‘I Don’t Care if You Looked Sexy. If You Wore a Skirt That Day. It’s Not Your Fault.’

Readers are moved by a woman breaking her silence about a rape by a professional baseball player 18 years ago. Also: G.O.P. threats; books on paper.

#metoo-movement, #baseball, #books-and-literature, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #sex-crimes, #sexual-harassment, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #women-and-girls

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Jacob deGrom First to be Inspected by Umpires for Sticky Substances

Jacob deGrom was the first pitcher inspected as part of baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances. It did not stop him from dominating Atlanta.

#atlanta-braves, #baseball, #degrom-jacob, #major-league-baseball, #may-trevor-1989, #new-york-mets

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I Am Breaking My Silence About the Baseball Player Who Raped Me

A professional athlete raping a reporter is a story about power in our society, and how men wield it against women.

#metoo-movement, #athletics-and-sports, #baseball, #major-league-baseball, #sexual-harassment, #women-and-girls

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College Baseball Pitcher, Sang Ho Baek, Dies After Tommy John Surgery

Sang Ho Baek, 20, “had been battling injuries throughout the season,” a teammate said, and underwent Tommy John surgery, a relatively common procedure for pitchers.

#baek-sang-ho-2001-21, #baseball, #deaths-obituaries, #george-mason-university, #interscholastic-athletics, #john-tommy, #maryland, #salisbury-md, #sports-injuries, #surgery-and-surgeons

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M.L.B. Says It Will Punish Ball Doctoring

Pitchers found using prohibited foreign substances will be ejected and receive a 10-game suspension in an effort to curb a widespread trend.

#baseball, #cheating, #major-league-baseball

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Baseball Reference Adds Negro League Stats

M.L.B. is still working to incorporate Negro league statistics, but a popular website lets fans put some of the numbers in context.

#baseball, #charleston-oscar, #elias-sports-bureau, #forman-sean, #gibson-josh-1911-47, #major-league-baseball, #negro-league, #paige-satchel, #sports-reference-llc, #statistics

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Mudcat Grant, American League’s First Black 20-Game Winner, Dies at 85

After 14 major league seasons, he wrote a book about Black pitchers and sang in nightclubs. “I made way more money in music than I did in baseball,” he said.

#american-league, #baseball, #black-people, #cleveland-indians, #deaths-obituaries, #grant-mudcat-1935-2021, #minnesota-twins, #race-and-ethnicity

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Baseball’s Sticky Situation With Ball Doctoring

Doctoring baseballs with ultra-tacky substances has pitchers dominating and some questioning the game’s integrity. Can cleaning up the balls liven up the sport?

#baseball, #cheating, #cole-gerrit, #epstein-theo, #major-league-baseball, #new-york-yankees, #perry-gaylord

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Yankees Blasted by Alex Rodriguez for Lineup Construction

Alex Rodriguez shredded the team’s lineup for being so one-dimensional. They’ll have to adjust to become contenders.

#baseball, #cashman-brian, #lemahieu-david-john-dj-1988, #new-york-yankees, #rodriguez-alex, #stanton-giancarlo

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Mike Schmidt Is the Greatest Draft Pick Ever

Fifty years later, Mike Schmidt stands alone as the baseball player who did the most for the team that drafted him. To one scout, Schmidt’s potential was obvious.

#baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #draft-and-recruitment-sports, #philadelphia-phillies, #schmidt-mike

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USA Baseball Qualifies for Olympics

A mix of unemployed veterans and minor league prospects propelled the United States to a 4-0 record in the Americas Qualifier.

#baseball, #frazier-todd-1986, #olympic-games-2020, #robertson-david-1985

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It’s Not Your Imagination: MLB Players Are Getting Hurt a Lot

Even accounting for virus-related stints, trips to the injured list are up as the sport lags behind others in injury prevention.

#baseball, #britton-zack-1987, #major-league-baseball, #milwaukee-brewers, #new-york-mets, #san-diego-padres, #sports-injuries, #tingler-jayce

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Marcus Stroman Calls Out Broadcaster for Insensitive Remarks

Bob Brenly attempted a joke about Stroman’s durag during a broadcast. Brenly has apologized and will seek sensitivity training.

#arizona-diamondbacks, #baseball, #brenly-bob, #discrimination, #new-york-mets, #stroman-marcus-1991, #television

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Lou Gehrig Day: MLB Raising ALS Awareness

Gwen Petersen, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, is one of the many advocates who view the league’s new event as a chance to raise awareness and funding.

#amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis, #baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #gehrig-lou, #major-league-baseball, #petersen-gwen-1985

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The Tampa Bay Rays Are Larger Than They Appear

Tampa Bay’s unassuming roster continues to confound. After beating the Yankees on Monday, they have won 16 of 17 games.

#baseball, #cash-kevin-1977, #feyereisen-j-p-1993, #hill-rich-1980, #kiermaier-kevin-1990, #neander-erik, #new-york-yankees, #tampa-bay-rays

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Baseball Is Returning to the Olympics, With or Without the U.S.

Despite being ranked No. 2 in the world, Team U.S.A. has to fight its way to Tokyo in qualifiers that begin this week.

#alderson-sandy, #baseball, #manfred-robert-d, #olympic-games, #olympic-games-2020, #united-states, #usa-baseball

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Marcell Ozuna Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

Marcell Ozuna faces two charges, including strangulation. His team says it will cooperate with an M.L.B. investigation.

#atlanta-braves, #baseball, #domestic-violence, #major-league-baseball, #ozuna-marcell

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Javier Baez and Cubs Baffle Pirates Infielders in Wild Play

With a wily bit of baserunning, Javier Baez confounded Pittsburgh’s infield, allowing a run to score. The Pirates could have just touched first.

#baez-javier-1992, #baseball, #chicago-cubs, #pittsburgh-pirates

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Game On! Great New Sports Books

Just in time for summer, these titles offer a variety of surprises — like the members of the 1986 Boston Red Sox discussing their famous collapse and Kevin Garnett offering his prescriptions for success.

#athletics-and-sports, #baseball, #basketball, #books-and-literature, #cheated-the-inside-story-of-the-astros-scandal-and-a-colorful-history-of-sign-stealing-book, #dicaro-julie-a-1973, #fans-how-watching-sports-makes-us-happier-healthier-and-more-understanding-book, #garnett-kevin, #glory-days-the-summer-of-1984-and-the-90-days-that-changed-sports-and-culture-forever-book, #kg-a-to-z-an-uncensored-encyclopedia-of-life-basketball-and-everything-in-between-book, #martino-andy-journalist, #olmsted-larry-journalist, #ritz-david, #sherman-erik-author, #sidelined-sports-culture-and-being-a-woman-in-america-book, #two-sides-of-glory-the-1986-boston-red-sox-in-their-own-words-book, #wertheim-l-jon

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Mickey Callaway Placed on Baseball’s Ineligible List

After an investigation into sexual harassment claims, Mickey Callaway was found to have violated M.L.B.’s policies. He can apply for reinstatement after the 2022 season.

#baseball, #callaway-mickey, #major-league-baseball, #manfred-robert-d, #new-york-mets, #porter-jared-1979, #sexual-harassment

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Joe West to Break Record for Games Umpired

With Joe West about to break Bill Klem’s record for games, a look at four umpires who can connect 1905 to 2021.

#baseball, #major-league-baseball, #officiating-sports, #records-and-achievements, #west-joe

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2 Million Runs: Baseball on the Verge of Mile

There was much fanfare in 1975 when Bob Watson scored baseball’s millionth run. With baseball’s historical stats in flux, the two millionth will score this week without much fuss.

#baseball, #baseball-reference, #elias-sports-bureau, #rose-pete, #statistics, #thorn-john, #watson-bob

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Blue Jays (and Their Fan Cutouts) Play Their Last Game in Florida

The Blue Jays are still barred from playing in Canada, but as they decamp from Florida, their fans — in plastic cutout form — will make the trip to Buffalo.

#ash-lauren, #baseball, #buffalo-ny, #canada, #dunedin-fla, #reid-noah, #toronto-blue-jays

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Yankees Sweep White Sox With Walk-Off Walk

Aaron Judge won Sunday’s game with a walk-off walk, but a dominant stretch by Yankees starters should have opponents alarmed.

#baseball, #boone-aaron, #chicago-white-sox, #judge-aaron-1992, #new-york-yankees, #taillon-jameson-1991, #torres-gleyber-1996

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Yermin Mercedes and Tony La Russa Clash Over Unwritten Rules

Chicago’s Yermin Mercedes broke one of baseball’s unwritten rules, according to Tony La Russa. Others around the game think those rules need updating.

#anderson-tim-1993, #astudillo-willians-1991, #baseball, #chicago-white-sox, #coaches-and-managers, #gomez-carlos-1985, #la-russa-tony, #mercedes-yermin, #stone-steve

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As Velocity Increases, So Does Danger to Batters

Batters are being hit at a rate unseen since the 1890s. Kevin Pillar’s beaning showed how devastating one pitch can be.

#baseball, #biggio-craig, #girardi-joe, #harper-bryce-1992, #melvin-bob, #new-york-mets, #oakland-athletics, #philadelphia-phillies, #pillar-kevin-1989, #sports-injuries

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Why Have There Been So Many No-Hitters in 2021?

Pitchers are better than ever. Hitters seem worse than ever. With six no-hitters by May 19, baseball is two away from tying the full-season record, which was set in 1884.

#baltimore-orioles, #baseball, #chicago-white-sox, #cincinnati-reds, #cleveland-indians, #detroit-tigers, #kluber-corey, #means-john-1993, #miley-wade, #musgrove-joe-1992, #new-york-yankees, #rodon-carlos-1992, #san-diego-padres, #seattle-mariners, #turnbull-spencer-1992

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Corey Kluber Throws a No-Hitter for the Yankees

Kluber, 35, already had two Cy Young Awards on his résumé. It was the sixth no-hitter this season in the majors, and it came a day after the fifth.

#baseball, #kluber-corey, #new-york-yankees, #texas-rangers

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Yankees’ Corey Kluber Throws a No-Hitter

Kluber, 35, already had two Cy Young Awards on his résumé. It was the sixth no-hitter this season in the majors, and it came a day after the fifth.

#baseball, #kluber-corey, #new-york-yankees, #texas-rangers

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Rennie Stennett, Pirate Who Had Seven Hits in a Game, Dies at 72

A second baseman, he was part of baseball’s first all-minority lineup in 1971, along with the future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell.

#baseball, #deaths-obituaries, #pittsburgh-pirates, #stennett-rennie-1949-2021, #world-series

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Eduardo Rodriguez Discusses His Experience with Myocarditis

Eduardo Rodgriguez is the only major leaguer known to have developed myocarditis from Covid-19. The Boston Red Sox starter wants to keep it that way.

#baseball, #boston-red-sox, #content-type-personal-profile, #rodriguez-eduardo-1993

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Fantasy fantasy sport Blaseball developers score $3M seed funding to go mobile

In the absence of a real baseball league, it is perhaps not surprising that a simulated one should grow popular during the troubled year 2020. But even so, the absurdist horror and minimalist aesthetic of Blaseball seem an unlikely success. The text-based fantasy fantasy league has attracted hundreds of thousands of players and now $3.4 million in funding to build up the game and go mobile.

If you’re unfamiliar with Blaseball, feel free to go check it out now and sign up — it’s free. You’ll probably get a better idea of what the game is from 30 seconds of browsing than the next couple paragraphs.

For those of you who’d rather read, however, Blaseball is a web-based fictional baseball-esque league where players can bet in-game currency on the outcomes. But this is where things get weird. The teams aren’t the Mariners or the Mets but the Moist Talkers and the Worms; players have names like Chorby Soul and Peanutiel Duffy; their stats include things like allergies, pregame rituals, and an inventory of RPG-like items.

Likewise, games — told through simple text summaries of the action like you might see in the corner of a sports site — involve hits, balls, and stealing, but also incineration, shaming, and secret bases. “Weather” might involve spontaneous blood transfusions between players, or birds that interfere with play.

In short, it’s totally ridiculous, utterly unpredictable, and very funny. This totally unique concoction of fantasy leagues, baseball satire, and cosmic horror has accrued a dedicated yet routinely puzzled fanbase over its 19 week-long seasons. And like so many hits, this one came as something of a shock to its creators.

Activity feed from the game Blaseball showing various absurd and normal events like hits and incinerations.

Image Credits: The Game Band

“We’re as surprised as you are,” said Sam Rosenthal, founder and CEO of The Game Band, which developed (and is developing) the game. “Blaseball was an experimental side project for the studio — we were in the middle of a pandemic, publishers were in a spending freeze, it was a scary time. We wanted to make a game that brings people together in this really isolating time.”

The idea for it came from banter at a real baseball game, where Rosenthal and a friend speculated about a league where the rules were “different and more chaotic.” Of course the rules of real-life baseball are continually being revised, but so far there haven’t been any resurrections of players incinerated by rogue umpires, free runs for home teams, or shrink rays.

While the resulting game-like product bears some resemblance to baseball, betting, and fantasy leagues, it’s much too weird and random to really be considered the same thing. That’s led to some friction as players who expect a more traditional experience lose coins on a game decided by, say, a bird pecking their team’s star hitter inside an enormous peanut shell, or a guaranteed home run because the batter ate magma.

The Hades Tigers… so hot right now. The roster shows a team’s current and permanent attributes, while players can work together to create change by voting weekly.

“Sometimes we have to remind the fans that this is a horror game,” Rosenthal admitted. The gameplay, as players discover in time, consists more in cooperation and guiding the league itself than in precision oddsmaking. “This is not a game about individual success but collective success. The mechanics of the game reward organization, fans banding together with other fans of their team.”

Using those coins to buy votes to determine how the most-idolized players are treated at the end of a season, for instance, could have huge repercussions on the next season. Ultimately the players are really participating in a sort of long-term alternative-reality game rather than a zany baseball sim, as the ominous announcements and events drive home now and again.

Next to the outcome of a match and the news that a player was walked to second base, you might learn that “Reality flickered in the Feedback” or see disembodied dialogue about the league or disordered cosmos.

It can be disconcerting and one may rightly wonder whether the creators have a narrative or goal in mind, or whether they’re just winging it and being weird for weirdness’s sake. I guessed the latter, but Rosenthal set me straight.

The Game Band logo on a flag behind several instruments.

Image Credits: The Game Band

“It is going somewhere,” he assured me. “There are a lot of plans, we have a ton of lore written. We literally have a writers’ room every day, usually about 3-4 hours long. But we need to stay flexible because there’s two other creators: the simulation, since we don’t know what will happen in the games themselves, and the fans. There are things we don’t know they’ll latch onto, emergent narratives like the reincarnation of Jaylen Hotdogs. We’re always learning, and we give ourselves a lot of room to backtrack or change things quickly if needed.”

What was never clear even to the developers, however, was whether the game would live long enough to see those plans come to fruition. Blaseball, being a side project built during strange days, was never envisioned as a big money maker. For a small game developer to have a runaway success on their hands but little ability to monetize that success, the stresses of continuing development and support can overtake the benefits of popularity.

“Since we didn’t really set it up from the get go to be profitable, we were just sort of slowly losing money,” said Rosenthal. “Fortunately our community has been really supportive through Patreon and sponsorships. But ultimately we wanted to make the game better and sustainable, and we wanted to pay our team what they deserve.”

Illustration showing how 51 percent of Blaseball players are on mobile.

Image Credits: The Game Band

The $3M seed round keeps the lights on, to begin with, but also lets The Game Band staff up, so the writers don’t have to break up a meeting early because one of them is doubling as product support and the site is breaking. More importantly, however, the team plans to make a native mobile app. More than half of Blaseball’s players (that is, the real ones, not Baby Triumphant and Wyatt Mason IV) are on mobile and Rosenthal admitted the mobile experience is “not great.”

The company comes from a mobile development background, he noted, so they know what they’re doing, but saw the web as the easiest platform to deploy on during the pandemic. Now they want to get mobile up and running, since the live, constantly shifting nature of the game fits well with the kind of updates sports and fantasy aficionados tend to sign up for. Who wouldn’t want to know right away that their favorite team has entered Party Time, or that their idolized player found a new piece of armor, or that a new non-physical law has been ratified?

Rosenthal said they resisted seeking funding to begin with due to a desire for independence, but was enthused about their choice of investor, Makers Fund, saying they actually understand Blaseball and have been partners rather than parents when it comes to moving the operation towards making money.

“The know we can’t just copy monetization from another game and put it in Blaseball, that would ruin the experience right away. They have an amazing network of people in the games industry, and at the end of the day they’re not prescriptive,” he said.

(They also gamely did not object to a line in the press release by the fictional Commissioner asserting that “Blaseball has acquired Makers Fund,” which says a lot.)

“We’re very cognizant that there are ways that free games can monetize that are detrimental to the community,” he continued. “So it will always be free to play and it will never be pay to win. Like, the Crabs are never going to run away with it because they’re the richest team. When we think about monetization we think about how it can benefit the community as a whole, not individuals.”

In the meantime the league slouches on, morphing from week to week in a live dialogue between players and developers. Don’t expect it go get any less weird, because the creators know that constant disorientation is part of the game’s charm.

Amazingly, Rosenthal even managed to suggest that Blaseball was, in the parlance of game design tropes, the Dark Souls of baseball simulators — “it [Dark Souls] gives you so little, it asks you to interpret and put a thesis together, to go linger on forums and talk with others about it. We wanted to create that kind of experience, and see how people would interpret this sort of weird, unknowable entity.”

They certainly got the weird and unknowable part right. You can try Blaseball out for yourself here.

#apps, #baseball, #fantasy-sports, #funding, #fundings-exits, #gaming, #media, #mobile, #recent-funding, #sports, #startups, #venture-capital

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A Late-Pandemic Commute, Feeding Hate on YouTube and the Mariachis Unsilenced by Covid: The Week in Narrated Articles

Five articles from around The Times, narrated just for you.

#agriculture-and-farming, #baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #deaths-fatalities, #dominican-republic, #france, #metz-cade, #mexico, #robertson-caolan, #southern-lauren-1995, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

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Shohei Ohtani Is Thriving as a Two-Way Star

With the so-called Ohtani rules junked, the Angels’ “super freak” is dominating as a hitter and a pitcher. “There are things that he can do on a baseball field that other people can’t.”

#baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim, #ohtani-shohei

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Baseball in Britain Confronts Issues With Sexism

A sexist tweet, and a refusal to delete it, prompted the general manager of the British women’s national team to resign in protest. The sport wants her back.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #baseball, #british-baseball-federation, #content-type-personal-profile, #discrimination, #great-britain, #hocking-amanda-doris, #perez-gerry-sports-executive, #women-and-girls

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Corbin Burnes Comes Off I.L. Gunning for Strikeout Record

Two years ago, Corbin Burnes had an 8.82 E.R.A. Now he’s a star, is coming back from the Covid-19 injured list, and is on the verge of a strikeout record.

#baseball, #burnes-corbin-1994, #milwaukee-brewers

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Yankees’ Virus Case Count Rises to Seven

The team announced that three coaches and four support staff members had tested positive as breakthrough cases ahead of Wednesday’s win over Tampa Bay.

#baseball, #boone-aaron, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #major-league-baseball, #new-york-yankees, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Here Are Some Fun Places to Get the Vaccine

A beach. A ski resort. Dracula’s house. Some Covid-19 vaccine sites are more interesting than others.

#american-museum-of-natural-history, #baseball, #beaches, #castello-di-rivoli-museum-of-contemporary-art, #colorado, #content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #great-britain, #hockey-ice, #miami-beach-fla, #museums, #new-york-city, #palaces-and-castles, #philadelphia-flyers, #salisbury-cathedral-salisbury-england, #seattle-wash, #seattle-mariners, #seattle-sounders, #st-paul-saints, #transylvania-romania, #turin-italy, #vaccination-and-immunization, #westminster-abbey-london

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Matt Harvey Is Cheered (and Lit Up) in His Return to New York

A former superstar was humbled by a Mets crowd that had forgiven his past mistakes. But his surprising start to the season took a hit in a 7-1 loss.

#baltimore-orioles, #baseball, #harvey-matt, #new-york-mets

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The PawSox Moved, but Pawtucket Has Yet to Move On

As the Red Sox’ top minor league team took the field in Massachusetts on Tuesday, a proud old stadium in Rhode Island sat empty. A symbol of a fading era.

#baseball, #boston-red-sox, #minor-leagues, #pawtucket-ri, #pawtucket-red-sox

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Amber Sabathia Hired as Agent by CAA

Having run C.C. Sabathia’s personal and professional life throughout his career, Amber Sabathia has made things official, becoming an agent for C.A.A.

#agents-business, #baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #creative-artists-agency, #major-league-baseball, #sabathia-amber, #sabathia-c-c, #women-and-girls

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Ubaldo Jimenez Gets College Degree, Honoring a Promise to His Mother

When leaving the Dominican Republic, Ubaldo Jiménez promised his mother he’d get an education. Twenty years later, he graduated from college — with honors.

#baseball, #colorado-rockies, #content-type-personal-profile, #jimenez-ubaldo

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Albert Pujols Is Designated for Assignment by Angels

A long decline followed by an abrupt exit can’t overshadow an early career of overwhelming dominance.

#baseball, #los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim, #pujols-albert, #st-louis-cardinals

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Del Crandall, All-Star Catcher With Champion Braves, Dies at 91

In his 13 seasons with the team, first in Boston and then in Milwaukee, he helped lead them to two National League pennants and a World Series title.

#baseball, #crandall-del-1930-2021, #deaths-obituaries, #milwaukee-braves, #national-league, #world-series

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With No-Hitter, John Means Opens Up a World of Possibilities

“Now, every time he takes the ball, he is well aware — because he’s done it — that he could pitch a no-hitter,” said Jim Palmer, the last Orioles pitcher to throw one on his own.

#baltimore-orioles, #baseball, #means-john, #palmer-jim-1945

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Willie Mays Turns 90

On the occasion of baseball’s oldest living Hall of Famer turning 90, a reflection on the conditioning that powered his greatness.

#baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #mays-willie, #new-york-giants-baseball, #san-francisco-giants

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Johnny Bench Misses His Hall of Fame Friends

Bench knew, played with or played against all of the 10 Hall of Famers who died in the past year. “You sit there and you are numb, and you remember and remember and remember,” he said.

#aaron-hank, #baseball, #baseball-hall-of-fame, #bench-johnny, #brock-lou, #cincinnati-reds, #death-and-dying, #ford-whitey, #gibson-bob, #kaline-al, #lasorda-tommy, #major-league-baseball, #morgan-joe, #niekro-phil, #seaver-tom, #st-louis-cardinals, #sutton-don

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Denied a Season, Some Ivy League Athletes Craft a Baseball Gap Year

The Ivy League, unlike most Division I conferences, decided against spring sports. That has led some athletes, like baseball players at Brown, to find outside ways to train.

#baseball, #baseball-college, #brown-university, #college-athletics, #colleges-and-universities, #ivy-league, #ncaa-baseball-championships

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Jeff Fox, 52, Dies; Balanced Baseball With Protecting Presidents

A star college athlete who later worked in the Secret Service, he played for decades in elite amateur leagues around Washington. He died of Covid-19.

#baseball, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #fox-jeff-1968-2021, #secret-service

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Roberto Alomar Is Placed on Baseball’s Ineligible List

Following a sexual misconduct investigation, Alomar has been placed on baseball’s ineligible list, but will keep his plaque in the Hall of Fame.

#alomar-roberto, #baseball, #baseball-hall-of-fame, #major-league-baseball, #manfred-robert-d, #rose-pete, #sexual-harassment, #toronto-blue-jays, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

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