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Archive for the ‘State Senator John Whitmire’ Category

Burkablog put out his Best and Worst Legislators.  Where’s The Dean?  Check it out:

BEST:


Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen)

Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth)

Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock)

Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen)

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D- San Antonio)

Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)

Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio)

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio)

Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands)

WORST:

 

Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)

Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas)

Comptroller Susan Combs (R-Austin)

Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (D-El Paso)

Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville)

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston)

Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City)

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)

BULL OF THE BRAZOS:


Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston)

Why not the Lite Guv on the Worst List?

Aside from Floyd Bannister (1976) and Phil Nevin (1992), name the three other number one draft choices that have played for the ‘Stros?

It looks like Wayne Dolcefino put on a wire and got the Fort Bend Mechanical fella to spill his guts sorta on the HISD mess. The fella says he’s been spreading some cash to three Board Trustees – yikes!  Dolcefino is working for the folks that are suing HISD.  If the fella claims he forked over $150,000 in cash, expect the FBI to be all over this one.  This is getting uglier. Here is Ericka Mellon’s piece in its entirety: 

A local construction company owner claimed in a newly recorded conversation that he has paid HISD board member Larry Marshall up to $150,000 – some of it in cash – to buy influence in the school district, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

David "Pete" Medford, who runs Fort Bend Mechanical, alleged that over the last five years he has given Marshall envelopes of money and recently accompanied some cash with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, the court filing said. Medford said the payments were separate from the tens of thousands he has donated to Marshall’s campaigns.

Excerpts of a transcript of Medford’s comments, which appear to contradict his earlier sworn deposition statements, accompanied a court filing opposing Marshall’s effort to halt an ongoing civil lawsuit that accuses him, Medford, the Houston Independent School District and others of a bribery and kickback scheme. Marshall’s attorneys have asked that the civil case be deferred pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

The Houston Chronicle has reported previously that Medford paid for Marshall’s trip to the Super Bowl in Florida in 2009 and that Marshall failed to disclose a $25,000 campaign donation from Medford that year. In addition, court records indicate Medford and other HISD vendors have hired Marshall’s longtime business associate, Joyce Moss-Clay, as a consultant, and she then paid Marshall a cut of her earnings.

Better deal?

The latest court filing alleges a more lucrative deal for Marshall – as well as a deeper pay-to-play culture in the nation’s seventh-largest school district.

"I have no comments on any comments that Mr. Medford has made," Marshall said Wednesday.

Medford also says in the transcript excerpts that he has paid HISD trustees Greg Meyers and Paula Harris, giving them campaign donations that they didn’t reveal on their disclosure reports. Both denied the claim.

Medford said Marshall did not request specific amounts of money, but Medford would tell the trustee, for instance, that he had a birthday gift for him, and the exchange would take place.

"You know, he comes in my office, we shut the door, and I give him an envelope," Medford said, according to a transcript filed in court Wednesday. "He never never says how much of anything, but if you don’t … if you don’t know where that line is, Wayne, you never … nothing ever gets done."

The conversation, the filing indicates, was between Medford and Wayne Dolcefino, who works as a consultant after leaving his job as a Houston television reporter. Dolcefino has been assisting Gil Ramirez Sr., whose son, Gil Ramirez Jr., filed the civil lawsuit against Marshall, HISD, Medford, Moss-Clay and another company, RHJ-JOC.

Dolcefino confirmed Wednesday that he recorded Medford at the company office. He said he took notes but wasn’t sure if Medford saw his audio recorder.

‘Not telling the truth’

Medford, in emails to the Chronicle on Wednesday night, did not deny it was his voice on the recording. But he suggested, without explaining how, that Dolcefino’s representation of their conversation was incorrect.

"He is not telling the truth about our conversations," Medford said. "I can say from what I have read so far that it is more fiction than truth." He did not respond to an email asking specifically if he stood by the statements in the recording. The audio recording was transcribed by a court reporter at the request of attorneys for Ramirez Jr. Excerpts of the transcript were filed in court late Wednesday.

Medford’s comments in the transcript excerpts appear to contradict statements he made under oath during a deposition last year when asked whether he had ever "made a transfer of money, goods, or anything of value to an HISD trustee?"

"Just through campaign contributions," Medford responded.

In his more recent conversation with Dolcefino, Medford said the attorney who deposed him "didn’t get to the truth the first time. … He just couldn’t get any straight answers out of me. They’re so stupid. They don’t even know what questions to ask," according to the transcript.

Marshall, who turns 81 next week, also has denied in his sworn deposition that he received any "payment, emolument, or other thing of value" from Medford besides the Super Bowl trip and consulting fees from Moss-Clay.

Medford and HISD construction officials have been at odds over several of his company’s school renovation projects, and in late May he filed a lawsuit against the district. The suit alleges that HISD owes Fort Bend Mechanical $9.8 million. HISD has denied the claim.

Don’t be surprised if some heavy local criminal defense attorneys arrive on the scene.  Stay tuned!

I’m thinking the folks at Battleground Texas aren’t too pleased to see FEMA shut the door on West, Texas and in the process make The President look real bad and untrue to his word. I hope The President’s folks get FEMA to do a 180.  The President is getting a ton of bad press in the Lone Star State today. The headline in today’s hard copy of the Chron reads “We stand with you and we will not forget”….The President.  This doesn’t look good.

I think I’ll get one of these T-shirts.  Here is from the Chron:

Former Texans Connor Barwin and Eric Winston are among the 10 players who have lent their names and jersey numbers to a new line of clothing which is being sold by the NFL Players Association in honor of LGBT Pride Month.

Barwin, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in March, has long voiced his support for gay rights. Winston, who spent six seasons with the Texans, is a free agent after playing for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

The numbered shirts, which are also available with the names of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe and free-agent linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, are being sold for $24.99, with proceeds going to Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that fights homophobia in sports.

Mike Ivie (1970 by Padres), Dave Roberts (1972 by Padres), and Darin Erstad (1995 by Angels) of course spent part of their careers in a ‘Stro uniform.

I stayed up last night thinking that we were going to lose another close one by the score of one zip then we scored six runs in the top of the ninth.  Now we have us a one game winning streak.  How about that! 

 

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The U.S. House’s lead investigator, GOP Cong. Darrell Issa called White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar” yesterday.  Somebody needs to reel in Issa.  That’s not going to score him any points.  He is just opening himself up to attacks.

Kuffer today has the Equality Texas legislative scorecard.  Rep. Sylvester Turner scored a D – huh!  Rep. Mary Ann Perez from H-Town scored a C – as Gomer would say “surprise, surprise, surprise.”

Here is all of Kuffer and the scorecard.

B’More visits The Yard tomorrow.  Before they move to B’More in 1954, where did they play?

On “Today” this morning there was a segment on the latest Cheerios ad that features a biracial married couple and their kid.  The ad generated a lot of negative online comments.  Willie Geist called comments sections  the “darkest places online.”  He’s got that right.

The Lite Guv got another Chron spanking yesterday.  This time the E-Board weighed in.  Here are parts:

The state’s second-ranking leader is widely viewed as being vulnerable to a challenge from the right in his expected bid for a fourth term as lieutenant governor.

The strongest evidence that Dewhurst is running scared is his disappointing decision to revert to a simple-majority vote in the Texas Senate to take up bills during the special session, moving away from the traditional two-thirds majority required to consider legislation. That means Senate Democrats might as well stay home.

Dewhurst’s decision has raised the ire of Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, the dean of the Texas Senate, who broke ranks with fellow Democrats and returned to Austin from New Mexico during a memorable redistricting fight in 2003. Whitmire returned based on Dewhurst’s assurances that he would commit to the two-thirds vote. At this point, breaking that promise in the name of political expediency would have fallout for sessions to come.

The usually statesmanlike Dewhurst is letting his fears about the 2014 GOP primary trample both good judgment and his duty to the citizens of Texas. We hope he will reconsider.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

I have said it before.  The Lite Guv deserves it.

B’More used to be the St. Louis Browns of course.

Root, root, root, root, root – five roots in a row!

From Chron.com:

The rebuilding Astros are the hottest team in baseball.

Via a sharp 5-4 victory against the struggling Los Angeles Angels on Sunday during an American League West matchup at Angel Stadium, the Astros improved to 10-7 in their last 17 games and have won an MLB-best five consecutive contests.

The Astros (20-37) took the series from the Angels (25-32) and are 6-3 against Los Angeles this season. The Astros have won three of their last four overall series and six of seven games.

You have to give some credit to my friend Drayton and his crew.  

Jose Altuve signed during Drayton’s watch.

Jason Castro drafted during Drayton’s watch.

J.D. Martinez drafted during Drayton’s watch.

Bud Norris drafted during Drayton’s watch.

Jordan Lyles drafted during Drayton’s watch.

Lucas Harrell signed during Drayton’s watch.

And the prospects that are coming up:

George Springer drafted during Drayton’s watch.

Jarred Cosart acquired by Drayton’s guys from Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade.

Jonathan Singleton acquired by Drayton’s guys from Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade.

They have been fun to watch lately. 

 

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It is back to redistricting again.  I knew all the recent articles and columns about the legislative feel good session would come to an end.  I’m betting it will be a red meat special session. 

It is a slow news day I have to say.  Politico didn’t add much today.  Their lead story this morning on May 28, 2013 is who is Hillary going to hire in 2016.  She is not even interviewing folks these days.

Walt Weiss is the skipper of the Rockies.  As an A’s, Weiss got him a World Serious ring.  He also was a member of The ATL when they beat us in 12 in Game 3 of the NLDS back in 1999.  In the bottom of the 10th with the game tied at 3, the ‘Stros loaded the bases with nobody out but failed to score.  Name the three batters that came up in the bottom of the 10th that failed to bring in the winning run?

I don’t know how long they will be in special session but if someone runs into The Dean, tell him he’s not missing much at The Yard.

With the infield playing in, Carl Everett grounded one to the first baseman who forced out Baggy at home for the first out.  With the infield still playing in, Tony Eusebio grounded one to shortstop Walt Weiss who threw home to force out Caminiti for the second out.  Ricky Gutierrez struck out to end the inning and the rest is history.

I don’t feel so bad with only 15 wins.  There are three other teams with wins in the teens.

 

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FYI:  Commentary’s client is Graci Garces, candidate for H-Town City Council District I.

Graci will have her “Campaign Takeoff” at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport next Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 pm.  The Museum is located in District I.   It is a neat and real cool place to have a political “takeoff” announcement.  If you are a Houston history buff, the Air Museum is a place to visit.  They have a lot of interesting stuff on exhibit from the early days of commercial aviation in Houston.  You can spend a lot of time walking around checking out the display cases.  Here is from their website:

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is housed in the original art-deco Houston Municipal Airport building at present-day William P. Hobby Airport. The Museum showcases the rich heritage of civil aviation, including the airlines, general aviation and business aviation. Exhibits include Houston’s fascinating aviation history.

We gave it a 6:30 pm start to give folks time to head over after work.  Think about dropping by next week.  You can do two things at once:  check out some of Houston’s aviation history and support Graci.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is located on the west side of William P. Hobby Airport, near Telephone Road.

Here is the Air Terminal website.

We suffered our third shutout loss of the season last night at Safeco.  What is the ‘Stros record for shutout losses in a season?

This is a part of the Seattle newspaper yesterday:

In Texas, where attempts to expand gay rights have run into strong opposition from Republican leaders, state lawmakers are considering new legal protections for sexually active gay teens.

Sexual contact with minors under the age of 17 is a crime of indecency under Texas law. But a "Romeo and Juliet" defense protects teen couples from prosecution as long as they are in a consensual relationship, both over 14 and within three years of age of each other.

And:

Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and longtime chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice committee, said he filed his bill out of a "sense of fairness." If a couple meets the age and consent criteria, there should be no difference in the law based on their sexual orientation, he said.

Here is the entire story.

I wonder why the Chron doesn’t have the story on The Dean’s proposed legislation.

If you can’t make it out there next week to Graci’s takeoff try going to an event Democratic Precinct Judge Lisi Cocina is putting together to benefit the kids of HISD’s Austin High.  Here is what they put out:

Join us for the 2nd Annual Austin High School (AHS) (HISD) White Rose Dinner featuring, keynote speaker, Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who is an Alumna of AHS. The event features an individual that has excelled and embodies an example students may emulate. 

Tickets are $50 per person. There are sponsorships available. All donations will be applied to programs which directly benefit AHS students.   It is at the UH Hilton on Thursday, April 18.

For additional information on the AHS White Rose Dinner, RSVP or make a donation, contact Dr. Lisi Cocina at 713 924-1664 or ECOCINA1@houstonisd.org.

I am sure some folks are going to get a little upset at Commentary for promoting an event that features one of Guv Dude’s appointees.  Lisi is the Dean of Instruction at Austin High and Lisi does a lot for her students.

District I candidate Ben Mendez originally listed my friend Edgar Colon as his campaign treasurer.  Edgar is no longer treasurer.  An invitation to an upcoming Mendez fundraiser lists Richard Farias as his treasurer.  Mendez’s website lists Issa Dadoush as his treasurer.  Oh, well!

Annette Funicello is no longer with us.  She was one of my favorites back in the old B&W days. 

Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! Hey there! Hi there! Ho there!
You’re as welcome as can be, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

In our second year in MLB in 1963, the team suffered 23 shutout losses of course.

There is a story on Chron.com about the ‘Stros rejecting an offer from one of the providers to carry the games.  At 1-6 I don’t see demand growing.

 

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This past Saturday the Chron E-Board continued to call out local state legislators for not filing legislation on changing up how we deal with the Houston Firefighters’ pension.  Here is a part:

Here’s a fact that should make city of Houston voters and taxpayers do a not-so-slow burn: Out of all those thousands of bills deemed by at least one lawmaker as worthy of consideration by our state Legislature, not a single one was filed to address a stubbornly serious problem facing the city of Houston and its taxpayers: the lack of local control over the city of Houston firefighters’ pension fund.

As it has for too many years, the business of negotiating with representatives of the firefighters’ pension fund apparently will continue to reside with state lawmakers rather than with the mayor and City Council of Houston, where it properly belongs.

This marks the third straight legislative session in which no member of the Houston delegation has seen fit to look out for taxpayers by carrying a bill to bring this responsibility back home.

Mayor Annise Parker has characterized this change in procedure as key to getting a handle on long-term city finances.

We’ve tried public shaming. But not even calling out the names of the 37 legislators who represent at least a piece of Houston in a Chronicle editorial was sufficient to stir a single one from his or her lethargy. Or is it fear?

In the past, we’ve hinted about the history of influential local lawmakers using their powers to keep pension fund business cloaked in secrecy and out of the hands of mayor and council. No doubt, that remains a factor in continuing the stalemate.

Evidently, another factor is the lack of concern expressed by constituents. When directly queried on the pension issue awhile back, Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, told us that he hasn’t revisited his position on the issue because he hasn’t heard any complaints from taxpayers.

It is interesting that they singled out The Dean.  I guess they singled him out because he is The Dean.

Of course if The Mayor and others want to get legislation filed, then they ought to do what The Dean is kind of recommending.  Start organizing taxpayers and get them to start complaining – duh!

Of course right now The Mayor’s chief political project is to get reelected.

Here is the entire Chron E-Board take.

Former ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper starts his new show on CNN this afternoon.  In promos that have been running, Tapper says he knows everything about the 1980 Phillies.  Oh yeah!  I wonder if Jake can tell us the name of the pitcher that was credited with the win in Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS versus the ‘Stros!

Everyone knows that “The Wizard of Oz” is Commentary’s third best film of all time so I had to go see “Oz:  The Great and Powerful.”  I went yesterday to check it out with My Brown Eye Girl and we both thought it was excellent. I particularly liked the film paying homage to the 1939 classic.  The 1905 scenes in the new film are shot in small screen black and white like the Kansas scenes in the classic.  When the Wizard lands in the Land of Oz the screens widens and turns into color – when Dorothy in the classic lands in Oz it turns into color.

In the classic, there are five characters (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch, Hunk/Scarecrow, Zeke/Cowardly Lion, Hickory/Tin Man, and Professor Marvel/Wizard) that have roles in the black and white and color scenes.   In the latest there are three – I won’t reveal.

In the latest there is a lion that gets scared away, there is a reference to making a scarecrow, there is an explanation and key scene involving the poppy fields, and there are handouts for service at the end of the flick by The Wizard to key heroes.

There is also a mention in the beginning of a John Gale – in the classic the heroine was named Dorothy Gale of course.  In both there is a twister and a hot air balloon.

We learn the technology involved in projecting The Wizard for folks to see.

Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz are perfect as the witches.  I won’t mention their roles.

James Franco nails it as The Wizard.

I don’t think Mila Kunis will ever have Margaret Hamilton’s problem regarding typecasting!

It is a good prequel for sure and it would not surprise me if a sequel prequel is already in the works because we still don’t know about how the ruby slippers, the horses of a different color, and the election of the Mayor of Munchkin City come to play.  If you are a “Wizard” aficionado, seeing “Oz: The Great and Powerful” is a must.

I also checked it out in 3D and am now an instant 3D fan.  It is a beautiful flick and it costs a little more but worth it.  The beginning and ending credits in 3D are a trip for sure!

BTW:  In the trailers yesterday they are bringing back the 20-year old “Jurassic Park” in 3D.  I will be there in 3D for sure!

The RNC is issuing an autopsy of sorts on themselves.  One thing is for sure is that they can’t agree on how to move forward or backward. Here is from an article I saw today:

Some Republicans, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio among them, are working toward bipartisan immigration reform that is likely to include a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants — sometimes called "amnesty." Conservative commentator Ann Coulter ripped the idea in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend.

"If amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will ever win another national election," Coulter said, later adding, "I can see why Democrats would want amnesty, but why on earth are Marco Rubio and these endless Bushes supporting it?"

Somebody in the GOP just needs to step up and tell Ann Coulter to shut up.  Her rants are just designed to give her rating points.  The Latino vote is growing and we’ve already made up our minds on immigration reform.  The GOP can either kiss our vote goodbye for a while or deal with our concerns.

Here is the rest of the RNC article.

Phillies pitcher Dick Ruthven of course picked up the win in the 10 inning series clinching Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS.  I wonder if Jake knows this. 

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.

 

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Everyone knows that The Dean is Commentary’s good friend. The Dean is The Dean because there are no term limits for state legislators.  Here is from today’s Chron:

State Sen. John Whitmire said he plans to propose a substitute to a bill filed Wednesday that calls for a "total membership change" to the influential Port of Houston Authority commission.

The bill as introduced contains recommendations that the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission approved in November, including a controversial proposal to sweep the seven-member board this September and transfer appointment power from local government to the governor, who would choose five commissioners from a locally compiled list of candidates.

It also would impose 12-year term limits on commissioners.

Whitmire, D-Houston, said his substitute bill also will include 12-year term limits and will force commissioners who had served longer than that in their current roles as of last November to step down in September.

But he said it will leave the current appointment process intact, including having a chairman who is jointly appointed by the city of Houston and Harris County.

"It goes a long ways toward addressing some of the concerns we had when we placed them under Sunset," Whitmire said.

Four current commissioners would lose their jobs under the bill. The term clock for Janiece Longoria, who served as a commissioner for a decade before being appointed chairman last month, would start over.

Whitmire, who has criticized local government agencies for failing to make timely appointments, said his bill also would hand appointments to the governor if the local appointing bodies don’t appoint or reappoint someone within 30 days of an expired term.

Commentary is really not a fan of term limits.  If The Dean’s substitute becomes law, Port Commissioners Burkes, Fonteno, Phelps, and Lawal would be immediate goners.  Lawal has already announced that he’s not interested in being reappointed so it wouldn’t bother him.

All the appointing authorities would still retain their appointing power, so any resistance to this will have to come from Burkes, Fonteno, and Phelps.  Here is the question.  Do the City of H-Town, Harris County, Pasadena, and Port lobbying teams fight The Dean to protect three individuals? 

On the term limit proposal, Hunker Down said it "certainly doesn’t cause me any heartburn."

Stay tuned!

Name the former ‘Stro pitcher that dinged the most batters all time as a ‘Stro

According to the Chron, HISD might raise our taxes.  Of course we voted ourselves a tax increase when we supported the bonds last November.  Now the administration says more taxes are needed to cover shortfalls.  The Superintendent was pretty good at selling the bonds last fall. He needs to get out in the community and sell the taxes.

Here is the Chron piece on the proposed tax increase.

Early Voting started yesterday and HCC shut down an hour and a half early because a water main break shut off water pressure in the area.

Darryl Kile of course dinged 72 batters as a ‘Stro and that makes DK the all time ‘Stro leader.

The ‘Stros first Spring Training game is this Saturday against the Phillies.

 

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Commentary’s good friend HISD Trustee Anna Eastman was elected Board President yesterday.   Commentary has said before that Anna Eastman is one of the brightest political people around.  Anna will be a darn good President.   Way to go Anna!

This has to be the quote of the day or week or month:

“My constituents have shown a lot of confidence that I’m a great public servant.”

Who said it?

The ‘Stros are inviting Rick Ankiel to spring training.  In 2000 as a member of San Luis, Ankiel was NL Rookie of the Year runner up.  Who won the award that year?

I’ve known Ben Hall since 1992 when he was picked by Bob Lanier to be City Attorney.  I was one of Lanier’s campaign consultants and help put together his administration.  I don’t have anything bad to say about Ben.  He and I have always gotten along.  Here is a bit of what he told the Chron about running for Mayor:

“This is really a world-class city, and we’re treating it as kind of nothing more than the fourth-largest city,” he said. “This city is in communication and dynamic relationships with the entire world, but we need a vision coming out of the mayor’s office that actually promotes that as a priority, as opposed to a tertiary or corollary idea.”

Here is the entire Chron post.

It kind of sounds like he’s saying we have a boring Mayor. Oh, well.

The Big Jolly fella has a take on the SD6 Special campaign reports. 

Check it out here.

Ali, err, The Dean says he’s the greatest.

The Texas Tribune has a very interesting piece today on The Dean that every Dem needs to check out here.

I wonder how The Dean feels about the piece.

Rafael Furcal of The ATL at the time won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2000 of course and now plays with San Luis.

I am really not impressed with who we are bringing to spring training.

 

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