Link-O-Rama: Hall sentenced to 45 years in prison

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* Former Yankees, Indians, Cubs, and Giants outfielder Mel Hall has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl who he coached on a basketball team.

The 48-year-old Hall, who has also been accused of carrying on inappropriate relationships with several other children, will be eligible for parole in 22.5 years.

* It’s probably not a great sign that A.J. Hinch is holding a team meeting 36 games into his managerial career. As Ozzie Guillen put it last week: “Good teams win games. Bad teams have meetings.”

* Also not a good sign for a manager: Cleveland’s most prominent sports columnist is wondering if Eric Wedge has “reached his limit with floundering Tribe.”

* Chipper Jones is happy
that John Smoltz’s altered comeback timetable has him avoiding the
Braves in his second start. Instead of facing his former teammates,
Smoltz will start against the Orioles after getting the Nationals in
his Red Sox debut next Thursday.

* After eight straight Republican victories, the Democrats finally won the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park last night.

Joaquin Benoit blames overly-sensitive hitters for benches-clearing incidents

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 12: Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 12, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.

Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:

“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”

That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.

Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?

Which is it, Joaquin?

Jose Fernandez’ memorial service will be today

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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There will be a public memorial service for Jose Fernandez today. The Miami Marlins said in a news release today that fans can gather along the west side of Marlins Park this afternoon for the departure of a funeral motorcade at 2:16 p.m. Fernandez wore No. 16 on his jersey. For those not in Miami, ESPN will provide live coverage of memorial services from 2-2:30 p.m. EDT.

A public viewing will be held at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A private funeral Mass will be held tomorrow for family and Marlins players and personnel.

In lieu of flowers, the Fernandez family asks for charitable contributions to the JDF16 Foundation,