The Indians jinxed Cliff Lee

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Some folks are wondering if the Indians’ own people had a hand in breaking up Cliff Lee’s no-hitter on Sunday night:

In the eighth inning Sunday night, Cliff Lee took the mound with a
no-hitter against St. Louis. While he was warming up, the Indians’
in-house announcer, appearing on the Progressive Field scoreboard,
asked a fan this trivia question: “Who was the last Indians pitcher to
throw a perfect game?”

The answer was Lenny Barker on May 15, 1981. The question was
scripted before the game to follow the team’s “turn back the clock”
promotion to the 1980s, but considering the circumstances, perhaps
another question should have been asked. Yadier Molina hit Lee’s first
pitch of the inning for a double into the right-field corner. Bye-bye
no-hitter.

There’s no outrage or anything, but Indians’ manager Eric Wedge and
pitching coach Carl Willis are quoted acknowledging the taboo against
talking about a no-hitter in progress and mildly lamenting the question
on the board.

I’m not a superstitious guy and I think most baseball superstitions
are pretty silly. My view: since there are very, very few no-hitters,
current practices must not be optimized. I suggest that we conduct a
double-blind test, ordering the non-pitchers from half of the teams to
bring up the fact of in-progress no-hitters during games, and the other
half to maintain the current no-talk system. After, say, two or three
years, we’ll have sufficient no-hitter data to know which approach is
more successful.

Maybe we can even get a grant to study such a thing.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.