Hawkins schmoozes his way to $7.5 million

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So, how did LaTroy Hawkins convince the Brewers to give him a two-year, $7.5 million deal at age 37? According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he schmoozed them in person at the winter meetings:

“It helped he was in Indianapolis with his representative, Larry Reynolds,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “I had a chance to meet with him. Whenever you have a chance to meet with someone in person, it always helps negotiations. LaTroy wanted to come up and meet us.” …

“I’m a firm believer that talking to a guy in person, you get to know him a little bit better,” Hawkins said. “I watched this team from afar and really admired what they’ve done the last few years putting a team together. I just wanted to be a part of that.”

And the $7.5 million probably wasn’t bad either.
My cousin has a friend who’s a member of the LaTroy Hawkins fan club dating back to his days with the Twins and basically describes “Hawk” as the world’s nicest person. And whether in Minnesota, Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, or Colorado the reporters covering Hawkins’ teams have also tended to rave about how friendly and accessible he is.
The morale of the story? If you’re a really nice, outgoing person and have a 3.29 ERA in 655 career relief appearances you can probably earn yourself some extra cash along the way.

Mets’ Curtis Granderson wins 2016 Roberto Clemente Award

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 02:  Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets looks on during batting practice before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on July 2, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Mets’ outfielder Curtis Granderson has been named the 2016 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, an annual distinction bestowed on the major league players whose dedication to the game of baseball is evident both on and off the field.

Granderson is the 47th recipient of the award since its introduction in 1971, and, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the fourth Met honored with the distinction following former members Gary Carter (1989), Al Leiter (2000), and Carlos Delgado (2006).

The 35-year-old contributed 30 home runs and a .237/.355/.464 line during the Mets’ 87-75 run in 2016, but it was his work off the field that set him apart. Over the past six years, Granderson helped fund a new baseball facility at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and partnered with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to combat childhood obesity. He has also been recognized for donations to the YMCA, United Neighborhood Houses, and City Harvest, among other charitable organizations. Most notably, he founded the Grand Kids Foundation, an organization that has furthered the education, fitness, and health of kids living in Chicago since 2007.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recognized Granderson’s efforts in a brief ceremony preceding Game 3 of the World Series:

Curtis Granderson is an outstanding ambassador for our game and a positive role model for kids. His commitment to the many communities that have touched his life and the great impact of these efforts makes him a very deserving recipient of our most prestigious award. On behalf of Major League Baseball and all of our clubs, I congratulate Curtis and thank him and all of our nominees this year for everything they do to make a difference in the lives of others.

Joe Maddon’s biggest influence? Michael Scott, naturally

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28:  Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs speaks to the media before the game in Game Three of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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We all get inspiration from various sources. Sometimes, it comes from a mentor or peer who has excelled in their field. Sometimes, it’s a video of a dog owner dressing up as his golden retriever’s favorite chew toy (just me? Okay).

If you’re Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon, it’s Michael Scott, regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, Inc., founder of the Michael Scott Paper Company, and one-time star of the hit television show Fundle Bundle. At least, that’s what he told the press during the club’s pregame conference on Friday afternoon.

Thankfully, the Cubs don’t have to worry about Maddon emulating the more outlandish behaviors Steve Carell exhibited on The Office. If anything, the praise Michael heaps on himself as the World’s Best Boss could be aptly applied to Maddon’s managerial style — Spencer Gifts mug and all.