Bud Selig is "delighted" at McGwire's return; the feds? Not so much

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Bud Selig’s comments following the announcement of Mark McGwire’s return:

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, a fan of Mark McGwire’s when the latter broke the major-league home run record and thereafter, too, said Monday he “was delighted that Mark’s coming back to the game,” as the Cardinals’ new hitting coach.

Speaking by telephone from his office in Milwaukee, Selig said, “I give (manager) Tony La Russa a lot of credit and (chairman) Bill DeWitt a lot of credit for making this happen. I was — and am — very supportive of their decision. I wish everybody well.  When Mark was there, I had a lot of affection and admiration for him . . . I have no misgivings about this at all. Mark McGwire is a very, very fine man and the Cardinals are to be applauded.”

So everyone’s happy? Not so much. Here’s retired FBI agent Greg Stekskal, who investigated McGwire:

Monday, Stejskal questioned the return to the game of a player who refused to acknowledge involvement with steroids.

“It’s basically rewarding a guy who hasn’t stood up and taken a stand against this stuff,” Stejskal said. “There’s been no mea culpa, and instead he became a recluse. It reminds me of a passage from Proverbs: ‘The wicked flee where no man pursueth.'”

As I said yesterday, I’m somewhere in the middle. Certainly not as effusive as Selig is — it’s gonna be awkward for a while and we can’t pretend that what happened didn’t happen — but I certainly don’t believe that McGwire was “wicked” or needs to wear a scarlet “S” on his cloak.

Who’s really right? I’m not sure, but like I’ve always said: if you find yourself disagreeing with both Bud Selig and a federal agent who spent taxpayer dollars investigating the personal drug use of professional athletes, you’re probably doing pretty well in life.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.