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Wendy’s just murdered the Tampa Bay Rays on Twitter
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 So pulling Blake Snell in Game 6 of the World Series continues to be a bad move recognized by all. Including fast food joints.Image: Getty ImagesIt’s National Roast Day (whatever that is) and Wendy’s delivered the beef.Oooh, that’s one’s gonna leave a mark. If you’ll recall (you should) in the 2020 World Series, which only seems like it was 20 years ago, Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled ace Blake Snell in the sixth inning of a dominant Game 6 World Series start. The Rays promptly went on to lose the game and the Series to the Dodgers, giving Cash a prominent spot on the list of all-time worst managerial blunders (and costing Tampa a shot at a trifecta of trophies in 2020-’21).G/O Media may get a commissionSnell, a 28-year-old Cy Young Award winner, was amused by the burn:Snell is now on the loaded San Diego Padres because Tampa’s goal isn’t to get back to the World Series, but to try to run an experiment on how little they can pay their players and remain a viable franchise. Snell joins Fernando Tatis Jr. Manny Machado and Mike Clevinger on the most exciting team in baseball.Whoever that Wendy’s social media manager is should get a raise for coming up with that amazing tweet in just five minutes, earning 12K likes in an hour. It probably won’t happen, though, because like most American corporations, Wendy’s (worth about $5 billion) likes to pay its 12,000 employees as little as possible. Last month, Wendy’s employees joined other fast-food workers in a walkout to demand higher wages. .
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MLB safety’s plan for 2021 has a major minor hole in it
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We don’t know how Alternate Training Sites are supposed to work, and Rob Manfred doesn’t either.Image: APFor all the trouble that the NBA and NHL are having with their current seasons, it’s all the more remarkable what Major League Baseball was able to achieve outside of a bubble last year.While baseball was rightly hammered at the start of its shortened season, as coronavirus outbreaks ravaged the Marlins and Cardinals, among others, MLB and the players’ union made adjustments, and went 59 days without a single positive test… right up until Justin Turner’s idiotic misadventure at the World Series cast everything in a bad light all over again.So, it makes sense that the health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, announced on Tuesday, are for the most part running it back on what MLB and the MLBPA agreed to in 2020.The problem is that, even as successful as last year’s model was, Turner still did get COVID, and had the Dodgers not won Game 6 of the World Series to wrap up the title, the league would have had a nightmare on its hands about what to do with Game 7. One of the tricky things with the virus is that you can follow protocols to lower risk factors, but the only way to ensure no one gets sick is to keep everyone at home and not do things like, say, have a baseball season.This baseball season has two key differences from the last one. First, MLB is no longer going with a geographic-based schedule, which means more travel — and transcontinental travel — for everyone. Also, the plan is for minor league baseball to be back, although its schedule remains to be determined.G/O Media may get a commissionLast year, the lack of a minor league season made it easy for MLB teams to get reinforcements in the event of injuries or coronavirus. All they had to do was call down to the Alternate Training Site, and someone fresh could come right up, having already been participating in the safety protocols.The Alternate Training Site remains part of the framework of the 2021 protocol, with the plan being that players from the ATS will be used to fill out the Taxi Squad when teams go on the road. Teams are responsible for ensuring safe travel for players between the ATS and where they meet their teams, but this is where the non-geographic schedule comes into play.The rule on the ATS is that it must be “located sufficiently close to the location where the club will play its home games during the championship season that commercial air travel is not required.” So, while the Yankees could keep their ATS last year in Scranton, where they have their Triple-A team a two-hour drive from the Bronx, the White Sox, whose top affiliate is in Charlotte, needed to use the facility of an independent league team in Schaumburg, Ill.Further complicating things is that there is no minor league schedule yet, minor league spring training won’t start until the major league season is underway because its trying to keep the spring training facilities uncrowded, and the Alternate Sites from last year were a mix of minor league stadiums, independent league facilities, and colleges. MLB plans to continue with the ATS program because there’s no guarantee that the minor league season will go smoothly, but MLB could not provide clarity on how Triple-A and an ATS program could exist simultaneously, other than that the plan is to have both.There’s still time to figure out the logistics of it all, especially since it’s unlikely that minor league baseball will be played — or, in the MLB legalese, it probably won’t be until well into April, if not May, that “the commissioner commences the Class AAA championship season,” in which case “Clubs may be required to change the location of their Alternate Training Sites.” And exactly who’s playing daily competitive Triple-A baseball and who’s grinding out intrasquad workouts at an ATS is going to be a tricky needle to thread.These are the questions that MLB needs to figure out the answers to, though, because just having had 59 straight days last summer without a positive test doesn’t mean that the whole operation is foolproof. Turner was the fool who proved that, and in the days following the World Series, other Dodgers got coronavirus, too.The weak points of MLB’s plan for 2021 are one that existed last year — the possibility of members of someone’s household bringing in the virus — and this new one, coronavirus getting into baseball through the minor leagues, along with the extra air travel that will be a necessary part of playing out the new year’s schedule.MLB has a shot to pull it off again, but the best shot remains the COVID-19 vaccine, and the sooner everyone gets that, the better off we’ll all be. .
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Farewell to Pedro Gomez, a pioneer for Latinos, baseball fans, and aspiring journalists
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An entire generation of sports fans is mourning the passing of ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.Screenshot: ESPNIf you’re of a certain age group — mainly if you were born in the mid to late 1990s — Gomez was probably the first Latino you saw regularly report on ESPN. By definition, the late journalism legend was a pioneer for a multicultural community that has been granted minimal access to mainstream airwaves.Gomez arrived at ESPN in 2003. Not ESPN Deportes, though he was also a contributor there, but ESPN. The significance of the distinction mirrors what I had written last month amid Dan Le Batard’s departure from the network.The reason the English-speaking Latino voice is so vital is because, in our communities, we’re often encouraged by our friends and families that if we’re going to pursue sports media, ‘Why not get on ESPN Deportes?’ There’s nothing wrong with that, but what I often explain to others is that it limits our overall impact. Just because Black people are Black doesn’t mean they should only strive to be on BET or Revolt. For us, our ceiling shouldn’t be limited to Telemundo or Univision. That’s not to say our minority-owned platforms are insignificant, but in order to achieve social change, some people of color are needed to tear down the normalized white walls at established companies. It (should) provide an olive branch for others in our communities, bridging the gap toward a more inclusive media landscape. In our case, by only speaking Spanish, we won’t connect to other communities and remain secluded amongst our own, thus, limiting our overall influence.And in the case of Gomez, a Cuban-American icon, his impact was heightened because he not only crossed over to mainstream ESPN and had success, but he did so covering baseball when it still felt like America’s Pastime. Baseball wasn’t a regional sport in 2003 the way it’s since become. Millennial journalists, content creators, and fans grew up watching Gomez report on SportsCenter. We watched him sit in dugouts interviewing players for feature packages, we saw him shoot his stand-ups inside of baseball stadiums — just like the other reporters who didn’t look like him — and we saw some real windows into his passion.Like his trip to Cuba in 2016.Not everyone could fully comprehend the emotional experience of visiting their family’s homeland as the son of Cuban refugees. But because of reporters who broke through, like Gomez, and like Le Batard, a piece of you could relate, because their tireless work made it possible for you to follow in their footsteps.G/O Media may get a commissionThe love for Gomez matched the disorienting shock of the news. Tributes, memories, and acknowledgments poured out immediately upon the announcement of Gomez’s passing.The people Gomez touched became apparent throughout the night. Even as the Super Bowl pressed on, you felt the magnitude of Gomez’s untimely passing by simply scrolling through your distraught timeline.Now when you look up at ESPN, it’s becoming more possible for an Antonietta Collins, a Jorge Sedano, a Jessica Mendoza, or a Marly Rivera to be seen on your television reporting in English, and not being limited to only Deportes. It’s because of Gomez’s crossover that his impact was felt universally, and it’s because of his reach, visibility, and professionalism that many could follow in his footsteps in any way possible, whether or not you’re a Latino, and whether or not you loved baseball. Pedro Gomez, gone too soon, but he did his part. For a generation of Latinos in media, he was the first we watched on ESPN, and because of the network’s influence, even in 2003, the first some of us ever saw anywhere. .
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Baseball Hall of Fame should rename the J.G. Taylor Spink Award after Claire Smith
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Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, with legendary MLB reporter Claire Smith.Image: Smith FamilyThe Baseball Writers Association of America decided to take the name J.G. Taylor Spink off its award given to writers and broadcasters.Spink held hardline segregationist and racist views that he frequently espoused in the pages of The Sporting News, which he founded in 1914. In the days before the internet and TV, The Sporting News had an oversized impact on baseball fans for decades.Kevin Fagan of TSN detailed Spink’s long history of racism and his role in keeping the game segregated.Winners of the Spink Award are commonly referred to as Hall of Famers. One of those is Claire Smith, the first woman to win the award. Smith covered baseball for the Hartford Courant, The New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Fagan quotes Smith in his story:“My hope is this will be the era when we shed enough light on the subject of race and the influence of media, of sports, of politics and all, that we can shed enough light to reveal what we’ve hidden away in shadows but have always known was there.The BBWAA should rename it the Claire Smith Award.“She started to change how baseball was covered because she treated the players as people, real people,” said John Quinn, formerly sports editor of the Asbury Park Press and Philadelphia Inquirer. “The Times had the business end and the people’s end markets cornered. Rest of New York was tabloid, Steinbrenner, Reggie, etc.G/O Media may get a commissionMeanwhile, Claire was cultivating relationships like no other. They all respected her. She had direct relationships with Hall of Famers, ground breakers.”“She was a pioneer for her female (journalists). She broke down barriers. She made people — editors — rethink the job.You took her for granted because she did things so seamlessly. She’d talk to Hall of Famer after Hall of Famer on the phone, then turn to you in the same voice, in stride. Remarkable.”Quinn’s idea is long overdue. Your move, BBWAA. .
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MLB’s biggest question answered as Twins add promising pitcher; also, Dodgers sign jerkwad Bauer
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Oh yeah, this guy signed too.Image: Getty ImagesThe wait is over, and one of baseball’s top contenders can move toward spring training confident that its new addition to the pitching staff will be just the man to put them over the top.It has been a long offseason of wondering where the former Pac-12 star might wind up, with seemingly every team in play for his services. Now, though, it’s settled.Ian Hamilton is a member of the Minnesota Twins.Hamilton, an 11th-round draft pick of the White Sox out of Washington State in 2016, had been claimed on waivers by the Mariners in late September. Two and a half months later, Seattle waived the right-hander, and he was claimed by the Phillies. Then, when Philadelphia re-signed catcher J.T. Realmuto and needed to free up a 40-man roster spot, Hamilton was designated for assignment, and now once again has been claimed, this time by the defending AL Central champions.Hamilton isn’t just a promising pitcher who dominated hitters with a 1.74 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 51.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, he’s someone that you can’t help but root for. Having gotten a cup of coffee with the White Sox in 2018, Hamilton was ready to compete for a roster spot the following year, but suffered a shoulder injury in a car accident. He made it back to pitch in 16 struggle-filled games for the Sox’s top affiliate in Charlotte, but was hit in the face by a line drive, suffering multiple fractures that ended his season.Last year, Hamilton made it back to the majors, and worked 3.2 scoreless innings over his first three appearances, with four strikeouts. His fourth and final outing of the season did sour things, as Hamilton walked the first two Tigers he faced, got one out, then threw a wild pitch and gave up an RBI single to Harold Castro before being pulled — he was charged with two runs in one-third of an inning as Steve Cishek allowed one of the inherited runners to come home.G/O Media may get a commissionNow, Hamilton goes to Minnesota to try to help hold off his old Chicago teammates in the Central, which figures to be an intriguing race to see who can beat up the most on rebuilding Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City.Hamilton does not appear to have a Twitter account. Instead, he’s just focused on baseball and doing all he can to improve and help his team win.In other baseball news, the defending world champion Dodgers agreed to a deal with Trevor Bauer, the human paraquat who has had one season in his career above three wins above replacement, owns a 3.90 lifetime ERA and 3.85 FIP, and had been inaccurately reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale to be on his way to the Mets on Thursday night. The deal is worth $102 million over three years, which is just silly for a guy who’s maybe — maybe — LA’s third-best starter now. Bauer won the 2020 National League Cy Young by posting a 1.73 ERA over 11 starts, but it’s his other kind of posting that’s troublesome, in addition to his career resume suggesting that while he’s capable of flashes of brilliance like his less-than-a-dozen starts in a pandemic year, he’s really quite average. .
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