Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

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Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell provided further insight on his beliefs that led to his decision to kneel during the national anthem Saturday, citing President Donald Trump’s lack of compassion towards people of color.

“I was talking to my dad about this. Our fearless leader right now is expressing that it’s OK to judge people by the color of their skin. It’s OK to separate people by their differences. That’s not OK,” Maxwell told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

“There’s not been one time Trump has tried to sit in our seat. He grew up in a bubble, a golden bubble. He’s never tried to reach out and understand where African-Americans and Hispanics and Muslims are coming from. All he knows is what he’s experienced, and that’s life on a silver platter. That’s a big thing for me.”

Maxwell, who comes from a military family, will continue to kneel during anthems, saying if “things don’t really change” his protest will continue into next season, as well.

“It might take a little while. Racism has been going on since this country was founded,” Maxwell added.

“But stepping up and recognizing the fact that people in this country are being treated unjustly is a big problem when it comes to mankind, and I’m pretty sure people who died for this country fought so I could do this.”

The Athletics will conclude a three-game series on Sunday against the Texas Rangers.

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David Ortiz may be retired from baseball, but his reign with the Boston Red Sox isn’t over.

The Red Sox announced Wednesday they’ve signed Big Papi to a long-term deal that “should link him with the organization forever.”

“For over a decade and a half, we have gotten to know what kind of man David is both on and off the field,” Red Sox principal owner John Henry said. “His skill and success on the diamond are rivaled only by his spirit, compassion, and big heart. I cannot think of a better representative for our organization. I’m happy we can now say officially what we have long known, David is family.”

While the press release didn’t indicate his job title, the Red Sox did say Ortiz will mentor players and be involved in many facets of the organization, including recruitment, special appearances, and business development.

“I’m happy to be able to help the Red Sox organization I love in any way I can,” Ortiz explained. “Whether that’s offering advice to a young player, helping convince a free agent that there’s no better city to play in than Boston, or representing the club in the community and with its partners, it’s great to be part of the Red Sox organization. It feels like I never left.”

The 41-year-old Ortiz spent 14 seasons with the Red Sox, appearing in 10 All-Star games and hitting 483 of his 541 career home runs with the club.

He also helped them win three World Series titles in 2004, 2007, and 2013.

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The group of five anti-racism protesters who brought a sign reading “Racism is as American as baseball” into Fenway Park on Wednesday and hung it over the Green Monster did so to “have a conversation” about racism in Boston, an “extremely segregated city,” a group member said.

“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area,” the group member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Evan Drellich of CSNNE. “Mostly groups that affiliate with racial justice causes. And the banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway (that Adam Jones spoke of).

“But overall, we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”

In the top of the fourth inning Wednesday, as the Boston Red Sox looked to erase an early deficit against the Oakland Athletics, the group, perched in the front row of the Green Monster seats, unfurled their black and white sign and draped it over the massive left-field wall. After several minutes, security intervened, removing the banner and ejecting four protesters from the ballpark (the fifth group member was located elsewhere in the stadium). According to multiple reports, no arrests were made, nor were the protesters banned from the ballpark.

Some were unclear about the group’s message, however, as the phrasing generated plenty of comments on social media that the statement could be interpreted as something other than a condemnation of racism. The group member, who noted that the Black Lives Matter movement was one of the inspirations for their protest, said that inability to determine whether the message was pro- or anti-racism was, itself, telling.

“I guess we should have seen that coming but we also didn’t think of it as an ambiguous message,” the group member said. “It’s kind of telling that it is being interpreted as one.”

In a statement, a Red Sox spokeswoman explained that the four group members were kicked out of the stadium for hanging a banner “in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark.”

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The Washington Nationals became the first team in 2017 to clinch a division title Sunday, securing the National League East for the third time in four years thanks to some help from one of their rivals.

After winning 3-2 against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals needed the Atlanta Braves to beat the Miami Marlins in order to clinch. The Braves rallied from two down to tie the game 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth, and later won thanks to a two-run, walk-off homer from Lane Adams.

It’s the Nats’ fourth division title since relocating to Washington from Montreal in 2005. The club hasn’t finished lower than second since 2011.

For manager Dusty Baker, it’s his seventh career division title with his fourth organization (two each with Washington, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants; one with the Chicago Cubs).

The Nationals got a terrific performance from right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. He broke a franchise record by extending his scoreless streak to 34 innings.

 during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 9, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.
 

J.D. Martinez has only been with the Diamondbacks a few weeks, but the 30-year-old slugger – a free agent this winter – sees a future for himself in Arizona.

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” Martinez told Nick Piecoro of AZCentral when asked about his desire to re-sign with the Diamondbacks. “It’s definitely something I’d love, I’d be interested in. I’ve loved my time here. The guys are great. The team is young. They’re definitely going to be good for a while.”

If the Diamondbacks want to keep Martinez around for the long haul, though, they’re going to have pay up. Widely considered the top position player available in free agency this winter, Martinez, an All-Star in 2015, has quietly been one of the game’s top hitters across the last four seasons. Since 2014, his first year with Detroit Tigers, Martinez has managed a .921 OPS while averaging 29 homers and 29 doubles per season, putting up a higher wRC+ (146) over that span than every qualified hitter except Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, and Bryce Harper.

This season, Martinez has tormented pitchers in both leagues, slashing .285/.367/.654 (157 OPS+) with 34 home runs and 19 doubles in 97 contests split between the Tigers and Diamondbacks. He played the best game of his career Monday night, too, leading his new club to a 13-0 drubbing of the Los Angeles Dodgers with an outrageous four-homer performance at Dodger Stadium. Only 17 other players in MLB history have gone deep four times in a game.

It augurs wells for the Diamondbacks, then, that atop Martinez’s priority list is playing for a contender. Now in the midst of an 11-game winning streak, Arizona boasts a 6 1/2-game lead over the Colorado Rockies for the top National League wild-card spot and is poised to make the postseason for the first time since 2011.

“I think one of the most important things in my free agency is I want to be on a team that’s relevant – a team that’s good, a team that’s in it,” Martinez said. “I don’t want to be on a team just because (they offer the most money). I want to be on a team that’s got a chance. That’s what’s fun. That’s what you play the game for.”

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The managerial status quo will remain intact for the Pittsburgh Pirates, at least for the time being.

Pittsburgh announced new four-year extensions for general manager Neal Huntington and bench boss Clint Hurdle, keeping them with the club through the 2021 season.

Huntington joined the Pirates at the end of the 2007 season that saw the Pirates post a 68-94 record. Things got worse before they got better, as the team bottomed out in 2010, going 57-105 before a gradual upswing.

The 48-year-old Huntington expressed gratitude to the organization following the announcement, but also acknowledged that while the Pirates have winning records under his tenure, a World Series win is the ultimate goal.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to work for and with such a quality group of professionals,” Huntington said. “We recognize that we have unfinished business. We remain committed to doing everything in our power to accomplish our organizational goals and to return a World Series Championship to Pittsburgh.”

The Pirates brought in Hurdle after the ill-fated 2010 campaign and the team started improving almost immediately, culminating in three consecutive postseason appearances from 2013-2015. Since Hurdle arrived, the franchise has gone 575-534-1 in the regular season, as the team broke its dubious 20-year streak of losing records.

Hurdle’s extension should come as no surprise to Pirates fans, as a report in June suggested it was in the works and would be signed before the end of the season.

Righting the ship was evidently enough for the Pirates to express confidence despite a pair of rocky seasons.

Before signing on as Pirates skipper, Hurdle managed the Colorado Rockies for eight seasons, including the team’s one and only World Series appearance in 2007.

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HOUSTON (AP) Justin Verlander only had about 30 minutes to decide whether to accept a trade the Houston Astros.

In the end, he figured he simply couldn’t pass up a chance to join the team with the American League’s best record.

”Ultimately it came down to winning and joining an organization that is set up to win for a long time,” he said.

The right-hander was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night in exchange for three minor leaguers just before the deadline for having players eligible for postseason play, and was introduced in Houston on Sunday.

”We’ve done a lot of work since Jim Crane bought the team in 2011 to put this team in a position to potentially bring the first championship to the city of Houston,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. ”And adding a top of the rotation-caliber pitcher, All-Star, Cy Young, MVP to our club is exactly what we need to maximize our chances of not only winning this year but potentially in the years to come.”

Verlander beamed as he donned his Astros cap, a different look for the 34-year-old after he spent his entire 13-year career playing for the Tigers. The trade came amid a difficult week for the city after Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding throughout the area.

”Hopefully we can bring a championship to a city that really could use something like that right now and hopefully I can be a part of that and we can give this city something to rally around,” Verlander said.

The addition of Verlander bolster’s an already solid rotation led by 2015 Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Keuchel, who voiced displeasure after the Astros failed to make any big trades in July, is thrilled to add another ace to Houston’s pitching staff.

”Excitement is an understatement,” Keuchel said. ”Anytime you get a perennial All-Star and pitcher of this caliber and what he’s done it just makes the team that much better.”

Verlander is looking forward to getting to know Houston’s pitchers and hopes he can learn from the group.

”I’m excited to work with these guys and see these guys up close,” he said. ”I think this rotation has a chance to be something pretty special.”

The six-time All Star is a playoff veteran having appeared in the postseason five times. He is 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 16 career starts in the playoffs.

He is 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 28 starts this season. The Tigers got minor league prospects outfielder Daz Cameron, right-hander Franklin Perez and catcher Jake Rogers as well as a player to be named later or cash in the deal.

Manager A.J. Hinch loves the experience he brings to the team and joked that he was already 2-0 with the Astros after they won both games of their doubleheader on Saturday after Verlander arrived at Minute Maid Park.

”He’s a winner,” Hinch said. ”We’ve had a couple of seasons here in a row that we’re very proud of that are winning seasons and he’s going to create more of that for us … he’s as big of a potential impact as we could have imagined.”

Verlander will make his debut for the Astros on Tuesday at Seattle. He’s already thought about what it will be like to pitch for team other than the Tigers for the first time in his professional career after he was drafted by Detroit in 2004.

”It will be different in my routine and everything getting ready and just getting accustomed to everything around, but once you step on the mound it’s business as usual,” he said.

Though he won’t actually play for the Astros for a couple more days, he has already received a warm welcome from Houston fans, getting a standing ovation on Saturday when he was introduced and shown on the big screen.

”I’m getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it,” he said. ”It was really a special moment.”