derek Jeter photo from 1998 to how Brett Marshall's injury led to the rise of Alfredo Simon.
MLB took a step in the right direction for a change this week with the hiring of Billy Bean (the former Tiger, Dodger and Padre, not the A's general manager portrayed by Brad Pitt) as a new Ambassador for Inclusion. Bean is now openly gay, and his struggle as a closeted major league player are well documented. His job will include ensuring that MLB is an inclusive workplace sensitive to LGBT issues. He intends to visit all 30 clubs within the next year to help combat homophobia in the clubhouse and the front office. I wish him the best of luck in what is likely to be a thankless and difficult job.
Of course, it's difficult to discuss these issues without also discussing the tragically short life of Glenn Burke. So this is as good a time as any to revisit his story, which is not only poignant in its own right, but it will remind you what a truly great guy Dusty Baker is.
For the Farmer's Only crowd, Baseball Prospectus has some eyewitness reports on a few top tier pitching prospects, including the Reds' own Robert Stephenson. It's easy to get carried away with our own prospects, so it's always nice to get a report from an impartial observer.
Historian Michael Beschloss has uncovered a scandalous secret from the life of our nation's 34th president. It seems that before he played football at West Point, Dwight Eisenhower was briefly a professional baseball player. He evidently used the fake name "Wilson" to maintain his amateur status. The fact that he broke the rules and deceived West Point could have derailed his military career had it come to light at the time and he guarded the secret his entire life. The things we do out of a love of baseball.
Finally, Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post brings us a story of baseball being played in, of all places, Iran. Predictably, Iranian baseball is underfunded and enjoys sparse participation, but what they lack in those areas they make up for in enthusiasm. Definitely worth a read.