Judging by the caps he wears in public, LeBron James always seemed destined to sign with the New York Yankees, if he could play baseball.
Undeterred by their long-shot status to land The King, the Oklahoma City RedHawks — the Class AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers — are making their best pitch to James, an NBA free agent as of 12:01 on Thursday morning.
Minor league baseball teams with schmaltzy public relations gimmicks that have no chance of reaching their stated conclusion but are worth trying for the publicity and (near) comedy?
Count us — well, me, anyway — in.
• Oklahoma City's offer includes access to a luxury suite for at least one game per homestand.
• Free housing in the team's 1,500-square-foot rental property.
• An invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch every night.
• Adjusting the rules, pending league approval, so that all LBJ runs count as two and all of his homers count as three.
As for compensation, well, there won't be enough for a "max contract." Whatever Chad Tracy(notes) is making, probably, is the figure. That's OK. In lieu of money, most of which he could never begin to spend unless he was Scottie Pippen, LBJ has said he wants a chance to win.
Well, the RedHawks are in first place in the American South Division of the Pacific Coast League. Leaders, to be certain. But they have competition for LBJ's baseball loyalties.
The Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League want LeBron, too — enough to offer him $1,600 per month to play center field.
Would James ever really bag the NBA, a la his idol Michael Jordan, for a career on a baseball diamond?
Of course he wouldn't. Besides, what position does LeBron really play? Is he an outfielder? Can he hit a cutoff man? How about a curveball? Why wouldn't he have taken over for an injured Grady Sizemore(notes) by now?
And would the Rangers — could the Rangers? — make a play for LBJ considering their financial straits?
Of course they couldn't.
Yet, these teams dream on.
"Although the front office makes no player personnel decisions, LeBron is pretty popular," RedHawks Executive Director John Allgood said. "We'd sell a lot of tickets!"
Well, that's all and good, isn't it? The RedHawks claim they'll be making similar offers to the likes of Wade, Chris Bosh and — no kidding — Brian Scalabrine.
I bet "Redd" jumps all over it.
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